Virgin Queen and Dealing With a Honey-Bound Hive

By Brian Batta

I am repopulating my area with bees! This spring, my time has been a bit stretched due to our new baby being born. I’ve lost two swarms from hive number 2. Pictured at right is the virgin queen.

I checked them today they seemed pretty good other than they are starting get get a bit honey/nectar bound. In fact, most of the upper brood chamber is now honey stores.

In my opinion, having a colony swarm is not a terrible thing. It means that they are healthy and highly productive. It also leaves the remaining workers with nothing to do until the new queen is mated. They spend all of their time drawing comb and storing and curing honey. I will need to harvest the honey out of that brood chamber sooner than I planned, but that’s not all bad.

Basically dealing with a nectar/honey bound colony is simple. You can remove the honey frames and replace them with drawn comb or extract and replace the original frames. If you plan to extract and replace the original frames you really need to put the combs back in the hive the same day. Remember, bees do not see foundation as room, so replacing the frames with foundation for them to draw is not really an option at this point. If you did that, it could induce an untimely swarm. What the queen needs is immediate room to lay eggs i.e. drawn comb.

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