Adding supers

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Do224

Drone Bee
Joined
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Location
Cumbria
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National
I’ve got a hive on brood and a half…I know lots of people hate that configuration and I’m inclined to agree. It’s just the queen had laid on every frame in the brood box and I only had drawn shallow frames to give her for extra space…my deep frames were just foundation.

So she’s laid up a lot of the shallow frames now and I need to add a super on top. I only have foundation…no drawn comb. I’m not sure which of the following is best…

1. Put the new super on above a queen excluder.

2. Put the new super (or shallow if we’re being pedantic) on without a qx.

3. Put the new super (or shallow again in this case) below the existing shallow (no qx)
 
Personally I'd give them a second brood box. Move a few frames of drawn comb into the centre of the top box and fill the spaces with foundation, and put the shallow box on top. Once they have drawn out most of the foundation add a queen excluder above the brood boxes after shaking all the bees off the shallow frames or finding the queen.
If there is drone brood in the shallow box you can either give them a top entrance or periodically lift off the crown board to let the drones escape until they have all emerged.
 
Well I went into them yesterday and there were capped queen cells everywhere, so I guess I better reduce them back to bb, qx, super and leave one cell for them to requeen with…

Thanks for the suggestion though…I’ll use double brood in future 👍
 
so I guess I better reduce them back to bb, qx, super
Sounds like a recipe for swarming.

Had you given them the BB of foundation a few weeks ago (and divided the brood into both BBs as Sutty described) plus a couple of supers, they may not have made QCs.

As it is, if you nuc the queen now, wait for QCs to be sealed (swarm and EQC) then leave one, check again after 7 days and wait 3 weeks, the colony will be freed from brood work and turn to collecting nectar. Suggest you put the brood super above the QX and get another one on.

my deep frames were just foundation
Trying to work out why you held back from giving a BB of foundation a few weeks ago. After all, a spring flow is a fine time to draw foundation and so give the queen space to lay, which in turn averts swarming.
 
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Trying to work out why you held back from giving a BB of foundation a few weeks ago. After all, a spring flow is a fine time to draw foundation and so give the queen space to lay, which in turn averts swarming.
Probably because a lot of beginners don’t appear to be told that hives may/will require a second brood or at least it’s not drummed in. Look at the bees on budget kits, all single broods and super. The flow hives the same a small lang box then the flow super!
Pure recipe for swarming😂
I think it’s the prolific bees are bad mantra from some quarters😇
I’ve just literally got back from a beginner who had a full bb queen excluder and rammed super they put another super on a few days ago and not finding eggs or queen rang for help.
Managed to find an emerging virgin so destroyed all cells and marked her. Fingers crossed by the time she mates they’ll not require a second bb and may even get a second/third super.
 
beginners don’t appear to be told that hives may/will require a second brood or at least it’s not drummed in. Look at the bees on budget kits, all single broods and super.
Very true, and beekeeping by online catalogue.

My analogy is that a hive is like an accordion: it can be played vertically and horizontally and size is flexible and extendable. Of course, that requires flexible thinking rather than tentative textbook actions.

We beg our beginners to run at least two broods and several supers by late spring, and more if necessary.

Trouble is, a strong colony on double brood can be daunting (was to me) and I suppose they hope it won't happen (it will).
 
Very true, and beekeeping by online catalogue.

My analogy is that a hive is like an accordion: it can be played vertically and horizontally and size is flexible and extendable. Of course, that requires flexible thinking rather than tentative textbook actions.

We beg our beginners to run at least two broods and several supers by late spring, and more if necessary.

Trouble is, a strong colony on double brood can be daunting (was to me) and I suppose they hope it won't happen (it will).

It's complicated when you're starting beekeeping because you hear mixed messages. The apparently conflicting advice only starts to makes sense as you gain experience:

"One box is sufficient for winter and should be rammed with stores. " "Leave a super of stores for winter." "Don't add the first super until you have x-number of frames of bees." "Best to have more than one box for brood." "Don't give them too much space for them to heat." "Give them more space than you think they need."

Those sorts of statements are the musical instructions for that "accordion", but learning to read that music is tricky.

From my observations, even of some "experienced" beekeepers, they have only ever learned how to play the concertina.
 
As a fairly new beekeeper it takes time and with experience one can then make better choices ( though I know some who still have little idea after bee fumbling for over 10 years), a double brood may help in delaying swarming but natural instinct will eventually also lead them to swarm (maybe not every year). With double brood they will store a lot more pollen and stores so not all frames will be brood.
Giving foundation or foundationless frames with a starter strip should keep the bees busy so may help in tempering the swarming , if given early enough.

I allow mine to raise as many drones as they wish and more often then not using no foudation they will split the comb they build between worker and drone size. Just because a colony wishes to raise drones doesn't imv raise the level of swarming tendency.
 
As it is, if you nuc the queen now, wait for QCs to be sealed
Given the cells are already capped I’m assuming they’ve already swarmed.
Trying to work out why you held back from giving a BB of foundation a few weeks ago.
Because there was brood on every frame in the bb. So I figured they needed laying space fast…as mentioned I had drawn shallow frames but not deeps. I read plenty of times on this forum that ‘adding foundation is not adding laying space as it needs to be drawn’ or words to that effect.

Anyway, point taken…in future I’ll aim to add space sooner by either doing a demaree or adding a second bb. Although in this instance they had less than 7 frames of brood when I inspected the week before so not sure if I should have done something then or not?

If I had done a demaree, could I have done it with two new untouched supers of foundation? I always thought the bees had to be already working the supers to do a demaree (but I’ve never done one before so I don’t know!)
 
Probably because a lot of beginners don’t appear to be told that hives may/will require a second brood or at least it’s not drummed in.
Managed to find an emerging virgin so destroyed all cells and marked her.
Sometimes it can be tricky as a beginner as there’s a lot of contradicting advice…for example I’ve read many times on this forum that you shouldn’t mark a virgin queen prior to mating? I’ve also read that if you find an emerging virgin then you should release all the other virgins from their cells rather than destroy them.

I’ve tried to educate myself as much as possible and find this forum brilliant, but it’s not always easy knowing what is good advice and what is not…
 
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Given the cells are already capped I’m assuming they’ve already swarmed.

Because there was brood on every frame in the bb. So I figured they needed laying space fast…as mentioned I had drawn shallow frames but not deeps. I read plenty of times on this forum that ‘adding foundation is not adding laying space as it needs to be drawn’ or words to that effect.

Anyway, point taken…in future I’ll aim to add space sooner by either doing a demaree or adding a second bb. Although in this instance they had less than 7 frames of brood when I inspected the week before so not sure if I should have done something then or not?

If I had done a demaree, could I have done it with two new untouched supers of foundation? I always thought the bees had to be already working the supers to do a demaree (but I’ve never done one before so I don’t know!)
To the last bit yes I’ve done demaree on colony’s with 7 frames of brood anticipating that in another week or two they will be bursting out of the brood box for space a lot of the time it’s thinking ahead .
Colony assessment in the beginning two/three years is quite hard .
 
I’ve tried to educate myself as much as possible and find this forum brilliant, but it’s not always easy knowing what is good advice and what is not…
The trick is to stick to a narrow source of information. There are a few contributors here who give unfailingly good advice. It doesn't take long to work out who they are. All of them are reachable by PM if you need some tailored advice.
 
assuming they’ve already swarmed.
Always worth a check, especially if eggs are seen. Several times this year I've found very strong colonies with sealed QCs and eggs, but went through and found queens (some clipped, some not). Rough guess is that variable weather led to delay, but then I found three last week when it was ideal swarming weather.

adding foundation is not adding laying space
My recollection is that standard advice referred to the addition of supers of foundation to give an expanding colony somewhere to put bees & nectar, other than in the BB. Awkward if you're starting off and have no comb at all, but give foundation anyway.

If a colony needs laying space then take out stores and add a frame or two of foundation into the middle of the nest, alternating the foundation. Check after a week and repeat if necessary. Can be done on single or multiple BBs.

Sometimes the flow outpaces the queen and bees may draw and fill the BB foundation with honey. Move it to the edge of the box and give another foundation in the middle. Essence of this is to give them work to do and avoid the point when colony maturity is reached.

do a demaree (but I’ve never done one before so I don’t know!)
Nor me.

find an emerging virgin then you should release all the other virgins from their cells rather than destroy them
When you find a colony with emerging, sealed or open QCS, or with one or more empty, emerged QCs, the bees have the opportunity to swarm as each virgin emerges. When you remove the roof and open up, the bees preventing queens from emerging will be dispersed and more virgins will start coming out.

By releasing all the virgins at the same time the colony will select (or the virgins fight) to reduce to one, and no swarm will issue provided you remove at the same time all other QCs. Be warned: if you miss the tiddliest nub of a hidden QC they will very likely swarm on the chosen released virgin, knowing that the tiddler will take over.

You don't have to let them all into the hive: cage a few and make up three-frame nucs (one of sealed brood, one of stores, one of something else, three shakes of house bees). Good SQCs can be used similarly.

If you do destroy QCs I believe it's better to remove them: bees have been known to repair damaged QCs, and all your work will be undone.
 
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With the curent flow I have been seeing with all of my colonies , foundation will soon be drawn if giving a second BB. Rearranging as has been mentioned of the brood will help them to draw foundation in both boxes by placing the brood a little more centrally and above each other.

That said though if QC 's are seen then preventing swarming requires proper intervention of separating the flying and brood bees , one can A/S the colony or carry out a Demeree above with a new entrance.
Giving room is often then too late unless rarely the bees change their minds.
 
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If I had done a demaree, could I have done it with two new untouched supers of foundation?
you can do a Demaree with just one super between the brood boxes
I always thought the bees had to be already working the supers to do a demaree (but I’ve never done one before so I don’t know!)
Not really - but they usually are as the super should be on when they ate only on 7 frames of brood
 

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