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Bee Space management and honey I think I'm missing the boat somehow

I suspect that a lot of virgin queens don’t make it back to the hive than we think. I’m not sure there is a relationship between the size of a hive and a queen successfully mating and returning to take up residence. When I have done a spit the queen-less hive most makes a new queen but there are the odd times I have had to add fresh frames of brood and I tend to think the queen that had previously been made probably fell victim to other wildlife. I have two species of birds that come for a feed at my apiary, but I see it as just the circle of life.
I think it is very important once a queen is introduced to leave the hive alone to have the queen hopefully accepted and laying. Too much checking can put the colony into a stressed situation. Time to sit back, relax and give nature time to work. Time to have a wine and enjoy what you are doing.
Cheers Martha

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Back to bee space. Folks it took a month to get a queen in my queenless hive and she’s laying. Now my worries are that the hive looks pathetic and has lost substantial quantities of bees.

I did an inspection and she’s an ok laying queen but not spectacular as an ordered queen. My other two hives are overflowing with population and our area is headed into a dearth. I have been pondering taking frames of brood out to boost my weak hive. I spoke with one local beekeeper about this and his advice was not to. Because I worry and tend to try to hard I’m asking y’all what you would do.

The weak hive has ample pollen and honey stores. I guess I worry because this is the time for that stinking hive beetle to take over and other pests like the wax moth to find my hive vulnerable. I’ve got beetle traps and reduced the entrance to try to help them along. I’m just trying to protect my sweet girls from harm like an over protective parent with teenagers.

Of course I welcome and love to hear from all my forum friends. Peace
Martha

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Did he say why not to? Only reason I’d think not to would be that your donor hive is also small/weak.

About your queen, I wonder about certain locations just not having enough drone congregation areas or something, so queens made by the colony don’t get well-mated :thinking: Many beeks are advised to remove drone comb to boost worker numbers and get more honey…or as a varroa management strategy. Hard to say if this could be resulting in poor mating for local queens in any given area, but I wonder.

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I let the bees deal with their men. I’ve got my own to deal with. LOL! So you would boost the hive with some brood frames?

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I would take a frame of capped brood from the stronger hive to strengthen the weaker colony. You could take another frame after a week from one of your other hives to boost the weak hive, doing that will not knock about the strong hives but the weak hive will definitely improve fast. I wonder why he advised against doing that?
Cheers

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I would, if I had a very strong donor hive. I wouldn’t if I was worried about weakening the donor, though.

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I agree with @Peter48 & @Dawn_SD, I would chose a frame of sealed & emerging bees. As Peter suggests, give another one in a weeks time. Remember that a full frame of sealed brood could contain up to 6K bees. That is a great boost to a weak colony. Once your colony has a decent young worker population, THEN you’ll know how good your new queen is. A queen is only as good as the size of the colony allows her to be.

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Word :raised_hands: on both. If you do it, make sure your queen isn’t lurking on the frame you take out, and then let it sit out of the hive for a few mins while you put a replacement frame in (one with built comb if you have it) - many of the foragers will fly off after a few mins but the nurse bees will stay with the brood. Nurse bees won’t be hassled in the new hive :wink:

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@Eva @JeffH @Dawn_SD and @Peter48 . I’m going to take your suggestions and go through my 2 strong hives and see what I can donate to my weak hive. My new queen has been hanging in the upper brood box so I’m thinking I’ll place donor brood in the lower box so not to mess with her mojo. :grinning::+1::honeybee::crazy_face: Unless y’all have a better idea.

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Hi Martha. If the colony is weak, I would reduce them down to a single brood box. This is predominantly a SHB strategy. As part of the strategy, make sure that the frames the bees don’t cover don’t have any pollen or brood in them. The reason for supplying one frame of brood at a time is to make sure the bees in the colony can defend that brood against SHB. You wouldn’t want to give them too much brood all at once. That can lead to beetles laying eggs in unprotected brood.

Good luck & cheers for now. Yeah baby.

PS Just an afterthought, the bees wont spread themselves thin throughout a hive. They will always congregate in a reasonably tight mass around whatever brood they have. Therefore it’s best to add that frame of brood right in the middle of that mass, or next to one of the existing brood frames. Never segregate brood in a weak colony. That can lead to SHB problems.

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Thanks! I would have never have thought of that. My lower brood box has uncapped nectar and pollen. What should I do with it? I’ve been wondering how to determine how weak weak is?

You’re welcome Martha, the bees do tend to build up on pollen while a queen is not active. I would just remove those frames & incorporate them with a stronger colony. Alternatively if you have freezer space, I’d wrap them in plastic & freeze them.

How to determine a strong/weak colony: I guess it’s determined by how many frames the bees occupy. To my mind, a strong colony would be 2 deep 10 frame boxes with every frame covered in bees. A weak colony would be only enough bees to cover 2 or 3 frames.

A weak colony is fine & can repel beetles & stop them from laying eggs as long as the frames they don’t occupy are free of brood or pollen. Frames (one or two) containing honey is fine. They don’t lay eggs in honey. Well, not initially.

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The hive is pretty honey bound and they’ve been moving honey up into the super to give room to the queen. :smiley: Tuesday will be my day for an inspection and donor hive stuff. We have rains until then. I also have beetle traps installed as well so fingers crossed!

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I have so much still to learn. They actually move the honey? Amazing little creatures

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They do it all the time. I know several beekeepers who feed their bees colored syrup when the bees need feeding. The food coloring can then help you track how bees move their food around the hive, and can also help make sure that you don’t sell syrup instead of real honey.

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Susie, you will never stop learning about bee keeping. Even just watching and monitoring your hive you will learn so much. Everything a bee colony does something there is a reason behind it and it is for the bee keeper to understand. Don’t rush your hive inspections, listen, smell and notice any changes, and enjoy your time…
As you probably already know bee keeping is terribly addictive :thinking: :smiley:
Cheers

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Amen to that! @Peter48 I learn so much every month!

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Rereading the post. I did put a medium on top of the flow super. The bees put some honey up there and are still working it. Though they chew wax and it falls through to the flow super where the key goes to drain the hive. It’s poor fit with this particular medium super but it works.

So glad of the queen reminder! I get all flustered trying to lift boxes and not smash bees!

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Hi Martha. Just stumbled over this thread and thought I’d let you know how I managed my supers last season.
We have a bit of a nectar flow most of the year, but when some gums are flowering in spring/beginning of summer, my bees need more space to deposit and ripen nectar.
The flow supers get full, but aren’t sufficiently capped and the bees start building in the roof.
So I put ideal supers or honeycomb rounds boxes on top of ALL my flow supers, sometimes even two.
That worked really well.
My single eight frame broodboxes would be just brood, nothing else in spring/summer.
I once had 2 flow supers on a single brood box, that worked well too, but I quite like the option of foundationless ideals (it helps to have 2 frames with foundation in there to keep them aligned) and/or those comb rounds on top.
I won’t go into late spring without other supers on top of the flow supers ever again. Even a deep will do.
I also have 2 or sometimes 3 deep supers on my langstroth brood boxes.
If the flow is real good, like able to fill a deep in 1-2 weeks, I believe we need more than a flow super on top. The bees can’t ripen the nectar that quick. Either the bees will reduce production or think of swarming if they run out of super space.
Anyway, it’s what I worked out for our location.

Glad to read you finally had a good honey year and good colonies.

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