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First expansion

340 bytes added, 15:02, 31 October 2016
Bees usually overwinter in one hive box. During the spring and summer the colonies grow and thus need more space. Therefore the beekeepers add extra hive boxes, also called supers, so that the colony has enough room for both brood and honey. The added hive boxes usually contain frames; either [[built combs]] or [[wax foundation frames]].
The first expansion should be done once bees have filled all the [[beeway| beeways]] in the first hive body. The expanding is usually done with [[built combs]], but one or two [[wax foundation frames]] can be included as well. The [[drone comb]] for Varroa control can also be added in at this time. Be aware that in the cold spring weather, the bee colonies are very susceptible to [[Infectious diseases and parasites | disease outbreaks]]. So you want to limit the amount of disturbance and you should not give them too much space, since this will make it difficult for them to keep the brood area at the right temperature. To avoid cooling the brood area too much, the expanding can be done underneath the brood area or the added box can be separated with a newspaper that the bees can remove when they want to.
* In South-West Finland, the first expanding is done with a newspaper between the old and new boxes. The new box is given either above or under the existing hive body. When adding a second hive body, the existing hive body will always be inspected from underneath by tilting it up and taking note of how many beeways are occupied. Only if all beeways are occupied in the lower part of the hive body, is a second hive body added. The reason for tilting and checking from underneath, is that this disturbs the bees much less than opening the hive at the top. It is crucial to not disturb the bees during early spring, since at that time there are only very few worker bees per brood cell that have to keep the brood area at 34°C. This is really hard work especially if the surrounding temperature is still quite low.