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Sibutcher 

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A question for you experienced beekeepers out there:
I'm planning to do a Bailey comb change this year and move two bs national hives that I combined into one at the end of last season. The bees made it through the winter and are currently occupying 5/6 frames. I want to move the on to 14x12 in a poly hive. 14×12 Poly hive with the queen on a drawn frame from the old hive on top. Queen exluder and old brood box below. Feeder on top. My question is, when is the best time of the year / month to do this manipulation? Can I do it as soon as its warn enough for the bees to take syrup, say mid to end of march, or should I leave it until they have filled the original brood box?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Forget the moving the queen up there and hoping the bees will quickly draw comb, work with them, wait until the colony is strong (on seven or eight frames) then, instead of supering, just put the 14x12 box on top but without the QX and leave them work their way up on their own, once the queen starts laying up there, put the QX in.
 

Sibutcher 

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Thanks for you response. That makes allot of sense. Could I also just stick the 14x12 underneath the bs national without a qx and leave the bees to expand down? Once the spring flow starts, won't the bees want to store nectar on top. I don't really want to end up with a 14x12 full of honey.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Thanks for you response. That makes allot of sense. Could I also just stick the 14x12 underneath the bs national without a qx and leave the bees to expand down? Once the spring flow starts, won't the bees want to store nectar on top. I don't really want to end up with a 14x12 full of honey.
you can, but it will be a longer wait and you'll have Standard national brood comb full of honey instead.
They won't draw it and fill it in a flash, just keep an eye on them, once they've drawn a decent amount, just move the queen up there and put the QX underneath, once the brood has emerged from the lower box, you can then remve it.
It would be handy at this point to have a spare QX so if you're worried about laying space for the queen you can pop a super on.
It would also be an idea to make a narrow eke with an entrance in to put between the new 14x12 box and the old deep National as the bees may start storing pollen below the 'new' brood area in the space made as the brood emerges
 

Boston Bees 

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Could I also just stick the 14x12 underneath the bs national without a qx and leave the bees to expand down?
This is what I would do. Adding a 14x12 on top is a huge empty volume to add above the brood nest. As has been said, it will mean that the process of switching takes longer - like, maybe a year longer (!) - but it would be kinder to the bees.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I've had colonies swarm before now rather than move downwards onto a brood box of foundation
 

domino 

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I've had colonies swarm before now rather than move downwards onto a brood box of foundation
I've found the same that downward pressure in the brood nest, seem to speed up the swarming. Purely a personal observation.
 

BigAshW 

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I've found the same that downward pressure in the brood nest, seem to speed up the swarming. Purely a personal observation.
I've heard Mike Palmer put this, downward pressure triggering swarming, forward as a hypothesis as well. The logic behind it seemed pretty sound. Not sure anyone has done any testing on it though.
 

domino 

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I've heard Mike Palmer put this, downward pressure triggering swarming, forward as a hypothesis as well. The logic behind it seemed pretty sound. Not sure anyone has done any testing on it though.
I don't know if it's true, brood moving down is one of my 'time to split' ques.
 

Sibutcher 

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Having considered the responses, I think I will wait for it to warm up a bit and the hive to expand to 7-8 frames of bees. Place the new 14 x 12 box over the bs national without a QX. Give the bees a week/10 days to draw out some of the 14x12 frame. Move the queen up and stick a QX between the 2 boxes and see how they get on. The only beekeeper I have seen advocate putting the un-drawn 14x12 frames under the occupied brood box is Lawrence from black mountain honey. Everybody else seems to agree its better the other way round. Thanks for you help all.
 

ChrisS 

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Bailey CC is my standard method of comb change for a sizeable colony. I aim to start end of March or early April depending on temperature here in sunny Suffolk - your climate may vary!

Stage 1: as soon as it warms up and there's plenty of forage, stick a new brood box on top of the existing one with no QX. Or give them syrup if you want to accelerate the process. Then wait a week and see if they have drawn some of the foundation in the upper box.

Stage 2: if you're lucky her maj will be up there and already laying, otherwise find her and put upstairs then add a QX below. Ideally close the original entrance and put an eke or crownboard with a cut-out entrance above the original box. Wait 3 weeks and then remove the old box. All the brood will have hatched except maybe a few precocious drones .

If the weather turns chilly and they are slow to draw comb in the upper box, stage 1 may take two or three weeks. No problem, let them dictate the pace.
 

domino 

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Bailey CC is my standard method of comb change for a sizeable colony. I aim to start end of March or early April depending on temperature here in sunny Suffolk - your climate may vary!

Stage 1: as soon as it warms up and there's plenty of forage, stick a new brood box on top of the existing one with no QX. Or give them syrup if you want to accelerate the process. Then wait a week and see if they have drawn some of the foundation in the upper box.

Stage 2: if you're lucky her maj will be up there and already laying, otherwise find her and put upstairs then add a QX below. Ideally close the original entrance and put an eke or crownboard with a cut-out entrance above the original box. Wait 3 weeks and then remove the old box. All the brood will have hatched except maybe a few precocious drones .

If the weather turns chilly and they are slow to draw comb in the upper box, stage 1 may take two or three weeks. No problem, let them dictate the pace.
When I moved to 12x14s I did this, it works well. The moment I see eggs in the top box I slapped the QX on. I did it again when I eventually moved back to standard nationals. Took me years to work out what box I enjoyed best.
 

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