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Author Topic: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?  (Read 316 times)

Offline OhMyBees

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Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« on: June 11, 2021, 10:15:56 am »
Hi. Me again.

Thanks to everyone who replied to my question yesterday where I was worried I replaced frames in the wrong order after an inspection.

I currently have a deep brood box and a medium brood box on top. My deep is pretty full (except one frame that they refuse to draw out). My second brood box has drawn comb on every frame, but so far the bees are only filling it with nectar. The queen hasn't started laying eggs up there yet. Since my bottom box has really full frames, to the edges...some even with capped honey, I'm worried that they're getting too cramped there in the bottom. Does the queen know she can go up and lay eggs up in the second brood box? I'm just not wanting them to get too cramped...;.i think I have irrational anxiety of swarming. I'm worried the queen won't lay in the second brood box and then it'll just be full of nectar and honey and then there won't be any more room to grow. Does that happen? Should I move a brood frame up into the second brood box to encourage the queen to go up there?

I'll be adding a honey super today, given that we now have drawn comb in all frames of the second brood box. :)

thanks for all help here!

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2021, 10:30:27 am »
> I currently have a deep brood box and a medium brood box on top. My deep is pretty full (except one frame that they refuse to draw out).

Full of what? Brood, larva and eggs? A couple frames of honey/pollen maybe?

For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline iddee

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2021, 10:32:32 am »
I would add the next box between the two, and let the existing medium be the honey super. The queen will move up when she needs to if there is empty space for her.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2021, 10:37:01 am »
I would add the next box between the two, and let the existing medium be the honey super. The queen will move up when she needs to if there is empty space for her.

That was going to be my next suggestion. Adding to that suggestion of placing a deep box with foundation between the two. Keeping the brood area consistent in size. That way brood frames will be the same size as well,  for future purposes. Which can really come in handy in the future.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2021, 10:38:42 am »
I would not worry about the queen not having enough room. You have a deep box fully drawn. That is all most queens really need. If she needed more space she would move up. The bees decide where she is to lay her eggs. If she needed the medium the bees would prep an area and she would fill it. She only lays where they prep.
I would move the un drawn frame into the middle of the brood. They will then draw it out and the queen will use it.
Jim Altmiller

Offline OhMyBees

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2021, 10:39:21 am »
> I currently have a deep brood box and a medium brood box on top. My deep is pretty full (except one frame that they refuse to draw out).

Full of what? Brood, larva and eggs? A couple frames of honey/pollen maybe?

The deep brood box has brood on 7 of the 10 frames. one frame is empty. the two outside frames have SOME brood, but mostly nectar/pollen/honey.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2021, 10:45:05 am »
> I currently have a deep brood box and a medium brood box on top. My deep is pretty full (except one frame that they refuse to draw out).

Full of what? Brood, larva and eggs? A couple frames of honey/pollen maybe?

The deep brood box has brood on 7 of the 10 frames. one frame is empty. the two outside frames have SOME brood, but mostly nectar/pollen/honey.

Thanks, area/location is really important. Are you in a location where there is a nectar flow going on?  I had suggested adding a deep inbeteeen the two instead of a medium. I mentioned adding foundation as well. There needs to be a good flow going if your bees are to draw our theses foundations. The reason I ask is I am understanding your bees still have not drawn out one frame in the bottom. (Empty) If your flow is over, I agree with Beemaster2 suggestion, at this point of your bee cycle.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 11:00:13 am by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2021, 10:49:58 am »
Again depending on location. If your flow is over do you expect another flow soon at your location?
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline OhMyBees

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2021, 11:00:07 am »
> I currently have a deep brood box and a medium brood box on top. My deep is pretty full (except one frame that they refuse to draw out).

Full of what? Brood, larva and eggs? A couple frames of honey/pollen maybe?

The deep brood box has brood on 7 of the 10 frames. one frame is empty. the two outside frames have SOME brood, but mostly nectar/pollen/honey.

Thanks, area/location is really important. Are you in a location where there is a nectar flow going on?  I had suggested adding a deep inbeteeen the two instead of a medium, if you are adding a box. I mentioned adding foundation as well. There needs to be a good flow going if your bees are to draw our theses foundations. The reason I ask is you said your bees still have not drawn out one frame in the bottom. If your flow is over, I agree with Beemaster2 suggestion, at this point of your bee cycle.

I'm in North Texas and from what I've heard from other local beekeepers, the flow should continue for a few more weeks, ending in early July here.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2021, 11:12:12 am »
> I currently have a deep brood box and a medium brood box on top. My deep is pretty full (except one frame that they refuse to draw out).

Full of what? Brood, larva and eggs? A couple frames of honey/pollen maybe?

The deep brood box has brood on 7 of the 10 frames. one frame is empty. the two outside frames have SOME brood, but mostly nectar/pollen/honey.

Thanks, area/location is really important. Are you in a location where there is a nectar flow going on?  I had suggested adding a deep inbeteeen the two instead of a medium, if you are adding a box. I mentioned adding foundation as well. There needs to be a good flow going if your bees are to draw our theses foundations. The reason I ask is you said your bees still have not drawn out one frame in the bottom. If your flow is over, I agree with Beemaster2 suggestion, at this point of your bee cycle.

I'm in North Texas and from what I've heard from other local beekeepers, the flow should continue for a few more weeks, ending in early July here.

In that case, In my opinion, I would now add the deep with foundation, (in the location Iddee suggested), in between your boxes. The bees will have room to do whatever they need to do from that point.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline OhMyBees

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2021, 11:26:18 am »
> I currently have a deep brood box and a medium brood box on top. My deep is pretty full (except one frame that they refuse to draw out).

Full of what? Brood, larva and eggs? A couple frames of honey/pollen maybe?

The deep brood box has brood on 7 of the 10 frames. one frame is empty. the two outside frames have SOME brood, but mostly nectar/pollen/honey.

Thanks, area/location is really important. Are you in a location where there is a nectar flow going on?  I had suggested adding a deep inbeteeen the two instead of a medium, if you are adding a box. I mentioned adding foundation as well. There needs to be a good flow going if your bees are to draw our theses foundations. The reason I ask is you said your bees still have not drawn out one frame in the bottom. If your flow is over, I agree with Beemaster2 suggestion, at this point of your bee cycle.

I'm in North Texas and from what I've heard from other local beekeepers, the flow should continue for a few more weeks, ending in early July here.

In that case, In my opinion, I would now add the deep with foundation, (in the location Iddee suggested), in between your boxes. The bees will have room to do whatever they need to do from that point.

Thank you!

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2021, 11:58:02 am »
To answer the original question;  yes it is ok to move brood up and down between the boxes. I do it all the time. Especially during late spring / early summer period. The critical point is to put brood over brood. Meaning if you put brood in the 2nd box, ensure brood left in the bottom box is under it.

My next point is of beekeeper equipment preference. To avoid all kinds of issues later, do not ever mix box and frame sizes for the brood chambers. Pick one size and stick with it. Standardize. Hive management is significantly simplified in flexibility and lowest cost by using the same size for everything. Being able to take a frame from anywhere and put that frame anywhere goes a long way when you are standing in the middle of a bee yard with equipment spread out, bees in the air and a thunderstorm barrelling in.

On the size equipment standardizing, my advice is whatever you do, do not let her lay in the mediums. Use the mediums strictly for honey. Medium frames just are not deep(tall) enough for the queen brood patch to reach her potential; hindering their nest growth and organization of stores. Use a queen excluder to manage the queen. Using a QE, YOU decide where the queen is and where she isn't. If you are going to use mediums for brood as well, then get rid of the deeps and go all mediums for everything. Standardize.

OK, now looking at the hive as you describe it. You have a 10 frame box of bees doing well with 7 frames of brood on the go and 1 foundation left. Conditions are that you have fair weather and at least 3 weeks of good nectar flows ahead. Given those parameters, here is what I would do.
- immediately remove the medium and set that aside for later.
- bring over a second deep box full of frames.
- set the new box down next to the hive on the upturned lid, so bees do not fall into the grass or on ground below - especially the queen. Take all of the frames out of the new box and set them aside.
- now you are going to reconfigure the hive as follows:  B=brood, H=honey, E= misc drawn comb, F=foundation, P=pollen
- as much as possible use drawn comb frames. if you have only foundation that is fine, it is just alot more work for the bees. Put an empty drawn comb or a foundation wherever there is an E indicated.  Wherever there is an F, put an empty drawn comb if you have.
- go into the bottom box. Get started pulling frames and transferring them into the empty top box sitting on the lid.

Top Box: 10F deep
HPBBFBBEEH
The F in the top box is that one undrawn frame from the bottom box.
(place the oldest capped and emerging brood in the top box)

Bottom Box: 10F deep
FFEBBBEFFF
(place the youngest open brood and eggs in the bottom box)

Put the newly filled top box on, put the lid on, cleanup around the hive and walk away.

What is going to happen. Bees and queens naturally work from the top down, not the bottom up. If the queen is not already on one of the brood frames you put into the top box, she will likely be up there minutes after you put the lid on the hive and walk away. She will fill out the upper box with brood. When she runs out of space to work she will move down. Nectar and honey gets pushed up. As the brood emerges in the upper box, the bees will back fill it with nectar, pushing the queen down. She will then work at filling out the bottom box. When she is done in the bottom she will try to go up again. If the top is out of space, she will bounce between the top and bottom boxes looking for work to do ... when that is occurring is she will lay in swarm cups along the bottom bars of the frames of the top box.

Give them time to work-over the new box and new frames. But not too much time as to cause the queen to be bouncing between them looking for space. Stay ahead of them and give them more space to push nectar up into, allowing them to clear some of the second box.  What that means is in 1 week to 10 days after adding that second box, you will next add a queen excluder on top of the second box and THEN put that medium super on above the QE. Keep stacking your medium suppers above, as they get filled, until the flow stops. Then go harvest your medium supers of honey.

Any queen worth keeping her antenna in place is not satisfied with just one box during peak of the season. By middle of June mine are sporting 12 to 16 frames of brood on the go between the two boxes, and the hives are stacked 5 to 6 deeps tall. Some go bigger. The results are really dependent on regional conditions, how you manage the hive to those conditions, and of course the genetics.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 12:22:41 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2021, 12:06:20 pm »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2021, 12:15:33 pm »
Since you are new here. I recommend listening closely to HoneyPumps excellent advice, that will eliminate problems before they start, making beekeeping a more pleasant experience down the road.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline OhMyBees

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2021, 12:22:36 pm »
To answer the original question;  yes it is ok to move brood up and down between the boxes. I do it all the time. Especially during late spring / early summer period. The critical point is to put brood over brood. Meaning if you put brood in the 2nd box, ensure brood left in the bottom box is under it.

My next point is of beekeeper equipment preference. However to avoid all kinds of issues later, do not ever mix box and frame sizes for the brood chambers. Pick one size and stick with it. Standardize. Hive management is significantly simplified in flexibility and lowest cost by using the same size for everything. Being able to take a frame from anywhere and put that frame anywhere goes a long way when you are standing in the middle of a bee yard with equipment spread out, bees in the air and a thunderstorm barrelling in.

On the size equipment standardizing, my advice is whatever you do, do not let her lay in the mediums. Use the mediums strictly for honey. Medium frames just are not deep(tall) enough for the queen brood patch to reach her potential; hindering their nest growth and organization of stores. Use a queen excluder to manage the queen. Using a QE, YOU decide where the queen is and where she isn't. If you are going to use mediums for brood as well, then get rid of the deeps and go all mediums for everything. Standardize.

OK, now looking at the hive as you describe it. You have a 10 frame box of bees doing well with 7 frames of brood on the go and 1 foundation left. Conditions are that you have fair weather and at least 3 weeks of good nectar flows ahead. Given those parameters, here is what I would do.
- immediately remove the medium and set that aside for later.
- bring over a second deep box full of frames.
- set the new box down next to the hive on the upturned lid, so bees do not fall into the grass or on ground below - especially the queen. Take all of the frames out of the new box and set them aside.
- now you are going to reconfigure the hive as follows:  B=brood, H=honey, E= misc drawn comb, F=foundation, P=pollen
- as much as possible use drawn comb frames. if you have only foundation that is fine, it is just alot more work for the bees. Put an empty drawn comb or a foundation wherever there is an E indicated.  Wherever there is an F, put an empty drawn comb if you have.
- go into the bottom box. Get started pulling frames and transferring them into the empty top box sitting on the lid.

Top Box: 10F deep
HPBBFBBEEH
The F in the top box is that one undrawn frame from the bottom box.
(place the oldest capped and emerging brood in the top box)

Bottom Box: 10F deep
FFEBBBEFFF
(place the youngest open brood and eggs in the bottom box)

Put the newly filled top box on, put the lid on, cleanup around the hive and walk away.

What is going to happen. Bees and queens naturally work from the top down, not the bottom up. If the queen is not already on one of the brood frames you put into the top box, she will likely be up there minutes after you put the lid on the hive and walk away. She will fill out the upper box with brood. When she runs out of space to work she will move down. Nectar and honey gets pushed up. As the brood emerges in the upper box, the bees will back fill it with nectar, pushing the queen down. She will then work at filling out the bottom box. When she is done in the bottom she will try to go up again. If the top is out of space, she will bounce between the top and bottom ... that is when she will lay in swarm cups along the bottom bars of the frames of the top box.

Give them time to work-over the new box and new frames. But not too much time as to cause the queen to be bouncing between them looking for space. Stay ahead of them and give them more space to push nectar up into.  So, in 1 week to 10 days after adding that second box, you will next add a queen excluder on top of the second box and THEN put that medium super on above the QE. Keep stacking your medium suppers above, as they are filled, until the flow stops. Then go harvest your medium supers of honey.

Thank you! Thank you! Wow, i appreciate so much the thorough direction you've provided and the time you've taken in writing it all out! The only problem is that where I live, I have to order boxes and frames, so it would be about a week before i'd be able to get my hands on another deep, and even then it'll only have foundation. Will that timing impact anything?

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2021, 12:29:27 pm »
With 7 frames of brood on the go, and a flow. You have less than a week to get this done before they are into full on swarm mode.
You could put a queen excluder on and put the medium above it. If they accept it and start pushing incoming nectar up could hold them until you get the new box. But that will not hold the queen, she is already out of space and looking for an excuse to leave.
I would recommend expediting the new deep box.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2021, 12:55:08 pm »
My next point is of beekeeper equipment preference. To avoid all kinds of issues later, do not ever mix box and frame sizes for the brood chambers. Pick one size and stick with it. Standardize. Hive management is significantly simplified in flexibility and lowest cost by using the same size for everything. Being able to take a frame from anywhere and put that frame anywhere goes a long way when you are standing in the middle of a bee yard with equipment spread out, bees in the air and a thunderstorm barrelling in.

On the size equipment standardizing, my advice is whatever you do, do not let her lay in the mediums. Use the mediums strictly for honey. Medium frames just are not deep(tall) enough for the queen brood patch to reach her potential; hindering their nest growth and organization of stores. Use a queen excluder to manage the queen. Using a QE, YOU decide where the queen is and where she isn't. If you are going to use mediums for brood as well, then get rid of the deeps and go all mediums for everything. Standardize.
I use all mediums, and would highly recommend it for the reasons that HP stated.  It's much easier to be able to put any frame anywhere anytime, and all mediums is much easier to lift than all deeps.   

With 7 frames of brood on the go, and a flow. You have less than a week to get this done before they are into full on swarm mode.
You could put a queen excluder on and put the medium above it. If they accept it and start pushing incoming nectar up could hold them until you get the new box. But that will not hold the queen, she is already out of space and looking for an excuse to leave.
I would recommend expediting the new deep box.
HP, if she wants to switch to all mediums (not saying you definitely are, OhMyBees, just hypothetically), could she begin that process now and thereby avoid purchasing and shipping a box that she isn't going need in the future?   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2021, 12:57:27 pm »
>Thank you! Thank you! Wow, i appreciate so much the thorough direction you've provided and the time you've taken in writing it all out! The only problem is that where I live, I have to order boxes and frames, so it would be about a week before i'd be able to get my hands on another deep, and even then it'll only have foundation. Will that timing impact anything?

HoneyPumps advise is solid and sound. Which brings up another suggestion many new beekeepers miss at first. Always have extra equipment on hand. (Which you have and have done) Just the wrong size for the convenience of what we are talking about, (the future).  In your case you really have no choice but to use what extra equipment you already have on hand.

You may consider also the suggestion of The15thmember. If you prefer all mediums now would be the time. Simply use all mediums in the future. A lot less weight when full of honey and everything will be interchangeable.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline OhMyBees

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2021, 01:18:57 pm »
With 7 frames of brood on the go, and a flow. You have less than a week to get this done before they are into full on swarm mode.
You could put a queen excluder on and put the medium above it. If they accept it and start pushing incoming nectar up could hold them until you get the new box. But that will not hold the queen, she is already out of space and looking for an excuse to leave.
I would recommend expediting the new deep box.

Thank you! I've found soemone nearby who will sell me a deep box tomorrow. To clarify - right now I have the deep that is mostly full and the medium that they've started drawing comb out on - it's just that right now they're only storing nectar in what areas of comb they've built out in that medium so far. So in theory...they do have room, right? My plan will be to pick up the deep tomorrow and rearrange the frames as you've advised, moving the current medium to be the honey super.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Can i move frames from bottom brood box to top?
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2021, 02:26:21 pm »
>  To clarify - right now I have the deep that is mostly full and the medium that they've started drawing comb out on -
So in theory...they do have room, right?


Right
Adding again, You may consider also the suggestion of The15thmember. If you prefer all mediums now would be the time. Simply use all mediums in the future. A lot less weight when full of honey and everything will be interchangeable.

Personally I prefer deeps. I don?t mind the heavy honey 🍯 boxes; YET.  Maybe when I get older I may sing a different song lol.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.