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Is it too late?

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thedeaddiplomat 

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One of my two colonies was a late-ish (August) swarm last year, that did really well, built itself up to six or seven frames, and got through the winter without a hint of a problem.

I have just checked it, and the queen is clearly laying like a queen! There are about seven frames of brood, and three frames of stores (three of the frames have been drawn from foundation in the last ten days or so).

Given that HM is so prolific, I am wondering if I ought to remove the QE from between the brood box and the super of foundation I have just put on (second year beek - no ready drawn frames!). And let her run to a brood and a half.

But I wonder if it is too late to do that this year? Or should I just trust that they will draw the super frames, move the stores, and that will be enough space for laying.

Any views please?
 

oliver90owner 

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Does that mean she only has one frame to lay up? She will likely need more space PDQ or swarming will result, so you will need to do something, one way or another!

An alternative would be to double brood rather than a brood and a half. If going that route I might consider padding out a top box and introducing some foundation in both boxes at appropriate positions - not split the brood nest and move some brood upstairs (directly above the brooding area) with foundation either side. That way you have expanded the nest and do not have lots of foundation to be drawn in a large volume. Alternatively, let her expand downwards. No problem with empty space above to keep warm. I would got the top route (less weight to move around for a start!).

One advantage of a double brood is you have frames ready for a repeat, or to divide the colony if you choose. Different sizes of brood frame are, IMO, a nuisance.

Another alternative, in the short term, is to transfer some of the hatching brood to the other colony?

Just depends on where you want to end up; honey or more colonies. It is certainly not too late for anything. Just watch out, or they will swarm for lack of space.

Regards, RAB
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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Thanks RAB.

I had assumed that by putting on a super full of foundation for them to draw, they would do that and move the stores, giving her more space to lay. But am I wrong?

Brood and a half rather than two was just an assumption that this would be enough space for this year.

I'm reluctant to use your short-term suggestion of transferring a frame of brood into the other colony. That is already a brood and a half, and has also half-filled a super with nectar - so as a novice I am reluctant to interfere with what seems to be going very well.

I'd like to meet the guy who told me that this was an easy passtime and I really ought to give it a go!
 

Hivemaker. 

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Take a couple of drawn super frames from your other colony,then the one with only foundation now will move up into the super no problem.
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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Many thanks for the advice HM (where have I used those initials before???) - will do it and see how we get on
 

Rosti 

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My experience on brood & 1/2 wasn't that good. Worked a treat in terms of giving space and got a big colony through winter in good shape but I got loads of bridging comb (as you'd expect) between the brood and the super and I caused a fair bit of damage to inspect. Have just split my brood & 1/2 back to brood only to swap them on to 14x12 and will set any new hives on 14x12 this year. V easy to eke out exisiting brood boxes.
 

oliver90owner 

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Rosti,

My current feeling is that if they want the space they can have it. Early on, trying to persuade them to move stores is a bear. The Dartington era has probably brought this on because of the huge hassle there would be if one were to want to put stores under the brood to get it moved with that system!

So now I am tending to 'go with the flow' early on and if they need the space, anywhere is better than constricting her laying. It is not too difficult once the peak lay-rate has passed to get her down stairs and back on to the single brood. I normally over-winter on just a full brood.

Some of mine are fairly prolific and I can imagine some of the strains can need quite a bit more than a 14 x 12 even! I can't now see how I managed when I started - everything was on a single WBC or National. Well, I didn't really; that was a good part of the reasons why they swarmed!

I think Finman, with out QEs is spot on. It is only on OSR, when I worry about getting it extracted before granulation, that I tend to think 'fit the QEs'.

Regards, RAB
 

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