Yesterday was an inspection at around 1month-post-package-installation. I hadn’t been able to get into the hive for around 2 weeks, between a vacation, weather, and work schedules. I was pleasantly surprised to see that both hives had built quite a lot of comb and that all of that comb had a combination of capped brood, pollen, and honey stores (I’m still a little fuzzy on looking for eggs…next time!)
I’ve read in many places that the time to add a second brood box is when all the frames are covered in bees, the frames are fully drawn, and 80% full of brood and stores.
In yesterday’s inspection, I observed that in the South Hive every frame (foundationless) was built on, but only one or two had been built out to the point where the comb had reached the bottom or sides of the frame. A couple of frames had lots of comb, but hadn’t seen much “filling” activity yet. Do I wait until every last frame is 100% built to touch the sides before I add a second box? And all frames are mostly filled? Or should I add it this weekend, when I know I will have the time and the weather will be most likely to cooperate? We are expecting rainy, cooler (50 deg. F), and my next opportunity to open the hives safely won’t be until Thursday.
In the other hive (North Hive), the frames looked substantially similar to the South hive, but with fewer bees covering the frames, and one frame where the bees had only just started building comb. Of course, this is also the hive in which the bees have built a considerable amount of burr comb between an end frame and the wall of the box. I’m getting up my nerve to go in there today to remove the burr. Once that’s done, I feel more confident leaving the North Hive alone and checking it again on Thursday.
Any help or advice you have to offer is, as always, greatly appreciated!