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Adding 2nd brood box under the super, Wisconsin, USA


#1

My bees have started to deposit honey on the flow frames, but they are very crowded in the one brood box. I have ordered another and it will be here this week.
My question is can I add a second brood box on top of the first, the place the super on top of that even though the bees have started to deposit honey?
Thank you for any insight or suggestions.
Aimee


Adding a 2nd Brood Box, Kansas City, USA
#2

Where in the world are you, Aimee? Your location will help with finessing the suggestions I would like to offer.

My preference is to add new brood boxes under the existing brood box. You won’t find that in any text book, but if you think about bees in the wild, they choose a cavity and naturally start at the top, building down from there. Also, if you add a new box under the existing one, it helps the bees to keep their precious brood at the right temperature without chilling them. Warre hives always add new boxes at the bottom, so my idea is not new or unique. I have done this for the first time this year, and my colonies have done far better than the usual method of adding a new brood box to the top. The comb is straighter, they seemed to draw it out faster than in previous years and the queen more quickly moved down into the lower box than she has moved up into top boxes. I am sticking with this method now - my bees like it. :blush:

If you are going to add another brood box, I would take the Flow super off the top of the hive though. Either put it underneath the second brood box (so now it would be the lowest layer in the hive above the floor), or drain the honey/nectar and feed it back to the bees or freeze it. If you put the Flow super on the lowest level, the bees will probably move the honey up into the brood boxes, where they will need it for their winter stores - right where they need to be putting it at this time of year in most of the Northern hemisphere.


#3

@Dawn_SD I was wondering if you noticed more brood produced in the new lower box when you added it? When I added the second brood box to my strong hive it ended up being more honey and pollen than brood. Your thoughts?

Mine was that maybe they were just building up storage for the winter.

John


#4

That is certainly my impression, but this is the first year I have added a box below the existing box.

Sounds likely. I added my second box in May, so they weren’t locking down for winter at that point. We will see what they do as the season progresses, but so far I am very happy with the way they handled the new space. In the past, when I added a box on top, they seemed first to use it for honey and pollen, and then after a couple of months, they gradually moved everything around and extended the brood mass upwards. With adding a box below, the queen is laying near the top of the middle frames in the lower box without moving any stores around, and there is brood in the central 6 frames. There is still plenty of storage space in the lower box, but we are having a long dry spell, so the nectar flow is very likely quite light at the moment.


#5

Sounds good. I will give it a shot when my second hive is ready for the second box. It swarmed, had queen cells that hatched but then did not make it. Ordered a queen and it arrived this morning. Will put the young lady and her workers in the hive tonight.


#6

Maybe she is ‘Down Under’ and the bees go in the opposite direction. :grin:


#7

Hmmm I was told this by my local beekeepers as well so this is what I did. I’m hoping they build it out enough to survive winter!! They definitely moved downward though I don’t think we will be getting any honey this year :slight_smile:


#8

I’m in Wisconsin. It’s been in the 90’s for about a week. We finally had rain yesterday. It’s been brutally humid.


#9

I would definitely add that second brood box then - below the established one, as I suggested above. I would pause all honey supering until the second brood box is at least 80% full, so that your hive has a better chance of making it through the winter. :wink:


#10

Dawn is so correct. Not that much summer nectar left then Autumn n Winter. They don’t have a good supply stash n ready come Spring you’ll have DEAD Bees … ! How’s your mite population ? You might forget the mites but the mites won’t :honeybee: forgetting your colony. I only have five (maybe 6 this week as some bee activity in my Empty Observation Hive ). I’ve been using a SBB, brood breaks, n powder sugar dusting. First August I’ll do my monthly mite check. And later in the month a organic treatment. Don’t want to loss bees if I don’t have too.

. these are my monthly mite count records on each hive.

I know people are all over the map on this checking n treatment thing with mites. I look at it this way, if I speed I have to pay my own tickets, if I don’t vote I have no grounds to complain n if I don’t do something with these critters … It’s my loss not theirs ! These are my colony inspect n data records n logs of when, what n how I did something n where I traded frame n why. My brain can’t keep up with that stuff so I keep this paperwork n actual hive/colony logs.

Now how did I get soooo far off the beaten path here. Got to get some bees looked at n yard work finish.

Good luck n Enjoy !
Gerald


#11

More record pix’s on my hives.


#12

Hi Dawn,
I am a newbee in Maine and I have added the second brood box on the bottom with similar results as you have had. My mentor is out of state for the next 3 weeks and I was wondering where to add the first honey super…above or below? Thanks for your help!

Jen in Maine


#13

Hiya Jen! If your brood boxes are at least 80% full, you can add another box. Honey supers are almost always added on top of an existing hive. If you add it below the brood boxes, you will get brood in it, and if you use a queen excluder to prevent that, you will get drones dying in the top boxes… :cry:

So go ahead and add it on top when your bees are ready. If it is a Flow super, consider smearing some burr comb on it first, so that it smells like the hive and entices the bees up faster. :wink:


#14

Thank you for your help. I wasn’t looking forward to lifting the two 10 frame brood boxes. I went out on a limb this year attempting to support the bees as they would naturally go down but was a bit perplexed about the honey super.:blush: This hive is not a flow hive. I am interested to know why the drones would die above? Is it a matter of temperature? Thank you again for your help.


#15

If you use a queen excluder, drones can’t get through it. If you trap them above a queen excluder, they will kill themselves trying to get out through it. :cry: