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Sep 21, 2017

When to add a 2nd deep super (box) & more.

1 comment

This is an email exchange received from Sue Ellen Fleeman (internet connection issues, she couldn't post this in forums herself).


Sue Posted:

Hi everyone. I am a first-year beekeeper. I purchased a nuc from a very reputable long-time local beekeeper and I received the bees about the middle of May. For whatever reason, the hive was not particularly thriving but not really weak either. We had a really strong nectar flow that came in two waves and even first-year beekeepers had as many as two honey supers on early. I was attempting to follow the advice from our bee club as to when to add a second hive body (using deep boxes) and a super and I think my hive was not ready for what I did when I did it. I don't think I managed things inside the hive as well as I might have. Anyway, from observation I think my hive has strengthened through August pretty well. I was still seeing orientation flights every few days until just a few days ago.


I received my initial shungite order in late August and this was before I knew about your bee project. After reading about the project I placed the three largest shungite pieces I received with my order on the right side of the hive entrance. My observation has been that the bees certainly don't avoid the shungite and that they seem to prefer coming and going across the shungite rather than using an area to the left of the shungite that lined up with some burr comb they had made that kept them from having to walk across the screen of the bottom board. I don't know if how I have used the shungite lines up with your requirements for Phase 1 of your project.


I'd appreciate some feedback as to how I might be able to assist with the project. I understand that Irma created some obstacles for you all so don't feel pressured to respond earlier than is convenient. FYI we do have small hive beetles that have been pretty mild this year according to other beekeepers. We also had a varroa mite count that warranted treatment. I placed Apiguard two weeks ago and will place another tray tomorrow. Thanks! Sue Ellen

Sep 21, 2017

Hello Sue,


I usually will wait until appx 90% of the frames located in the bottom super (box) are filled before adding the 2nd box. The first box the middle 6 frames or so should be filled with brood (eggs/larvae), then the outer 4 frames on either side are usually filled with honey (if using a 10 frame hive). The bees can repeat this on the 2nd super you add, or they can leave it all honey. So there is never a specific time to add the 2nd, I would suggest just checking inside every couple weeks during a nectar/pollen flow. I would then continue this process using shallow honey supers from then on.


It sounds like you've place the Shungite nuggets you received properly, not surprisingly the bees enjoy being around them. I would suggest you just leave the Shungite nuggets at the entrance, maybe even push inside a bit during the winter.


You mentioned you have hive beetles and varroa mites, and that you were treating them with Apiguard. I understand once your beehive is totally infested it can be hard to recover from without treating, but it can be done. The problem with treating your bees with chemicals to rid them of disease/pests is that the chemicals not only affect the pests, but the bees negatively, then the chemicals also transfer into any honey they have. Plus the chemicals will embed within the honeycomb itself.


To help your bees and turn them into treatment-free Shungite bees:


  1. Spring 2018 begin with a new Shungite painted beehive (with all new frames). Use Shungigte nuggets again.

  2. Once nectar/pollen flow begins take 2 brood frames from your original hive and place them in the middle of the new beehive, with new empty frames surrounding them.

  3. Take several frames with bees on them and "shake" the bees into the new hive, right on top of the two brood frames you placed inside. (whichever box the queen ends up in, the other hive will notice they don't have a queen and begin making queen cells to replace her) - Or you can always buy a new queen and place her into the new hive.

I would keep the two beehives a bit away from each other, but maintain Shungite nuggets on both hives. In apps 3-4 weeks you should have new queens emerging and taking mating flights from the queenless beehive. By basically making a new Shungite beehive, using all but 2 new frames 90% of the chemicals you've used are now gone. As the queen expands her brood frames out in the new beehive I would remove the 2 brood frames you moved over from the original hive, one, then the other in a couple weeks.


If you still have a mite problem while you're in the transition into Shungite beehives you can use Tea Tree Oil to help control the mites. The best way to keep beetle populations down until your bees can do it themselves is to open your lid every day or so and remove/crush the beetles you see, then if your bottom board is removable, keep it clean/clear of them. The pest numbers should begin to lessen as the bee generations continue being born in a healthy Shungite environment.






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