Half Empty Second Brood Box

I have a beautiful hive with two brood boxes. The bottom one is full but the second one has two honey frames and the other six frames are empty. I can’t reduce the hive to one box as they will need the two honey frames in the upper box over Winter (Tasmania… cold).

How do I go about getting them to build into the empty frames before winter comes? I have started feeding them a 2:1 sugar syrup, but not sure what else to do.

Hi @Staskb,

What you are doing is pretty much the only way. I hope 2:1 means 2 sugar to 1 water. You started a bit late, but you still have reasonably warm days. Keep feeding them as fast and as much as they can take. Try to feed about 10 kg of sugar in a 2:1 solution. You may give it while it is still warm (about 40 degrees).

1 Like

Welcome to the forum. What @ABB says is certainly worth a try, but here in my climate bee colonies will not build new wax after nectar flow is finished and winter is around the corner. Their priorities are to downshift brood rearing and fill those empty cells in the brood nest with food, not add more living space. It’s possible they would be more likely to store syrup in build comb if you have some to add, plus @Doug1 posts about filling these manually as another feeding method.

In your shoes I might just remove that second box and store those honey frames in the freezer, safe from pests, and place a candy board above your full deep along with some insulation. Those two frames will still be very valuable come late winter/early spring when your bees will need to feed the first generation of 2023 bees - you can pop them in to replace empty ones, or keep feeding sugar and use them to make a split if your colony comes through strong and ready to swarm early on.

…was trying to paste a link to another conversation on wintering but it’s not letting me :face_with_raised_eyebrow: anyway there’s lots more to read on this topic here so try searching & you will find even more info and options on winter feeding! Good luck & let us know what you end up deciding to do :blush:


In this case I propose to ignore bees’ opinion on building seasons exploiting their greed for food :slightly_smiling_face:

Plus, abundant stores will pay in spring.

Technical note: it possible to make bees building comb in the middle of the winter in cold climate (like Doug’s winter). Colony will die but will build some.


Thank you @ABB - I am giving them 2 sugar to 1 water. I might do what @Eva mentioned and remove those two honey frames in the top box and freeze them. I think you are right: I started too late and the days are starting to cool down quite a bit.

1 Like

Thank you @Eva - I will remove those two honey frames and store them as back up food for them. I am getting a couple of shims so I will make my own candy frame. Do you mean keep the candy frame in place so I can give them sugar bricks during the winter? The candy board wont create too much space they don’t need?

1 Like

Sounds like a good plan Stasia :+1: you can make it a small space using a 1-3” shim, enough to allow a sheet of rigid foam insulation under the roof plus the fondant. Or you could incorporate a “moisture quilt” with a candy board:

Wanted to add that i had to keep feeding one of my hives thru fall and winter because it got robbed last Sept. I used winter patties, a blend of mostly sugar and lower protein than regular pollen patties. They gobbled these up every two weeks or so. It was easy-peasy to lift the lid and quickly slip a new one in, on the inner cover that had a 1” shim on it. Minimal loss of warmth. On top of the shim was another inner cover, a tea towel to cover the hole, and foam insulation - then another shim then the lid.

1 Like

Here’s more -

1 Like

Thanks @Eva - so the moisture quilt goes under or above the lid? Also, today is a rather warm day 25C - should I make today the day I remove the top box and honey frames?

Under the lid/outer cover. Sure, go for it!

How many honey frames do you have in the bottom super? If not too many there is a better option to store those two frames. Remove empties and put full honey frames along the walls of the bottom super on both sides. If there are no two empty frames, you may find frames with capped brood (preferably that about to hatch) and move those frames to the top supper to hatch. For this, you need to make sure that you haven’t moved the queen with the frames and put queen excluder between the brood boxes. After they hatched, you may simply remove the whole super.


I went to do an inspection yesterday and they were super cranky with me as there have been wasps flying around the hive. I did manage to lift out the outer frame of the bottom box and it was full of capped and uncapped honey. Every frame in the lower box was full, but wasn’t game to keep pulling them out as they were so mad. Not sure if I could still continue inspecting when bees are cranky. So, I stopped bugging them and closed up.

I think I might just remove the top box now and store the honey for later in the season. Better they drop their numbers to suit one box, than having too much Spence to try and keep warm. They are still bringing in lots of nectar and pollen but not doing anything with it in the top box.

May 2, 2022
In your area it is starting to be winter.