December 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm #7370
This might be a long post so please bear with me. I’d just love some thoughts from more experienced beeks as this is my first winter with the hive.
The hive is in Highland Park, Los Angeles and is 6 medium boxes high: the bottom three brood and the top three are honey.
– 2nd from the bottom has three empty frames and the rest brood
– 3rd from the bottom is the most popular with 9 brood frames and one honey
– 4th box up is 6 honey, 1 pollen/honey and 3 empty frames
– 5th up is 5 honey, 5 empty frames
– the top box is 4 honey, 1 empty comb, 5 empty frames.
The last month and a half I have checked in on them every 2 weeks. Each time I’ve observed 4 hive beetles on the inside lid and I’ve killed them each time. So far I have not observed any hive beetle larvae in the hive. I’ve read up some on the beetles and it seems if the hive is strong, that’s the best defense. I also read that minimizing space could be helpful, so I was thinking of taking a box off and so that it’s five boxes high and the top two boxes are honey. But the top two boxes would be filled to 8 to 9 full frames of honey each and the 3rd box up would be totally full with brood.
I’m not sure how much space they need for Los Angeles winter months and whether or not to take a box off and consolidate as I mentioned above. The brood is pretty packed into the 3rd box from the bottom and I added an empty frame into this brood box in early November and within about two weeks, they had already drawn comb and filled a good portion of it with larvae and honey. So another option is to expand the brood up into the 4th box.
Any thoughts?December 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm #7376
Almost all hives I’ve been seeing as of late have some small hive beetles. That they are stuck against the lid is a good sign, the bees are chasing them there. Consolidating space may help quite a bit. I’m happy that you are concerned about leaving the bees plenty of stores, but perhaps you could break them down a bit to a surface area they can manage. I’ve been reducing honey stores for even strong hives down to one medium box. They likely have some honey surrounding their broodnest as well, so the medium box is like insurance.
Removing dead space with the exception of an empty frame on either side of the top box is sufficient until February when you’re going to start doing your first inspections of the year.
Also, if you’re worried about small hive beetles, purchase some Beetle Blasters down at LA Honey, they’re ridiculously cheap and easy to work with. Non-chemical too.
I’m in Highland Park as well, neighbor! Howdy!
~TysonDecember 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm #7379
Thanks so much for your response Tyson! Your post is super helpful. Also, I’m excited to know I have a beek neighbor in Highland Park!
I think I may do some consolidating space this weekend in the hive. Hopefully, that will help with the beetles and make managing the hive a bit easier on the bees. Thanks also for the heads up on the Beetle Blasters at LA Honey.
Much appreciated 🙂December 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm #7382
Just a quick update.
I took off a box today and the hive looks good. So now the hive is 2 medium boxes on top with 8 full frames of honey each and three medium brood boxes below.
I only saw one hive beetle so I think the bees are running them off.
Thanks again for your help Tyson and the bees thank you too as I’m sure they now have a more manageable space to take care of for winter.
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