Expanding to double deep supers – Season 6

So, this year, I started with 5 colonies in the spring. Due to my family circumstances, I did not have the time to start queen replacement process and, instead, decided to let the bees decide when they need to replace their queens. The queens were old. The colonies were rather large, so I made sure that I removed the bottom tray earlier in the season, and doubled the brood chambers. Since I only use medium size frames, the hives had enough air circulation and a new super above each, so none of them swarmed. All five hives successfully replaced their queens. I was able to make two splits (one from each of the largest colonies) as well.

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One way to know that the queen is old or poorly mated (if a new queen) is to look for the drone brood “soldiers” among the evenly capped worker cells. Here, you can see the drone soldiers – unfertilized eggs turned into drones.

I start with moving the hive to the side. Next, I place two bottom boards next to it.

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The double super goes on the top

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Frame with queen cells are placed in the middle

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The brood and honey and pollen frames are transferred to the double deep super. Two frame with 3-4 queen cells each are placed in the middle.

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Here is the honey super, already place on top of the double deep super. I have and double deep supers for five years now. In my experience, it is good to leave the space on the sides: wax moths, roaches and ants will have harder time getting to the food stores, so I leave two frames worth of space. The last 3 frames are empty right now. Some colonies never use these frames, some love to grow into the whole double deep super. They will be candidates for splits in the fall.

 

Rowe Apiaries

The double deep super is ready for the summer. The queen cells should provide a good queen. I will be checking on them in four weeks.

This year, I have decided to tag my posts with with season tags. So, if you see Season 6, it means that that spring/summer/fall inspection or note is from my sixth year of beekeeping. I think that it may be easier to keep up with all the changes that I make to my methods, and revisit the old methods for consideration.

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