Plus One (Spreading the brood)

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Poly Hive

Queen Bee
Dec 4, 2008
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Scottish Borders
Hive Type
Number of Hives
12 and 18 Nucs
You open the hive and find three frames of brood. I leave them where they are rather than move them to one side as some do.

Of the three one is smaller on one side the far side of the nest. I would bruise the stores around the brood and put it in the middle.

Week later there should be (given reasonable weather) three good frames of brood and activity on a fourth. again bruise the stores around the brood and place it in the middle of the two best frames.

Week later there should be four good frames and activity on possibly five and six. Yes. Bruise and move.

Week later there should be at least five good frames if not six and this time take a frame of stores, bruise both sides and put in the middle of the nest. This is a proper plus one.

Week later repeat.

week later repeat again.

Week later repeat again and if they are strong, and this needs multiple colonies to make a value judgement, then plus two. And possibly super here.

Week later : Now think about a double brood box.

It is disaster to spread brood frames in the hive. Spring colony is not able to take care of too wide brood area. Bees kill extra brood.
You may see that after cold spell part of brood have died in cells.

There are weathers that the hive may loose 50% of bees during vague weathers.

When brood catch cold it gets chalk brood easily.
I do not spread the brood - I just let them build up as fast as they can manage on their own.
Best regards
It all depends on how many bees there are in the hive! If the colony is honey bound (lots of bees but no where for the queen to lay as the comb surrounding the brood nest is stuffed full of stroes) then I would go with Poly Hives suggestion.

I've had colonies which have had their development impaired because I was a bit generous with the winter feed the previous year. Uncapping cells filled with honey helps stimulate the bees to move the honey out of the cells so the queen can lay in them. Shuffling comb about will help too but only if there are enough bees to adequately cover the brood once it's been moved about.

Bees are reluctant to uncap cells unless they need the stores. However, we need to get the colony as strong as possible as early in the season as we can to take advantage of the ever-earlier flowering forage (Rape etc).
Finman I ha ve pracised this for many years as do the more experienced in Scotland. It works here and is highly successful. Location issue again I'm afraid.

Bruising the stores means using the broad end of the hive tool to break the cappings.

Finman I ha ve pracised this for many years as do the more experienced in Scotland. It works here and is highly successful. PH

The hive expands even if I do not help it. I just give new space when colony grows.
My goal is to get 5-7 langstroth store to the hive.

What means highly succesful? In another place you write that you only care about heather yield. My first goal is dandelion.

I like to keep 3 brood stores in summer.
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i personaly keep an eye out on the stores front durring the spring if you over feed they use up all the avalible brood cells, i feed them only enough to get going and to keep going , yes i have seperated the brood before now its a good way to motivate the girls sometimes, some times it is not , but thats what i love about bee keeping there is no stead fast rules
poly hive
I was always told never ever separate the brood nest. No matter what? Take brood away yes but never separate the nest.
Were talking about after winter build up.
By separating the nest,
And placing a frame of honey/ foundation / comb /division board/ whatever? In the center it separates the queen from brood and entices the bees to draw queen cells and swarm in mid season.
Plus in cold weather it will chill brood; the bees in most cases always stay with the queen. That?s why we remove the Queen excluder to allow the queen to go up into the food with the bees in the super.
After winter I always keep the brood on the side of the hive wall, say 3 frames brood bees up tight to the entrance wall with a cut cardboard fitting tight down between the frames and bent over the top for warmth leaving a1inch gap on the bottom for access.
The rest of the frames copings are scratched over exposing the honey.
Of course we all have are different ways if you?re happy so be it
All the best mike
Yes quite agree,separating the brood is not a good idea,as Mike explains,but this is about spreading the brood,ie taking a frame from the outside of the brood nest,with a small area of brood in this frame and moving it towards the middle.So the actual brood nest is never separated.This ecourages the bee's to clean out this middle frame and use up the stores,then the queen lays it up fully,the bee's on the outside of the brood area then clean up the next outside frame to be laid up more rapidly,this is then, by using your judgment, moved to the middle when it has some brood in. obviously depending on the strength of the colony.but never separate the actual brood nest. exactly as PH has allready stated.
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HIVE MAKER I stand corrected I must of misunderstood the Scottish dialect and missed his explanation SORRY PETER wrong again! I am a little DEFF as well and me age and a little weee dram all mixed up shaken not stirred makes me ?
All the best mike

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