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Brand new fallen comb and feeding

 
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NewBeeIL
New Bee


Joined: 18 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:56 pm    Post subject: Brand new fallen comb and feeding Reply with quote

I got a swarm from a local beekeeper five days ago. Installed the bees, and slowly opened the three entrance holes over the following 48 hours to encourage them stay put. I opened the hive completely yesterday (four days later) to inspect and was thrilled to see that they were working hard to build comb and it was all straight and very neat. I only opened it for a few moments, not wanting to disturb them, so I didn't look for the queen or really do much other than make sure they were staying put and building comb. Unfortunately, being the first time I opened a hive to inspect, I made some mistakes which I am beating myself up over. The main one is that I caused one of the lovely new combs to come off the bar. I pushed it back on hoping that it would stay but this morning i see it lying on the mesh bottom of the hive. Could be that I didn't stick it well enough or that yesterday was a very very hot day here which made the situation worse, So, my long winded question, do I go in today to reattach the comb even though it is supposed to be stormy or should I give the bees some time to rebuild and go in when the weather is more favorable? Also, since it was just a small comb, maybe 2"x5", should I use a needle and some thread to tie it back into the bar so it doesn't collapse again? Or would it really be best for me to just let them abandon that comb and rebuild completely since it's not much of a loss? I do not think they will abandon the hive as they seem very very protective, more than I've seen when observing other hives. It appears as though they have made this their home despite my unintentional best efforts to set them back in their work.

Also, the feeder is now nearly empty, I only had about 2c of sugar water or maybe a bit more to begin with anyway. It's June, there's lots of forage out there, should I continue to feed since this is an empty hive and they have lots of work to do or leave them alone to do their work? I try to take the minimalist approach, trusting them and their natural instincts, clearly they are better at that than I am, but I also don't want to neglect them or cause any further harm. Looking at the entrance this morning though, they don't seem to be very busy, yet again it is a cloudy day so they could be bracing for the coming storms or recovering from last nights thunder and lightning. I just worry that the lack of activity may mean that they are not really actively foraging right now or that they are preparing to swarm and abandon the hive. (It's completely possible that I'm overthinking this, admittedly lol)

Thank you for reading to is long winded message. I'd appreciate any help you can provide to expedite my learning curve. I am clearly feeling a bit dejected and disappointed in myself for causing harm to my new bees.

Kristy
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mannanin
Scout Bee


Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 260
Location: Essex. UK.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like everything is going fine, shame about the broken comb but it’s an easy mistake to make when combs are new and fragile. I like your intentions to stay minimalist so try to keep with it. I would forget about that broken comb but don’t leave it on the floor, just remove it, close the hive up and leave them alone for now. Feeding a swarm in June, not required. Good luck with them.
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NewBeeIL
New Bee


Joined: 18 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply. Maybe I am being too hard on myself. Once these storms pass, I will dig in and grab that comb then let them recover on their own. I did end up feeding them a bit more. It looks like they've gone through most of what I previously fed them and I haven't seen any good signs that they are foraging effectively on their own yet, plus the storms that are coming through over the next couple days will have them inside even more. I guess I'm letting go of my minimalist ideals a little bit to ensure that they have enough food. If they aren't hungry, I imagine they won't eat it anyway.

I guess I am just used to things coming pretty easily to me and feeling a bit more insecure than I expected working with my bees. I'll have to work on that. In the meantime, I'm going to make sure to have my smoker or sugar spray ready for next time, they were quite protective and ornery when I checked on them and hopefully a bit of smoke or sugar water will calm them down.

Kristy
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

of course they are foraging, how do you think they made that wax???
home depot
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NewBeeIL
New Bee


Joined: 18 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lol this is true. I thought maybe they had full bellies from swarming plus the little that I did feed them initially was enough to start some wax. I have been pretty surprised at the lack of activity away from the hive but this afternoon they seem to be moving a lot more so it seems all is well. They had mostly been congregating around the entrance over the past five days but now I see lots of bees darting off away from the hive when the sun is shining. Seems they like the hive and are willing to give me a little time to find my footing. If they don't eat the sugar water I put in there, no biggie, even raw organic sugar is cheap insurance.
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trouble is, you don't want them using sugar water, as you then risk them filling up combs with it, rather than eggs, if you have flowers in bloom, they will find them and therefore feed, at this time of year, increasing numbers are more important than stores
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NewBeeIL
New Bee


Joined: 18 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good point. Now that I can see for sure that they are going out and foraging well, I may as well remove the feeder. I'll just take that out when I remove that sad piece of fallen comb. If the storms ever stop long enough for me to get in there...
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like they are doing good. I'd pull the feeder. Whereabouts in Illinois are you?
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NewBeeIL
New Bee


Joined: 18 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I never got in there to pull the comb or the feeder. Ended up in the hospital with my son and we are still here. I guess this is an exercise in nonintervention beekeeping for now. I am in Round Lake, near route 12 and 120 if you know where that is. Thanks again for all the advice. Hope the bees are behaving while I'm gone.
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2012
Posts: 200
Location: Upper Northwest Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hospital? Yikes! Shocked

I definitely think that you should stop feeding.

Anyway: the best thing to do at this point is, indeed, to simply scoop out the fallen comb and discard it. I don't put it next to the hive, lest it attract robbers. And if there are any brood in it, then, well, c'est la guerre.

If you need to brace some comb in place, the best thing I"ve found is to cut some 3" strips of hardware-cloth (wire mesh). Fold them around two bars which are stacked one on top of the other ... this is simply a convenient guide. Bend the two edges crisply and set the bars aside. Now, with a pair of sturdy cutter pliers, cut the horizontal wires (the ones running parallel to the bar) along one end and fold them back, until you've made a set of bar-length wires running perpendicular to the bar. (Basically, "stop one wire short of the corner.")

Now, cut each of these into, say, three shorter pieces about a third of a bar's length long. Keep a stack of these handy (in a dry place).

When you go to your hives, bring an industrial stapler along. If bad things happen, put one of these braces around the bar and quickly staple it in place: one or two shots will do, and you don't need more. The side with the wire-grid fits across the top of the bar, leaving the bare-wires running horizontally across the bar below it. Carefully lift the comb and shove it onto these wires. They'll poke right through the wax and hold it. And, basically, I never remove them until the end of the season. They become a permanent fixture.
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