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Shufflin’

First, for those of you who have been losing sleep over my difficulties in establishing a laying queen in my second hive, rest easy: she’s there and she’s laying. I checked over the weekend and the two brood chambers are full of good, healthy brood. I pulled over the top feeder and added a honey super. All’s well.

The first hive is doing well, too. I checked up on them last week and saw that the second honey super was getting close to full, so I added a third. I decided to try an experiment, though.

I know that every little bit of extra work you make the bees do can come out of your bottom line, even making them climb through two extra honey supers to get to the new empty one I’d put on top. So I tried a little swap: I reversed the positions of the honey supers. That is, I put what had previously been the bottom honey super on top of the stack and added the new, empty super to the middle of the stack, just above the brood chambers.

Since it’s not a true, controlled experiment (how will I know whether it “worked”?), I decided to ask the advice of Karen Bean of Brookfield Farm, the beekeeper selling at our local farmer’s market who I have drafted as my mentor.

Karen gave my move the thumb’s up. She said she doesn’t bother with all that switching, mostly to spare her back (a wise woman, indeed), but she did recommend one easier switch:

When adding a new super, she suggested taking two center frames from the top-most honey super, which would likely have some brood in them, and placing them in the center of the newly added super. (The presence of brood on those frames is predicated on the notion that you’re not using a queen excluder, which we don’t.) Then take the displaced empty frames from the new super and place them in positions 2 and 9 of the almost full super (that is, not outermost, where they may be ignored, but close to it).

The goal of the maneuver is to give the bees some encouragement to start moving in to the new, empty super. She noted that if there is brood present, it’s best not to shake off the nurse bees that will be tending them.

I’ll give that a whirl next.

15 Responses to “Shufflin’”

  1. matt Says:

    I was wondering about this. I have just swapped the supers around because I though it might help. So, thanks you have confirmed what I was thinking :)

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Hmmm. For the last two years (my 1st 2 years as a beekeeper), my bees haven't touched the foundation in the honey supers. They fill out the double brood boxes just fine. In spite of what I've read, I recently started feeding 1/1 sugar water in an effort to get them moving on the supers. Well, I may get sugar water in the super, but at least they'll have drawn out comb. We'll see.
    Robert

  3. Ms. Heather Rogers Says:

    I just found your blog and I am so excited. I subscribed and can't wait to catch up on your old post and eagerly anticipate new ones.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I like the look of your blog. I am new to bees am looking forward to seeing what i might learn. I am learning on the job with no training!

  5. Starting Beekeeping Says:

    This is great as I have been trying to do something like this with my bees. The tip from Keren I believe is the secret and going to test it out myself asap. Thank you!

  6. Erin Says:

    How did things work out? Did you get a decent harvest?

  7. Andy Says:

    This has got to be one of the best blogs detailing the life of someone who loves keeping bees. I have bookmarked it and love it

    Andy

  8. Gary Says:

    I found that Beekeeping is a fantastic hobby, and I would like to make it my living, do you have any tips for me? I am in the process of supplying Package Bees to fellow hobby beekeepers. This means I am making some money and on the way to making it my primary income source.

    I am hoping to get up and running by the end of the year

  9. Hayati İnal(***) Says:

    Τις καλύτερες ευχές για το νέο έτος.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    It is rather interesting for me to read the article. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to them. I would like to read more soon.

    Sincerely yours

  11. Greg Watkevich Says:

    Interesting. It looks like you use 2 deeps for brood stock and add medium supers. Have you thought about using all supers so you can be more flexible with moving frames with brood or honey around? I am planning to swith over to using all mediums because of the interchangability it offers.
    Greg Watkevich

  12. Rooster Shamblin Says:

    http://roostershamblin.wordpress.com/ would you please spend a few minutes reading my blog about all things chicken. I have been raising more than 50 breeds of chickens 40 years.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    So spring is here….. Time for a new entry. Time to update this website with your current beekeeping adventures.

    Robert

  14. Brian Says:

    I've just started getting into beekeeping, so I found this information very useful. Just need to catch up with some info.

  15. Brian Brineyboy Says:

    I’ve got a hive in a table stand that I have laid on its side. Wifeypoo wants the bees gone…though I’ve grown fond of them for some 3 years. I’m paying the gardeners to move it a 9:00 p.m….when it it real chilly (Palm Desert, CA). I’ll close up the hive and stand in a big plastic bag, and we’ll carry it to their truck, drive it to a safe spot, GENTLY set it and CAREFULLY pull the bag off. Whattaya think…am I crazy? Brian

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