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Author Topic: Four questions on Maintainence  (Read 1786 times)
ArmucheeBee
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« on: August 20, 2008, 09:16:24 PM »

I read several weeks ago on the forums that opening the hive may set them back a week.  I assume that is smoking the hive?  I do not smoke, because the one time I did they got very upset and stung me.  I feel I cause minimal disruption when I open them just to check on things.  I am slow and do not bang around.

1.  What are the drawbacks to spraying some syrup around on the tops of the frames when I open to keep them happy?  I already assume someone will say "robbing".  I only have two hives--200 yards apart.

2.  I have opened 4 times in two weeks and the queen is always on the same frame.  Is this normal? 
This is an old cutout frame of comb in a small colony.  They did build out a single PF-105 and it has capped brood, she's never on it.  They built that out while I was feeding.  Should I feed again to stimulate comb building?  My first generation is due Aug. 20-22
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2008, 11:12:48 PM »

I read several weeks ago on the forums that opening the hive may set them back a week.  I assume that is smoking the hive?  I do not smoke, because the one time I did they got very upset and stung me.  I feel I cause minimal disruption when I open them just to check on things.  I am slow and do not bang around.

Slow motion makes for good beekeeping.

Quote
1.  What are the drawbacks to spraying some syrup around on the tops of the frames when I open to keep them happy?  I already assume someone will say "robbing".  I only have two hives--200 yards apart.

Robbing is bees from one hive stealing the stores from another, using a little sugar syrup spray while inspecting can replace or augment the use of a smoker.  It gives the bees a pacifier while you work.

Quote
2.  I have opened 4 times in two weeks and the queen is always on the same frame.  Is this normal? 
This is an old cutout frame of comb in a small colony.  They did build out a single PF-105 and it has capped brood, she's never on it.  They built that out while I was feeding.  Should I feed again to stimulate comb building?  My first generation is due Aug. 20-22

Finding the queen on the same frame is normal.  The queen has a favorite frame she likes to go to whenever the hive is opened and you'll usually find her on that frame or on one next to it, almost everytime.  Mark the frame, it'll make finding the queen much easier and if she's not on that one look on the adjacent frames.
Even in a hive with 2-3 brood boxes the queen will still try to go to that frame whenever the hive is opened, but the likelihood of finding her on an adjacent frame increases in proportion to the size of the brood chamber and her location within it.

I used to use this fact (I learned from my mentor who started beekeeping in 1899) to win find the queen contests when an adolescent and teenager.  I could find a queen faster than any beekeeper between Seattle and Vancouver BC and proved it every summer from 1959 to 1965 during our regional beekeepers picnics.

If your bees aren't building comb it is because they have built it all out or there is a dearth (no  nectar).  If the hive still needs to drawn comb to have at least 1 full super of stores for winter, or to finish drawing out the second, feed until they begin to backfill the brood area.  They will build comb as long as it is not thicker than 1.5:1.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2008, 01:22:14 PM »

Brian

thanks for all the info.  I felt like I was on the right track.  So I should feed a 1:1 sugar to water then?  They have not even filled out one deep, that's all I have on right now-no supers.  The colony is from a cutout in July (15th) and the new queen is just about to hatch out her first gen.  They built up the PF105 pretty quick during the 1 week I fed.  We are in dearth.   So opening a hive and not using smoke does not set them back, right?   

Here's another question:  Should I cull the old comb from the cutout to make them draw new comb?  The queen stays on the old cutout comb I banned in the frame.  I mean I would not throw out comb with brood or honey.  There are two more cutout comb frames in the deep and they have only drawn one side of the PF105 frame.  So you can see this is a very small colony--probably could fit a nuc very easily--should I put them in a nuc???   I just want what is best for them to be strong next year.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2008, 11:19:25 PM »

Brian

thanks for all the info.  I felt like I was on the right track.  So I should feed a 1:1 sugar to water then?  They have not even filled out one deep, that's all I have on right now-no supers.  The colony is from a cutout in July (15th) and the new queen is just about to hatch out her first gen.  They built up the PF105 pretty quick during the 1 week I fed.  We are in dearth.   So opening a hive and not using smoke does not set them back, right? 

Opening a hive and poking around always sets a hive back to some degree....the more experienced less than the beginner but the only way you are going to learn in by getting in a poking.

Quote
Here's another question:  Should I cull the old comb from the cutout to make them draw new comb?  The queen stays on the old cutout comb I banned in the frame.  I mean I would not throw out comb with brood or honey.  There are two more cutout comb frames in the deep and they have only drawn one side of the PF105 frame.  So you can see this is a very small colony--probably could fit a nuc very easily--should I put them in a nuc???   I just want what is best for them to be strong next year.

If you put them in a nuc put the cut out combs furthest from the entrance on a 2 tier hive (2 nuc boxes).  If you're using conventional bottom entrances put the cutout combs in the top box.  The bees will have to transverse the frames of PF105, and since bees hate a void (the empty frames) they'll work to draw them out and fill them.  This is probably you best option.  You show good instincts.

Naturally the queen stays on the cut out comb, that's what she's used to, the PF105 is foriegn to her and her workers.  That's one of the reason things are taking so long, the other is the dearth.  To get them up to the point of overwintering you will need them to completely fill 1 deep.  I would feed them 1.5:1 syrup as it is still thin enough to stimulate comb building and thick enough to condense down faster.  Feed until all combs are drawn, they have backfilled most of the hive, and they've started to build burr comb.  Then they should have just enough to see you through the worst part of winter.  Leave the burr comb, they will need the extra stores.
In February or March start feeding 1:1 syrup to stimulate brood production...If you see them working and bringing pollen, then feed in the spring.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2008, 08:27:33 AM »

Brian

Thanks for such great info.  I will follow that plan.  I'll keep them in the deep.  Started feeding Thur. night, they drained a whole quart by Fri. 5pm.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2008, 07:03:06 PM »

>I assume that is smoking the hive?

Opening the hive upsets them.  Opening without smoke upsets them more.  That is simply assuming you open the hive.

> I do not smoke, because the one time I did they got very upset and stung me.

Probably because you used too much smoke.  One or two good puffs from a well lit smoker is sufficient to last for 20 minutes or so.  Another if they get upset after that.

> I feel I cause minimal disruption when I open them just to check on things.  I am slow and do not bang around.

That helps.

>1.  What are the drawbacks to spraying some syrup around on the tops of the frames when I open to keep them happy?

It really does nothing to keep them happy.  It occupies them cleaning up what they perceive as a mess.  It also attracts ants and robbers and too much will harm the bees.  If you want to do this, I'd use 1:2 syrup (1 part sugar to 2 parts water)

>  I already assume someone will say "robbing".  I only have two hives--200 yards apart.

And all the ones in the woods.

>2.  I have opened 4 times in two weeks and the queen is always on the same frame.  Is this normal?

Yes.

>This is an old cutout frame of comb in a small colony.  They did build out a single PF-105 and it has capped brood, she's never on it.  They built that out while I was feeding.  Should I feed again to stimulate comb building?

If it's a recent cut out, yes I'd feed until it's too cold for them to take it.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2008, 08:16:33 PM »

Thank MB

Prior to my getting the hives going this August, we had no honey bees on our flowers or our neighbors.  I think I might have the only bees for a couple of miles (wild or hived).  we have a mix of pasture and successional forest.  Our property now holds the only hardwoods older than about 50 years.  But no bees before I brought these in--ashame really.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2008, 08:36:08 PM »

Armucheebee,
Are they really 200 yards apart?.It seems like a long way to carry your stuff from one hive to the other when checking them out. I mean theres nothing at all wrong with being this far apart, I just wondered why you set them like this. Possibly for the bees to cover more territory and not compete as much with each other gathering forage?

your friend,
john
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2008, 09:14:22 PM »

Finding the queen on the same frame is normal.  The queen has a favorite frame she likes to go to whenever the hive is opened and you'll usually find her on that frame or on one next to it, almost everytime.  Mark the frame, it'll make finding the queen much easier and if she's not on that one look on the adjacent frames.
Even in a hive with 2-3 brood boxes the queen will still try to go to that frame whenever the hive is opened, but the likelihood of finding her on an adjacent frame increases in proportion to the size of the brood chamber and her location within it.

Brian, that is really cool!  Never knew that, gunna definately have to give this a try.  How neat!!!

Sean Kelly
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2008, 09:41:36 PM »

JohnnyBigFish

Yes, 200 yards (give or take).  I put my first hive close to the house/barn.  I had another spot on the other side of the pasture that got good morning light and then shade at about 1pm.  So it was a good spot too.  Not much of anything is blooming near either hive.  But my thinking was that my first hive was sooo small, the second hive with 4x the bees might try to rob them (I'm feeding both with Miller feeders).   I don't really have a lot to carry though.  I have a 4-wheeler if I want.  But the walk does a body good.  I'm 40 years old next year, but use to race road bikes and run 5K's until last year, so 200 yards doesn't hurt too much.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2008, 09:58:11 PM »

Ok, That makes sense!
The 4 wheeler is a good idea too...My buddy paul does EVERYTHING with his!
 I think if I had to walk that far I' would have to pack a lunch! grin

your friend,
john
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2008, 01:41:51 PM »

JohnnyBigFish

In the picture under your name:  do you use holes in your boxes?  I have a 1 inch reducer at the bottom, screened BB, and a 3/4 inch hole at the top.  It gets so crazy hot here and humid, I thought the flow-thru air would help.  On the other hive the hole is screened on the inside because the hive is weak.  I can put a plug in these in winter.  I like holes.  The bees I cutout naturally went to the hole first and not the bottom board, that tells me something.  but I don't know what it is.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2008, 06:05:20 PM »

I put holes in my boxes when I put them together, but only if I remembered Smiley
My bottoms are all the way open. I only used a reducer a few times and that was when I thought there was robbing happening. Oh yeh, sometimes I used the rducer at times when I thought it would make bees that I caught stay in the box. I found out that if they wanna leave they're gonna leave anyways. I found that when I catch a swarm the left over bees like to go through the hole more than the entrance. For me, I can look at the bees better when they use the hole because it takes them longer to get in. I put the holes in for ventilation. I've read recently that some people are saying that they regret ever having put the holes in the boxes. I have holes in the fronts, the backs, the bottom boxes the top boxes, and no boxes....When I get to putting boxes on or moving them for whatever reason, I forget about the holes(not intentionally tho Undecided) and the holes just end up where they end up. If I remembered, I'd put them in the front top box!
 I would use screened bottom boards too, but I made a mess of regular bottom boards...I'm thinking of cutting holes in the bottoms with a hole saw.(just for airflow, not mite control)
 Its hot as heck here too! sometimes 120!...I like the holes too...Since I started writing this, I've been thinking about putting a design around a hole just for effect...Like the center of a daisy or something like that...Maybe a belly button of a person! grin
Oh boy,......Theres all kinds of ideas churning thru my mind right now!

your friend,
john
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2008, 06:34:02 PM »

OK.  You got us beat by 100 degrees.  I hope that 120 is dry heat!!!   Ours is with 85% humidity.  I read the thread on holey regrets too.  I like the holes too.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2008, 07:23:27 PM »

Its only been that hot a couple of times this year. I live in a creek bottom sort of and its always hotter or colder than what will be reported on the news. Today its kinda nice out even though we got tons of rain recently!..It seems less humid than it should be.
your friend,
john
Oh yeh,...My sis is a 3rd grade teacher, probably more than 25 years now.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2008, 08:22:06 PM »

My bad, you got us beat by 20 degrees, not 100!!!  Sorry
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Stephen Stewart
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