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New Beekeeper - brood box question

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honey 

New Bee
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Hi everyone,

I'm new to beekeeping and wonder if anybody can explain something to me. I've just got my first colony in a national hive, it's quite small as it was an after-swarm.

The person who caught the swarm & passed them on to me has advised me to switch round the brood box, and move it on top of the super, as apparently with a small colony it will be better for them over the winter to have the super stores below them.

Please can someone explain to me why this is? I feel a bit silly but I don't really understand why the brood box can't stay on the bottom of the hive. If the cluster is below the super in winter, and heat rises, surely it's better to have the super on top??

Thanks
 

plumberman 

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Having the super under the brood box goes against conventional wisdom and the fact that bees naturally store honey above.

More to the point, if it is a small colony you probably should not have a super on anyway. A small colony needs to be able to maintain sufficient heat to successfully rear brood, and if you have an empty super above this is just wasted volume for them to heat.

Depending on how small they are, I would be tempted to put in a dummy board ( a plywood barrier shaped like a frame) to confine them to a smaller area of the brood box and then the crownboard above. You can expand the brood nest as the colony then expands by moving the dummyboard outwards.

Can you change your profile to show exactly where in the UK you are. Weather varies a lot from North to South!
 

susbees 

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It's recommended somewhere on the Scottish Beekeepers' site to have a box under the brood box just before winter to keep the hive ventilated and draft-free. I suspect this is what's meant....especially for a smaller colony.
 

victor meldrew 

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I suspect the reason to be that bees work upwards and the idea being that the super of food placed under the brood box without Queen excluder should (in theory at least)should be exhausted and the Queen found laying in the upper (brood box) come the following Springtime ?

John Wilkinson
 

Black Comb 

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I suspect the reason to be that bees work upwards and the idea being that the super of food placed under the brood box without Queen excluder should (in theory at least)should be exhausted and the Queen found laying in the upper (brood box) come the following Springtime ?

John Wilkinson
As ever John's got in one. I was advised to do this and both my colonies survived the winter (good use for the ivy honey). Queens laid in brood box in spring.
 

Midland Beek 

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I suspect the reason to be that bees work upwards and the idea being that the super of food placed under the brood box without Queen excluder should (in theory at least)should be exhausted and the Queen found laying in the upper (brood box) come the following Springtime ?
Yes, that is the reasoning behind the practice.

Leave the super on top of the hive, and when you open up for the first inspection next year, the super might rather inconveniently be filled with brood.
 

Poly Hive 

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To be honest it is swings and round abouts. Whether on top or below the potential brood area is the same. Also the food storage area is the same.

The colony is FED remember in autumn with syrup. And should be fed until they can take no more or go into cluster which ever comes first. Preferably can take no more point.

PH
 

honey 

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Thanks for the info everyone - that makes more sense now. I'm based in Kent and they are a colony from a cast of about 5,000. I'm feeding them syrup at the mo to help them get started & having to refill every 3-4 days as they are really getting through it!
 

aberreef 

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I'm a total beginner too but could this practice also be for temperature regulation; heat rises and all that
 

m100 

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...And should be fed until they can take no more or go into cluster which ever comes first. Preferably can take no more point.
Been there, done that, had a September swarm :(
 

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