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Author Topic: Weird . . .?  (Read 5726 times)
Kris^
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« on: July 07, 2004, 09:08:43 PM »

Ok, so we've had some pretty warm weather here the past couple days, humid and above 90.  The bees have been flying out and about like crazy; it's been difficult to make an accurate count, but I've estimated about 110 flying out per minute.  ANyhow, in the evening, they've taken to hanging outside the entrance on the landing board again, despite the fact that I have a screened bottom board and a vent box on top.  Only difference now is they're not going up the front of the brrod box.  But they are bunched up so thick at the entrance that it seems completely blocked off by the mass of bees.  (Of course, air can get in through the SBB.)  Even more strange, though, is when I lift the outer cover off the vent box and look in, the hole in the inner cover is similarly clogged with a mass of bees.  It almost seems as if my two deeps and honey super are so full of bees, they are overflowing top and bottom!  

Does this seem right?  I would have thought that with the increased ventilation, they wouldn't need to hang around outside.  They don't seem to be fanning or anything like that, just hanging around.  Is this a sign of overheating nevertheless, or something else?  I can't imagine they are overcrowded, because I only started the colony from a package April 22th.

-- Kris
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mark
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2004, 10:36:55 PM »

hey  kris

    i wouldn't be suprised if they were a tad crowded the way my hive is producing.  you got a good head start on me. mine are still working on drawing out the second body but boy there's a lot of bees. have you checked UNDER the screen yet? bunch under there too!
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Kris^
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2004, 07:34:56 AM »

I never thought to check UNDER the screen, alhough I can see how they might gather there there.  It's just ben so dry around here lately, I'm surprised there's enough out there to keep them busy.  I guess I'll just have to suit up and look in those boxes.  My intention when I put the honey super on three weeks ago was to just let them alone to do their thing -- after making sure they were moving into the super.  I know at the time that the upper brood box was so heavy it was hard to lift, heavier than the lower one.  Do you think I should reverse them at this time, or wait until closer to winter?  And if they are indeed crowded in there, is adding another super the solution, even if it isn't yet 70% filled with honey?  (I'd be surprised if it was.)

-- Kris
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Robo
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2004, 08:41:14 AM »

Give them more space before they decide to give themself more space (i.e. swarm).   I'm a firm believer the beekeeper is the cause for most swarms by restricting the space too much.  I always make sure there is an empty super for them to expand.  My practice is to add an empty super, as soon as they start working the previous super.
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Kris^
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2004, 10:37:40 AM »

I guess I have a project for later on today.  What would be the pros and cons of placing the second honey super either on top of the existing one or placing it between the existing one and the top brood box?  I am using an excluder and the bees seem to be passing freely through it.

-- Kris
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Sting
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2004, 02:15:02 PM »

Generally, the new super is installed over the brood chambers.  This because otherwise, the bees are frequently reluctant to move up into an empty super and so don't take immediate advantage of the increased room.  Also, it is far easier to remove a finished honey super that is on top of your hive, especially if you have to use a bee escape.  Good luck.
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My apiary is about 17 kms. (10 miles) NW (back & left) of this web-cam view:  'See any of my girls?
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Kris^
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2004, 07:51:12 PM »

Now I'm really flumoxed.

I went into the honey super, and there were a whole bunch of bees in there, especially clustered on the bottom of the inner cover.  But when I pulled the frames, there was virtually nothing there.  I didn't look like they'd drawn any more comb since I set the queen excluder into place.  They come up into the super, but don't work on drawing out the foundation.  They have propolized the area heavily, and had actually glued the bottoms of many frames to the excluder.  So I went into the hive bodies to see what was going on.  I found one full frame of noting but honey that must have weighed over 10 pounds.  The rest of the frames were part honey and part brood, some of it capped and some dark, empty comb.  All the frames were drawn, except for one that was partially drawn in a strange pattern due to the adjacent frame being overdrawn in spots.  There was also a good deal of burr and bridge comb that I cut out, most of it with larvae.  I didn't see the queen in there, but I wasn't really looking for her.  The top brood box itself was heavy as a sack of concrete; it was all I could do to lift it off.  I didn't go through the bottom box because the  bees were starting to get antsy.  It seemed like all the frames in that box were full up, too, but I don't know if there were any full of honey.  The larvae I examined had no signs of varroa.  Good news there, this time.  And there are many more times bees in there now than when I started with them.

So why would the bees come and go freely into the honey super but not draw out the foundation in there?  Should I feed them a little syrup for a week or so to jump-start them on drawing it?  Should I remove the excluder and hope the queen won't go there?  Anyone have any ideas as to why a colony of bees would occupy a super for three weeks and draw virtually no comb?  They've been foraging a lot -- what are they doing with what they're bringing back?  I'm stymied!

-- Kris
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Robo
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2004, 08:06:46 PM »

That is why some folks refer to it as a "honey excluder". I would take it out, especially since you just have foundation above it.

At this point, the best thing that could happen IS that the queen goes up there.  That would get the bees to start storing there.  Once she has laid eggs up there,  then move her back down and install the excluder.

Personally I don't use them unless I'm making comb honey.
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Kris^
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2004, 09:40:01 PM »

Ok, well, that's just what I did a little while ago.  Can't mess with the hive too much in one day, but I wanted to "just take out he excluder."  Got stung three times, too, when a few of the girls got into my shirt with me.  And one even came into the house with me in my shirt.  Glad I'm not allergic; benadryl and baking soda will make it okay.  I'll see in a week or two if it was all worth it . . .

Thanks for the suggestion, Robo.  I suspected that was the situation when it looked like they'd drawn nothing at all in the nearly three weeks since I'd put the excluder on, especially as they'd done fairly good drawing comb the first week the super was on WITHOUT the excluder.  I guess what they'd drawn then wasn't enough incentive for them to keep drawing.  At least with them storing honey and finishing off the frames in the brood box for these past few weeks, I got the colony good and strong!   cheesy

-- Kris
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tejas
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2004, 09:44:40 PM »

Quote from: Robo
Give them more space before they decide to give themself more space (i.e. swarm).   I'm a firm believer the beekeeper is the cause for most swarms by restricting the space too much.  I always make sure there is an empty super for them to expand.  My practice is to add an empty super, as soon as they start working the previous super.


Robo,
I just started with package bees this year so they are still working on the second brood chamber. Just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly when you first put your honey supers on do you put two on at the same time. If so do they basically fill one up before moving to the next?
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Robo
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2004, 09:57:51 PM »

tejas,

There is a big difference when using foundation vs. drawn comb.  It is much easier on both the bees and the beekeeper once you have drawn comb.

Here is a link to an excellent article on supering and very similar to the method I use,  I just don't put all the supers on at once.

http://www.beekeeper.org/april2002.html

The most important thing to realize is how valuable drawn comb is, and as a beekeeper you need to take care/protect it when it is not in use by the bees.
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"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison


Sting
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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2004, 09:46:41 AM »

I agree with Robo:  the queen excluder causes more trouble than it is worth.  However, it is useful to keep the Queen out of comb honey which we prefer to produce without the appearance of brood.
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"Where the bee sucks, there suck I." William Shakespeare: The Tempest.

My apiary is about 17 kms. (10 miles) NW (back & left) of this web-cam view:  'See any of my girls?
http://www.parliamenthill.gc.ca/text/hillcam_e.html
Kris^
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2004, 11:57:09 AM »

I have a comb honey super with ten frames of wax foundation that I intended to use next spring during the fast flow.  How do you get the bees to draw and fill that super with an excluder in place?

-- Kristine
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Finman
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2004, 12:25:07 PM »

Quote from: Kris^
Now I'm really flumoxed.


Quote
So why would the bees come and go freely into the honey super but not draw out the foundation in there?  


If I understand, they do not construct walls of cells? - It means that colony is aiming to swarm.

Quote
Should I feed them a little syrup for a week or so to jump-start them on drawing it?  


If you get honey from field, it is not wise to give sugar.


Quote
Should I remove the excluder and hope the queen won't go there?  



Let queen be where ever she wants. Do not disturb their honey harvsting.


Anyone have any ideas as to why a colony of bees would occupy a super for three weeks and draw virtually no comb?  

two reason:  1) They are not enough to occupy super 2) They are going to sawarm.


You have too complex idea there.

1) Go to the bottom of hive.
2) Put one super to bottom, where they can store pollen and new nectar
3) Put  2 brood supers next. Put empty frames to both sides and broods in the middle.
4) Take covered honey away
5) Put so much honey supers that the topmost super is half occupied .

6) Set up ventilation proper.
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Sting
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2004, 01:40:00 PM »

Quote from: Kris^
I have a comb honey super with ten frames of wax foundation that I intended to use next spring during the fast flow.  How do you get the bees to draw and fill that super with an excluder in place?

-- Kristine


Kris:  I place the comb honey super directly over the brood chambers for several days without any queen excluder.  Once the bees have begun to draw the comb, install the excluder.  Bear in mind that queens tend to avoid laying in shallow supers, assuming that is what you are using for comb honey.  In fact with one particular hive this year which was reluctant to move up, I placed the shallow comb honey super between the two brood chambers for a couple of days, and then raised it into position. At that point the cells were being formed but were not yet ready to receive eggs.  Good luck.
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"Where the bee sucks, there suck I." William Shakespeare: The Tempest.

My apiary is about 17 kms. (10 miles) NW (back & left) of this web-cam view:  'See any of my girls?
http://www.parliamenthill.gc.ca/text/hillcam_e.html
golfpsycho
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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2004, 08:57:26 AM »

The key to making comb honey(section honey) is a very very strong colony and a heavy flow.  The bees have to be crowded and basically forced into the comb super to quickly draw, fill, and cap the honey.  Otherwise, it becomes travel stained, the edges don't get drawn and filled, etc etc.  Obviously, all these conditions also promote swarming.  Succesful section production is a real beekeeping trick.  Typically, many keepers use a cut down split.  Basically,  the queen, and most of the brood is removed to a new hive, leaving a single frame of uncapped brood and eggs in the original hive.  The comb honey super is placed on top of the original hive.  The bees left in the original colony begin raising a new queen from the eggs left, so swarming is retarded.  All the foragers that were moved with the queen and brood to the new colony, return to the original colony, further crowding them up into the comb super.  There is little brood to feed, an enormous foraging age population, so all the nectar goes right into the comb super, and swarming is held in check until the new queen hatches and lays up a good brood nest.  A real balancing act.  I was recently made aware of another technique for making comb sections that might interest some here.  It is described on Dave Cushmans site.  Basically, it involves feeding extracted honey through a miller feeder back to the bees, who are given no place to store it but the comb super.  Both ways are labor intensive, but section honey demands top dollar, so may be worth it to some.
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Mchero
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« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2004, 10:00:08 PM »

Golfphycho

Thanks for the info! I'll have to readup for next years flow. I'm not looking for any honey this year. Just want them built up fot the upcomming winter.

We might want to start a thread on wintering bees soon.



RM
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