Is it too early to do a bailey comb change?

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Joined
Jun 17, 2022
Messages
180
Reaction score
90
Location
Bishops Castle, UK
Hive Type
Dadant
Number of Hives
4
Hi all, it's been an interesting winter and I've managed to get my main hive and nuc through winter so far 🤞.
The weather is improving by day temperature wise and my colony is building nicely.
I wish to perform a bailey comb change as the main hive is on dirty almost black comb so long overdue.
Tomorrow is forecast 15+ degrees so I'm wondering if I were to add a poly brood box of foundation with a frame feeder or contact feeder of syrup and insulate well would the girls begin drawing it out so the queen can move up and start laying before I add a qx in a week or 2?
My hive is currently very well insulated with 2" of polystyrene and a fitted vinyl cover that I made last year, I'll obviously just extend the insulation so they'll be plenty warm enough even on the cold nights.
What are your thoughts?
 
Give the girls a chance. I was out fishing in 5C and it was really chilly. Today a bit higher but wet. Give the weather a real chance to warm up and boost colony numbers THEN give the hive its head to pull wax on fresh foundation. When conditions are right comb is built quickly and it is beautiful. In stop/start conditions it is not so good
 
I wouldn’t be so concerned with temperature. As they expand and require more room simply add your new box….You may even find on inspecting that they are off the worst combs or they are empty and you could simply remove those there and then, working the remaining out over the season.
 
I'll definitely wait in that case.
I can crack on with frame and super building operations.
I made a couple of supers yesterday for the cut comb foundation I bought but I'm thinking for extraction brood size boxes may be better as my extractor will take 4 brood size frames or 8 super size (I'm on langstroth)?
 
Given that the vast majority of your bees are still Winter Bees then NO. We have yet to pass the crossover point
of hatching outnumbering deaths.

A full Lang brood of honey will weigh some 60-80 pounds ish. Think of your back.

PH
 
Given that the vast majority of your bees are still Winter Bees then NO. We have yet to pass the crossover point
of hatching outnumbering deaths.

A full Lang brood of honey will weigh some 60-80 pounds ish. Think of your back.

PH
I'm an ex bodybuilder currently working in forestry and tree surgery so no real worries on that front for a good few years I hope😉
I had wondered about the winter bees thing though and wrongly assumed they would gradually die off as replacements were hatched. I'll definitely wait.
 
You are an ex bodybuilder and the bees are comb builders. You needed training to be in top condition and likewise your colony needs to be in top condition to deal with their task ahead. Wait until they are strong enough before the Bailey change.
 
You are an ex bodybuilder and the bees are comb builders. You needed training to be in top condition and likewise your colony needs to be in top condition to deal with their task ahead. Wait until they are strong enough before the Bailey change.
Very well put. Thanks for your advice, I definitely hang fire until there are full seams of bees.
One other quick question, I have a 5 frame nuc boarded down to 3 frames at present. What would be my next move? Add a couple of frames in spring or move into a full hive with boards to say 5 or 6 frames and let them gradually fill it out?
 
I have a 5 frame nuc boarded down to 3 frames at present. What would be my next move?
give them the other two frames, let them build up, then put them in a full hive
 
Yes that's what I'm drawn to.
Give them a comfortable space to fill then when it's a full 5 frames of brood and if they start to make swarm preps it's time to give them a bit more room and so on and so forth until autumn.
 
..............then when it's a full 5 frames of brood and if they start to make swarm preps it's time to give them a bit more room and so on and so forth until autumn.
If they start to make swarm preparations its too late to think a bit more room will help - they will swarm as soon as they are ready.
 
Yes that's what I'm drawn to.
Give them a comfortable space to fill then when it's a full 5 frames of brood and if they start to make swarm preps it's time to give them a bit more room and so on and so forth until autumn.
It's a fallacy that giving bees more space will stop them swarming ... if they are making swarm preparations then you have to do an Artificial Swarm. Like knocking down queen cells giving them space might slow them down but it will rarely stop them swarming.
 
Maybe a Demaree then before they begin building QCs? I've read jbm's explanation and it seems quite straightforward.
I would like to make increase too this season but I also would like my first honey crop so that seems the best way to get both.
I'll make a board later today with entry doors on so I can do a vertical split.
 
Have a good read, read it twice, this about swarming . theApiarist.org. the article is full of good sense advice talks about and links to both Pagden artificial swarm and vertical swarm management methods and making increase.
 
Maybe a Demaree then before they begin building QCs? I've read jbm's explanation and it seems quite straightforward.
I would like to make increase too this season but I also would like my first honey crop so that seems the best way to get both.
I'll make a board later today with entry doors on so I can do a vertical split.
Demaree ... as long as you do it in advance of them making swarm preps is a very effective way of reducing the likelihood of them swarming ... and still maintaining a honey crop. Timing is everything with Demaree and you have to follow JBM's method meticulously - mess about with it and they can still end up swarming.

You can still get a honey crop if you do end up with them deciding to swarm ... it's not the end of the world if you have to carry out an AS.
 

Latest posts

Back
Top