It fall in new jersey and as a new beekeeper, I went to inspect my hives. The brood box was doing well the last time I checked. However this time the frames had bulged out and grown into each other making it impossible to inspect. I tried lifting on out and there seems to be both cross comb and connected comb. A beekeeper friend of mine says I should take a large knife and cut through, but I’m not sure.
Another concern I have is whether they will be able to build back the resources I destroy in time for winter.
Let me know what I should do.
If it is just the top of the frames where the bees have built out the comb then you should be good to just separate them, if needed. A bread knife works pretty well. But it is a sticky mess.
Pictures of what you’re talking about would help.
If it is totally cross combed then at this stage I might wait until the spring to deal with it.
Hi SIMI, welcome to the forum.
I agree with what @chau06 said.
Is your beekeeper friend in your local area? Is he/she very experienced as a beekeeper? If so, that might be the best advice to follow. We might give you advice that you’re not sure of as well.
Welcome @SIMI Not a fun situation. But I’m with Alok - if that were my colony here in PA I’d leave it alone until spring, when the bees can rebound easily & it’s least risky. The only reason we have to keep the frames separate is to inspect, which you don’t need to do until then.
A more important task now is to prepare for winter - how large is the population compared to space and food stores, do they need insulation and what has been your varroa strategy?
Thank you guys so much for replying!!! I did take some pictures but the situation is all worked out now!!! It turns out only a couple places were connected with cross comb! So i separated it with a bread knife which was messy but worked well!
Thank you so much for the input! I’m a new beekeeper so it really helped!
I checked and the population looks pretty good in both hives! I did do a varroa test and they have quite a lot of varroa so I will treat it with a Formic Acid steam treatment! I was wondering if you are experienced with overwintering PA?
I made the mistake of only putting on one full brood box and one full super. Since I don’t have a half super for the bees to store honey for the winter I was planning on leaving my flow hive super on for the winter (the FlowHive Super is 1/2 full so I won’t harvest this first year). I also plan to remove the queen excluder. Do you have any tips for me in terms of overwintering?
Thank you guys for your input! It turns out the frames were only connected slightly with a cross comb so I cut through with a bread knife and was able to do my inspection! Thanks for all the tips!
DO NOT do this. It’s a recipe for sorrow - you’d be surprised at how early next year the queen will begin to lay again and your beautiful Flow frames will be full of brood. That means even after the bees have emerged and gone, their cocoons remain in the Flow cells and you’ll have to take them apart to clean them well enough to operate.
Instead - harvest the honey from them now, and you can feed it back to your bees inside a plastic baggie with a couple of holes or slits in it on top of the inner cover/under the roof. Depending on how cold it is they may still be able to take it for another week or two. You can also keep it to feed them in early spring as needed.
Glad you’re treating now and it’s certainly worth a try, but I caution you that it may still not avert die-off from the loss of fat bodies and disease transmission from the level of infestation already there. I am sorry to sound dire, it’s just the harsh reality for us beeks unfortunately. You’ll get more attuned as you go, though, and that will lead to more success!
Thank you for this! I will get to harvesting very soon! I also plan to treat for varroa this weekend! Hopefully this works and my bees will make it through the winter! I really appreciate the advice. Is there anything specific you would recommend as far as preparing the hives for winter. In addition to honey, I was planning on giving them bee candy. Let me know what you suggest!
I asked another bee friend and he said that the queen should go back into the brood box naturally in early spring, before laying any eggs. I also saw an overwintering article that said :
Ensure your bees have enough honey to get them through winter. Check the honey stores in the brood box or boxes. Are there capped honey cells?
If your Flow Super is full of honey, remove the queen excluder, and put the Flow Super back on.
If there is no honey in the Flow Super, remove it. To store your Flow Frames, wash them in warm to hot water and allow to dry thoroughly before storing them. Remember: Flow Frame plastic is UV sensitive, so it’s best to keep them in a dry, dark place.
Wash and store plastic queen excluder.
If you have to feed I suggest you place freezer bags of syrup, equal parts sugar and water, on top of the crown board. Cut a few small slits in the bags for feeding access.
Step 2 was what I was going to do, but you have advised me not to. Do you still think the queen will lay eggs in the Flow Super if I am to leave it on? Sorry for the inconvenience, but I was confused and thought it best to consult with you.
Thank you so much!!! I appreciate all of your help as I am new at this! - Sim
She will in the early Spring (as early as February) and maybe even now, if she is still laying drones. The Flow super can also get gummed up with propolis if you leave it on over winter, and that is a real pain to clean up, plus it can make harvesting impossible. Also any honey that stays in the Flow super for months is at risk of crystallizing, which can also make your next harvest impossible and is a pain to clean up too. It is just really best not to leave it on in your climate, as @Eva advises. Believe us, people on this Forum have already tried it out for you, you don’t need to suffer their pain all over again!
It is different in subtropical climates - less risk of propolis and the queen never really stops laying, so you leave the queen excluder and the Flow super on in warmer climates.
Thank you so much for helping me sort this out! I am much less nervous about going into winter