When to Add Another Box
By Gary S. Reuter, Apiculture Technician
Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota
This procedure applies to both existing and package colonies.
When the bees are using more than 80% of the first box add a second box. We find it best if you take a frame with some nectar on it and move it up to the middle of the new box. This will draw the bees up there. Be sure not to move brood up there because it will make it difficult for the bees to keep it warm.
When the bees are using more than 80% of the second box add a third box. Again, we find it best if you take a frame with some nectar on it and move it up to the middle of the new box. This will draw the bees up there. Do you get the idea I think this is important? This will draw the bees up there.
This next step is a very important in preparation for winter. When the bees are using more than 80% of the third box do a full reversal. When bees bring in pollen they tend to put it in the box closest to the entrance, in this case the bottom box. We want them to have some pollen available at the end of the coming winter. By doing the full reversal the bottom box (they were putting a lot of the pollen into) will now go on the top. They will use some of it but they will put honey on top of a lot of it. At the end of next winter (like now) they will have eaten the honey and exposed the pollen and then can use it to raise brood. Natural pollen is way better than pollen patties for nutrition.
Once the bees have about 2” of sealed honey in the third box we add honey supers. This usually assures that they fill that third box with honey for themselves for winter. So by doing this manipulation throughout spring and summer we have assured the bees have sufficient stores for winter.
Entomology website: www.entomology.umn.edu
Gary’s website: www.tc.umn.edu/~reute001
Lab website: www.BeeLab.umn.edu