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Dave Aky

NZBF Full of bees, next steps? (Double brood box?)

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Kia ora e hoa ma (hey friends)

 

Wondering if you could help me. My bees have steadily been growing in numbers. I checked them again today and they are full to the brim. They had even build some cone in the underside of the feeder tray. So my questions are...

- What are my next steps?

- Do I chuck a second brood box on top?

- If so, how do I do that? Do I take the frames from the outside and chuck them in the middle of the new box?

 

I also spotted some interesting cells. Are the practise queen cells? See photo's below.

 

 

Thanks for your help. 

 

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Those are normal drone cells .

 

Put your next box on .

 

Move two frames of brood up from position 4 and 6 from box one , and put together in the middle of box two .

 

Replace the frames you removed with new ones . 
 

If you can , the brood in box two will go better with a frame of honey next to them , but it’s not critical with a strong  hive .

 

Repeat a week later with different brood frames from box one , and again the following week and so on.

 

Watch them for queen cells . It’s swarm season . Strong hive plus lots of drones equals swarm tendencies 

 

That bottom frame is getting untidy and one I’d ear mark to cycle out 

Edited by M4tt
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10 minutes ago, Dave Aky said:

I also spotted some interesting cells. Are the practise queen cells? See photo's below.

 

2 minutes ago, M4tt said:

Those are normal drone cells .

i think hes referring to the 4 queen cups in the pics.

check they are not laid. there may be more hiding. unfortunately with such bad comb it makes it difficult to check for swarm cells. one of the many reasons you really want to make sure you have good foundation and its drawn out well. they will draw them out better in the top box than the bottom box.

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15 minutes ago, tristan said:

4 queen cups in the pics.

Ah yes , I see them now 👍,

 

You’ve got to shake the bees all

off the frames to find them all .

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Thanks guys. I’ll jump back in tomorrow and add a second box. 

 

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Dave what you can see are play cups, the bees create these when they are beginning to think about swarming.  If they are empty, all good, but you definitely need another box on top or they are likely to swarm. 

 

With the play cups the next step is the bees will begin to grease up the bottom of the cup, then the Queen will lay in it, and the egg will hatch into a larvae and then the cell will be capped.  With my bees a capped cell is usually all it takes for them to swarm...

1 hour ago, tristan said:

 

i think hes referring to the 4 queen cups in the pics.

check they are not laid. there may be more hiding. unfortunately with such bad comb it makes it difficult to check for swarm cells. one of the many reasons you really want to make sure you have good foundation and its drawn out well. they will draw them out better in the top box than the bottom box.

 

This is one of the reasons I prefer plastic frames...

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1 hour ago, CraBee said:

Dave what you can see are play cups, the bees create these when they are beginning to think about swarming.  If they are empty, all good, but you definitely need another box on top or they are likely to swarm. 

 

With the play cups the next step is the bees will begin to grease up the bottom of the cup, then the Queen will lay in it, and the egg will hatch into a larvae and then the cell will be capped.  With my bees a capped cell is usually all it takes for them to swarm...

2 hours ago, tristan said:

 

i think hes referring to the 4 queen cups in the pics.

check they are not laid. there may be more hiding. unfortunately with such bad comb it makes it difficult to check for swarm cells. one of the many reasons you really want to make sure you have good foundation and its drawn out well. they will draw them out better in the top box than the bottom box.

 

This is one of the reasons I prefer plastic frames...

Hi Craig

 

Nice to hear from you again! Thanks for that advice. I am stoked that they are so healthy but I feel a sense of anxiety that I need to act on fast! Hope you're doing well. 

 

 

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17 hours ago, M4tt said:

Those are normal drone cells .

 

Put your next box on .

 

Move two frames of brood up from position 4 and 6 from box one , and put together in the middle of box two .

 

Replace the frames you removed with new ones . 
 

If you can , the brood in box two will go better with a frame of honey next to them , but it’s not critical with a strong  hive .

 

Repeat a week later with different brood frames from box one , and again the following week and so on.

 

Watch them for queen cells . It’s swarm season . Strong hive plus lots of drones equals swarm tendencies 

 

That bottom frame is getting untidy and one I’d ear mark to cycle out 


not something I’ve read before. Only the first step. Presumably this keeps decongesting the main cluster of brood and encourages rapid comb development?

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Hey guys. I inspected my hive today (the same one which I put a second box on top of). 

 

A week and a half after I put the second box on, it was entirely full with lots of brood. I put a honey box on top, and a few days later it swarmed. I have now housed that swarm. 

 

I did did an inspection today on the hive today (4 days after it swarmed) and I noticed that there are at least 3 capped queen cells. Does that mean that it is about to swarm again? 

 

Dave 

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10 minutes ago, Dave Aky said:

Hey guys. I inspected my hive today (the same one which I put a second box on top of). 

 

A week and a half after I put the second box on, it was entirely full with lots of brood. I put a honey box on top, and a few days later it swarmed. I have now housed that swarm. 

 

I did did an inspection today on the hive today (4 days after it swarmed) and I noticed that there are at least 3 capped queen cells. Does that mean that it is about to swarm again? 

 

Dave 

Yes .

 

Your old queen will be the one that swarmed . Those cells left behind will

potentially swarm . There may or may not be a virgin queen in the hive now . 

Edited by M4tt

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I'd be more inclined to say no.

The capped queen cells will be replacement queens  first one out will murder other two.

Old queen swarms as soon as first queen cell is capped.

But as matt said there may or maynot be virgin already there, running that is.

 

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Dave , it’s very hard to tell . As @Bee Good said, maybe not . 
 

You’re probably after some advice .

 
I can’t tell you if there is a virgin in there or not , but at a guess , possibly not .

Id go back in and very CAREFULLY remove the queen cells except for what you deem to be the best one , which will become your future queen . 
 

By doing this , you remove the risk and potential of there being 3 more afterswarms with virgins . 
 

If there is a virgin in there , they will potentially swarm only once more with the one remaining cell , and if there isn’t , they won’t swarm .

 

The problem with leaving all three cells , is that if they all emerge at the same time, they will swarm for sure 

 

Well done going in for a look and reporting what you saw 👍

Edited by M4tt

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Thanks guys. This is so helpful! You guys are legends. I will head back in tomorrow (got days for wearing a full bee suit but it’s got to be done). 

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most beekeepers have these scenenarios from time to time,

 

Best to check in a couple of  days, and look at the Queen cells if one has hatched out cleanly from its exit, the other two should have a hole riped into the side where first virgin culled  ocuppants.

Just close up hive for two or three weeks, waiting for mating. Provided they have enough stores.

 

If all three or two have hatched, then would be best to search froms for surplus Queens.

or there could be mini swarm outs.

Edited by Bee Good

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1 hour ago, Dave Aky said:

Thanks guys. This is so helpful! You guys are legends. I will head back in tomorrow (got days for wearing a full bee suit but it’s got to be done). 

If yours bees are very yellow there is a chance the  first hatched queen will kill the others.

If your bees and queen are black there is no chance .

They will all swarm off with bees.

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I had another thought. I have just caught another swarm from a mates house. To be exact, they had started making comb

in his compost bin so that would make it technically a hive (although, only a few days old). 

 

My wonderings were, would it be best to

a. Hive them as hope the queen is good?

b. Buy a new, mated, Queen?

c. Put one of the Queen cells from this hive (the one mentioned in the previous comments), into my new one? If so, how would I go about that?

 

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8 hours ago, Dave Aky said:

I had another thought. I have just caught another swarm from a mates house. To be exact, they had started making comb

in his compost bin so that would make it technically a hive (although, only a few days old). 

 

My wonderings were, would it be best to

a. Hive them as hope the queen is good?

b. Buy a new, mated, Queen?

c. Put one of the Queen cells from this hive (the one mentioned in the previous comments), into my new one? If so, how would I go about that?

 

a. and b. have as many answers as there are beekeepers.

In the end its your decision- and that will be based on what you want to achieve. It doesn't hurt to have a  hive  that doesn't product tonnes of honey if you get good beekeeping skills  and understanding in the process.

Addressing c, only- you would have to find the swarm queen and bop her on the head so she didn't destroy the cell you may or may not be able to cut out and relocate. Would the benefits (?) be worth the effort?

 

Well done extracting the compost hive. Not a straightforward job I bet.

 

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8 hours ago, Dave Aky said:

I had another thought. I have just caught another swarm from a mates house. To be exact, they had started making comb

in his compost bin so that would make it technically a hive (although, only a few days old). 

 

My wonderings were, would it be best to

a. Hive them as hope the queen is good?

b. Buy a new, mated, Queen?

c. Put one of the Queen cells from this hive (the one mentioned in the previous comments), into my new one? If so, how would I go about that?

 

A. would be the choice I would take.

 just re-house the swarm and let them build naturally into there new home and monitor the outcome.

Later on you can replace queen  or just dispatch current queen and let bees continue with current genetics, if you favour.

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Dave, just in case, are you up on Varroa control? Nothing to do with your current matters but I just wouldn't like you to miss treating everything, swarms and all.

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1 hour ago, Ali said:

Dave, just in case, are you up on Varroa control? Nothing to do with your current matters but I just wouldn't like you to miss treating everything, swarms and all.

Hi Ali. Good question. I treated my

original hive for varroa in late September until end of Oct. so as the swarm was from that hive it should be fine. 

 

But I will treat the hive I have just caught. Am I right I’m assuming that I should collect honey that was produced while a hive is being treated? My current treatment is Bayvarol. And the treatment is generally for 4-6 weeks correct? Or longer?

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16 minutes ago, Dave Aky said:

And the treatment is generally for 4-6 weeks correct? Or longer?

Bayvarol is EIGHT weeks.

....Although If I am doubtful about the mite/treatment status of any of my usual 4 - 5 frame swarms I pop in a couple of bayvarol strips for a week or so to take care of any phoretic mites before brood get capped. 

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Update:

I went in today and removed two queen cells from the bottom brood box, level the best looking one. I also decided to double check the top brood box just to be safe (as I didn’t recall seeing any queen cells in that box last weekend). I’m glad I did. I found a frame with at least 6 queen cells on it! 

 

So so I dealt to those as well. I’m a little nervous now. Should I be? 

 

Also, there is A LOT of drones hanging around and huge amounts of drone cells. I

I’m assuming that’s due to the new queens? Is there anything I should do with those drone cells, or just leave them to do their thing? 

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You’ve done what you can for now .

With that info it would have certainly swarmed again .

 

Those frames with excess drone cells , progressively lift them up out of the brood nest and the bees will fill them with honey after the drones emerge .

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