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Moving Honey Bars to Cluster

 
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Kdxzoom
House Bee


Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 12
Location: USA, Yakima, WA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:07 am    Post subject: Moving Honey Bars to Cluster Reply with quote

Well we made it thus far, and the bees have been out collecting pollen even. The temps for the next couple weeks are in the low 60F/16C and down to mid 30F/2C at night.

Looking through the window of my KTBH, I can see the cluster on warmer days on bars 2-6 or so. I see what seems to be a bit of capped honey on the tops of these bars, but it is hard to tell. Then there are about 4-5 empty comb bars then 2-3 fully capped honey bars. (I have a end entrance on the long side).

So my question is should I break all the seals and move the honey bars closer to the cluster? Our real spring is mid to late April (dandelion bloom), with the last frost day in mid May.

They've done fine without any help so far, but not having gone through a spring yet with bees I would hate to lose them now if they need help.

Thank you,

Jennifer
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jennifer, well done on getting your girls through the worst of Winter. Very Happy

Not being close to or willing to admit to knowing anything of your local conditions, I will offer what I might do as your listed temperatures are very close to our average Spring/Fall temperatures here.

I would be tempted, on a warm early afternoon when it is nice and calm and the sun is out, to swap positions of the capped honey with the empty bars. Move the full ones next to the cluster and the empty bars to the outside.
To my way of thinking, this is the most constructive thing to do, it keeps the food close to the cluster in case another cold snap heads in.
If done in the warmest part of the day and done as quickly as possible, you will not disrupt the internal temperatures as much as you might during the early morning or late afternoon/evening.
If the bees do not need the extra stores, then no harm done. If they do, then you have saved them the effort of travelling over the empty bars to get to them. Wink
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Second that. Could make the difference between starvation and life. Scratch open some cells with the hive tool to attract the bees. Now is the time - in Spring - where most stores are used up. 2-4 kg of food per month from March to April minimum.
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always listen to a Kiwi when it comes to cold and wet. Good advice there.
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Kdxzoom
House Bee


Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 12
Location: USA, Yakima, WA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies. I will heed your good advice and go ahead and move the bars to the cluster, scratching open some cells.

Once our flow begins, mid April, I assume I'll move these honey bars if unused either to the front entrance (become bars 1-2) or to the back of the hive in order to open up the brood nest again?
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hijack the thread but I don't have a window Sad
I am loath to break apart all the propolis between the top bars this early as we still have some cold nights to come. I put a small amount of fondant (two teaspoons honey mixed with icing sugar) in the hive two weeks back to check if they'd take it. The idea was if they didn't they have enough stores, if they do then they're hungry. When I looked at the weekend it was mostly still there. Am I right in this assumption or is there another way of checking things out. btw I have idea what the hive weighed when it was empty Smile
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Garret
Golden Bee


Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 1681
Location: Canada, BC, Delta

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another added option with the temps being 16C is to feed a lbs. of very warm honey. They will put it within the cluster and will be available to them if the weather turns cold for a few days. Did you save any honey for emergency feeding?

An inverted jar with fairly large holes works well but make sure they find and are taking it by smearing honey on the lid and a little on the bottom board. It shouldn't take very long for them to empty the jar.
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