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Had To Put On Another Brood Box, Now What?

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Bee-Key-Pur 

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Hello All.

This is my first season keeping bees and finding there is lots to learn still, even after taking a course in BeeKeeping.

I have one hive that is very very busy and had to put a super on it about three weeks ago.
Last week on a sunny day they swarmed. I managed to collect them into a nuc box, but with all the frames out they wouldn't all fit in.
When I checked the hive that they had just left, the super was completly full and there was a number of queen cells, which I removered, as my plan was to add another brood box onto the hive, then put the bees back in, adding frames with only foundation, because that was all I had!

Now a week later, I went in to look and removed two more queen cells and on inspection of the second brood box, they have drawn out all the frames and completly filled 5 of them and partly capping some and still filling the rest.

I had started feeding them a few weeks ago, after finishing the veroa treatment and they had about 5ltrs, but I stopped before putting on the super.
At the rate they are going I will have to give them even more space, as there is slill a lot of eggs, lavea and capped brood in the first brood box...

So this is my question.
Surely I can't leave them on two brood boxs and a super for the entire winter, can I? and what if I have to add another super?
Or will they start to die back as it gets colder and then at that point be able to get them back into one brood box, plus the super?

Thank You...
 

JamesB 

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I believe the general consensus when wintering bee's is to have just a brood (i believe the 14x12 size is advocated)

4 of my colonies have reduced to the one brood box, but have a similar situation on my latest addition i bought a month or so ago, double national brood box, i have managed to locate the queen and she is in the lower one, so ive seperated both the boxes with a excluder,

Prob im having is the weather and whether to risk wintering the colony with a double brood,
From what ive read/monitored here on these forums it seems opinion is that as the temperature falls the bees wont excess the food in the boxes above them and would apparently starve if they run out of food within the brood chamber they are in,

Advice tbh im unsure , my dad says the coloney im worried about will be ok but seems as though the majority here 'will' disagree with him.
 

Poly Hive 

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If you have to add a brood box then do so. Mind and feed well and put on some top insulation please.

There is in fact less risk of a colony starving if they have food above them as they can reach it rather than move sideways. A large part of the thinking behind brood and a half, widely practised in Scotland for instance.

I for one will certainly disagree if I disagree. If I agree I say so too.

PH
 

Gardenbees 

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One of my colonies is looking like they'll be overwintering on the equivalent of a large 14x12 box; the other will have a 14x12 national bb and one super. They will reduce in numbers once the last lot of this year's brood has emerged, and live with that number (we hope) over the winter. So whatever the brood area is now-ish, is roughly what you can expect in terms of winter cluster.

In the case of my biggest colony I'm looking at potentially the largest amount I've ever had to accommodate over winter, i.e. 14x12 plus a super. I don't think I'd want to give them any more space than that, given that they have to keep it heated. Any less, though, and like yours they would be boiling over at the moment and even possibly thinking about swarming if we have a warm spell.

Perhaps re-assess yours at the end of the month, or beginning of November. By then you should get a better idea of the size of winter cluster.
 

tonybloke 

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Hello All.

This is my first season keeping bees and finding there is lots to learn still, even after taking a course in BeeKeeping.
where in Norfolk are you? there's a few norfolk beeks getting on here ( I'm in Gorleston, just south of Yarmouth)
 

Roger 

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i have managed to locate the queen and she is in the lower one, so ive seperated both the boxes with a excluder,

James
Dont forget to remove the excluder before winter.

Roger
 

JamesB 

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i have managed to locate the queen and she is in the lower one, so ive seperated both the boxes with a excluder,

James
Dont forget to remove the excluder before winter.

Roger
Im still debating whether to reduce that coloney to one brood box (waiting on whether i get a good day weather wise)

If not then yes i will remove the excluder, just didnt want a double brood box if im honest.
 

Hebeegeebee 

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BKP,
Where did you get your bees from ? Are they local gals? My local girls are on about 4-5 frames of brood.

2 brood boxes would be preferable to a brood plus super. Yes, numbers should reduce.
 

Bee-Key-Pur 

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where in Norfolk are you? there's a few norfolk beeks getting on here ( I'm in Gorleston, just south of Yarmouth)
I'm just south of Swaffham...


BKP,
Where did you get your bees from ? Are they local gals? My local girls are on about 4-5 frames of brood.

2 brood boxes would be preferable to a brood plus super. Yes, numbers should reduce.
They are Buckfast Bees from Devon, came in a 5 frame nuc and built up very fast.
The other hive are local bees, but went queenlees soon after arriving. They were re-queened are building up well, they are now on a brood box and a supper, all full...

Regards BKP.
 

Hebeegeebee 

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A concern would be the amount of stores they will consume over the winter....

Am I right in that you have the queen ande swarm in a nuc and the bees on the original site?
OR If you have combined so soon, there is a good chance that teh swarming instinct has not yet abated.
 

Bee-Key-Pur 

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A concern would be the amount of stores they will consume over the winter....

Am I right in that you have the queen ande swarm in a nuc and the bees on the original site?
OR If you have combined so soon, there is a good chance that teh swarming instinct has not yet abated.
I combined them to the original hive after I removed the queen cells and added the extra brood box. I now inspect the hive every 5-7 days ( weather dependent ) and look for new queen cells and yes they are still building them, but I hope that now they have more room plus taking out the queen cells and the change in weather, they will not swarm again so late in the season.

Regards BKP.
 

Silly Bee 

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Would you be better to move a few frames with the old queen into a nuke, and let them think they have swarmed?

If push comes to shove, you could unite them later when they thin down for winter?
 

Haughton Honey 

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Lots of Commercial hives.......
If it's of any interest I have a Buckfast colony on three National brood boxes currently and am debating as to whether I should reduce them to my usual two brood box set up for the forthcoming Winter!
 
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