Author Topic: Questions on hive space and swarming  (Read 849 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline TheFuzz

  • Regular Member
  • **
  • Posts: 23
  • Location: Australia
Questions on hive space and swarming
« on: July 23, 2019, 11:10:41 pm »
What happens to a hive when it's full of honey? Even if it's four supers deep, if it's completely full, will the bees seek to swarm so the queen can keep laying eggs? Do the bees not slow down in bringing in honey even if the hive is full and the queen doesn't have space to lay eggs? Is it risky for the survival of the colony to abandon the hive to swarm when their supers are full?

If a beekeeper shows up to their apiary, and see their hives are full, will taking honey from the top supers be sufficient in providing them with space? Will the queen crawl up to the top super, even if it's four deep, to lay eggs up there? Or will this simply prevent the bees from filling up the brood chamber with honey, allowing the queen to lay eggs in the brood chamber?

If a beekeeper notices that the hive is completely full and does a honey extraction on the top super, should the beekeeper ideally take frames from the brood chamber, and swap them with the empty, extracted frames up top?

Would simply placing an empty super on top of a full hive, provide the bees with the space they need so they don't swarm?

Offline iddee

  • Administrator
  • Gold Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 5615
  • Thanked: 285 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Sophia, N. C.
Re: Questions on hive space and swarming
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2019, 03:43:33 am »
The queen must have room to lay UNDER the capped honey. She will NOT go up over capped honey to find a place to lay. If she is in the bottom of 4 boxes and runs out of places to lay, she will swarm. Even if the 2 top boxes are empty. Space must be provided adjacent to the brood nest.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein

Offline TheFuzz

  • Regular Member
  • **
  • Posts: 23
  • Location: Australia
Re: Questions on hive space and swarming
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2019, 06:31:45 am »
Recently, I needed to add a super to my hives, to give them extra space for the spring that's happening now in Australia. Each hive was a little different, but they were all quite overdue for an extra super and was running out of space. I thought they would swarm possibly, but there wasn't much actual bees in the hives and I couldn't find any queen cells.

One hive was a single deep, it had a detachable base. Instead of adding a super on top, I decided to lift the whole thing off the base, and add a super underneath. I did this because the super was quite full of honey, and I figured I'd be creating more space for laying brood by placing the empty super where the queen prefers to lay, on the bottom super. Was this a mistake, or is this a good practice?

Another hive I had didn't have a detachable base. It only had two deep supers together, which were both quite full, especially the super on top was full of honey. I only had a manley sized super to add, so I decided to put the empty manley super between the bottom, and top super. The practice seems to usually be add the manley on top, deeps to have as brood chambers down below, but if I was adding a super to expand the brood chamber, to keep the queen laying and mitigate chances of swaming, did I do the right thing?

Offline iddee

  • Administrator
  • Gold Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 5615
  • Thanked: 285 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Sophia, N. C.
Re: Questions on hive space and swarming
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2019, 06:59:13 am »
First, a super is for honey. The same box used for brood is called a brood chamber Using the correct names will help us give better answers.  Bottom supering is common and works well in many instances, so yes, you did fine.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein

Offline TheFuzz

  • Regular Member
  • **
  • Posts: 23
  • Location: Australia
Re: Questions on hive space and swarming
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2019, 07:22:04 am »
So the manley that I gave to the hive, is that now referred to as the brood chamber? if I decide to move it up again later, it'd be referred to as a super?

Offline tedh

  • Gold Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1259
  • Thanked: 60 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Henry County, Iowa
Re: Questions on hive space and swarming
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2019, 08:29:10 am »
Yeah, confusing isn't it.  The terms deep, medium, shallow refer to the depth of the box and the terms brood box and super refer to the use of the box, the super being used for honey.  The confusion grows when you throw in the 8 frame equipment.  Also some keeps will use 9 frames in 10 frame equipment.  When describing a hive I try to include depth, deep, medium or shallow, the size 8 or 10 frame, and the use, super or brood box.  So my desciption from the ground up would be, bottom board, two 10 frame deep brood boxes, one (or however many) 10 frame supers, inner cover, telecover.

Not being sure of the equipment used "in the land down under" the above may not be correct.  Hoping your season goes well, Ted
Share that which you have an abundance of.  In doing so both the giver and receiver are enriched.

Offline TheFuzz

  • Regular Member
  • **
  • Posts: 23
  • Location: Australia
Re: Questions on hive space and swarming
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2019, 08:33:17 am »
Thanks for that clarification.

Offline iddee

  • Administrator
  • Gold Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 5615
  • Thanked: 285 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Sophia, N. C.
Re: Questions on hive space and swarming
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2019, 09:10:47 am »
It's just for clarification. It makes it easier to understand what the person is saying and what to do about it.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein

Offline Newbee

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
  • Thanked: 13 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Kingston, TN
Re: Questions on hive space and swarming
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2019, 09:27:40 am »
Yeah, confusing isn't it.  ....some keeps will use 9 frames in 10 frame equipment. ...

I find that adding a fifth hogshed per havasham will allow the perfect alignment of frameless brood supers giving you a bee-space equivalent to 15 times the diameter of a North African Birch thistle. YMMV.

 :laugh:

- K

Offline tecumseh

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 852
  • Thanked: 70 times
  • Location: College Station, Tx.
Re: Questions on hive space and swarming
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2019, 05:23:40 pm »
to my understanding what you did is quite common in Warre hives (not that I have any experience with those)  as a strategy sometimes when you have lots of CAPPED honey going all the way to the top it is a good idea to think about 'under supering' < you generally do this with foundation but comb will also work in that you pull the top boxes of capped honey and insert the empty right above the brood nest.