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Thread: From double brood to single brood

  1. #1
    Senior Member Bridget's Avatar
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    Default From double brood to single brood

    Have three hives overwintered as dbl brood or brood and half. Want to get them back to single brood and add a super. Not quite sure of sequence to do this. If there is brood in top box do I put that box to the bottom with QE on top and then a fresh super on top and shake out bees in what was the bottom box checking the queen is not amongst them. (The current bottom box needs lots of old foundation changed)



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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    The current bottom box needs lots of old foundation changed)
    Hi there - I wonder if in the double brood box scenario you just make sure the Q is upstairs (she probably is if the comb below is as you describe) and put a QX between the boxes. Then super when ready. Depending on the size of the colony and amount of brood you maybe could simply remove empty frames and have a single box worth then add QX and super. For brood and a half, moving the half under a QX as you suggest makes sense, making sure the Q is up top, and then wait until the brood emerges. I am unsure how big an effect the QX can have on where pollen is stored. Ideally you don't want the bees to put valuable pollen into old comb you are going to get rid of. Some texts covering Bailey comb exchange say the provision of an entrance for the top box (above the QX), closing the bottom or normal entrance will divert foragers and pollen upstairs so that is what I am going to try.

    I have avoided brood and a half. One of the earliest association talks I attended was given by Ian Craig and he made a point of saying how cumbersome brood and a half can get and really simpler to use the double brood system with dummy boards as appropriate. That said - I've so far avoided double brood boxes as well!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Bridget, have you opened your hives by now? If not, I guess you'll find that the queen and brood is in the upper box, and that you can simply remove the lower box. If not, you might still be able to remove about half of the frames and reduce them to one box. I have a lot of colonies in the same situation. I've started opening them, and that's what I've been doing. You don't have to worry about where the queen is at this stage.

    For the brood and a half set-up - where is the shallow? Above or below the brood box?

    If the shallow is below the brood box, then it's probably empty and you can simply remove it. If not, swap the boxes so that the shallow is now at the top. Once they've built up some more, add a queen excluder (making sure the queen is in the brood box below the queen excluder!). If there's drone brood in the shallow (now above the queen excluder), I'd add an eke with a top entrance so that they can get out.

    If the shallow is above the brood box, then it probably contains brood. I'd swap the boxes. If it becomes empty, remove it; if not - just leave it there. Or, you can do as above: add a queen excluder once they're stronger.

    That's what I do ...
    Kitta

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    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    If you smoke the colony gently from below and wait a minute, there's a good chance that the queen will move away from the smoke - i.e. upstairs, so you can lift off the top brood box and she is likely to be in there. (OR you can simply put a queen excluder between two boxes and see where eggs are laid a few (3 or more) days later). Assuming you have put the brood box with the queen to one side or behind the hive - on an upturned roof for example, you can check through the frames to find her. Any flying bees will return to the original hive position whilst you are doing this.

    With old comb in a brood box, I would consider leaving it on the existing hive floor, closing the entrance put a queen excluder on top, a small eke on the of that with an entrance, then the brood box with the queen in. Depending on the amount of space needed, you might need to put a super on top of the brood box with a queen excluder in between. The bees will find the top entrance and after 3 weeks after any brood has emerged from the lower brood box, you can remove it; there is a good chance that the stores will have been moved upstairs too. Often the floor under such an arrangement will be dirty so if you have a spare clean one, a good time to use it is when you remove the lower brood box and revert to the usual entrance.

    If the queen is laying in the 1/2 of the brood and a half, I would be inclined to ensure she is in the brood box and then simply place the super over a queen excluder above the brood box and allow brood to emerge.

    For either of the above, assuming there is some drone brood, you may need to allow the drones out each week or they will get themselves stuck in the queen excluders.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bridget's Avatar
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    Thanks for helpful comments from all. Have had a quick look at all hives on single brood, no drones yet but brood all round. Was going to attack the doubles and b1/2 tomorrow but realised I need more QEís, crown boards, supers and possibly a spare base so will have to wait till Tuesday when I can get stuff from Highland Bees.
    Having two dble brood inside the bee house means some of these interventions wonít work, like top entrances!
    Meanwhile bees havenít a clue where to go what with willow, birch, gorse, ribes and today cherry blossom all on the go at the same time. Still a few bees flying at 8pm


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    Senior Member Bridget's Avatar
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    Update on this issue. Smoked all hives to encourage the Q to go down. This was to try to avoid too much moving of boxes. Week later Qs still laying in top box . Brood and half - found Q and marked her and let her scuttle away into the bottom box. So success there. Hive on dble brood, couldnít find Q both boxes jammed so put top to bottom and QE between and left it on dbl. second double brood couldnít find Q. Bottom box pretty empty but lots of stores from last year and some nicely polished cells so took that away, and put QE and super on top. Drone brood started to be laid.


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