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Honeybound?


#1

Hi Matt,

I have a TBH in Denver, I am staring my second year. The bees have been very successful here. I started them last April and by June they filled the entire hive with comb. The hive was very full with bees this spring, and for the last several weeks with many bees were bearding even through cold nights. They finally swarmed Monday and it was a HUGE swarm. I have harvested the last bar of capped honey twice this year (they keep attaching to the back board) and now I am noting mixed brood comb farther toward the back, where it used to be just honey. Are they starting to get honey bound? Could that be why they had such a huge swarm? I have heard never to change the position of the bars, but I have also heard to move the bars next to the brood comb to the back to prevent them from becoming honey bound.

Help!

Diane

http://citygardenbliss.blogspot.com/


#2

Diane,

Honeybinding is an issue in any hive, but it can be a bit tricky with horizontal top bar hives. This is especially true if the hive is too short. I find that most TBH that are 36" or less can become filled with brood from one end to the other – leaving no room for you to harvest honey and alleviate the space issue. In that case your only option is usually to split the colony or watch it swarm repeatedly.

To prevent honey binding in a hive that isn’t out of space, you generally want to add some empty bars on one of both sides of the brood nest. Personally I add a couple at the front of the hive and a few more between the brood and the surplus honey stores. This allows them to expand the brood nest and tends to reduce the issues. It also ensures that my combs remain nice and straight, as they are being built in a confined space between other straight combs.

Best,

Matt


#3

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the reply. I did remove a few bars behind the brood just last week, they already building comb and when I look into the window they seemed very full again. Would they actually swarm again this late?

Thanks,

Diane

citygardenbliss@blogspot.com


#4

Yes they can and may! Just keep giving them space and watch (and listen) for signs of swarming. If you hear high pitched noises coming from the hive (piping and tooting as its called), you may be in for more swarms!

Best,

Matt