Brood and a half

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wassup 

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I got my first nuc last Jul (national hive) and got them into the winter on a brood and a half. The comb in the 'half' was all drawn by the bees and filled only with stores; the queen never went up that far to lay!

My bees seem to have come through winter well; they are flying, collecting pollen and (when I had a quick peek) seemed to be covering 6/7 frames of brood.

My questions are: how do I now encourage them to expand the brood into the 'half', given that it is currently full of stores? Do I need to exchange it for a fresh super with new frames? Or should I try to move to 12x14 (i'd rather not this year)? Or can I settle for just one national brood chamber and get rid of the 'half'?
 

oliver90owner 

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There must be space for the queen to lay. More than three weeks of her laying time goes by before she can even use the same cells again.

If there is insufficient space to lay they are likely to swarm early.

How you go about providing that space is up to you. A super represents about 9kg of sugar. The consumption by the bees will rise while open brood is present. Those stores could be depleted in about three weeks if there is none in the brood box and there is a serious amount of open brood.

I am surprised there would be that much brood present at this time. If there is, you may well be needing to give more laying space (if you don't want to restrict the build-up) and you may need to feed before the first main flow arrives. By then she may well be into the three boxes with brood.

Just depends on what forage is available to the bees during that time and the weather etc, but it would seem she needs another set of frames to lay up in the very near future.

Regards, RAB
 

Skyhook 

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I think it is 6/7 frames of bees, not brood.
Or 6/7 frames with brood on. Mine have 4/5 frames with brood- probably totals about 1 side of 1 frame.

I would suggest not a problem, given how much importance is being given to not letting them starve, they'll probably sort it themselves.
 

Finman 

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Take that half box away from the hive. It takes 2 months from brooding beginning that the hive needs enlargening. You may use that half box sugar as food during the spring. Don't feed them even if many tell you to do so.

Get foundations later and put then the half box under the brood box.
Into box put 4 food frames and the rest foundations. When colony is ready to enlarge, they draw the foundations and use sugar to their living.

The sugar store above brood just steal the heat and it has no advantage to bees.
 

Finman 

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In early spring the colony stays as same size or become smaller because foraging bees die during next 6 weeks. Weathers are bad but pollen and sun invates bees overcome their limits. Much workers will die during foracing trips.

When a good colony has occupied 10 frames after winter, it makes about 3-4 frames of brood and not the whole frame. It is probably lack of nurser bees first.

After a month the colony has enough new fresh nurser bees and larva feeding is not a minimum factor. How big is the cluster and how much they can keep brood warm over cold nights is a minimum factor then.

Reducing the ventilation during spring is very profitable act by the beekeper.
Bees need not open mesh floor during spring.
 

wassup 

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Many thanks; I'll let you know how I get on. It was 6/7 frames of bees not brood by the way - my typo!
 

simonf 

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Reducing the ventilation during spring is very profitable act by the beekeper.
Bees need not open mesh floor during spring.
So when the Queen starts laying its best to close the ventelated floor, is this to prtect the brood from chilling ?
 

Arfermo 

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The sugar store above brood just steal the heat and it has no advantage to bees.
Not always the case as two of mine clustered in the lower 1/2 box leaving the upper BB more or less empty until mid Feb even on an OMF without the tray in for most of the time even though in Dec we had -17C here. They have now moved up though and are on fondant.
 

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