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Super for Brood or honey?

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Nellie 

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After a slow start the bees are starting to come along nicely. The question is now, do I super for more brood or start thinking about honey?

I've no drawn comb, it'll all be foundation whether I go Brood and half, double brood or super for honey but I'm just not too sure whether it's too late in the day to still be thinking about adding more brood.
 

Poly Hive 

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If your number of hives is really one then your first plan should be to make that two.

What type of bee are you keeping?

PH
 

Nellie 

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Stripey ones, beats me. Probably a bit of everything. I inherited them in April, it's last years queen and can't tell you much more about their heritage than that:

Photo if you fancy having a go (click for larger):



Technically have a hive and a half at the moment, two of us in our apiary and we just got our mits on a swarm last week so I'm in no desperate rush to attempt a split on this hive this year.
 

Finman 

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In fact you ask, do you put an exluder?

It is simplier to beginner that you do not use. You may take it into use in late summer in August. Let the hive expand feerely as much as they could and give more room.

Tha brood area seems quite porous. It is not a good sign.

Example: To use comb evenly you shoud put that the comb down stairs that bees situate brood in upper part too. It means that you rotate the situation of boxes or combs between first and second brood box. And finally, when whole comb is black, you lift it to super and bees fill it with honey.
 
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grizzly 

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Personally Nellie i would go from 1 hive to 2, before thinking about brood and a half.

currently i am not a convert to using supers for brood, (with the exception of a Drone frame), but i know Admin has toyed with it recently and enjoyed the result.
 

Nellie 

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finman said:
Tha brood area seems quite porous. It is not a good sign.
That was the colony on the old frames before the shook swarm and doesn't indicate the Brood pattern at the current time on the new frames, but with the same queen. The brood pattern on the old frames has been raised as a possible cause for concern and I have been watching for it repeating on the new frames.

With a swarm to worry about I'm not inclined the make a split from this colony this summer if I don't have to. There are currently 4 hives on the apiary, probably reducing to 3 over the weekend so I'm in no desparate need to make a split right now. Even if I were to attempt a split, I'd prefer one strong colony trying to draw foundation than two weaker ones, but if it is easier to rephrase the question:

"I'm thinking of splitting this colony, but I'd like them on double brood before attempting the split, is it too late in the year to put another 11 frames of foundation intended for brood onto this hive?" (or should I now be starting to think of supering for honey rather than brood).
 

jon 

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is it too late in the year to put another 11 frames of foundation intended for brood onto this hive?" (or should I now be starting to think of supering for honey rather than brood).

It depends on your queen. My bees are quite happy in a single BS brood box but Carniolans will need two.
I would just let them build up as they want.
Check weekly for swarm cells and if you see some you could do an artificial swarm or else remove 3 frames to make a nuc, one of which has a good queen cell on it.
You started the year with a very small colony so any honey would be a bonus. If you end the year with one strong colony and a good nuc I think you will be doing well.
Get them through the winter and you will be set for a lot of honey next year.
 

Nellie 

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You started the year with a very small colony so any honey would be a bonus. If you end the year with one strong colony and a good nuc I think you will be doing well.
While I'm technically a single (and a bit) hive Beekeeper at the moment I can definitely enthuse about going to two+ hives. The donor frame of brood/drawn comb from the hive next door was an absolute miracle worker, they went from 2.5-3 frames of brood, and struggling to expand, to 5 (Including the donor frame) in a week and had drawn nearly two frames of foundation by the week after.

In some respects, if I were to consider trying to split them, I'm far more inclined to go double brood and at least let one strong colony try to draw foundation out than split a single brood chamber back down to half/two thirds strength when I've only just got them to a point where they're starting to look pretty strong. Especially when I've got a small swarm currently hived that is quite likely going to need a boost over the coming weeks in the same way mine did.

Ignoring the donor hive which is supposed to move this weekend, there are 3 hives in the apiary: Mine, my colleagues and the small swarm we hived last week. Mine is now the strongest colony by some margin and I don't want to weaken it at a time when the other two are still relatively weak. If I split mine now, we'll have 4 weak colonies and one that's at least 3 frames down again and in no position to be able to be used to boost the others for another couple of weeks.
 
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planbee 

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My ladies were given a second brood chamber on 27th May, and they are very busy working on it.

I called in today, and I noticed that they were crowding around the entrance, so I removed the entrance block - that seemed to have relieved the situation.

Decided to have a look into the hive, and it seems that they are building brace comb between the two sets of frames, so lifting the top box off, will lift up the frames in the lower box.

Is this OK, or should I fit a crown board between the two, my theory being that the lower box will then have no "top space", and the upper box with have an "under space" which the bees won't, [or shouldn't], fill with comb?

John
 

Polyanwood 

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it seems that they are building brace comb between the two sets of frames
That was one of the reasons I gave up on double brood. The other being that they kept hiding QCs in this mess.

should I fit a crown board between the two
No. A crown board between the brood boxes will split the brood nest. They are most likely to seek to only use one box and remove all stores from the other. They may even abandon the brood in one box.
 

Hivemaker. 

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If the brace comb is that bad it sounds like your frame spacing or internal hive dimensions are not correct.
 

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