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Too early to add another box?
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schmidt.nikki
Mar 22, 2021
My first question is Packed to the gills with what? Honey/sugar syrup, pollen, brood? Without seeing the colony, I can only guess at what this is You say the brood is in three boxes but is it only on 2 or three frames in each box? If so the brood could be consolidated into the two bottom boxes with open cells in the top box. then effectively you have a reversal. If there is 4, 5 or more frames containing brood in each box, then they are truly gaining strength and will likely swarm at some point. While not the norm here in central Maryland March swarms do happen every year. Sometimes the reason there is what seems like excessive brood in a colony is because there are two queens. This happens more than most people realize and it is more likely a summertime occurrence. Rarely would both queens over winter, but it is possible. You could do an exhaustive queen search and should you find two, then simply divide resources, brood, pollen, honey, into (2) two box hives and put one queen in each. There is your split. There is no cook book formula defining how many medium 10 frame brood boxes a colony should have. While 3 is the standard number in our area, I often run 4, sometimes 2, and super them just like that when the dandelions bloom. Chilled brood is very common this time of year. Most beekeepers don’t see it because the workers clean out the dead larva before one does a hive inspection. You can’t avoid it but in can be minimized by not reversing too early which is exactly what you are concerned about. I wait until “white wax” to reverse because I cull out old dark comps and replace them with beeswax foundation. It has to be warm enough for them to draw out comb. You may have actually slowed down the colony’s swarming by cutting down on the brood via potential chilled brood. So, your actions may ultimately have not been the worst thing you could have done, but I would have not advised it prior. You may not want to wait until an active nectar flow to split them. By then it may be too late. Eventually the bees will tell you if you have made the correct decisions and keep in mind, your results will most likely vary from one year to the next. Allen Hayes EAS Master Beekeeper 2006
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schmidt.nikki

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