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Newly installed package is bearding outside the hive

 
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Grimbold
House Bee


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
Posts: 12
Location: Lodi, CA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 2:46 pm    Post subject: Newly installed package is bearding outside the hive Reply with quote

Hey all. This is my second year with bees, last year we had an easy and successful install of bees. This year is not going as well i think. I am using a homemade top bar hive, with waxed top bars and lemongrass oil spread on the inside of the hive, just like last year, but this year result is different. I installed the package monday night, the bees spent the night in the hive that night, tuesday night i noticed that the bees were bearding on the front of the hive. I let then be, thnking they would go in the hive once it got dark and colder. Wednesday morning i went back out to look again, and it seems they spent the night bearded outside the hive, rather than in the hive. Should i try to catch them and re-install? Are they thinking about taking off? Help please.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1574
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

I don't have any personal experience of packages but a few more details might help....

Did you direct release the queen?
Is the queen clipped?
Is the whole cluster outside the hive or has it split into two?..... this could indicate that there was a second queen loose in the package.... perhaps a virgin queen.

You say that you rubbed lemongrass oil inside the hive.... How much did you use as it is pretty powerful stuff! One or two drops at most a few days to a week before the installment would be more than enough. Usually it is suggested to put a few drops on a cotton pad inside a zip lock bag with a few pin pricks in it to lure a swarm and then remove it once a swarm has moved in.

What is your weather like? If it is very hot? Perhaps they are bearding because of the heat. Do you have insulation in the roof?

Sorry, lots of questions need answering before we can hazard a guess.
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Grimbold
House Bee


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
Posts: 12
Location: Lodi, CA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The queen is unclipped, and was a direct release this time. Not by choice. I lost the marshmallows on the way out to do the install. i am not sure if the whole cluster is outside or not, i do see some bees coming in and out of the hive, but i am afraid to pull the cover to check because the clump of bees is attached to it. If i had to guess, i would say most of the cluster is outside the hive. I may have used more lemongrass oil than you suggest, but it was spread around the inside of the hive with a cotton swab about 4 days prior to the install, and there is no remaining swab in the hive now. Weather is in the high 70s low 80s during the day, and high 50s low 60s at night.
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Grimbold
House Bee


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
Posts: 12
Location: Lodi, CA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My thought is, i could spray them with sugar water, and thump the hive and make them fall down into a cardboard box, then re install them, i also thought, i might be able to just put a box on top of the hive, near where they are bearding, hoping to get them to all go up into the box. I just don't know enough to decide the course of action. Also, last point, it is currently 8:20 am. So they are mostly inactive at this point, but will be moving around pretty soon as the day warms up.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1574
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do I understand that the cluster is hanging from the roof but there are bees clearly coming and going from the entrance which would indicate that they have split and there is also a cluster inside or could they just be going inside to access the feeder.

Either way, you are going to need to disturb that cluster outside because they will either start building comb where they are or they will head off to find another home.
Is the queen marked?

I would put a sheet down on the ground below where they are clustered. Gently brush/scrape as many as you can into a cardboard box and place the cardboard box upside down on the sheet with a corner propped up, so that the others can all get in. They should be pleased to crawl up into the darkness of the box. Basically you are doing a swarm capture.

Leave them to settle and whilst they are doing so, have a look in the hive and see if you have a second cluster in there. If there is a second cluster, can you divide the hive and put the cluster in the box into the other end of the hive? If there isn't a second cluster and the hive is empty I would tip the bees from the box back into the hive late afternoon and perhaps cover the entrance with mesh or a twist of grass, so that they are imprisoned for a couple of days. Just make sure they have sufficient feed and ventilation.

As I say, I don't have experience of packages but from the way I have seen them produced there is every possibility that a virgin queen could get dumped off the frames with the other bees when they are boxed up and if she is related to them they may be more accepting of her than the mated queen from the cage. Did they look like a normal package when you got them or were there two distinct clusters in the package box?

Anyway, that's how I would approach the problem, but hopefully someone with more experience of them will come along and give you better advice.

Good luck whatever you do.

Barbara

You obviously posted your last response as I was composing my reply, but it seems we have the same plan, so lets hope it's a case of "great minds" thinking alike, rather than fools seldom differing!

I personally wouldn't spray them with sugar water, but that is maybe because I'm used to dealing with swarms which already have full bellies.
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Grimbold
House Bee


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
Posts: 12
Location: Lodi, CA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, heading out to deal with them now. I'll post when done.
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Grimbold
House Bee


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
Posts: 12
Location: Lodi, CA

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, i went out laid out a large flat piece of cardboard under the hive, and had a cardboard box handy also. I brushed all the bees down on to the flattened box and then set up the upside down box near with a stick propping it slightly ajar and looked in on the hive itself. Most of the bees were outside the hive, hardly any were in the hive. After making sure all was good in there i check back to see if there is any bees going into the box. Instead of going into the box, they were all climbing the leg of the hive and heading back up toward the hive. I assumed they were just going to beard again, so i picked up the flat cardboard that still had most of the bees on it, and dumped them into the hive. I brushed the climbers back down again, and also dumped them into the hive, and then sealed the top and got out of the way for a while. A few hours later, all the bees were in the hive clustering around the sugar water dispenser with a few coming and going out the regular entrance like they were supposed to. I checked again in the evening after it got dark, with a small pen light, and the whole cluster was in the hive doing just fine. So far , so good. Thanks Barbara for your assist, i think we are going to make it.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1574
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So pleased that you got it sorted in the end.

For future reference you need to scrape the majority off into the cardboard box and then slowly invert it over the sheet, that way you have the majority of the bees already in the box.
The reason they try to go back to the previous spot is that the queens pheremone is strongest there, but if you get the majority in the box to start with, the queen will usually be amongst them and they will fan their Nasonov glands to encourage the others in. Sometimes they go back to the original spot if you don't get the queen, but often the scout bees will encourage them to move into the box later although it can take an hour or so. Often if they are in an awkward location it takes 2 or 3 goes to get them in the box.

I now have a cardboard box that I keep for that specific purpose because it has had bees in it overnight and is spotted with bits of wax on the inside where they started making comb, so it smells inviting to a swarm.

Fingers crossed that things go smoothly from now on.

Best wishes

Barbara
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