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Author Topic: Nectar management in a long hive  (Read 5349 times)

Offline Bob Wilson

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Nectar management in a long hive
« on: May 20, 2020, 05:49:02 pm »
I read an article on beesource.com by Walt Wright about nectar management. His point is that over crowding (meaning too many bees in the hive) is NOT the cause of swarming. He wants a LOT of bees = more honey. He says that people often mess up on nectar management, and the broodnest becomes backfilled, which leads to idle bees, which leads to swarming. In other words, the time to stop the swarming is not when we have a lot of bees, but earlier, by opening the brood nest with empty frames, giving the nurse bees something to do, and more space for the queen.

In my long hives, there seems to be a LOT of frames with uncapped nectar. (I think they ought to be more considerate, and cap each cell before they start another.)
1. Do I shift all these partial filled, uncapped frames further down the long hive?
2. Will the bees cap it eventually, or lose tract of it?
3. If there are small patches of open brood (say 3 inches) on a frame mostly filled with nectar, do I leave it in the brood area, or will it contribute to the backfill problem and lead to swarming?
4. Are these small patches of open brood (on mostly nectar filled frames) a usual horizontal hive process, or is it the queen laying any place she can in a backfilled brood nest?
5. What about capped brood? Is capped brood considered brood nest? Meaning does it have to kept warm also, or can I shift that nectar filled /partially capped brood further down the hive?

These are questions which seem to me to be more prevelant in long live situations. Horizontal hives have their benefits... but also difficulties.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Nectar management in a long hive
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2020, 02:36:12 am »
Bob from what I understand, the bees will not cap the honey until it reaches a certain moisture level. Perhaps the bees are so busy working and bringing in the nectar during this flow that they have not dried it out enough or had adequate time to dry it out enough to reach the proper level of moisture needed for capping? In other words your bees may be super bees! If this is right then your bees are on the ball doing a good job bringing the nectar home. They should dry it out and cap it soon enough.  Does that sound reasonable? If this is not right perhaps some of the more experienced keepers will tell us
both, what is what on your capping, or lack of capping situation.
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Nectar management in a long hive
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2020, 12:06:50 am »
Bob: my take on those nectar-filled frames with just a patch of brood is....
Those bees know you're going to haul out all fully capped frames.  They are staking out their ground. 

     The nectar all around that 4" patch of larvae is future meals for their ever-hungry progeny.  It's right where they need it.  Because what they really want to do is give you 20 frames of brood.

     You're in Georgia.  It's July and hot for 5 more months.  There's still time to make more bee colonies!  I just discovered yesterday that a colony that I skipped inspection on for only three weeks laid up four frames of DRONES in some beautiful new foundationless white wax...all because I resisted using an excluder. 

     Now I'm all for Nature and don't cull drones.  But yep I was pretty steamed that those girls fed almost half a super of the good stuff simply to propagate their species.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Nectar management in a long hive
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2020, 12:26:25 am »
lol, Florida. The bees know my plans and are actively working against me.
I.was in a few days ago, and they are beginning to cap some of the nectar. There is no longer any comb being built. And I don't expect any more for the rest of the year, even with the big population all three hives have. There wasn't last year after this time. Maybe there is better flowering in the summer in Florida than here.
I am still watching carefully and keeping notes.

Offline loisl58

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Re: Nectar management in a long hive
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2022, 12:52:18 am »
My long langstroth Hive1 has been very slow capping honey 2022 Queensland Australia summer Dec-Feb. Yet 20kms away in a slightly different climate the bees are going gangbusters.
End of last winter early Sept.2021 lost queen, zero brood etc. Borrowed brood, no Queen Cells made. Next added 2 brood frames with 3 Queen cells. 2 Queens were the product with Queen Excluder between. Late Oct brood noth Queens. Moved middle queen to other end so honey was centre entrance.  Other end Queen swarmed month later. What a season!

Now 1 Queen 12 brood frames. 14 nectar, honey, partially built foundation. Queen moved herself to middle when I was cleaning excluder. Knew it before I saw brood as they build comb from frame to floor where brood is.

1. Should I try putting in a slatted board under brood frames?

I think 8 frames would be enough as they build close to entrance & brood centre.

2. Any ideas?

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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Nectar management in a long hive
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2022, 09:38:31 am »
Lois
Am I right in thinking you have center box entrances? I keep mine at one end.
I am going to be very purposeful about watching for backfilling this year, and make sure nectar is at the other end from the broodnest.
The reason is... I want to know if these horizontal hives take longer to dehumidify and cap their honey. Is it a flaw in horizontal hives? Do they have a harder time circulating air?
I don't think it should be. Top Bar hives are kept all over the world.
Meanwhile, I don't want a slat board in mine, and Cao (another beek with long langs) says he only keeps a small entrance at one end year round.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2022, 06:43:41 pm by Bob Wilson »

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Nectar management in a long hive
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2022, 10:41:28 am »
Welcome Lois!

Phillip
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline loisl58

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Re: Nectar management in a long hive
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2022, 10:59:21 pm »
I had 1 end entrance open till early summer. 1st Queen died over winter. Borrowed frames with 3 Queen cells. Ended up with 2 queens, 1 must have returned from mating flight & entered middle entrance. I moved her to other end. She is now back in middle. Other Queen not there. So now closed that entrance & have other 2 entrances open.

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Offline tigger19687

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Re: Nectar management in a long hive
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2024, 11:25:19 am »
I read an article on beesource.com by Walt Wright about nectar management. His point is that over crowding (meaning too many bees in the hive) is NOT the cause of swarming. He wants a LOT of bees = more honey. He says that people often mess up on nectar management, and the broodnest becomes backfilled, which leads to idle bees, which leads to swarming. In other words, the time to stop the swarming is not when we have a lot of bees, but earlier, by opening the brood nest with empty frames, giving the nurse bees something to do, and more space for the queen.

In my long hives, there seems to be a LOT of frames with uncapped nectar. (I think they ought to be more considerate, and cap each cell before they start another.)
1. Do I shift all these partial filled, uncapped frames further down the long hive?
2. Will the bees cap it eventually, or lose tract of it?
3. If there are small patches of open brood (say 3 inches) on a frame mostly filled with nectar, do I leave it in the brood area, or will it contribute to the backfill problem and lead to swarming?
4. Are these small patches of open brood (on mostly nectar filled frames) a usual horizontal hive process, or is it the queen laying any place she can in a backfilled brood nest?
5. What about capped brood? Is capped brood considered brood nest? Meaning does it have to kept warm also, or can I shift that nectar filled /partially capped brood further down the hive?

These are questions which seem to me to be more prevelant in long live situations. Horizontal hives have their benefits... but also difficulties.

Sorry for the bump But wanted to see if you could answer your own questions now that it has been a while on your Long Langs.
Are you able to answer them or is it still a crap shoot depending on the hive?

I'm making the switch to LL this year as I don't want to deal with the top boxes.  My entrance will also be on the short side but on the bottom, 2 round holes about 1" diameter.  They can plug up what they want.

Offline Bill Murray

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Re: Nectar management in a long hive
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2024, 09:34:27 pm »
So, there are really two issues here. First the bees want to swarm for reproduction, not overcrowding. If you can keep the broodnest open for the queen to lay early spring, as long as she has room to lay no matter the amount of bees they they will not swarm. When you see back-filling you are already to late. they will have gone into swarm mode. Overcrowding is when flow is already in swing. The bee population is huge, nectar is coming in, the queen has room to lay, but not enough room for the bees to efficiently hand off incoming resources equals overcrowding swarm.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Nectar management in a long hive
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2024, 07:05:22 am »
Walt's view is that the bees are trying to reproduce, but only if they have the resources to do so.  The concept of "Nectar Management" is to fool the bees into thinking they don't have the resources when they actually do.  Once you get past reproductive swarming, it's easy enough to just make sure they don't run out of room.  That point where they decide to swarm or not, he calls "swarm cutoff".  If you can get past "swarm cutoff" then they focus on honey.  Checkerboarding (alternating empty drawn comb and capped comb) makes them unsure of how much stores they have and keeps them thinking they should wait for swarming.
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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Nectar management in a long hive
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2024, 10:38:18 pm »
Tigger.
Sorry for the late reply.
It is true that I had difficulty with the deep long langs.
It seemed to me that the queen tended to stretch out her brood nest through 2/3 of the hive body, leaving only 10 frames or so of nectar, which never seemed to cure. The deep frames are only 9 or so inches deep.
Since then, I have been steadily moving towards Layens hives. I like the depth a lot better. They seem to give me all the best parts of a deep long langstroth, but without the problems. The colonies in them are building up nice, big populations, without the cramped quarters and resulting swarming, and yet they still have a lot of room for nectar. I will know more about Layens honey production at the end of this season.

 

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