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Honey and brood comb mixed

 
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jsallington
Nurse Bee


Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 31
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:49 pm    Post subject: Honey and brood comb mixed Reply with quote

I've had hTBH's for the past four years and I feel like my hives are getting more mixed up as the years go on. It seems like all the tops of the comb have honey for the first 3-5 inches then it switches over to brood? What is the deal? This is on almost every single bar, is there something I can do? I've thought about cutting a queen excluder and making it fit as tight as I can. Anyone else have this issue?

Thanks,
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

It is normal to have 2-3 inches of honey above the brood but once a colony is strong and there is a good nectar flow, they should also be storing honey alone on bars at the back of the hive and at this time of year maybe even starting to backfill the brood combs a little.

What size hive do you have and where are the entrances? If you have centre entrances, then you might have better results changing to end entrances. Also, you may be looking to harvest too soon. As the brood nest shrinks, the combs furthest away from the entrance should become entirely honey storage instead of brood. Once you get to the end of next month you should have at least some combs that are just honey. Whether there is a surplus to harvest depends on a number of factors like breed of bees and winter conditions, but it is important to assess how much is in the hive and how much they will need before you harvest.


Regards

Barbara
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jsallington
Nurse Bee


Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 31
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks,
My hive is around 4' long and has the entrance at one side. Since I posted this they FINALLY started filling up entire frames at the back end of the hive. I was getting a little concerned because there isn't that much room for new comb in the hive, only 2-3 open bars. I also had 6-8 queen cells pop up in the middle of the comb, I don't think they are swarm cells but I was slightly panicking due to the lack of room and they weren't filling up frames or doing any new building. Should I open up the entrance at the back of the hive maybe? Anyway right now I'm in a holding pattern.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi.

I would watch and wait regarding the queen cells. Not knowing the history of this colony, it would be impossible for me to figure out what they are planning.
I would only open an entrance at the back of the hive if it was a strong colony(which it clearly sounds like) and it was in a location where I could keep a close eye on it. ie on a daily basis, as wasps will be looking for a free meal very soon and sometimes alternative entrances don't get guards posted.

It is pretty impressive that they have brood distributed almost throughout a 4ft hive. Is it possible there could be two queens at work?..... perhaps if you have moved some comb out of positions when you have been inspecting or expanding the brood nest and some brood has got isolated and the nurse bees on it have raised an emergency queen?....

Keep us posted on what happens.

Best wishes

Barbara
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