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My first inspection alone :)

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kazmcc 

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I have just returned from inspecting the bees ( well, only the super ) for the first time without our mentor. I cannot believe how calm I was. A couple of the teachers came to have a look so I suppose I had to hold it together. Our bees are on brood and a half, which I am not that keen on really. I would prefer to use a deeper brood box, but I am sure our mentor has a reason for why we are doing it this way. It's just that I find it a bit messy as we break the comb the make between the boxes, and in turn, break the stores they've put down which ends up dripping off the bottom of the frames. Anyhow, they have almost filled the super now. There is one full frame they haven't started drawing yet, and one side of one frame untouched. They have increased the brood up there also.

So, here are my questions. Our mentor intends treating next week. If the bees keep on like this, those frames that are left will be used by then. So, what do you do then? Do you remove the frames without brood and replace them with fresh foundation? there is no point adding another super is there if you are going top treat? Mmmm, I would be interested to know what you would all do in this situation.

We let our children watch too. they all got suited up, and got to handle the outer frames with a few bees on. To be honest, they had to share, as most of it is heavy with store and capped honey. I am aware the queen could have been up there so I had a good look out for her, but she must have remained downstairs. All in all, very successful. I looked like a real bee keeper lol, answering questions :) Loved it. These were the people who had to coax me up to the first hive I'd ever been near, just 2 months ago lol.
 

clare p 

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well done Kaz, It is so great when you can answer a question with a bit of knowledge, and also your confidence growing day by day with them!

I had a look at mine today, I was a bit worried as they were not flying and then one fell out with a dodgy wing. I sent me into a bit of a tizz so I suited up and had a peek.
The reason they were not flying was because it was about to tip down and they were not very happy with the intrusion!! Three stings on my marigold gloves and one just got through to my skin they then started flying (all around me)

later on saw them on the japanese knotweed flowers (great we really need those pollinating!)
love Clare:troll:
 

victor meldrew 

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Everything with wings loves the Japanese knot weed :rofl:

John Wilkinson
 

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A beekeeper wouldn't really put foundation into a hive at this time of the year. Even if a moderate flow (balsam, knotweed) kind of warranted it, you probably wouldn't do it. Bees are keen on compactness and at this time of the season and you will find that a lot of nectar is stored in brood combs and as brood-rearing decreases.

I think single brood is just too small these days. You're finding that brood and a half is a bit of a faff. There's plenty that use double-brood, just like there are plenty that have decide to switch to 14 x 12.
 

tonybloke 

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I think single brood is just too small these days. You're finding that brood and a half is a bit of a faff. There's plenty that use double-brood, just like there are plenty that have decide to switch to 14 x 12.
and others that use 16 x 10 (commercial) size frames!
 

kazmcc 

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Yes, I think, personally, I would prefer too use a bigger brood box than use this method. I am not judging those who do use brood and a half, but I have found it to be a bit of a messy job inspecting. It can't be good for the bees to keep ripping their comb apart, also, if she is laying in the super, then I assume she will be laying in the comb they've built between. Therefore, disturbing brood. Or would she not use that comb.
 

tonybloke 

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Yes, I think, personally, I would prefer too use a bigger brood box than use this method. I am not judging those who do use brood and a half, but I have found it to be a bit of a messy job inspecting. It can't be good for the bees to keep ripping their comb apart, also, if she is laying in the super, then I assume she will be laying in the comb they've built between. Therefore, disturbing brood. Or would she not use that comb.
yep, she'd lay in it!

well done for the first 'solo' inspection, btw :)
 

kazmcc 

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Thanks everyone. I will speak with Paul and ask him about the between comb. Surely it can't be good for the colony if you have to pretty much snap the brood in half whenever you inspect them. Why do people use this method if that is the case?
 

mel1of4 

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This thread is really interesting, as our mentor advised us to overwinter on a brood and a half, or what we currently have, 2 BB. I can see the logic that this gives lots more room for stores...I can't understand where the bees fit all the winter stores on a single BB. But, it is tricky doing a full look through with 2 boxes. Would others recommend a deeper BB? This would seem to give you the best of both worlds.
 
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This thread is really interesting, as our mentor advised us to overwinter on a brood and a half, or what we currently have, 2 BB. I can see the logic that this gives lots more room for stores...I can't understand where the bees fit all the winter stores on a single BB. But, it is tricky doing a full look through with 2 boxes. Would others recommend a deeper BB? This would seem to give you the best of both worlds.
Not sure that overwintering on two boxes is that much of a problem as you wont be inspecting - the decision will need to be made by spring
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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I think single brood is just too small these days. You're finding that brood and a half is a bit of a faff. There's plenty that use double-brood, just like there are plenty that have decide to switch to 14 x 12.
We are set up to run on a Brood and a Super. I think the reason is about the amount of stores needed. Aiming for 50lb of stores for the winter in the UK, that equates with 10 x 5lb brood combs full of stores. So on a National you would be pushed to get that, so you need the extra super 10 x 3lb giving an absolute maximum of 80 lb but with gaps and brood comb, more like 50-60lb.:hurray:

I think the idea of using this method or two brood boxes and not the bigger 14 x 12 (which does have space for all the stores in the brood box,) is to do with swarm prevention and swapping one box with the other. Is this correct?:nature-smiley-016:
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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I have just returned from inspecting the bees ( well, only the super ) for the first time without our mentor. I cannot believe how calm I was.
Good for you and a real confidence boost for you. Well done and hears to the next challenge - inspection of the brood box:seeya:
 
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:party: :lurk5: :grouphug: :cool:

WELL DONE YOU!!!
 

kazmcc 

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Good for you and a real confidence boost for you. Well done and hears to the next challenge - inspection of the brood box:seeya:
Dum dum duuuuuuuuummmmm! Nooo! Not the brood box :leaving:

Actually, as they were the most active I've ever seen them, I'm quite looking forward to doing the brood box. How much more different can it be? :ack2:

If, actually that should be when, they fill the last frame of the super, what will they do? There is still a lot of pollen coming in. I understand they will start to use the old brood space as they bunker down for winter, but seriously, they've only been there just over 6 weeks and they've filled the whole thing! How do you deal with this?
 

oliver90owner 

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mel1of4

Would others recommend a deeper BB?

ahh, double brood or a bigger brood box? What a dilema!

Pros and cons here. Bigger brood, as in deeper, but same hive format or bigger brood in another hive type?

14 x 12 - an obvious alternative to a brood and a half. I like them and that is what I run. However at times you might say that I still go 'brood and a super', as she nearly always needs more space at max lay rate in the springtime to early summer. They are also heavy.

Double brood has several advantages - same size frames, same as 14 x 12 plus a super,
easily split, or top box to bottom, frames moved round with no fitting problems, only brood frames used for brooding, etc.

The thing is, there are a lot of bees out there that need far more than a standard National brood box.

Lots of bees means lots of foragers (after three weeks!). Just compare with 'few bees' and 'no honey harvest'!

So always a compromise, and you go for what you suits your method of beekeeping. I would not be saying you must do anything - and some are still happy with a 'brood and a half' - but something bigger than a single standard National is most usually better these days.

Lots of choices - Nationals, Langstroths, Commercial, Dadants, long deep hives. They all have pros and cons. Langstroth are the most popular world-wide, but not yet in the UK. Most polyhives are Langstroth (cost of injection moulds) so there is another consideration......if you might go down that route in the future.

Changing hive format is a bear!

Regards, RAB
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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If, actually that should be when, they fill the last frame of the super, what will they do? There is still a lot of pollen coming in. I understand they will start to use the old brood space as they bunker down for winter, but seriously, they've only been there just over 6 weeks and they've filled the whole thing! How do you deal with this?
I would just keep things as they are and let the bees do their own thing. Bee numbers will start to fall towards winter anyway, down from 40k to 5k, brood will become less and this will free up space and the bees will move stores around in preparation for winter. Keeping it compressed and tight for winter is no bad thing, no risk of swarming but a real danger that the bees will starve during the winter even though stores are just above them, if they are too cold to move the brood cluster to the stores. So just count up the frames of stores that you have, estimate the weight available, feed if they are light on stores and let them organise themselves.
 

kazmcc 

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ok, remind me again, what are the average weights per frame of stores? I read it recently, but I am useless on search. I usually find more post and threads than I can get through - or nothing at all lol
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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National BS Brood Frame approx 5lb, BS Super frame approx 3 lb. Ignore the mainly brood frames and just count the mainly stores ones. Aim to exceed 40lb for a full National colony, It is very rule of thumb though and sources vary widely between 30-60lb.
 

Rosti 

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I haven't weighed brood frames but based on a conversion from an drawn super frame at brood depth (11 frames / super rather than a 9 spacing) I would estimate/guess 1.6 to 1.7Kg (net) per brood frame chock-a-block full. So a hefted hive weight of over 24Kg ex roof and the girls should be nicely set-up for winter.

This weight excludes the pinch or salt needed because I have estimated on an estimate :smash:
 

kazmcc 

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Well, that would give us around 30lbs in the super alone, as the frames with brood on only take up a small part of the frame. They have one more frame to draw. Funny buggers, this frame was added later than the rest, and they haven't touched it yet. I am going to see if they have next week, and if they still aren't bothering, I might ask if we can replace it. I is a brand new frame, with brand new foundation. We didn't check the brood box, but the last time we checked it was packed....well on the way to having enough for winter thenm :D Yippee!!
 
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