A Keeper’s Year-January

Serge Labesque

Mid-winter hive expansion
At left, we see a cross-section of a hive (here shown in a double-deep brood chamber configuration) before the manipulation that will provide the colony with additional space. The brood is indicated in red, bee bread in orange, and honey in yellow. The growing brood nest is located in the upper part of the brood chamber, where it is surrounded by stores. Thanks to the influx of young adult bees emerging from the growing brood nest, the cluster is occupying an increasingly large amount of the upper part of the hive. The lower part of the hive remains mostly unoccupied. At right, the same hive is shown after the mid-winter manipulation. The volume of the hive has been augmented by the addition of a super that holds a few frames and two follower boards. The lateral frames of honey, A and B, that were in the upper part of the brood chamber have been placed in this super to entice the bees to move into the super. They were replaced by two empty frames, which provide clustering space for the expanding
population. By providing the colony with additional volume in the upper part of the hive, the colony can freely augment the volume of its cluster and grow its brood nest. Congestion in the core of the hive is therefore avoided. The additional volume will help the colony to develop fully in preparation for spring. Stores are kept in close proximity to the brood nest.
Serge Labesque © 2019