Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Transferred bees to long hive finally- donor hive honey bound


Ok- so this afternoon was the big move- I finally managed to get my first long hive full of bees. Move went quite well- bees were calm- there were some casualties unfortunately…:sob:

Anyhow- as I moved the frames I discovered the donor hive is honeybound. It consisted of two stacked 5 frame boxes. To my surprise the entire upper box was 100% capped honey- 5 frames worth- and the lower box another 2 fully capped honey frames and only three frames with brood in all stages- yet even they had honey at the edges! Surprisingly the number of bees seemed very high…

I didn’t see any queen cells- or the queen and didn’t spend too much time examining the frames as I was concentrated on moving them quickly and not losing the queen…

I added a fresh frame of foundation to one side of the brood frames- and honey frames either side…

I have room left to add another 3 new frames if I need to in a week or so…

Considering how little room the queen has to lay- I’m guessing I’ll need to take out maybe 4 frames of capped honey asap - spin them and put them back to give her more space? That’s the plan for now…

I could also take a frame of brood from another hive and put it in alongside the three brood frames?

More pics to come- but for now that’s my days work in the apiary done- hope the bees settle into their new home well- the entrance is around 4 inches from where it was in the donor hive:


I was really surprised when I checked our bees about 6 weeks ago and they had back filled the brood nest with nectar/honey - All 3 of my colonies were doing this. I freaked out and replaced one frame of honey with undrawn foundation and the bees drew the frame and again filled with honey.

I now think that they were simply starting their winter prep early (it has been a very wet summer), as I saw the queen alive and well and there were no queen cells. I have since decided to simply leave them alone. The bee numbers stayed really high until the last week or so when I have noticed a drop in numbers. I’m putting this down to the old bees dying off and less hatching to replace them.

Hopefully some seasoned beeks will jump in, but I am going to leave my bees brood configuration alone until spring and hope that they know best :slight_smile:




Sounds like a great idea. :wink: You could add a frame of brood if you want, but I would be inclined to wait and see what they do with the “stickies” when you put them back after extracting the honey.

Lovely hive. I would buy one if it was commercially available. :blush:


@Semaphore I’m with @Dawn_SD …I’d buy one too!


Well done Jack, you are on the right track, giving the queen more room. Basically more room in total. That’s a beautiful frame of capped honey there. Yes I would extract those 4 frames as you plan on doing. Use the cake stands & be gentle (as I know you will), those frames will make A1 brood frames. You probably don’t need to add the extra brood frame, unless you particularly want to weaken the other hive out.

@Dawn_SD, be careful, I think Jack is taking orders:)


thanks Jeff- the frames of capped honey are all amazing looking- gorgeous and fat- most of them were from foundationless frames- and have never had brood in them so will be fragile I expect. The wax is so clean and white. I estimate there is around 23 KG’s of honey in that hive- which I find amazing considering the bees only have three brood frames to work from and only 10 frames in total! Despite ony have a few brood frames overall the numbers of bees seems quite high… That hive was the split I took from my mothers hive in spring. So I know it has a young queen and came from proven stock.

Currently I have space to add another 3 foundation frames if I wanted to- I already added one yesterday. Do you think I should fill the entire hive out over autumn or use my follower board and keep the size of the brood chamber a bit restricted?

With the extra foundation frame- and the four flow frames the amount of space the bees have just went up by about 33% already. The best thing would be if they suddenly decided to uncap some of the honey frames and move that honey into the flow frames- but I am guessing the odds of that happening are next to zero.

Today it is suddenly cold and rainy and there are just a few bees visible near the entrance. I just opened the roof and felt on top of the inner covers and it’s nice and warm right above the brood frames. I hope they don’t have a problem keeping themselves warm in there- my inner covers are 3/4 inch thick- and then they have the roof above that- I’m hoping that will be sufficient for them for the time being. I think as winter sets in I will also put a wool blanket in the roof over the inner covers… And maybe get to work on my solar powered heat pad idea… I have a novel concept brewing for that- TBA


You are welcome Jack, examine those honey frames first because it could be drone comb. You’d want to crush & strain those, you only want the queen to lay in frames that are over 90% worker comb.

I don’t think I’d restrict the brood chamber until wintry weather sets in.

The bees could remove honey & store it in the flow frames, but that would only be if they moved honey out of the frames to make room for the queen to lay. You’ll see a lot of that behavior as the days start to lengthen & Spring sets in.


You know its true: my foundationless combs have quite a bit of drone comb in them. But hey- I love my big fat bumbling drones! I have taken to picking them up and playing with them. There is something funny about drones- the way they seem more bumbling than worker bees- and the way they buzz louder. I find them amusing. I have to thank RBK for a recent link he pasted to an article about long hives that had the following quote in it:

“The drone is a gross stingless bee, that spendeth his time in gluttony and idleness” written by Butler in 1609.

What’s not to love about that- sounds like ‘the life’ to me? I laughed out loud when I read it.


When I started a year back I read around and noted your preference for foundation and folks like @Michael_Bush and others who preferred foundation-less. Each theory had sensible reasoning… I couldn’t decide and checkerboarded. My brother who kept bees before on KI went with his old ways and used only foundation. Very quickly I saw that my frames had far more drone comb- and my hives seem to have a large percentage of drones. I also ran into some wonky- and ‘fat’ comb issues. I still haven’t made my mind up- but until I get more experience- I think I will be following your advice and using more foundation.


Thank you Jack, it’s probably more important to keep drone numbers down where SHB are concerned, however if you think of a working hive as a well oiled machine, it’s only the workers that make all that happen. A classic example of a functioning hive, that reminds me of a well oiled machine, is in the video “City of Bees”, the part where you see the tissue paper being sucked in on one side of the entrance & pushed out on the other side. The bits of paper are actually flapping. To me, that is beautiful.

We absolutely need drones, a colony will still make lots of drones even when we use foundation. I see lots of drones in my hives & I’m happy with the amount I see.


But actually drones work themselves to death in the same time frame as the workers while trying to give their lives for the species. They fly every afternoon until they are exhausted trying to find a queen to mate with and die.


Also I read an article some time back that suggested new research indicated that Drones did more inside the hive than previously thought. I can’t find it now- from memory they helped to maintain temperature, warm combs- but there were some other things they did as well- I can’t recall… something about helping prevent disease? Given how efficient bees are in everything they do- I can’t believe that drones are mere idle gluttons.


Hi Jack, drones are not mere idle gluttons like some people think. Apart from swarming as a means of reproducing, drones are the means by which a colony (a single living organism) can pass on it’s genes. The more drones a colony produces, the better chance that colony has of passing on it’s genes. This is why a worker becomes a drone layer when there is no chance of a colony being able to raise a new queen by their own means. Even while a colony is dying out, it wants to pass on it’s genes & possibly does.


I’d never though about that worker/drone benefit Jeff… I guess Butler didn’t know about genetics back in 1609 so he can be forgiven :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Research on the effects of drones and drone comb in a colony: