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Author Topic: How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees  (Read 474 times)

Offline FloridaGardener

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How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees
« on: June 08, 2022, 04:38:13 pm »
In a brood box of two mediums, it's not a surprise to see my packed-out mature hives have 18 frames of brood in them.  They are crazy crazy brooders.  They love to make more bees.  As the flow progresses, the brood nest is backfilled with stores.  And the flow here is so long (Feb 15-June 30, then releative dearth until Sept 1) that I can't keep up.
 
I do splits March 1 and May 15 to cut them back a bit. 
Personally I find it a juggling act between emptying space for the Q to lay, thus providing open brood pheromones to stave off swarming, and letting the bees get on with making honey.

Pulling off the super in hot weather (which for me means lifting most frames out because I can't lift a full super) is time consuming.
In the brood box, I've been removing frames 2, 8, and 9 in the upper box and substituting empties.  These are quickly drawn out and filled with brood. 

I've read some talk about "non-interference" beekeeping.  And "releasing the bees into the flow."  So does anyone have positive experience where there is LESS active work clearing the brood nest (to stop swarming), without increasing the brood box size?  Bigger brood box = less manageable colony.  I want to keep them dense anyway to stave of SHB. 

Can a colony "sit tight" with 20 medium frames without feeling restless to swarm? Or must I constantly pull brood/stores and clear up space for UNcapped brood?   I'd love get a rest.  They're wearing me out.

Offline rast

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Re: How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2022, 08:54:47 pm »
May I ask what part of the panhandle?  Congrats on 500 posts.
Fools argue; wise men discuss.
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2022, 09:17:14 pm »
North of Choctawhatchee Bay.  Between Pensacola & Panama City, north of Destin.

Offline jtcmedic

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Re: How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2022, 10:41:11 pm »
I only use 10 frame deep brood nest, and find they do well. I had issues with double deeps and shb, ran a deep and a half , didn?t have the same massive shb but after doing single deep brood box(20 medium equivalent ) I had better health of my hives and the over winter well.

Offline tycrnp

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Re: How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2022, 11:34:31 pm »
I'm in Gulf Breeze.  We do a single deep brood box and they seem to do fine, over winter fine.  We tried the double brood box one year, they consolidated into a single box and left the bottom one empty, so we don't do that any more.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2022, 11:36:30 pm »
For consideration.  When the hive is approaching (T-2wk) the size you want; You do have the option of caging the queen in the hive for a week or two to put a pause, to slow her growth rate down.  Caging may be a much easier and viable option for you instead of constant manipulations.
The bees will spend the next 4 days undoing all of the wrongs that the beekeeper just did to them.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2022, 11:47:26 am »
True but I mostly have "stealth" queens that dive under the slatted rack then when I get to the rack they appear on the inner lid.  So it's just as much work - no more usually - to find her. 

Guess I'm lazy and it's hot for 4 months now.  My weather app says 91F feels like 101.

@tycrnp  There's no varroa problem here.  Probably all the Agent Orange, Agent Purple, Agent White etc they tested on Eglin Air Force Base killed them off - ha!  But the only way I can keep a handle on the SHB is mechanical controls:

-  Boost the screened bottom board on runners, then slide a West Beetle trap underneath. I can keep an eye on it - - without opening the hive.
- Leave in the matted-up dixie towel/swiffer sheet at the rear side, where I stand for inspections. Easier to squish live ones before they crawl out of the cloth.
- When there's a huge SHB problem, I do two inner lids: one with NO screen over the hole, underneath an inner lid WITH a screen.  The bees jail the beetles between the two lids.  It's easier to kill the exposed, jailed SHB... as soon I open up.

Online The15thMember

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Re: How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2022, 02:00:07 pm »
True but I mostly have "stealth" queens that dive under the slatted rack then when I get to the rack they appear on the inner lid.  So it's just as much work - no more usually - to find her. 
FG, are you working your boxes bottom to top, starting with the lowest box and ending with the highest?  That can help to keep the bees from being pushed down into the bottom box as you are inspecting, or further if you have a slatted rack. 
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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2022, 05:38:27 pm »
I believe that Michael Bush uses all medium boxes, even for broodnest, and no Q excluders. You could personal message him.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2022, 07:23:20 am »
Bees never "sit tight".  They grow or they shrink.  They put away honey and build up or they stop rearing brood and they decline.  But the real question is can you keep them growing instead of swarming.  The bees will answer that and not every colony will have the same answer.  But keeping the brood nest open will help.

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Offline Bee North

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Re: How much is enough space, how many bees is too many bees
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2022, 05:06:42 pm »
For consideration.  When the hive is approaching (T-2wk) the size you want; You do have the option of caging the queen in the hive for a week or two to put a pause, to slow her growth rate down.  Caging may be a much easier and viable option for you instead of constant manipulations.

This is what I do when I run out of hardware, or dont have the time to graft queens and make up splits.

Caging in a full deep frame checks the swarming impulse, reduces brood numbers and brings in a lot of honey as the girls are promoted to foraging...still being packed with bees keeps the shb in check too.

Yes it takes time to find the queen, but I run with one 10 frame deep brood box and a queen x.. so it's not so bad.

Living in the tropics in Australia my bees are expanding for most of the year. Its "winter" here now now and there is a lot in flower...most of my hives still have drones and I'm still taking of honey!