Rearranging Frames And Boxes

After a week of horribly hot weather, I was finally able to open the bees in a break in the heat today. Its supposed to be 83 today, but right now its only in the low 70’s.

White Hive has 6 frames fully capped in the super, and over 4 frames of honey in the top brood box. Most frames also have a large band of capped honey over the brood, which I’m not including in the 4 fully capped frames. I rearranged the frames so that there are 3 frames of honey on each side of the super, and 2 honey frames on each side of the brood nest. I think I left the frame of pollen on the edge of the brood nest though, since that’s where the bees seemed to want it. I saw the queen, but no fresh eggs. There were just under 5 frames of capped brood, with half a frame dedicated to drones. I cut down all of the drone cells on that frame, simply because I don’t want to deal with that many more drones in the hive. I saw no varroa mites on any of the drones, though most of their eyes were beginning to darken. I didn’t bother looking into the lower box, as the bees were getting a little agitated at this point. They stayed unusually calm throughout most of the inspection, and I didn’t have the usual dozen or so girls coming out to bother me.

I then moved on to Trunchen Hive, and decided I just needed to be brave and separate the boxes so I could at least attempt to peer down into each of them. After struggling to peel a heavily propolised bit of cloth off of the top box (the bees had begun putting propolis in between the bars even, so that very little air could escape), I was able to begin. The top box and the box beneath it were fully drawn out, so far as I could tell. The third box had two bars that had not been touched, on the far right side (when looking at the hive from the front), and the bar next to those was only partially drawn out. The final box, the box on the floor, was completely untouched, save for the propolis which had been used to glue the bars in place. I decided to do some rearranging, if only so the bees would fill at least three boxes. I took the empty box off of the stand and set it aside (not on top of the other three boxes). What had been the third box (originally the lower of the two boxes that made up the hive when it was started) was also set aside. The first and second boxes were put on the stand, and then the third box was put on top of that. I then shook whatever bees were still inside the fourth box onto the top bars of the 3rd (now top) box. I then put the cloth, the quilt, and the roof back on, and walked away with the empty box.

So, to clarify; Trunchen Hive’s boxes were originally in the order, from top to bottom, 1 2 3 4, but is now in the order 3 1 2, with 2 and 3 being the original two boxes that the hive was started with, and 1 being the box that housed the third swarm. Make a little better sense now?

This new arrangement also eliminated the gap in between boxes 2 and 3, which the bees had begun closing up with propolis. The amount of propolis being collected by Trunchen Hive is much greater than what’s being collected by White Hive. White Hive actually had no noticeable difference in the propolis around the hive.

Oh, the other thing I meant to mention was the number of bees that having been hanging out on the ‘front porch’ of White Hive. Every night in the last week several dozen girls have come out to washboard on the landing board, as well as the front of both of the brood boxes. Some have even begun spilling over onto the sides of the hive, as well as the cement hive stand itself. A small row of bees fans cool air into the hive, but everybody else washboards. Trunchen Hive doesn’t even send bees out to fan in cool air, but this may change now that theres one less box. With such an empty pocket of space in the top box though, there might not be a need for it.

With the increased heat, I’ve been hosing down the dogs, and the patio. Even with our patio cover, the cement heats up to an obnoxious level and warms the house quickly. I hose it down every so often to make sure it doesn’t get too hot. The bees love this, and come and drink the water off of the pavement. They also enjoy the leaky sprinkler system pipe at the side of the house. I also have hosed the hives down a few times, usually when I hose down the patio, to keep them cool and to deter the bees from coming to the house in large numbers. One or two bees drinking from the pavement is cute, but dozens is a nuisance and forces everyone inside.


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2 responses to “Rearranging Frames And Boxes”

  1. Talking With Bees says :

    Hi WillowBatel,
    It’s been a wetter summer here. I am wondering about leaving my super on for the bees to cap in the next few weeks. The problem is I have just identified a varroa mite problem in my hive and I need to treat urgently … but I also want some honey!

  2. willowbatel says :

    I’m no expert on varroa mites or the treatments for them. I would recommend asking Emily at or Emma at Both have taken proper beekeeping courses and have a much greater resource base available to them. They also have treated for varroa on several occasions and know the right time to do so.
    My only bit of advice would be to just use the powder sugar method (sprinkling every frame individually with powered sugar) to get the bees to clean each other a little more thoroughly. It will knock a few of the mites off and reduce their numbers slightly to give you time to harvest. I would really advise speaking with Emily and/or Emma though, as they’re required to treat for varroa every year and have much more experience than I do (as I’ve never had to deal with mites).

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