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Author Topic: Introducing package bees to a deep with existing capped honey question  (Read 1044 times)
Mr. Dot
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« on: February 24, 2009, 04:47:54 PM »

Howdy
I could use some newbie advice if ya'll would.
Last year I began the season with two colonies each beginning their 2nd year. Both survived a Montana winter in pretty good shape. Seeing that one colony was looking full to bursting, I made a split to a third colony. Year two was a little more exciting than year one once the bees decided to swarm. 1st swarm caught me off-guard but I very nearly got the equipment together to re-capture them but, alas, they flew off to points unknown just as I was getting close to climbing the ladder. Swarm 2 was re-captured and placed into a new hive. Swarm 3 (and I still don't understand swarm 3 - which colony it came from) was also recaptured and placed in a new hive. So now I had four colonies - three of which were in a race to get their numbers up before winter. I thought they looked a bit on the weak side but thought they might just make it through. Long story short they didn't. Yellowjackets/bald hornets were bad in the fall and I think defending against raiding caused the numbers to go down then we had an early sub-zero period of weather and I think they simply froze out. I had treated for varroa and nosema and don't think disease is likely.
Anyhow, here's the question: I want to buy a package or two of bees this spring and introduce them to the vacant hives I have. I've swept out the dead bees and dead yellowjackets from the empties. There's still quite a lot of capped honey in the deeps. Is it ok to introduce a package to a super with honey in it? Budget does not allow new boxes, frames or foundation at present. I could run the frames through an extractor but that's a pain this time of year if it's not needed. Opinions?
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2009, 05:28:01 PM »

Buy packages, install, relax and enjoy your bees. You will be far ahead of packages installed in new equip.
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JP
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2009, 05:33:13 PM »

When is the last time you checked those boxes of honey? I would guess it got cold enough to kill off any wax moths but still check them for moths and other things.

If its all capped honey, no problem. If some uncapped you may have some fermentation issues which I would 86 that honey as it could make them sickly.


If things look good put those frames to the outer edges leaving drawn frames or foundation or starter strips in frames whatever your set up in the middle for brood production and procede forward.


...JP
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2009, 05:50:37 PM »

Putting bees into a box with honey frames? When did bees start liking honey? afro

It is a very good idea. Also it gives the bees some incentive to stay in the box. It also gives them a food supply to start building more comb.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Mr. Dot
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2009, 06:41:57 PM »

Thanks for the quick answers. JP got to part of what I'm wondering about but didn't express well in my original post.

Of each of the two deep boxes per set one is primarily capped honey and the other is mixed open cells and some with pollen, etc. There are some dead bees that are head-first in cells deep enough that they won't brush off. My sense is that the new bees will do housecleaning and remove the bodies and any larval remains there might be. Is that correct?

I went through all the boxes today, inspecting each frame before stacking them on the back porch. We've had a week of sub-zero temps a couple of times this winter - which makes this a mild winter for these parts   Smiley  but I think enough for moth control.

Would it be advised to introduce the bees to the more empty of the two deeps and place the capped frames above in the 2nd deep?
Should both deeps go on initially or just one?
Will they tend to feed on the honey or go for the syrup after introduction?

With our short season I'm all for a headstart. I clearly need to work on my swarm prediction abilities though. At least now I have it marked on the calendar when they get feisty.

Thanks again for the responses.
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JP
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2009, 09:25:08 PM »

Only use one deep to start with, then add another box once they've filled 8 of 10 frames.

The bees head first starved.


...JP
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Mr. Dot
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2009, 06:10:42 PM »

Well that's a distressing thought. If the little critters starve to death surrounded by honey they're more fragile than I already imagine them to be.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2009, 10:19:52 PM »

Well that's a distressing thought. If the little critters starve to death surrounded by honey they're more fragile than I already imagine them to be.

Bees will starve when the temps are to cold to break cluster and the honey they have moved from the outer frames into the cluster area are consumed.  In susch a case you sill find the bess in a cluster with honey sometimes just inches away, yet all the bees are dead.  If you pull the frames and break the cluster appart you'll find a lot of bunked bees (dead bees head in cell) in the center of the cluster.
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