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A little help for a new beekeeper in Va.

 
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Byrdmando
New Bee


Joined: 12 May 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Coleman Falls, VA.

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 2:19 am    Post subject: A little help for a new beekeeper in Va. Reply with quote

I recently built a TBH from plans found on the internet. I was unable to find a TBH nuc so I was forced to purchase a 3# package from Dadant. Long story short, I installed the bees last tuesday. They started making comb by thursday. Saturday they began clustering outside the hive and actually spent the night clustered outside the hive. We captured them and thought we found the queen and put them back in the TBH. They clustered again just as before and we caught them and put them back in TBH and locked the box down. Now, using the observation window, the bees appear to be clustered on the inside of the box and I see no new comb being built. The "old" comb from Thursday has no bees on it and it is not being expanded on.

This is getting pretty discouraging. Any suggestions?

Sorry that my first post is a plea for help but that is where I am now. I will give a proper introduction when things slow down.

Byrdmando
Coleman Falls, Va.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Brydmando and welcome.

Sorry to hear things are not going smoothly.

Unfortunately that doesn't sound good but need a bit more info to figure out what is going on.

Did you direct release the queen when you installed the package or plug the hole in the queen cage with candy and hang it. If so, did they start building the initial combs around the cage?
If you direct released, can you be sure you didn't drop the queen outside the hive.

Is the queen marked.... could she have clipped wings?.... You may need to make enquiries with the supplier.

Do you have an open mesh floor.... if so cover it.
Are you feeding them and if so how and with what?

Is there anything in the hive that they might take exception to?....
Excessive use of Lemon grass oil perhaps or timber treatment?
Did you coat the inside of the hive with anything and if so, what and how recently?

My bet is that there is something about the hive they don't like and they have tried to abscond but either the queen is too fat to fly yet or her wings have been clipped. Hence, when she tries to leave she will drop to the ground and then climb up the hive (being the nearest thing) and the bees will cluster around her. You need to figure out what they don't like about the hive.
I see you recently built the hive...Newly sawn timber is something they don't like. Open mesh floor often upsetlles them, so if you have one, prop a board under it. Strong odours or draughts, damp, daylight all upset them.... are you opening the observation window shutter too often perhaps?
Did you use a follower board to reduce the volume of the hive to about 10 bars? It's not critical, but too large a volume may discourage them.


When you say, you have blocked them in, presumably/hopefully they still have ventilation and syrup?

Good luck figuring it out and I will post again if I think of anything when you have supplied more info.

Best wishes

Barbara
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Byrdmando
New Bee


Joined: 12 May 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Coleman Falls, VA.

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 11:46 am    Post subject: Answered questions about hive Reply with quote

Hello Barbara,

I will try to answer a few questions for you. Thanks for the help.

I did not direct release the queen. I hung her and she had candy blocking the hole. Bees were not making comb on the queen box.

Queen is not marked.

I do have a mesh floor.

I am feeding using ziploc bags a 1 to 1 mix of syrup.

I put maybe four or five drops of lemon grass oil in the hive a week before my package arrived.

I lightly coated the inside of the hive with beeswax.

I am not opening the observation window very frequently...but I have been using more than normal just because of the problems I have mentioned...but I am not using the window for amusement, if that helps.

I am using a follower board reducing the size down to 10 frames.

They should have pretty good ventilation after blocking them in (I just used cork to block the 3/4" holes) because of the mesh floor.

I also have a hole drilled through the follower board to give access to the syrup.

Hope some of this helps. Thanks.

Byrdmando
Coleman Falls, Va.
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trekmate
Golden Bee


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

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Byrdmando and welcome

Think of where wild bees live - a hollow tree. Hollow trees do not have mesh floors. I'd get that covered as soon as possible and keep it that way until the bees are settled. I keep mine covered year round and have no problems, but you can remove it in a month or so if your local conditions dictate.

Good luck!

John
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Byrdmando
New Bee


Joined: 12 May 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Coleman Falls, VA.

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trekmate,

Thanks for the insight. I am actually trying to get it boarded up as we speak. But stuck at work and hoping my neighbor will run over and take care of it.

Byrdmando
Coleman Falls, Va.
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Byrdmando
New Bee


Joined: 12 May 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Coleman Falls, VA.

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update:

I put a board over the wire bottom and removed two of the three corks I had blocking the entrance. I saw activity in and out of the hive but I was unable to tell if new comb was being made because I have been in and out of the hive for the past week and I think the bees need a break from me.

Honestly, I dont think there is much more I can do. Maybe they just dont like the home I built them.

Time will tell.

Byrdmando
Coleman Falls, Va.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pleased to hear you got the mesh floor covered. Let's hope that was their only gripe about the accommodation and they settle now.

Personally I would only open one entrance hole whilst you are feeding them and leave the other two corked. Apart from that, I agree that they need peace and quiet now.

I am not familiar with feeding syrup in a ziplock bag. Is it working ok? I use an inverted jar with small holes in the lid or a dish with a float, on the odd occasion that I have to feed.

Keeping fingers crossed for you and them.
Watch for pollen going in and then you should be able to breath a sigh of relief.
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Byrdmando
New Bee


Joined: 12 May 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Coleman Falls, VA.

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara,

Honestly, I am not sure how the ziploc is working but lots of others have had success. I will let you know more as I find out.

Thanks for all the help and I will keep all posted with developments.

Byrdmando
Coleman Falls, Va.
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