Reluctance to draw comb ?

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Atha 

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Good morning, a bit of advice please.

context : This is my first year keeping bees. I started with 6 frames end of May. When they arrived the queen had no room to lay, I had 2 frames of capped brood and the rest honey and pollen.
It took them 2 weeks to start drawing comb and the queen is prolific.
Problem : I added a super 3 weeks ago - and they are very slow in drawing comb on wax foundation. ( only one frame full and capped of honey) . They now have a good flow from a huge lime (Lind/Tilia) tree, 10 m away but they are storingin the brood box and she has no room to lay again.

4 days ago I (1) moved the super at the bottom, under the brood box to encourage storage closer to entrance and (2) I put in a frame in the super with only a strip of foundation at the top to see if they prefer to draw free comb.

Question: did I do the right thing ? Should I put the super back on top of the brood at the next inspection ? How else can I encourage them to draw comb ?

I could ask my mentor , currently on holiday hence the question here, for some drawn super frames but I hear is not an encouraged practice ?!

Thank you in advance.
 

Boston Bees 

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Tell us about the state of your brood box.
Is it completely drawn comb now, or still some foundation?
How many frames of brood and how many of stores?
Is there a band of honey across the top of every frame in the brood box?
 

Martimart 

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Good morning, a bit of advice please.

context : This is my first year keeping bees. I started with 6 frames end of May. When they arrived the queen had no room to lay, I had 2 frames of capped brood and the rest honey and pollen.
It took them 2 weeks to start drawing comb and the queen is prolific.
Problem : I added a super 3 weeks ago - and they are very slow in drawing comb on wax foundation. ( only one frame full and capped of honey) . They now have a good flow from a huge lime (Lind/Tilia) tree, 10 m away but they are storingin the brood box and she has no room to lay again.

4 days ago I (1) moved the super at the bottom, under the brood box to encourage storage closer to entrance and (2) I put in a frame in the super with only a strip of foundation at the top to see if they prefer to draw free comb.

Question: did I do the right thing ? Should I put the super back on top of the brood at the next inspection ? How else can I encourage them to draw comb ?

I could ask my mentor , currently on holiday hence the question here, for some drawn super frames but I hear is not an encouraged practice ?!

Thank you in advance.
I'm newer to this game than you, I've had my Nuc for just over 3 weeks, in that time frame I've fed them 1:1 syrup as much as they will take to get them to draw the comb. As of Tuesday night they had drawn fully the 5 frames of 14 x 12 that were just foundation 3 weeks ago.

On Tuesday I stopped feeding and put a super on as space getting tight, no queen excluder on until they have drawn 3 or 4 frames on the super then I'll add the QE. From my understanding they will naturally want to put stores above the brood, which is why on the frames in the BB the honey stores are on the highest part of the frames. I'd try putting the super back on top and take away the QE for a couple of days until they start drawing the foundation in the super.

I'm going to pop mine open tomorrow and hopefully put the QE on.
 

Murox 

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I'm newer to this game than you, I've had my Nuc for just over 3 weeks, in that time frame I've fed them 1:1 syrup as much as they will take to get them to draw the comb. As of Tuesday night they had drawn fully the 5 frames of 14 x 12 that were just foundation 3 weeks ago.

On Tuesday I stopped feeding and put a super on as space getting tight, no queen excluder on until they have drawn 3 or 4 frames on the super then I'll add the QE. From my understanding they will naturally want to put stores above the brood, which is why on the frames in the BB the honey stores are on the highest part of the frames. I'd try putting the super back on top and take away the QE for a couple of days until they start drawing the foundation in the super.

I'm going to pop mine open tomorrow and hopefully put the QE on.
Make sure your queen is in the brood box first !!
 

Atha 

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Tell us about the state of your brood box.
Is it completely drawn comb now, or still some foundation?
How many frames of brood and how many of stores?
Is there a band of honey across the top of every frame in the brood box?
Brood box :
2 partially drawn full of wet honey,
2. 5 capped brood even pattern, capped honey in the corners ,
rest mixture of wet honey and pollen
 

Atha 

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Brood box :
2 partially drawn full of wet honey,
2. 5 capped brood even pattern, capped honey in the corners ,
rest mixture of wet honey and pollen
Forgot to mention, almost all drawn and used brood frames have capped honey at the corners.
 

Boston Bees 

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Brood box :
2 partially drawn full of wet honey,
2. 5 capped brood even pattern, capped honey in the corners ,
rest mixture of wet honey and pollen
Are they in a standard brood box of 11 frames?

So you have an 11 frame brood box but with only 2.5 frames of brood and the rest is full of honey and pollen?

Or do you mean 5 frames of capped brood?
 

Atha 

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Are they in a standard brood box of 11 frames?

So you have an 11 frame brood box but with only 2.5 frames of brood and the rest is full of honey and pollen?

Or do you mean 5 frames of capped brood?
11 in total :
2 new frames - foundation not drawn, placed at the ends
2 new foundation partially drawn, only centres, wet honey
1 wild comb - I attached to a empty frame with mostly capped brood. (they’ve build a wax sheet between an old frame and a foundation frame)
6 old : 2.5 capped about to emerge , rest 3.5 wet honey and pollen.
I do not see BAS and no room for her to lay.
 

Atha 

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When there is a good flow on the will put it anywhere they can until they have time to move it into supers,
Happy with that but I am missing BAS , except capped brood and no empty cells for her to lay. Should I just be patient ?
 

Boston Bees 

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11 in total :
2 new frames - foundation not drawn, placed at the ends
2 new foundation partially drawn, only centres, wet honey
1 wild comb - I attached to a empty frame with mostly capped brood. (they’ve build a wax sheet between an old frame and a foundation frame)
6 old : 2.5 capped about to emerge , rest 3.5 wet honey and pollen.
I do not see BAS and no room for her to lay.
OK, you have a bit of a problem in that your colony is pretty small currently and needs to get a lot bigger before winter. They should be on 5/6 frames of brood by now.

I would move the foundation from the outside of the hive (where it is useless to them) to put it next to the brood frames (one on either side). That should trigger them to draw it out. If the part drawn foundation is not next to the brood nest, put that there too. Basically you want any frames which are fully drawn and full of honey to be at the edge of the box on both side, then part drawn frames and foundation, and then the brood nest in the middle.

So if H=Honey, F=Foundation, P= Part Drawn and B= Brood I would do something like

HHFPBBBPFHH

If you have any drawn brood frames sitting in your garage, with nothing in them, you could put them in of course, but I assume you don't.

This is in the brood box of course. The super, at present, is irrelevant - no hive with only 2.5 frames of brood needs a super. The priority at the moment is clearing space in the brood box. Having said that, if you want to leave it under the brood box it probably won't do a lot of harm, though it will leave them more prone to robbing, as the entrance is further from the brood nest so will have fewer defenders.
 
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Atha 

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OK, you have a bit of a problem in that your colony is pretty small currently and needs to get a lot bigger before winter. They should be on 5/6 frames of brood by now.

I would move the foundation from the outside of the hive (where it is useless to them) to put it next to the brood frames (one on either side). That should trigger them to draw it out. If the part drawn foundation is not next to the brood nest, put that there too. Basically you want any frames which are fully drawn and full of honey to be at the edge of the box on both side, then part drawn frames and foundation, and then the brood nest in the middle.

So if H=Honey, F=Foundation, P= Part Drawn and B= Brood I would do something like

HHFPBBBPFHH

If you have any drawn brood frames sitting in your garage, with nothing in them, you could put them in of course, but I assume you don't.

This is in the brood box of course. The super, at present, is irrelevant - no hive with only 2.5 frames of brood needs a super. The priority at the moment is clearing space in the brood box. Having said that, if you want to leave it under the brood box it probably won't do a lot of harm, though it will leave them more prone to robbing, as the entrance is further from the brood nest so will have fewer defenders.
Thank you for your ample answer. I will rejig the frames in the brood box at the next inspection and see what I find in the super.

Before this situation I had 4 brood frames , and the colony increased considerably. Then the lime tree bloomed, and looks like they prefer to store than draw comb.
Can I please ask a very silly question : do bees at all life stages draw comb ? Or is it specific to a life stage ? I am asking because she obviously had a gap in brood at arrival and maybe there are not enough workers atm to build comb ?
 
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Boston Bees 

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Thank you for your ample answer. I will rejig the frames in the brood box at the next inspection and see what I find in the super.

Before this situation I had 4 brood frames , and the colony increased considerably. Then the lime tree bloomed, and looks like they prefer to store than draw comb.
Can I please ask a very silly question : do bees at all life stages draw comb ? Or is it specific to a life stage ? I am asking because she obviously had a gap in brood at arrival and maybe there are not enough workers atm to build comb ?
I think drawing comb is mostly a younger bees thing (though older bees can turn their hand to it if needed) , but if you have 3 frames of brood about to emerge you'll soon have plenty of them.
 

Atha 

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Happy with that but I am missing BAS , except capped brood and no empty cells for her to lay. Should I just be patient ?
I think drawing comb is mostly a younger bees thing (though older bees can turn their hand to it if needed) , but if you have 3 frames of brood about to emerge you'll soon have plenty of them.
thank you . I will try to be patient then and do as suggested above. Glad I haven’t done anything drastic and hopefully they know best what they re doing .
 

ericbeaumont 

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Before this situation I had 4 brood frames , and the colony increased considerably.
6 old : 2.5 capped about to emerge , rest 3.5 wet honey and pollen.
I do not see BAS and no room for her to lay.
Atha, have you seen any eggs recently?
 
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