NZBF: Do bees “move” capped honey

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Josh

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I know (read repeatedly) that honey locked hives can be an issue.

I’ve also read that in a strong flow the brood area can be filled with nectar, and moved later. But will bees move capped honey, I suspect not.

But if I’m finding a few capped frames in the brood areas, then I’m thinking of moving them up to provide room for the queen.

My plan is for all hives to have two ¾ boxes for winter.

Thanks
 
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Under certain conditions bees will naturally cram down and under other conditions they will move capped and uncapped honey out of the brood nest.
It's not really possible to predict what will happen in any season or at any given time of the season. I generally don't mess with the brood nest which on my hives is wto full depth boxes. What I do try and do is to give them plenty of room early in the season so that there is no real incentive to store too much honey in the brood nest and as the end of the season nears I like to cram them down more so they have plenty of stores for winter. The problem in New Zealand is that you never know when the main flow will be and when it will end. Around here the best weather is in February but it is usually too dry for them to do anything much but on very rare occasions you can still get another 50 kg of honey at that time of year.
The hives I have been doing the last few days have been on a pretty good flow and many of the hives have little or no unsealed brood but all you need is a few days bad weather and they will move that honey out and lay out again.
Honey in the brood nest is often put over pollen which is not ideal when it comes to extracting and is also a very important source of preserved pollen in the spring, you also have to remember that hives may be going gangbusters at the moment but a tropical cyclone could come down next week and that might be the last drop of honey you get for the whole summer.
Every hive is different and every situation is different but in general I just leave any honey in the brood nest alone.
 
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i have always found the bees fairly slow at moving capped honey around.
we typically get a lot of on/off flows so they do fill up brood boxes at times. but when next flow turns on it comes in faster than they can move the excess out of the way and you end up with bee numbers decreasing. as lay space is a swarming factor it can also trigger swarming.
 
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Josh

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i have always found the bees fairly slow at moving capped honey around.
we typically get a lot of on/off flows so they do fill up brood boxes at times. but when next flow turns on it comes in faster than they can move the excess out of the way and you end up with bee numbers decreasing. as lay space is a swarming factor it can also trigger swarming.

So you’re suggesting that capped frames could/should be moved up if needed. ie more flow anticipated and queen struggling for space.
 
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So you’re suggesting that capped frames could/should be moved up if needed. ie more flow anticipated and queen struggling for space.
yes.
with single FD brood box its already undersized and any honey stored in there will get in the way as the brood expands in spring.
double FD not quite so critical but i have seen it with very full boxes.
one common rookie mistake is lack of supers and often the result is honey filled brood boxes. that restricts brood numbers and hive will decline in numbers to early. having an understrength hive during robbing season makes it vulnerable, plus weak hives going into winter are less likely to survive.
so removing honey out of the brood aera is a good thing, plus it doubles as your frame rotation.
however when shutting down for winter you want to them to pack in the last of the seasons honey so you don't need so many honey supers for winter stores on the hive.

so for me in spring its lift honey up. lift any up in summer to keep the brood space open if required. then harvest before season ends, drop them down to single FD brood box and let them pack the last of the flow in. that keeps hive small, easy to defend, and well populated as the bee numbers decline after the end of the season.
keep in mind i'm not in CHCH so things may well be a bit different.
 
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Josh

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The second part of my conundrum is now it seems I put on the second honey super a bit optimistically. They’re laying new comb, and nectar is coming in. But, the nectar is much reduced at present.

Do I leave the second box, just in case? But waste their time making wax, and not spend their efforts capping off the last 10-20% of the first box?

Or do I stop sweating it, and leave them bee… I will be putting a rob board on after harvest for wets & surplus supers anyway.
 

Josh

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i would leave it.
bees know what they are doing.

whats a "rob board" ?
Thanks for the advice. Will leave well alone.

As far as rob board (I could have the name wrong) @Trevor Gillbanks has a video on it. You put on a top cover with a hole in it (50mm is the sweet number according to the internet), but a empty box above it, then the wets on top of that. This tricks the bees into thinking its not part of their hive and they rob it out … ie clean up the wets, but don’t put more nectar back or brood if you have no QE. At least that‘s my take on it
 
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Thanks for the advice. Will leave well alone.

As far as rob board (I could have the name wrong) @Trevor Gillbanks has a video on it. You put on a top cover with a hole in it (50mm is the sweet number according to the internet), but a empty box above it, then the wets on top of that. This tricks the bees into thinking its not part of their hive and they rob it out … ie clean up the wets, but don’t put more nectar back or brood if you have no QE. At least that‘s my take on it
hole in the centre of the board, bees come up through the hive. i use the top feeder for the same purpose.
 
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I have been reading several threads on the following topic but need clarification please. I know location and different hives are a factor….but in general…

I finally changed hives to all 3/4 boxes in late spring (1/2 supers for us); so it’s my first season with this set up.
I gave them 3 x 3/4 with no Queen excluder……the threads say to have 2 x 3/4 brood boxes. They don’t mention supers. With 3/4 set up is it 2 boxes in total or 2 brood boxes plus a 3/4 super of honey for them? (End of season that is)

Im based in Auckland and the mangrove flow should start around April.
 
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auckland they should survive ok on 2 3/4 brood boxes provided its pretty well packed with stores.
however keep in mind, winter is not the danger time, spring is.
as always every site is different and its up to your experience and judgement to know what to do.
 
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Josh

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Christchurch
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ag
I have been reading several threads on the following topic but need clarification please. I know location and different hives are a factor….but in general…

I finally changed hives to all 3/4 boxes in late spring (1/2 supers for us); so it’s my first season with this set up.
I gave them 3 x 3/4 with no Queen excluder……the threads say to have 2 x 3/4 brood boxes. They don’t mention supers. With 3/4 set up is it 2 boxes in total or 2 brood boxes plus a 3/4 super of honey for them? (End of season that is)

Im based in Auckland and the mangrove flow should start around April.
Agree, trying to get a consistent opinion with google is a real challenge.

I will do two ¾ boxes, but may need to feed or 3 boxes fat and care free.

I’m in Canterbury, so they have a cold slow winter. And I’m very much on a learning curve.

But ¾ makes lifting so easy!😃
 
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Auckland
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auckland they should survive ok on 2 3/4 brood boxes provided its pretty well packed with stores.
however keep in mind, winter is not the danger time, spring is.
as always every site is different and its up to your experience and judgement to know what to do.
Ok thanks Tristan, appreciate the advice
 
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ag

Agree, trying to get a consistent opinion with google is a real challenge.

I will do two ¾ boxes, but may need to feed or 3 boxes fat and care free.

I’m in Canterbury, so they have a cold slow winter. And I’m very much on a learning curve.

But ¾ makes lifting so easy!😃
I have found that a single FD brood box works very well in Canterbury winters.
 
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