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Author Topic: Spring 2022: Managing a long hive.  (Read 1069 times)

Offline Bob Wilson

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Spring 2022: Managing a long hive.
« on: March 04, 2022, 10:00:45 am »
This is my 4th spring as a beek, and my hives are long langstroths.
1st spring- I was just clueless, in spite of all my reading. It swarmed.
2nd spring- I filled the back of the hive with frames, trying to keep ahead of the bees. They swarmed.
3rd spring- I learned to insert empty frames around or into the broodnest to relieve congestion and give the bees something to do as they approached the honey flow. They all swarmed.
4th spring- I discovered the importance of... 1. Moving any uneaten fall honey frames from the back of the spring broodnest to the front entrance, thus removing the honey barrier between the broodnest and the rest of the box. 2. Managing the spring population by pulling brood and resource frames and using them to create nucs. Doing this knocks back the population and helps keep the hive from swarming before the honey flow arrives. No swarms yet.

One of my hives had drone comb last week. This week, bees were covering all the the frames, and piling into the open, unused back half of the long box.
what I am trying to learn now is HOW MUCH to take out of the hives. Too little, and they will still get congested and swarm. Too much, and I will prevent them from reaching peak population when the honey flow begins, which means less honey.
TheHoneyPump shared a nifty little formula for setting up bees "on order", that I am working to put into practice.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2022, 05:54:40 pm by Bob Wilson »

Offline Acebird

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Re: Spring 2022: Managing a long hive.
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2022, 07:42:36 am »
This is my 4th spring as a beek, and my hives are long langstroths.
1st spring- I was just clueless, in spite of all my reading. It swarmed.
2nd spring- I filled the back of the hive with frames, trying to keep ahead of the bees. They swarmed.
3rd spring- I learned to insert empty frames around or into the broodnest to relieve congestion and give the bees something to do as they approached the honey flow. They all swarmed.
4th spring- I discovered the importance of... 1. Moving any uneaten fall honey frames from the back of the spring broodnest to the front entrance, thus removing the honey barrier between the broodnest and the rest of the box. 2. Managing the spring population by pulling brood and resource frames and using them to create nucs. Doing this knocks back the population and helps keep the hive from swarming before the honey flow arrives. No swarms yet.

One of my hives had drone comb last week. This week, bees were covering all the the frames, and piling into the open, unused back half of the long box.
what I am trying to learn now is HOW MUCH to take out of the hives. Too little, and they will still get congested and swarm. Too much, and I will prevent them from reaching peak population when the honey flow begins, which means less honey.
TheHoneyPump shared a nifty little formula for setting up bees "on order", that I am working to put into practice.
I got faith in ya Bob.  Pretty soon you will be touring the country like MB giving lectures on long hives.  You've done well.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline NigelP

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Re: Spring 2022: Managing a long hive.
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2022, 11:38:52 am »
This is my 4th spring as a beek, and my hives are long langstroths.
1st spring- I was just clueless, in spite of all my reading. It swarmed.
2nd spring- I filled the back of the hive with frames, trying to keep ahead of the bees. They swarmed.
3rd spring- I learned to insert empty frames around or into the broodnest to relieve congestion and give the bees something to do as they approached the honey flow. They all swarmed.

With a few more years experience you will find there is no surer fire method of preventing swarming. Much of our UK local mongrel bee population has annual swarming built into their genes regardless of what you do.....except perhaps weaken the hive to such an extent you get no honey and no swarming which is not a desired outcome.
I use a few strains of bees that I take liberties with regarding space as they rarely swarm. They have been bred for their lack of swarming (among other things).
The usual outcome for these queens is they run out of sperm and get superseded.
However, their offspring which have mated with the local annual swarmer's go around 50% of the time.
Not much help to you but just accept swarming as one of the problems you will need to deal with.
I clip my queens wings, whilst it won't stop them from attempting to swarm and if you do miss the signs and don't do something....at least you don't lose your workforce and sometimes you even find your clipped queen on the ground.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Spring 2022: Managing a long hive.
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2022, 12:30:42 pm »

One thing which might help is creating an artificial swarm. The beekeeper is in control of where the 'swarm' goes (so to speak). One scenario and solution would be to remove the old queen along with a frame of mixed nurse bees, brood, eggs, and larva. At least a particle frame of honey, a full frame 'if' resources allow. A frame of drawn comb, and two frames of foundation. Place a 'top feeder' (QT jar) on top.
The bees from the old hive will make a queen in the old with a majority of the bees, brood, etc remaining. Difference is the beekeeper determines how many bees go, when they go, and where they go too...

Phillip
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. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Spring 2022: Managing a long hive.
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2022, 06:02:19 pm »
Acebird- LOL. I attended a local bee association meeting for advice on long hives and ended up giving advice instead. Go figure.

Nigel- I do wonder about my feral strain of bees. While they "may" give better mite resistance, they may also be more swarmy minded. I hope to know somewhat better at the end of this year, through the management experiments I have going on between the hives.

Ben- Yes indeed. Right now, I want those queens in the main hives, building towards the flow. If they make swarm cells anyhow, I will simulate one instead.