Another brood and half question...

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House Bee
Dec 31, 2008
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Shropshire, uk
Hive Type
Number of Hives
I know there is a similar thread but did not want to hijack another post.

I left a super on one hive last year with some honey. This colony seems smaller than other, has been slower to become active but now there is activity although I have not seen much pollen going in. I am feeding on 1:1.

My question: I do not want to leave on brood and half as the colony is small so shall I remove the super, find queen, put her into brood box and put QE on now or leave it a couple of weeks until warmer or is there a better idea out there?!

Many tx - Floss
1) don't feed it if it has food enough
2) deminish the room that they can keep brood warm
3) later when you other hives have more brood give to that hive a frame of emerging bees (shake walking bees off)
Your suggestion sounds fine
And further to the above good advice, dummy them up if they are on just a few frames.

Every bit helps.

I think what you might find is that the queen and bees are camped in the super and have brood there as well - unless you overwintered with a queen excluder in place, and I doubt that you did.

In view of the above you might want to leave them as they are. But if the aim is to do your beekeeping with a single brood chamber and to be done with brood and a half, I would aim to reverse the two boxes you have so that the super is below the deep box. Perhaps think of doing this in the next 3/4 weeks. Hope that the bees move up into the deep box, and once they are there confine them with the queen excluder.
Warm day, make sure queen is in bottom brood box with space to lay, replace Q/E and remove top box at earliest opportunity. Would be best to transfer on a comb of brood temporarily if there is no brood in the bottom box. That will mean that 3 weeks after getting that single shallow brood frame back in the top box (if needed in the bottom box), you are back on single brood. Remember pollen stores will be in the brood box.

As you have not actually made us aware of where any brood is (left guessing that there is very likely some in the super, things may be a bit blurred. If you find no brood in the super, just remove it. If just a couple of frames, put it in the brood temporarily, until hatched, and remove the super.

Regards, RAB
Wow - thanks for the speedy replies - that is all really helpful ! I will reverse the boxes.

RAB I have not done a throrough check yet for brood although I lifted a few frames in the super a few days ago and did'nt see any - it is still quite chilly here and want to wait for a really warm day (heres waiting given the snow forcast!!)

Many thanks
I have a brood and half hive and need to reduce to single brood, if the hives has brood wall to wall top and bottom what is the process of changing this hive. Your ideas please.

Busy Bee
Sounds like you need a 2nd brood box not to reduce them which will inevitably force them to swarm.

I find it hard to believe that at this time of year you have 22 frames of brood or are you looking at seams of bees?

Poly Hive,

We must be among the the slowest off the mark this year! I have one with brood all the way along one side of the hive and absolutely jam-packed with stores down the other half, one with eggs upstairs (no problem as it will be a splitting hive). Yet to check the others. Better have a look!

S'pose they are 14 x 12s though, so not too bad.

Regards, RAB
I have not looked through mine as there is no damn need.

They only began flying a week ago and the one I did look at had one patch of 2day old eggs. Hardly swarming point.

I refuse to believe that mine are so out of tune, nor yours Oliver.

When it warms up later this week I shall begin...........


If there is enough food in the brood and no brood in the super, just remove it - now, before she does lay in it! But make sure super frames and box are bee-free.

But make sure there is plenty of room for her to lay in the brood. So back to post #2!

Regards, RAB
Cheers RAB, I had a quick peep yesterday when I fed them - it was windy so I did'nt open up and hopefully it will warm up this week. There were few bees in the super as far as I could tell they seem to be "downstairs".

If there is enough food in the brood and no brood in the super, just remove it - now, before she does lay in it! But make sure super frames and box are bee-free.

Rab...bit of a thread hijack (sorry!) but we have a similar problem. We overwintered both hives on brood + super, no QX. The rationale was that there were good stores in the supers, and we'd rather leave them with too much than too little. That bit worked, because they both have done well so far.

You suggest removing the super if there is no brood in it. I have no idea where our brood is, I haven't opened them up yet! If the supers have no brood, what do we do with the stores? If there is anything left in there, it will be syrup/ivy honey from last year. If we put the super on the bottom, under a QX, will the bees clean it out? I read about "bruising" the stores - I assume that means damaging the cappings so that the bees are persuaded to clean up and take the honey "upstairs"?

Yep, boxes underneath will reduce the heat loss, compared with them above the brood.

Probably best with a standard National brood, as there is not usually so much stores left, although the end frames may need clearing out for brooding.

Things to consider are brooding space, stores, warmth, brood frame changes. You may wish to remove some or all the super frames depending on your hive development. They could be put back later, if required. Careful - go steady - with bruising if on an OMF and liquid (sugar) honey. Drip, drip drip!

As Admin says, you have the right ideas - but just think ahead a little and you may find you need to just modify the basic idea, to achieve a better end-goal.

As you have sugar-honey stores, that ideally needs to be used up now for brood feeding so none gets in your honey supers.

The ivy is likely the rock hard stuff! Better used as brood feed so it does not accelerate the crystallisation in the fresh honey. Those frames will store for a while without too much problem, could be dropped into a chest freezer (to take up unwanted space). So plenty of options which are reasonably under your control.

Regards, RAB
I too went into winter with a super of 'Sugar Honey' with my Brood Box.
To be honest I didnt really know what to do with it.
So just left it.
Like some others my thinking was 'Too much. rather than too little'.
It also saved me having to worry about fondant and other little 'extras'.

Last weekend I decided to take my first look inside the Hive.
As the temperature in my garden was still not quite a warm 15c I knew it would be a quick inspection.
Looks like the Bees have come through the worst of winter really well.
There are brood in both the Brood box and the super!
And pollen all over the place.
However the Bees have continued to make brace comb so the top and bottom frames were all stuck together.

Looks like I need a warm day so that I can sort things out.
I guess thats one of the benefits in living in sunny Hampshire bee-smillie
You can go into winter with brood and a half but upside down which means brood over stores, not brood over 1/2 a brood.

What worked for me was to put super under (national) brood, no queen excluder. With my first inspection just the other day, the supers were as good as empty so could be removed as the bees had removed the honey up to the warmer brood chamber. The brood chambers have plenty of stores but not clogged up. With this weeks weather, they need the stores!
One hive (a combination of two last autumn) with a 14 x 12 over a national brood had 2 small patches of brood in the lower chamber which were given to other colonies as the main brood was in the top-most 14 x 12 so I could remove that box too.
The brood only hives which went into winter as smaller colonies without a super under don't now have much in the way of stores but they are OK thankfully and are being fed.

I don't particularly like brood over food going in to winter.

Bees naturally move upwards; it is the natural way bees organise their homes; warmth from bees keeps the stores warm; bees need to be away from the bottom of the hive in the depths of winter; they need minimum empty space above them for later in the winter.

All in all, 'bout the only advantage might be oxalic acid trickling if they are all in the top box - and I don't, unless it is deemed necessary.

Regards, RAB
As you have 14 x 12's then you've got a lot more storage space for food as you have 3 more inches than many of us (ooh er missus).
The previous year I tried different things and the super over queen excluder over brood resulted in the weakest colony in the spring - although that was just one hive so not really sientifically valid. What I did works for me and that Ivy honey in the supers has now been consumed.Horay :)



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