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Author Topic: Sooo disillusioned  (Read 4817 times)
bmacior
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« on: July 18, 2008, 10:53:35 AM »

 I had been so excited all winter about becoming a beekeeper this spring. Hived my package of bees April 20th.  Thought it went well.  They drew out the first 2 or 3 frames really good and quit.  Our spring was colder and wetter than usual and even some of the experienced beekeepers have had the same problems as I with the bees not drawing out new comb.   I have been feeding them 1:1 sugar water all summer in effort to help them draw out more comb.  I have one brood box that is drawn out.  I see few larvae.  Saw  emerging bees 2 weeks ago (not many), none today.  Can't find the queen, she's not marked.  Due to my senior eyes (I can't see eggs-most people put on reading glasses to see up close, I take mine off; plus the veil precludes seeing anything without glasses anyway).   The bees are calm when I visit, which they shouldn't be if they were queenless.  Have very few capped drone cells so I take that to mean I don't have laying workers.  They have never built queen cells.  I'm considering this year a loss aside that I will have drawn out comb and probably honey as I expect they'll freeze this winter due to small cluster size.  I probably have about 8 frames covered with bees.   So do I continue feeding them and let them store for the next group of bees or do I save my money?  Cry

Barb










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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2008, 11:15:43 AM »

Have you been feeding 1/1 they need feed to build comb? I use 1/1.5 on plastic and they are booming !

Do you have a bee club, or a library that can get you beekeeping books from other libraries ?

Just my opinion for what it's worth !

Bee-Bop

Remeber take everything you read on forums with a grain of salt, some good information and some Inexperienced Opinions !!
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2008, 11:27:09 AM »

we had a really wet and cold spring.  my bees did not build up as expected.  even my early cut out and swarm hives did not build up.  do not be discouraged.  8 frames of bees may winter fine in one deep.  we still have some time, and mine are finally starting to boom even though it is probably to late for much honey this year. 

at this point, i am trying to disturb them as little as possible, and i am feeding my late swarm hives.  see what they look like in another couple of weeks.  they can amaze you with the rate of build up and comb building.  they know winter is coming.

i lost my first hives.  part of it was due to my inexperience and part due to SH.  losing hives is part of beekeeping, but it is also a learning experience.  i almost lost one this year due to starvation.  i just wasn't paying attention. 

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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
KONASDAD
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2008, 11:33:50 AM »

Dont give up now. Keep feeding them. One deep can survuive a winter w/ a little help too.
Make sure you feed them, keep the mites down and when winter comes, put a sugar board over brood area for anticipated needs since you have so few bees. A new queen might be in order. Also feed some pollen patties starting now, which will hel[p increase brood rearing. Once you start w/ that, you probably need to continue into september.
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palomanegra
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2008, 01:37:18 PM »

yeah, i definitley wouldn't give up on the colony. it just sounds like a weak hive that will need continued feeding of sugar syrup...i recommend getting some brood builder too.
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bmacior
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2008, 02:14:34 PM »

been feeding them sugar water since they were hived.  They have a pollen patty that they pick at.  Don't see a mite problem. I go to the bee association meeting every month.  I talk to several experienced beekeepers there.  That's how I know others are having problems with them drawing out comb.  My mentor was out 6 weeks ago and said they looked good, considering the weather.  My co-worker (3 year beekeeper) was out 3 weeks ago and said everything looked okay.  What is SH? What is a sugar board?  Thanks for the encouragement.  We'll keep feeding.

Barb
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2008, 02:28:20 PM »

been feeding them sugar water since they were hived.  They have a pollen patty that they pick at.  Don't see a mite problem. I go to the bee association meeting every month.  I talk to several experienced beekeepers there.  That's how I know others are having problems with them drawing out comb.  My mentor was out 6 weeks ago and said they looked good, considering the weather.  My co-worker (3 year beekeeper) was out 3 weeks ago and said everything looked okay.  What is SH? What is a sugar board?  Thanks for the encouragement.  We'll keep feeding.

Barb

Well, then let me welcome you to the world of beekeeping! It is never ideal, but it will be worth it in the end.
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"The more complex the Mind, the Greater the need for the simplicity of Play".
sc-bee
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2008, 02:43:02 PM »

IF they are not drawing comb and you are still feeding where is it going? Are they still storing it consuming it? What I am trying to ask is "Is there room for the queen to lay, have they backfilled the chamber with feed?" If so it is time to stop feeding and open up the brood nest.

Do you not have a fall flow of some sort? It is easy to get discouraged been there done that (mine SHB) hang in there!!!
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Frantz
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2008, 03:04:51 PM »

Barb,
being in Payson, (I am in SLC) are you near any of the large alfalfa feilds? You should be able to build up with every new crop. You should have a decent fall flow down there too. Sounds like you have all the help you could ask for with mentors and friends and such. I had to use the sugar boards to help my girls through the winter last year. Would probably be a good idea to look up Robo's sugar boards and get a few of those made. Just do a search her on the forum for sugar boards.
Good luck. If you need some drawn frames to help out, let me know. I could let a few of mine go. If you and your mentors think that would help out.
Frantz
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kathyp
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2008, 10:22:18 PM »

SH='stuff' happens.  sugar board, or candy board...do a search on here and you will get instructions on how to make one.  also, you may feed dry sugar.  if your area is dry, you may moisten it with a spray of water.  if you are in a damp area, you can just spread it dry on the inner cover and the bees will use it as is.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
bmacior
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2008, 10:42:22 PM »

I've wondered about them being honey bound myself.  It looks to me like she has places to lay.   If they are honey bound and she doesn't have any place to lay why are they not building more comb?  They have honey necessary to make wax.  My reading tells me young bees are best at producing wax.  That tells me 2 things: older bees can also produce wax, just not as efficiently, and maybe I don't have young bees.  However, my bee population seems stable.  Never have had a population explosion, but then never had an over abundance of drawn out comb.  It's my understanding they will replace a queen not laying to their standards.  They have never built queen cells.  They are calm bees.  That tells me the queen is in residence.  It just doesn't add up to me.

I have alfalfa fields all around me. They just had the 2nd cutting.   I have a 2 acre ever bearing raspberry patch at the end of the street.  I provide them with water.  There is an irrigation pond less than 300 feet away.

I have put the 2nd brood box on and pulled 2 frames of brood up.  They have piddled around building comb up there, about at the pace of getting a teenager to clean their room.  They have not stored anything there.  They have an upper entrance. They use it.  I see bees hanging out on the empty frames but they don't do anything.

Thanks for the offer of drawn out frames.  Lets talk.

Barb
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hooyaman
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2008, 12:06:06 AM »

Hey barb,
don't let the bees discourage you.  Sometimes it takes a colony a little longer to get started than others. It could be that your queen didn't get bred very good, but I wouldn't worry about it.  I would quit feeding the bees and let them do their thing (gather pollen). if you keep feeding they will get lazy, so quit feeding and let nature take its course.  I'm sure everything will be fine.  Wish you lots of luck !!!
                                                                                                                                                      Jeff
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buzzbee
Ken
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2008, 09:03:55 AM »

Any chance the syrup is getting robbed out? Do you have an entrance reducer on so the small cluster is able to protect its reserves and regulate hive temps when it cools in the evenings?
Just some thoughts.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2008, 09:45:24 AM »

don't be disillusioned or discouraged.

You installed your package when a flow was likely already underway, now that we're out of the flow they won't draw as much comb.  There should be a "mini-flow" (fall flow) comming shortly though, and they will likely draw a bit more then.  Also, you might try giving them light syrup instead of regular syrup.  But either way, they simply haven't had time to build up before that last flow to really bring it in.  You shouldn't ever plan on harvesting anything from package bees the first year anyway... unless you want to replace them next year.

Like others have said though, don't forget to treat them for mites AND nosema... treatment time is fast approaching.
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bmacior
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2008, 10:15:26 AM »

I've never seen any fighting going on or had an usual amount of bees coming and going.  I don't use an entrance reducer.  I have a small group of bees (about the size of my hand) that hang out under the screened bottom board in the evening that I considered their version of bearding, so I don't think the hive is unduly cooling down.

While it hasn't been the best year around here to start this new adventure, and my second bee sting sent me to the ER due to severe allergic reactions (I no longer visit without being fully suited up-what a hassle); I'm buying more hives for next year.  Hope springs eternal. cheesy cheesy

I appreciate everybody's input.

Barb
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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2008, 11:06:28 AM »

You may want to use the reducer.If there is a dearth,a strong hive will decimate your small colony if there is too much room to defend.
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MrILoveTheAnts
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« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2008, 11:20:01 AM »

Let me get this straight. You have a hive with two deeps, and they're not building out comb in the second one, right? So far this sounds normal to me. A package of 3,000 to 4,000 bees is almost the bare minimum to start a new hive. I find wild swarms I get have considerable more bees and do a much better job of building up. Two such swarms I've caught this spring actually need supers put on them now. Your package of bees actually sounds about right. They didn't have comb to start out with and it takes a while for the queen to get enough space to work her full potential of 2000 eggs a day or so. The result is you were only getting groups of new bees born in small spurts. They're the best for drawing out comb becuase they're not doing anything else in the hive, adult bees play the roll of foraging to much. A swarm of 20,000 bees or so has all of the bees participating in building a nest and usually build up much faster.
Sounds like you're doing good to me.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2008, 11:39:40 AM »

and my second bee sting sent me to the ER due to severe allergic reactions (I no longer visit without being fully suited up-what a hassle); I'm buying more hives for next year.  Hope springs eternal. cheesy cheesy

Barb, you can see an allergist to get regular injections of a minute amt of bee venom diluted in saline to help build your immunity to stings...

If not, then I would recommend taking a bit of benedryl before working them, too... or have an epi-pen on hand.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2008, 06:43:51 PM »

It's not winter yet.  They often double the population in two weeks if they are seriously building up.
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Michael Bush
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2008, 11:08:21 PM »

One question, what breed of bees did you get?  I ask because some breeds are reluctant to draw out comb (like carniolans) while others are prolific comb builders (like Italians)
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