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Author Topic: Sooo disillusioned  (Read 4908 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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« 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
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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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« 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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« 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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« 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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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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« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2008, 08:16:01 AM »

All bees will draw comb if and when they need it.They build comb for brood expansion area or storage.If there is a sufficient flow and the bees are assuming normal growth and are healthy the colony should have increased in size early in the summer.The bees may just be maintaining colony size now.The  bees she has may not be enough to cover much brood while the others are out foraging.The best scenario here would be if you were able to get a couple frames of brood and bees from another colony.
Don't give up,they may still surprise you.
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bmacior
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« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2008, 08:57:24 AM »

the bees are Minnesota Hygenics.  I bought a 3 lb package.  Isn't feeding sugar water supposed to simulate a flow?
Sugar = carbs = wax production = comb.  What part of the equation am I missing? huh

You all have have given me a ray of hope that my bees can kick into high gear and become a strong colony before winter.  They are such calm bees (of course they have no excess stores to defend) I would hate to lose them.

question about light syrup.  Is light syrup with less sugar?  I am feeding 1:1.

When do they start producing fat winter bees?
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« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2008, 09:24:06 AM »

Sugar = carbs = wax production = comb.  What part of the equation am I missing?

need

if they don't need it, they won't make it.

the trick is to find out if they don't need it because something is wrong, or because they are in a natural slowdown.

one other thing from you original post.  don't count on the behavior of the bees to tell you if they are queenlees.  some hives are quiet even with no queen.

can you take some pictures of your brood area and post them?  if you do not have the time on here to post pics yet, one of the moderators would do it for you.  it would be a way for all of us to take a look and give you some ideas.  take many and we can sift through them.
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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
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« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2008, 11:58:47 AM »

Hi Barb!
 I really like your tenacity!..Bee stings, emergency rooms,......getting more hives anyways...!
 You are ONE TUFF COOKIE!!!
 There sure was a lot of input on your situation huh?..I was thinking about the honey bound reason myself, but I've been pretty lucky so far with my bees..I've seen my boxes get so jammed full of honey in a weeks time it made my head spin almost!
 I hope you get things going good in short order..I dont think you have a major problem though.
Dont forget to tell us what works!

your friend,
john
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bmacior
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« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2008, 01:21:45 PM »

Thanks for the support John.

December 1999 I went on a cruise, had a great time.  Xmas day I went into the ER with the "flu".  (Missed all the 2000 fireworks around the world, dang it).  6 weeks later I woke up from a coma, quadraplegic.  ARDS (adult respiratory syndrome) is what they said, what started it they didn't know (they did call the CDC but no on else from the cruise was in my shape), most people don't survive it.  9 months later I went back to work 1/2 days.  3 months later back to work full time.  A bee sting ain't going to slow me down!  cheesy

My new hives are going to be 8 frame mediums.  Plan on doing wax and rosin finish.  Really leaning toward foundationless because I want small cell.  Do they make small cell foundation for mediums?  Besides I think most recycled wax (that they put on the plastic foundation) has chemicals in it and I don't want that.

Will take some pictures.
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« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2008, 03:53:07 PM »

hi barb,
i got some medium small cell from betterbee.
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bmacior
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« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2008, 05:43:06 PM »

okay, got pictures.  Now what do I do?  Box 1 has 5 frames drawn both sides, 1 frame that hasn't been touched, and the others drawn on 1 side.  Box 2 has 1 drawn both sides, 1 frame drawn on one side, the others not touched.  Box 2 frames pulled up from box 1.  Didn't take pictures of them.

Barb
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kathyp
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« Reply #27 on: July 20, 2008, 06:13:30 PM »

PM buzzbee or another moderator and see if they can help you get your pics posted. 
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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
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« Reply #28 on: July 20, 2008, 06:34:34 PM »

Barb,
I sent you a PM.
I would put all drawn frames in 1 box until 8 or 9 frames are drawn and remove the second box until then.
And keep the syrup fed to them. Make sure the syrup doesn't get too old.
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« Reply #29 on: July 20, 2008, 06:49:33 PM »

>My new hives are going to be 8 frame mediums.

Cool.

>  Plan on doing wax and rosin finish.

It's the best I've found...

>  Really leaning toward foundationless because I want small cell.

That would be my preference.

>  Do they make small cell foundation for mediums?

Yes.  They do.  But if you want to use foundation, I'd buy the unwired deeps and cut them in half.  But you can buy the vertically wired mediums.

>  Besides I think most recycled wax (that they put on the plastic foundation) has chemicals in it and I don't want that.

Not on purpose.  But yes, the entire wax supply is contaminated.

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #30 on: July 20, 2008, 11:21:35 PM »

Side note:Sgt Maj said, "You shouldn't ever plan on harvesting anything from package bees the first year anyway... "

Not anything? That's what I thought too, but one of my hives from a package installed in April are very strong, and they have completely filled their upper deep body with honey. I added a super under the full body, and was planning on harvesting a few frames of the honey from the full box to open it up some, and return it to its position below the super. Would you? Or should I just leave it, and keep adding supers below?

I feel for you, Disillusioned. In bees, there are so many things to consider, and aspects of their care we can, and should control. But their intimate link with nature reminds us who is really in control... not us!

One other question, Hooeyaman said, "...if you keep feeding they will get lazy, so quit feeding and let nature take its course...." Do you really think feeding them will make them lazy? Not all the bees are at the feeder after all.

I love this forum.



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bmacior
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« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2008, 12:08:36 AM »

I was going to pull box 2, but the semi commercial guy I bought my bees from said to leave it.  While the bees bees really haven't done any more in the way of building comb in box 2, they keep the brood covered.  He said they would hatch out and all go back down,  They haven't done that.

I put 2 2qt syrup containers on that I stagger so they are never out of syrup.  I read somewhere (I believe at Michael Bush's site which I really like), they don't get too concerned about a little mold (not a problem).  Granted with smaller containers I'm in there once a week replacing one of them, but I enjoy it.  I only have the one hive (there was supposed to be 2 but that is another story) so it's not bother.  God willing they survive me and the winter, I won't be feeding all summer long next year.

jojorox: I think pulling honey from first year hives all depends on the individual hive. 

Still working on the pictures.
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bmacior
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« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2008, 07:57:35 AM »

P.S.  I put on the entrance reducer, but due to my work schedual it'll be 2 weeks bfore I get back the hive to pull box 2.
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« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2008, 10:48:53 AM »

some think feeding will make a hive lazy.  my experience is that they will ignore syrup in favor of nectar.  right now, i have syrup on my observation hive and on the last swarm i picked up.  the swarm is taking some syrup as the outside sources are dwindling.  my observation hive, installed a couple of weeks ago with some honey, is taking no syrup.  they find enough for their numbers outside.

don't worry about pulling that 2nd box until the weather changes.  it is important to reduce space when the weather is cold.  it is less important when the weather is warm.  my neighbor stacked his hives high before the raspberry flow.  granted, they probably used it all, but it was certainly more space than they needed at the time. 

don't plan on getting honey from a first year hive. it's a bonus if you get it.  smiley
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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
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« Reply #34 on: July 22, 2008, 06:22:33 PM »

Here are some pics from bmacior:
http://s510.photobucket.com/albums/s346/bmacior/
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« Reply #35 on: July 22, 2008, 07:03:51 PM »

i see two problems i think.  one is that you used plastic foundation?  the other is that you don't seem to have many bees to be drawing out that foundation.  however....on pic 9 it looks like you have larvae, and you have capped brood.  not knowing how many of those pics are of the same frames, i still think your population problem will reverse itself shortly if nothing goes wrong. 

my guess is that your bees got off to a slow start drawing that foundation well.  the queen didn't have enough room to lay well.  the population dropped before she got things caught up.  they are backfilling a lot of the brood area with syrup.  i don't know....maybe try not feeding for a week or two?

wait for other opinions.  that's just my thoughts off the top of my head.
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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
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« Reply #36 on: July 22, 2008, 07:59:50 PM »

Kathy,
Don't you think that if she got 4 or 5 frames of drawn comb that would make all the difference in the world? Let me know of your thoughts. I live a few miles north of Barb (about 70) I have a ton of drawn comb so I thought I could sell her a few and it would make a big difference. Based off of the pics that we just saw, it confirmed my thoughts. They just don't have any room for brood now.
Let me know.
Frantz
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« Reply #37 on: July 22, 2008, 08:09:40 PM »

All the pictures are of different sides, except for the close ups.  All the drawn out frames were totally covered in bees.  I shook them off so we could see what was in the cells.  When I blow them up, it looks like larvae to me.   If it is larvae, I'm due for a population explosion.  If it's honey, it's definitely time to stop feeding.  I would be happy to email anyone a full size picture for another opinion.

My hive came as a package with the plastic foundation.  My new hives next year won't be using it.
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kathyp
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« Reply #38 on: July 22, 2008, 08:17:13 PM »

drawn comb sure wouldn't hurt.  not an offer i'd turn down!!  smiley

Quote
All the drawn out frames were totally covered in bees

that makes a big difference.  in that case, things don't look so bad.

as i look at the frames, it looks like all the shiny stuff is nectar/syrup.  i see larvae in pic 9, so there is no doubt more.  i would agree that you are due for a population expansion.  in that case, the drawn foundation that frantz is offering will be great for your hive.

i don't think you are in such bad shape. 
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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
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« Reply #39 on: July 22, 2008, 08:21:43 PM »

I started my first two hives with 10 frames of plastic foundation. I don't mind so much, although the burr comb can be annoying. My first attempt at building wooden frames was short on nails and glue, so I'm happy to have some of those plastic frames in those hives to give me a solid frame to lever out. I think the bees follow the idea that if a little propolis is good, a whole lot is better! Eventually I'll work those poorly constructed frames out, but I'm unwilling to scrap the investment the bees had made in the comb to just toss them.
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« Reply #40 on: July 22, 2008, 08:31:01 PM »

i think it's ok once it's drawn out.  seems the problem most people have is getting the bees to draw it out.  after reading and hearing about the problems, i think it's kind of tricky for new folks to deal with.  others seem to use it without problem.
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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
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« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2008, 10:54:58 PM »

drawn comb would make a world of difference but also stop feeding, they are filling the brood chamber with syrup and the queen has not too much places to lay, that will keep population down, your colony is about honey bound, the only thing I dont see much of is capped syrup? most cells are filled with sugar water from what I see in the pictures, bee's tend to draw out plastic a lot lot slower than wax foundation, some bee's do better than others on plastic foundation but I think all do better on wax. take the feed away for a while and see what they do, you can always add it back later if they need it but they have to much now by the looks of the brood frames.
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« Reply #42 on: July 22, 2008, 11:26:19 PM »

Sounds like that's what need to do, so that's what we'll do.  Thanks all.
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« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2008, 09:51:17 PM »

Side note:Sgt Maj said, "You shouldn't ever plan on harvesting anything from package bees the first year anyway... "

Not anything? That's what I thought too, but one of my hives from a package installed in April are very strong, and they have completely filled their upper deep body with honey. I added a super under the full body, and was planning on harvesting a few frames of the honey from the full box to open it up some, and return it to its position below the super. Would you? Or should I just leave it, and keep adding supers below?

If that's the case, then I would probably pull and freeze them, and maybe harvest a frame for personal consumption if needed, but would keep the rest frozen and ready to give back to them this winter if they need it.  If not, you can always take them out of the freezer and harvest them as soon as next year's flow starts.
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