Hi everyone. My husband and I are new beekeepers and seem to have an unusual situation with one of our hives. We have been feeding sugar syrup (with bee nutrition added). They seem to be replacing the brood frames with “honey” in the lower brood box. We are down to only 3 frames of brood in the lower box including a mix of uncapped and capped brood and hatching bees. The further most frames they are still drawing out so we may have put the second brood box a bit too soon as they seem to have progressed further on the upper box. All frames are more or less drawn on the upper brood box with about 5 frames of brood, capped and uncapped and the rest being food stores. We didn’t see any eggs or the queen, but we aren’t always able to both spot eggs so that part isn’t conclusive. I would love to have some feedback from some of you with more experience.
I would worry more about total frames of brood, rather than where they put them. Warre hives actually rely on bees storing honey below the brood - the lower boxes are used for harvesting.
What really matters is how much total brood you have. Assuming your brood boxes are 8 frames each, you have about 50% brood, which sounds pretty good to me. At this time of year (summer solstice), the queen starts to decrease her laying, and the hive goes into winter preparation mode. If you aren’t finding a sudden batch of queen cells, your bees are not feeling squeezed for space, and everything is just fine.
Thanks for your reassurance. The hive boxes are actually 10 frames so that is about 8 of 20 frames brood. Wondering though about what to do with the frames that are just beginning to be drawn out. Should I move them closer to the brood or just leave them on the edges where they are? I am bit concerned they will just fill them with sugar syrup. Should I continue to feed as long as they are still drawing out?
I would leave them at the edge for now, but if they start to make crazy comb, you could switch them one frame closer in from the edge, providing the frame you are moving out does not have worker brood on the outer face.
I would stop feeding them personally. However, you really need to take into consideration your local nectar flow. If you are not expecting any more nectar this season, you may need to feed them later. For now, it sounds like they have more than enough syrup stored.
1 box is filled with brood and another added under
Bees move down and honey is stored above as in a wild nest
Why are you feeding?
Let the bees move at their own speed
You can’t expect to chivvy them into two brood boxes at your speed
Short on sleep, sorry. Doing an intensive course and waking up at 5am really doesn’t suit me!
Wake at 5 pm ? Xx…
I was told to feed while they were drawing out comb and until the nectar was flowing. I guess the nectar has started, but they are still drawing out comb.
We didn’t add on the bottom, we added above and they went up and went to town without finishing their work below. In the meantime, they seemed to be filling the brood frames that are emptying with nectar so they have been shrinking their space below. In the meantime there are still frames being built out on the edges below but they are on the other side of food stores. Didn’t know if they should be moved in next to the brood or left to the edges as I am afraid they will fill them too. Should we be adding a super if they are so anxious to store food?
In New Hampshire, I wouldn’t add a super now. Take their supplemental feed away and let them arrange the brood nest for winter.
Take care of the mites in the next 2 weeks.