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Brood in every comb and the hive is filling up!

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  • Kent Brewster
    We re in sunny East Palo Alto, CA. Our first hive went up on April 30th, and it s going like gangbusters. We have a 36 top bar hive with 25 bars, and every
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 14, 2012
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      We're in sunny East Palo Alto, CA. Our first hive went up on April 30th, and it's going like gangbusters. We have a 36" top bar hive with 25 bars, and every single bar looks like it's half honey and half brood.

      The girls are working on the very last bar and I don't want them to swarm, so I've harvested a couple of those half-brood bars and felt terrible about killing the babies. Besides building a six-foot hive and move everything over, does anyone have any bright ideas?

      Thanks very much,

      --Kent
    • Rafael Montag
      Dear Kent:   I hate to sound critical, but I do believe it was a bad move on your part to harvest that honey.  You have been blessed with an exceptionally
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 15, 2012
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        Dear Kent:
         
        I hate to sound critical, but I do believe it was a bad move on your part to harvest that honey.  You have been blessed with an exceptionally prolific queen and your fear of your hive swarming is unwarranted unless you have definitely observed queen cells being constructed on some of your combs in which case a swarm is inevitable, being only a matter of time and favorable weather conditions.  If that is the case, and even if it's not, a better move would have been to split the hive into two (assuming you have another empty TBH - if you don't, build one).  Here's what you do.  Do this in early afternoon, on a bright and sunny day, when most of the workers are out foraging and the hive is occupied mainly by nurse bees tending to the larvae:
         
        Case 1: with queen cells
        First identify the queen and when you do, make sure you don't transfer her to the new colony.  Take half of the combs containing the queen cells and transfer them to the new hive (The usual recommendation is for a total of 4 to five, all inclussive, but I like to take more, just to make sure both hives have a good shot at surviveability).  Add a couple of brood combs (worker or drone - it doesn't matter).  Ordinarily you would also add one or two honey combs and one or two empty combs.  In your case, you dont have any so deal with what you have.  What will eventually happen is that the first emerging queen will kill each and every one of the queens within their cells and go out to mate.  You will then have a new productive colony.  Now, remember the other queen cells in the combs you left in the original colony?  Same scenario with the first emerging queen, only in this case she will also have to duke it out with the reigning queen, winner
        take all.  Sometimes, the new queen and the reigning queen co-exist for a time, until the reigning queen slows down in egg laying, then the new queen takes over as the worker population notices this and proceeds to kill the old queen.
         
        Case 2: no queen cells
        This will test the keeness of your observational powers.  Take a brood comb out from the center of the hive, hold it out to the sun and see if you can spot any newly hatched larvae.  If you do, take that comb to your new hive along with other combs as in Case 1, but make sure you don't transfer the reigning queen.  The bees in the new colony will sense that there's no queen around and will raise a new queen from the newly hatched larvae.
         
        Raf

        From: Kent Brewster <kent_brewster@...>
        To: TopHive@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, June 15, 2012 1:03 AM
        Subject: [TopHive] Brood in every comb and the hive is filling up!


         
        We're in sunny East Palo Alto, CA. Our first hive went up on April 30th, and it's going like gangbusters. We have a 36" top bar hive with 25 bars, and every single bar looks like it's half honey and half brood.

        The girls are working on the very last bar and I don't want them to swarm, so I've harvested a couple of those half-brood bars and felt terrible about killing the babies. Besides building a six-foot hive and move everything over, does anyone have any bright ideas?

        Thanks very much,

        --Kent




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • elegans@aol.com
        In a message dated 6/15/2012 2:31:27 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, kent_brewster@yahoo.com writes: We re in sunny East Palo Alto, CA. Our first hive went up on
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 15, 2012
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          In a message dated 6/15/2012 2:31:27 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
          kent_brewster@... writes:

          We're in sunny East Palo Alto, CA. Our first hive went up on April 30th,
          and it's going like gangbusters. We have a 36" top bar hive with 25 bars,
          and every single bar looks like it's half honey and half brood.

          The girls are working on the very last bar and I don't want them to swarm,
          so I've harvested a couple of those half-brood bars and felt terrible
          about killing the babies. Besides building a six-foot hive and move everything
          over, does anyone have any bright ideas?

          Thanks very much,

          --Kent




          The advice about making a split is good if you are interested in expanding
          your bee yard. Maybe you are not. Thinning your hive works as well. Be
          careful though that you inadvertantly remove the queen in the process. Gentle
          brushing of the bees into the hive might help here. Enjoy the fruit of your
          bees labors! Chickens will love the sacrificial brood.

          George

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Rafael Montag
          An interesting point, though only Kent can say whether or not he d be interested in another hive.  Personally (and from past experience), I can t see that
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 15, 2012
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            An interesting point, though only Kent can say whether or not he'd be interested in another hive.  Personally (and from past experience), I can't see that anyone would not want to have two hives at a bare minimum.  I was told this when I first entertained the notion of becoming a beekeeper by some very experienced beekeepers.  The reason was stated earlier - to have a basis for comparing the progress of the hives, and enable removal of brood comb from a strong hive to help a weak one.
             
            Raf, Hyattstown, MD

            From: "elegans@..." <elegans@...>
            To: TopHive@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Friday, June 15, 2012 12:43 PM
            Subject: Re: [TopHive] Brood in every comb and the hive is filling up!


             

            In a message dated 6/15/2012 2:31:27 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
            mailto:kent_brewster%40yahoo.com writes:

            We're in sunny East Palo Alto, CA. Our first hive went up on April 30th,
            and it's going like gangbusters. We have a 36" top bar hive with 25 bars,
            and every single bar looks like it's half honey and half brood.

            The girls are working on the very last bar and I don't want them to swarm,
            so I've harvested a couple of those half-brood bars and felt terrible
            about killing the babies. Besides building a six-foot hive and move everything
            over, does anyone have any bright ideas?

            Thanks very much,

            --Kent

            The advice about making a split is good if you are interested in expanding
            your bee yard. Maybe you are not. Thinning your hive works as well. Be
            careful though that you inadvertantly remove the queen in the process. Gentle
            brushing of the bees into the hive might help here. Enjoy the fruit of your
            bees labors! Chickens will love the sacrificial brood.

            George

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • elegans@aol.com
            In a message dated 6/15/2012 11:23:09 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, rmontag48@yahoo.com writes: An interesting point, though only Kent can say whether or not
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 15, 2012
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              In a message dated 6/15/2012 11:23:09 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
              rmontag48@... writes:

              An interesting point, though only Kent can say whether or not he'd be
              interested in another hive. Personally (and from past experience), I can't see
              that anyone would not want to have two hives at a bare minimum. I was
              told this when I first entertained the notion of becoming a beekeeper by some
              very experienced beekeepers. The reason was stated earlier - to have a
              basis for comparing the progress of the hives, and enable removal of brood
              comb from a strong hive to help a weak one.

              Raf, Hyattstown, MD



              Your point about two hives is very important. It may be an ability to
              manage two hives time wise or something. I have two hives and knowing there is
              back up is very reassuring. Things can and do go wromng with a hive
              sometimes gradually or sometimes all at once. Knowing you have options is something
              I came to understand. But in my first year I took small steps to aclimate
              into the bee suit as it were and stayed with the one hive till I had a
              couple of years under my belt.

              George

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Kent Brewster
              I ve been very careful not to take any bees at all when removing bars, thanks. While a split is tempting--so far I ve seen nothing resembling a queen cell-we
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 16, 2012
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                I've been very careful not to take any bees at all when removing bars, thanks. While a split is tempting--so far I've seen nothing resembling a queen cell-we simply don't have room for another hive. We have dogs and chickens and all sorts of raised beds here and there. Thanks for the reminder about the chickens and brood comb; I'm sure they'll love it.

                --Kent

                --- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, elegans@... wrote:
                >
                >
                > In a message dated 6/15/2012 2:31:27 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
                > kent_brewster@... writes:
                >
                > We're in sunny East Palo Alto, CA. Our first hive went up on April 30th,
                > and it's going like gangbusters. We have a 36" top bar hive with 25 bars,
                > and every single bar looks like it's half honey and half brood.
                >
                > The girls are working on the very last bar and I don't want them to swarm,
                > so I've harvested a couple of those half-brood bars and felt terrible
                > about killing the babies. Besides building a six-foot hive and move everything
                > over, does anyone have any bright ideas?
                >
                > Thanks very much,
                >
                > --Kent
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > The advice about making a split is good if you are interested in expanding
                > your bee yard. Maybe you are not. Thinning your hive works as well. Be
                > careful though that you inadvertantly remove the queen in the process. Gentle
                > brushing of the bees into the hive might help here. Enjoy the fruit of your
                > bees labors! Chickens will love the sacrificial brood.
                >
                > George
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • elegans@aol.com
                In a message dated 6/16/2012 9:45:17 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, kent_brewster@yahoo.com writes: I ve been very careful not to take any bees at all when
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 16, 2012
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                  In a message dated 6/16/2012 9:45:17 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
                  kent_brewster@... writes:

                  I've been very careful not to take any bees at all when removing bars,
                  thanks. While a split is tempting--so far I've seen nothing resembling a queen
                  cell-we simply don't have room for another hive. We have dogs and chickens
                  and all sorts of raised beds here and there. Thanks for the reminder about
                  the chickens and brood comb; I'm sure they'll love it.

                  --Kent



                  Kent-

                  I made reuse of an old salad spinner with the comb from my top bar hive. I
                  mash it into a strainer for the most part then spin it for the remainder.
                  I'm with you on splits: a hive begats then begats again....
                  where did you get your hive? Mine is also a 36 incher from Backyard hive in
                  Colorado. A beautiful piece of work plus the bars are one-piece and
                  perfect for the girls. My only objection is that it really should be 4 feet. But
                  it's a great hive.

                  George

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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