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Author Topic: bees wont go inside the boxes at night!  (Read 2294 times)
tig
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« on: September 14, 2004, 06:11:51 AM »

i'm planning on moving my colonies to a new location but i see a lot of the bees resting quietly on the outer part of my boxes all through the night.  the weather has been relatively cool because of the rains, but even during an  light evening shower i see them still outside the box.  how do i get them to go inside the boxes so i can close the boxes and ready them for relocation?  what is this a sign of?  is this normal?
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2004, 04:50:46 PM »

Hi Tig:

Sounds like over-crowdedness in the hive. Often, outside temps can be cool, but over-crowded hives can exceed 95 degrees (the ideal temperature for egg hatching and brood rearing) and to keep the temps at or near this temp, the excess bees need to beard outside the box.

This will trigger swarming almost everytime - if you have bearding in cooler weather, so expect a swarm soon. The only way to avoid it (if at all) is to add a hive body (super) with drawn comb (ideally) or frames with foundation (generally) to give the bearding bees somewhere to go and MORE IMPORTANTLY something to do!

You could search and kill off any queens or queen cells, but letting a hive swarm isn't the worse case scenario, your hive could benefit by swarming. Of course the bees that swarm MAY NOT have the best of times finding a viable home that they can prepare for Wintering, but the bees left behind will have "RELATIVELY" a lot of honey stores to go into the Winter with and that is always a good thing.

Many people would argue (and rightly so) that late season swarming should be prevented, but realistically to the backyard beekeeper it comes so quickly that before you get a chance to stop the swarm, the swarm occurs.

Personally I don't mind letting the swarming happen. Often you can reclaim the swarms, but just as often they find their way back into nature and help repopulate the feral bee count. The real problem which occurs is COMPETITION for food sources for your hived bees. Swarms who are luck enough to find a home that is functional as a hive are very accelerated as nectar and pollen collectors, compared to a hive which already has a hive at (or near) capacity. So evaluating your area (as far as food sources go) is important whether you want to allow or prevent swarming, or letting bees return to the wilds. The other issue of course is infestation of varroa and the inability of a feral hive to protect itself and later pass on the varroa to your colonies.

There are pluses and minuses in everything, but your hive is overpopulated, at least it sure sounds like it - adding space and removing any swarm queen cells is the only realistic way to prevent swarming - you might need though to concidar whether you want to build the hive up (late in the season in MOST of the US) or let nature take its course and THEN move the hive once the population is more balanced to the available space.

Good luck and as always, look for many opinions, I'm just another beekeeper, Beemaster is just a name, not a title Smiley
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Idahobeeguy
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2004, 05:57:20 PM »

You might consider splitting the hive. I would suggest reducing congestion by taking out some of the frames with brood and putting them in a new box with some empty frames. You will want to replace the frames you took out of the parent colony to ensure that you have the same number of frames, but more space. Make sure you have only 1 queen in one of the colonies. If you have queen cells, handle them carefully (so as not to dislodge the developing queen). Put the frames with queen cells in the hive that does not have the original queen. I see you are located in the Philipines, a place I know little about. If you are going into a period of low nectar production, then you may need to either feed them or come up with an alternative. I would suggest talking my suggestions over with a local beekeeper to see if this is consistent with your area.
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tig
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2004, 07:49:11 PM »

hi john and idaho!  thanks for the advice and yes over crowding was the first thing that leaped to my mind when i saw.  i'm sorry but i didn't explain my situation very well.  i'm from the philippines which is a very tropical country, so needless to say we don't have winter, only rainy season and dry.  my bees belong to A. mellifera, my queens have been imported from Kona, Hawaii.  i cannot just split the hives because we lack genetic material to make any queen rearing feasible, nor are there any feral colonies of the A. Mellifera species which means my bees will inbreed if i allow swarms to issue.

for now my bees are fed with sugar syrup because its the rainy season, and will continue that way till about december.  pollen, however is not a problem because they are bringing back a lot of it. as to the congestion problem, i have already placed supers over the lower brood box and check up once a week.  i usually insert 2 foundations to give them work, and by a week, one is usually fully drawn and the other partially drawn which makes me insert another foundation.  i have checked for queen cells, so far only one of the 5 boxes has it....and shes the weakest of my colonies having only one brood box with 8 frames in it.  i have taken to naming the queen...queenless!  thats because this particular queen persists in laying queen cells!  i don't know if its genetics or if she has weak pheromones, but amazingly, shes my best laying queen! her laying pattern is text book example with almost no empty spaces.  if you draw out a sealed brood, you will see the food on top, pollen on the sides and the rest is capped brood.  her hive draws the fastest combs...usually two full ones in a week, has the most sealed and emerging brood frames, and the most egg frames!  unfortunately, her tendency to keep making queen cells has forced me to keep transferring her closed brood to other hives so i can maintain her box to only 7 or 8 frames so its easier for me to check for queen cells.

im a newbie at this since i started only last july, with 40 nuc colonies.  i am awaiting my additional order of another 20 nucs which will be arriving before the end of the month, making a total of 60 colonies.  the goal is to strengthen all the colonies before the start of the nectar flow in january.  with the arrival of the next 20 nucs, a lot of my colonies which have supers will be depopulated because i will have to get closed brood to transfer to the nucs to equalize.

my real problem is that of my original 0 hives, i brought home 5 to Manila where i live.  the rest i left in the farm which is located 70 KM from Manila.  the reason for bringing them home was that these 5 were weaker than the rest.  for one reason or the other, the other 35 had overtaken them badly so i was adviced to separate them which i did.  it seems that being under my constant care strengthened them spectacularly because now they have become my strongest colonies!  now comes the nightmare....a neighbor of mine was found to have america foulbrood.  you must understand that beekeeping in my country it at its infancy...we have only about 500 beekeepers and none of them have more than 500 hives.  here, having 60 hives is considered commercial because most have only about 10 to 20 hives of mellifera.  being an island nation, pest and diseases aren't readily brought in because we do quarantine, but smuggling is another matter.  somehow, someone must have smuggled in bees or materials with AFB.  for whatever reason, the positive findings of American foulbrood has sent the industry in a panic and all the beekeepers have been asked NOT to move any hives around and to take all necessary precautions.  the 5 colonies i have here at home are under quarantine because of my near proximity to an infected apiary.  now is the second nightmare....my village has decided to start fogging for mosquito control!  because of the quarantine i cannot remove my bees and because they are bearding, i cannot even close the boxes to bring them indoors!  i have until tomorrow to figure out what to do to save these 5 hives because as sure as death and taxes, the fogging will kill them all!
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2004, 09:26:32 PM »

Not sure what type of hives your using,  but if they are not cramped and they are bearding,  then there isn't enough ventilation in the hive.

Before I started using screened bottom boards,  bearding would happen even on hives that had plenty of room.  Initial I used slatted racks above the bottom board, and that eliminated the bearding.  Since that time I have switched to screened bottom boards and have not had any bearding.

Try giving them as much ventilation as possible and see if that works.
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tig
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2004, 09:11:34 AM »

i'm using standard 10 framer langstroth boxes.
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2004, 11:28:31 AM »

Then I would suggest screened bottom boards or slatted racks and either a ventilation box on top or prop the cover up with some 1" x 1" on top of the inner cover that the teloscoping edges of the cover rest on.  This is assuming there is adequate space already, and they aren't crowded.
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