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Adding boxes–when and how to do it

Home Forums HoneyLove Forum Adding boxes–when and how to do it

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    Teri Hannigan

    We have 2 medium 10-frame foundationless Langs, and when we inspected today, the bees seemed to be doing very well–so active, bringing in lots of pollen. And when we opened the lid, we saw that the top box had 8 frames of brood! There were still two empty queen cells on the bottom inside of one of the frames. We looked inside them, no larvae. We weren’t sure what to do about them, so just left them there. This is a young colony we got from a trap-out a couple of months ago, and they just raised the new queen, so I don’t know whether they are planning to raise another!

    We checked the bottom box and there was NO brood–just 2 frames of honey, 3 of nectar/bee pollen, 3 of drawn-out empty comb and 2 empty frames. What gives? I thought brood was always in the bottom box(es). If so, our bees aren’t following the program! 😉

    I decided we might need to add another box. I took 3 frames of brood from the 2nd box and put them in the middle of a third box, flanking those frames with empty foundationless frames on either side. Then, I replaced the brood frames I had removed with alternating empty frames, and we put the third box on top. I considered moving a few frames of honey and nectar from the bottom box to the third box, but wasn’t sure about it, so I did nothing.

    Yikes! This is the first time I did anything like this by myself without my beloved mentor, so I hope I made the right decisions!

    Ruth Askren

    Teri, remember that there are many “right” ways of doing beekeeping. It sounds to me like you made some good decisions.

    It’s always a good idea to put at least one frame of “food” with brood you are moving up into a new box. The bottom box that seems to be used for storage is normal. (Just not from the particular text book that you read!)

    If you have 3 frames of brood in the middle of the box, that means you’ll have 7 more frames in that box that are empty and FOUNDATIONLESS. That is a recipe for cross comb, unless you inspect often (every 2 weeks?) and be ready to press back into place their forays over to the bar next door! I never put more than two foundationless frames next to eachother. I hate cross comb and tolerate very little of it. So be careful with those empties in that box. Keep an eye on them, OR~ move up some frames from below, even if the cells have nothing in them. As long as they’re drawn out straight, you will avoid the nightmare of crossed-up comb that keeps you blind in the hive. Alternate every other frame, so that you don’t have open space without built out comb in it, exceeding two frames. One frame empty is even better.

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