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  • hi all
    got my bees last year and have just put a super on as the brood box had loads of bees (8 frames) and lots of OSR pollen coming in. the thing is, I only have undrawn foundation on the supers, and on checking through the crown board (Clear one), they are not at all interested in the supers. am I just being impatient or do I need to do anything to tempt them into the supers, I don't want them to think they don't have any room and want to swarm
    Sorry if this is a silly question,
    • Hi Rose

      I’m not claiming to be an expert but happy to comment. Wiser heads my add more or indeed correct me!

      First thing is they’ll start drawing the super when they need it!

      It may be a littler early for a super but not really likely to do any harm unless it turns really cold again.

      I’m unclear if you’ve done an inspection. The likelihood of a swarm is more about space for the queen to lay than how many frames of bees you can see through the crown board, especially as it slightly warmer now they will spread out.

      The key question is how much brood is there and is there space in the brood box for her to expand into and lay or is the remaining space full of stores?

      I would say you can inspect if it is 14 degrees or above (warm enough to wear a t-shirt or equivalent).

      If you have a few frames with brood and the rest of the frames with some stores and some empty space ie if there is space to lay then swarming this early shouldn’t be a problem (of course please don’t sue me if they fly off tomorrow!).

      If however all the frames are full of either brood or stores and there is no space to lay I would remove a frame of stores and put a brood frame with foundation (if you don’t have any drawn) at the edge of the brood area. They can draw this and HM can lay. You might need to repeat over the next few weeks if needs be.

      You could also (if you have one on) remove the Queen Excluder for a few weeks to get them used to the super. You can replace it after they start drawing the foundation. Even if there is brood up there so long as the Queen is downstairs no problem. If she’s not downstairs you’ll see at the next inspection by the presence of eggs and larvae in the super. If she’s upstairs you’ll just need to find her and move her down gently.

      Good luck!

      Simon
      • I've struggled to ever get my bees to draw out the foundation in the super. I think that they either had plenty of space in the brood box, so had no need of the super, or had become desperately short of space in the brood box and so swarmed instead of entering the super.

        This year I plan to put a super directly over the brood box for a couple of weeks until they have started drawing it out before putting a queen excluder between the brood box and the super. Of course I'll have to ensure that I have the queen in the brood box and not in the super when I do this. There is a chance that she may have started to lay in the super, but I don't see that as being too much of a problem - the nurse bees will look after the brood until it hatches. Drones would be more of a problem as they wouldn't be able to get through the queen excluder to get out, so if I see any drone brood in the super, I'll probably cull it.
        • Hi All!

          I've had a similar problem. As a relatively new beekeeper I thought I had some decent sized colonies but they just wouldn't go up into the super in any numbers.

          Nothing I did seemed to make any difference.

          Last year it was different. My colonies were bigger, forage was good and they just went up into the super and produced some lovely comb.

          I hived a cast in the middle of June. By the end of September there were 4 full capped frames in the super.

          I believe that bees won't go up into the super until they need the storage no matter how many bees are in the brood box.

          S

          • Thanks so much for all your advice folks, I have taken off the super and put the insulation back on, they had just totally ignored it anyway and the weather was a bit cooler. I'll check the brood box properly when the weather allows and put the super back on if it looks like they need it. I suppose it was the novice's impatience and insecurity!! live and learn!
            Rose Quote from: simonbarnes at Apr 04, 2014, 11:26 PM
            Hi All!

            I've had a similar problem. As a relatively new beekeeper I thought I had some decent sized colonies but they just wouldn't go up into the super in any numbers.

            Nothing I did seemed to make any difference.

            Last year it was different. My colonies were bigger, forage was good and they just went up into the super and produced some lovely comb.

            I hived a cast in the middle of June. By the end of September there were 4 full capped frames in the super.

            I believe that bees won't go up into the super until they need the storage no matter how many bees are in the brood box.

            S

            • Quote from: rosegill at Apr 05, 2014, 09:38 AM
              Thanks so much for all your advice folks, I have taken off the super and put the insulation back on, they had just totally ignored it anyway and the weather was a bit cooler. I'll check the brood box properly when the weather allows and put the super back on if it looks like they need it. I suppose it was the novice's impatience and insecurity!! live and learn!
              Rose

              Three years into keeping bees and my partner and I are still full of insecurities. Every time there are lots of bees hovering around the entrance to the hive, my partner worries that they might be getting robbed!
              • Just to say, I posted the other topic and decided to put the first super on as the brood box was full.

                The bees have moved up and drawn out 5/6 combs and on their way to start the rest.

                The middle 2 frames on the supers are already 3/4 full

                I am not sure why your bee's did/do not move up into a new super - perhaps you just need a critical mass of bees and enough forage for them to need the space

                Simon