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How often may I look in a new Top Bar colony?

 
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elderken
New Bee


Joined: 11 Aug 2014
Posts: 6
Location: USA, Arizona, Rimrock (Center of the state)

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:11 pm    Post subject: How often may I look in a new Top Bar colony? Reply with quote

I did a very rugged cutout of a feral hive in a space under a boulder in the desert. Vacuumed 3 or so pounds of bees, and got 8 good pieces of brood comb, and a little honey. I did NOT get a queen. I attached the comb to my bars with hair clips and zip ties a la: Taylor McCartney. After three days they seem to have settled down and are coming and going well.

I live in Rimrock, AZ at 3500' elevation. Very similar climate to Austin TX, just a lot dryer.

Questions:
    How often can I peek inside to see what they're doing without scaring them away? (I really want to watch how they deal with the comb attachment and how they work the brood.)
    How often should I check for cross-combing? (I'm concerned that my hair clip attachment is not the straightest or greatest.)


Thx!

Ken
“Practicing Christlikeness”
Luke 9:23-27
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elderken
New Bee


Joined: 11 Aug 2014
Posts: 6
Location: USA, Arizona, Rimrock (Center of the state)

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:34 am    Post subject: Will a picture help with answers? Reply with quote

I really want to hear from you more experienced Beeks! Or is my question too common? Well, here's a picture of my Top Bar Box:
(Just found out I can't include images until I post 5 times. Well, this should be #2.)
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do look every week at the beginning. First time after three days, than weekly. Once set, every two weeks or monthly. Just checking from the sides not a full inspection.
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elderken
New Bee


Joined: 11 Aug 2014
Posts: 6
Location: USA, Arizona, Rimrock (Center of the state)

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anything I need to do while they, hopefully, make a queen?
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Continue to add comb with young larvae or even better buy in a queen. If you wait too long they become drone layers.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is possible that the eggs and young larvae have dried out during the cut out, so maybe they have no "material" to raise a new Queen.

I would try and make a full inspection in 10-14 days to see if there any occupied Queen Cups on the combs. If not then introduce a new Queen (local if possible).

Letting them go longer without a Queen will create a Laying Worker which will only lay drone brood = death of the colony.

All this said, there is also a possibility you have got the original Queen and she is laying new eggs as we speak. When doing the inspection look for newly laid eggs too.

Good luck!
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AugustC
Silver Bee


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

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, I would let them settle in.
Give them at least two weeks left completely alone. This should allow them time to attach comb (with feeding). It will also give them a chance to calm down. After something that stressful the colony may take a long while to calm down, it depends on the colony. As it gets cooler you want to be inpecting less anyway as to reseal the hive after an inspection will become harder and harder for them. Personally, I would be inclined to leave them alone completely for even longer and feed plenty. Even if they end up cross combing you can always worry about that it spring. The main thing now is to get them healthy, settled and ready for winter. I know other will disagree about the crosscombing so make sure you read all responses before you decide on what to do.
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elderken
New Bee


Joined: 11 Aug 2014
Posts: 6
Location: USA, Arizona, Rimrock (Center of the state)

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for these responses! I saw no activity indicating the presence of a queen.
How far away from the hive do you recommend I place honey to feed them? When I first started with bees, I put a mason jar feeder with syrup over a bird bath that's about 10 feet from the hive. I've since read that to reduce robbing feed should be located much farther away. I can put it in the hive with a follower board with a access hole and the 2-jar feeder behind that. There would be no access to the feed except through the hive. My only hesitation to putting it in the hive is that it will occupy the space of 4 bars. The Hive is only 3' long, and I am concerned reducing that by 5" will crowd them. Also, I'd have to open the box to install the feeder.
Your take?
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1125
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you feed outside the hive you'll be feeding a LOT more than your bees as well as risking robbing. I only feed directly in the hive. Behind the follower is a good option.
Also only use honey from the colony you're feeding, or you risk introducing disease. Sugar syrup also works well.
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AugustC
Silver Bee


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

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ps to trekmate's post: Put the feed on in the evening so they can clear most of it overnight. This reduces the chance robbing and means bees aren't split between outside forage and inside feed.
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elderken
New Bee


Joined: 11 Aug 2014
Posts: 6
Location: USA, Arizona, Rimrock (Center of the state)

PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:43 pm    Post subject: Final Chapter Reply with quote

Sunday, 21SEP, while installing a robbing screen I noticed little activity at the entrance. Upon opening the box I found empty combs and less than 25 bees. No evidence of any fully-formed queen cells. So, I guess, natural attrition and the pressure from the robbers killed the little colony.

I keep learning. Now, I'm gearing up to trap/capture some swarms come spring.

Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge!
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Paul Reyes
Nurse Bee


Joined: 14 Aug 2014
Posts: 26
Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When starting out it is advised to at list check on them twice a week at most so they can get used to the environment. As they get busy to can check on them once a week.
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