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Starving bees

 
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joa
New Bee


Joined: 08 Aug 2015
Posts: 2
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:50 pm    Post subject: Starving bees Reply with quote

Hi, I'm new to this forum, and new to beekeeping.
Have made a tbh and was given a small colony on frames which I transferred to a conversion hive. I fed them 1:1 and they went through a lot, which made me think there wasn't much food around for them. Few days later I was informed they were queenless and given to me by accident, and the association very kindly took them back and replaced them. I now have a brood box containing 10 fames. That was my first mistake, as they are too big for my conversion hive, and its really the wrong time of year to do a crop and chop. On opening the hive today, the bees were not in a good mood and I did not manage to inspect the full colony. There did not appear to be much food in there at all, it seemed to be all brood no food, and there were two or three ?dead bees with heads in empty cells. Later on I noticed drones hanging around on the lawn which makes me think they're not being let back in? I can't feed them whilst they're in this box, its not my box to adapt, I can't fit fondant under the lid. Should I go ahead and crop and chop the lot tomorrow, they will lose brood, but I can then feed them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. So embarrassed I've messed up so soon Embarassed
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you mean by "conversion hive"? Can you put up a photo?

Cheers
Rob.
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Lacewing
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Posts: 96
Location: Powys, Mid Wales

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you managed to sort out your situation? Or get help with it? (Doesn't sound as though you 'messed up' - rather more that the situation wasn't easy, and that you could do with local advice/help!)
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1576
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi and welcome to the forum.

I would say go ahead and do the chop and crop. It sounds like they may do better losing some of that brood anyway as they are clearly struggling to maintain it and gather excess nectar for winter honey stores.
I'm assuming your conversion hive has a box on the end to take 5 frames or so.

The other option would be to split them... I'm thinking as I type here...

Put 5 frames in the TBH and leave 5 in the brood box and that should give you room to feed them both. I suppose it depends how long you can keep the brood box, but if there is no significant time scale, you could leave the queen in the brood box and grow them onto top bars by interspersing a top bar one at a time between frames. That would leave you 4 frame space to put a jar of syrup in. You could then transfer the top bars from the brood box to the top bar hive once they have brood in them. The frames in the converter part of the top bar hive will empty of brood(as there is no queen to replace them) and can be removed and chopped and cropped. You can then transfer the remaining frames with brood from the brood box into the converter part.

If you decide to go down that route, there are a few things you need to bear in mind, which I will go into if you decide on that option. It should take 4 weeks or so to do it that way and if they raise a new queen you will probably need to make a decision to cull one.
I haven't done this as I only work with swarms, so I can't guarantee it will work without glitches and I may have over looked something which hopefully someone else will point out, but I think it might be the best solution to your problem. Both hives would need the entrances reduced right down to one or two bee spaces and they would be best located close to each other I think.

Anyway, I hope that makes sense and if you need more input on it, shout up.

Regards

Barbara
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Lacewing
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Posts: 96
Location: Powys, Mid Wales

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is a conversion hive Barbara? A top bar with a section which will accommodate National frames?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1576
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kim

I'm guessing that's what the OP means by conversion hive. I've seen one or two photos of them that people have made with a rectangular section at one end to accommodate 5 or 6 frames. Personally I think they may cause problems in the future, especially when trying to move the brood nest off the frames, but I understand people's reticence for chop and crop and therefore trying alternatives like this.
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Lacewing
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Posts: 96
Location: Powys, Mid Wales

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara - Yes I haven't come across these.

(- Catriona here. Very Happy Now is Kim B Kind? - With the great pics from Ireland?)
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1576
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies Catriona .... you are of course right, B Kind is Kim. My brain is a bit fried at the moment!
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joa
New Bee


Joined: 08 Aug 2015
Posts: 2
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 4:34 pm    Post subject: Starving bees Reply with quote

Hi, thanks for replies, I have chopped and cropped them and they are now in the tbh with plenty of syrup. Wouldn't like to do it again. Good idea about splitting the hive, that would have been far less brutal! But I have to return box to owner. Thanks a lot Barbara Smile
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1576
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done for getting it sorted. Very Happy
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jodie?
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kathyd
House Bee


Joined: 29 Jun 2015
Posts: 13
Location: France, Brittany,Rostrenen

PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I realise this has now been sorted, but can I make a suggestion which may help in the future? We've also had to 'chop and crop' frames coming from standard hives to fit them into our top bar hive which is a different size and shape, and hated losing the brood (and food). What we've now made is something called 'rescue bars', which are basically a top bar with metal prongs along the top at right angles - you can use them to hang a whole broken frame from, or hook broken pieces onto, and then just slot them back into the hive. The metal prongs are sections cut from animal cage panels I think, but I'm sure there are alternatives... The only thing we've found with the pieces of comb is that although the bees do use them, they've not built onto them to turn them back into full sized combs as we'd expected them too. If anyone can tell me how to upload an image I'd be happy to do so, so you can see what the rescue bars look like! They've certainly made life much easier here so far.[/img]
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