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bees not active after 3 days

 
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blackwillowfarm
New Bee


Joined: 30 Apr 2015
Posts: 5
Location: washington state USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:55 pm    Post subject: bees not active after 3 days Reply with quote

I just installed on sunday my bees into a top bar hive. I placed a feeder in there as well with 1:1 ration of sugar and water. I went out on Wed and noticed no activity. Upon investigating by moving one bar at a time starting from further away from bar one (queen location) I noticed they were all there in a mound (for lack of a better word). I then checked their feed and it was empty. I used a large canning jar for feeder at least pint and a half and it was gone in 3 days. I immediately replaced with more syrup.

First question is that normal speed of losing the syrup?

Now. I need to move on and ehck my bars and prevent cross combing. IS this mound of bees that spans 4-5 bars normal? Was it from lack of food? With food how long should it take to return to normal? And do I just raise the bars and force bees to separate so I can look for queen etc (very hesitant about doing this without advice)?

Thanks
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Robert
Guard Bee


Joined: 28 Dec 2010
Posts: 66
Location: USA, Spring Branch, Texas

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are building comb in that mass of bees. I have seen a package go through more than a quart a week of syrup.
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blackwillowfarm
New Bee


Joined: 30 Apr 2015
Posts: 5
Location: washington state USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:14 pm    Post subject: what next Reply with quote

okay so if their building comb and I need to watch and prevent cross comb. Do I just gently lift the bars and separate them a bit or wait till I can see combs and then try and adjust.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


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

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you have any comb guides on your top bars? If so let them have peace and quiet because they have lots to do. You just make sure they have enough syrup to keep building comb.

I caught a swarm once 1 day before going on 2 weeks holidays Smile I shook them into an empty top bar hive which had melted wax strip along the top bars as guides and I gave them 2x 500 g honey from their own apiary (syrup is safer). After 2 weeks of no one checking on them I thought they will cross comb like mad but when I came back they have built 12 straight white new combs without any cross comb Smile

I would leave them to it for at least 7-10 days and then check, if you have provided comb guides. If not well ... that might be a mess.
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blackwillowfarm
New Bee


Joined: 30 Apr 2015
Posts: 5
Location: washington state USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:35 pm    Post subject: they are much moreactive now Reply with quote

yes I do have some guides. now hopefully they work Very Happy

NOw that they have had a day of sugar water they see a lot more active and still clumped up so crossing fingers. Will check on day 7. Thanks
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


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

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You probably know this but only open when no wind and if sunny. Look for queen signs instead of searching for the queen like eggs and larvae. Inspect the hive during the day when many foragers are out gathering. Less bees to deal with. Be very gentle with those new combs. They are fragile.
Good buzzing to you
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bees cluster in that "mound" to create heat. They need heat to work wax. They need syrup to fuel them to create heat. Eventually you will see the wax starting to appear through the edges of that cluster. I would not disturb them until comb is clearly visible "growing" out of the cluster.

Keep an eye on the entrance and you will start to see pollen going in. That tells you that the queen is laying. How many top bars did you initially give them. It's important in my opinion to make the area of the hive that they have access to wider across ways than length ways, so that the top bars are running across the longest length. Having good comb guides is essential. What did you use?
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blackwillowfarm
New Bee


Joined: 30 Apr 2015
Posts: 5
Location: washington state USA

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 6:47 pm    Post subject: follow up Reply with quote

I am using two books:Les Crowder's book and THE THINKING BEEKEEPER. I only open when sunny and calm. I started with 10 bars. I used natural cotton as guide held in place with beeswax.

I checked today and see comb and the queen is free of cage so all seems to be good. I will will till day 7 or so when more comb is there and look for signs of the queen.

Thanks so much for help.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


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

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too used cotton thread and melted wax. Now I just melt a wax line without the cotton and it works as well.
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