Bees outside of Brood box

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by jdnetone, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. jdnetone

    jdnetone Member

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    I installed a new package of bees this spring in one brood box and all seems to be going well. Today I see a lot of bees just outside of the brood box and walking around the bottom board. My guest would be a hundred bees on the bottom board about sun set. I looked in the hive which has 9 frames and one feeder inside. The hive seems to be real full of bees. I am planning to take the feeder out tomorrow and replace it with a brood frame and foundation. Then I will order a new brood box and frames to put on the one that is full. My question “Is there a risk of the bees swarming before I can get the new box on? I have an old Box and frames I used years ago but I wanted to keep this hive in new hardware being it is the first one I had in about 20 years.

    Thanks for any info.

    James
     
  2. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    You do run some risk of them swarming. I'm going to guess that you have hot humid weather at the moment. It may be normal "bearding". If you have a strong hive (even if there is room for them to work) they will beard if it is hot and humid. You'll tend to see this in late afternoon/evening.

    The other problem is that even if they don't swarm the brood box may get honeybound and reduce the laying opportunity of the queen.

    One thing you can do is swap out one of the frames with a frame that has new foundation. You should also look for queen cells. If you seem them then remove them with a hive tool or a paint scraper. The bees will be less likely to swarm. An alternative would be to try and do a split if it is a strong hive.

    Get that 2nd brood box ASAP. I'd order 1 or two honey supers at the same time and get them ready. Why cut it so close? You know you will spend the money anyways.....get ahead of the curve.

    Hope this helps.

    Mike
     

  3. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hard to say if swarming is imminent or not, but from your decription it may well be a possibility. Best way to find out is to pull every frame, one at a time, and check both sides of every frame for queen cells.

    I just had a problem with my hives which is very rare for me- I pulled all my honey supers and extracted honey 3 or 4 weeks ago. I am switching from single deep brood boxes to doubles and had all new equipment to add to my existing hives. I usually use wax foundation but was in a hurry and decided to try some Rite-cell. I added a deep box and 10 frames of foundation to each hive, then fed to try to get them drawing the foundation. Well, I haven't been checking them as thoroughly as usual because it has been very cold and rainy here- I opened up the top boxes a couple of times but the bees did not seem to be moving up into them. I wasn't worried about swarming because I though the bees had plenty of room- well, my mistake- had a swarm the other day so I started going through all my hives checking for queen cells. Found a bunch of them- the drawn comb in the bottom boxes was packed with pollen and honey, but not nearly as much capped brood as I expected to see- I realized that the bees were reluctant to draw wax on the plastic and instead were filling the brood chambers with the pollen and honey- the queens did not have enough open cells to lay in and so the bees prepared to swarm. I went ahead and shuffled some frames around to make more room, and we now have a light honey flow on so they are drawing out the foundation, but I sure was tweaked to realize they were trying to swarm- I usually keep all the brood boxes evened out, leave plenty of space in the hives, and check for queen cells, so my bees rarely swarm, but I really got caught out this time.

    Next year I am going back to using wax foundation- the bees definitely prefer it to plastic.
     
  4. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    sorry for stepping on your post, Mike- we must have been typing at the same time.
     
  5. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Not a problem Elizabeth.

    Just a followup on your comment about plastic. A few years back I tried a few frames and found that the ladies really didn't seem to care for it.....so that was the end of that.

    Mike
     
  6. jdnetone

    jdnetone Member

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    Thanks for the quick response.

    I am in North West Tennessee and it is hot and humid the last few days. It could be bearding I had forgotten about that. I will take the feeder and replace it with a new frame. The hive seems strong so I think I will go ahead and put the old brood box and a few frames in it just to be safe before I get in the new brood box. It has bee a long time sense I have worked with bees. I didn’t think they would build comb, so quickly on the foundation.

    James
     
  7. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you have some frames in the existing brood box that have only honey in them, or honey and pollen, but no brood, try moving a couple of them up into the new brood box when you put it on top of the existing box- that usually helps get the bees to move up into the new box.

    Mike- I agree with you totally about the bees not liking the plastic. They never liked the plasticell when I tried it and they don't seem to like the rite-cell any better. But, once it is drawn out, the plastic has advantages. I am still going back to wax foundation though- this year I was in a hurry and did not have time to wire and install the wax, but I will keep busy over the winter getting them ready for next spring.