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Author Topic: Lathargic Bees (Brand New Hive, New Beekeeper)  (Read 3499 times)
jeremy_c
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« on: April 24, 2009, 10:55:09 AM »

Hello,

A friend of mine is doing bees for the first time this year as well. My two hives have a lot of activity. We installed them on Monday. Her's (Anne) is at a different location than mine. When going to her hive yesterday we noticed it had very little activity, even inside. I went back today and just looked at the outside. There are bee's all over the ground just walking around. Yesterday, some bees were coming out onto the landing deck and they just fell off onto the ground. Inside the hive, they were just walking around as well, nothing of any real activity. Even when we opened it up to release the queen, there were maybe 3 or 4 bees flying around.

Today at 10:30am, I saw one bee flying. I have recorded a very short video of this and was wondering if anyone had any thoughts? She is using a top feeder (not the pale type, but the other type (not sure of it's name) but it's a big pan w/two sides and bees come up through the middle. I am wondering if her bees are not getting fed.

Anyway, this video is: http://jeremy.cowgar.com/files/AnnesBees.html

Before I went to her hive (she had to work today) I looked at my two hives (bought bees, hives, equip from same location, same day) and each of my hives have 50-70 bees flying around, quite a few coming back with large pollen balls (more like tubes) on their rear legs. It was quite exciting, but pretty disappointing when I went to see her hive.

If you have any input, we'd greatly appriciate it.

Thanks,

Jeremy
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oldenglish
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2009, 11:13:03 AM »

The feeder sounds like a mann lake top feeder, I use them and think they are great.
This sounds similar to another thread I read a while back, bees needed feed and protein. Has she put pollen patties in the hives ?
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2009, 11:36:34 AM »

are they in sun or shade?  what are her temps?  where did the bees come from?  are they getting into the feeder?  any spraying or dusting going on close by?

if you got your bees from the same place and yours are doing well, the easiest place to start is with differences.  list every single thing that she has done that is different from what you have done.  every difference in location.
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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.....

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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2009, 03:10:50 PM »

Those bees look like they got poisoned with something the way they are falling over like that.

I use the Mann Lake Feeders also and do not have any problems with them.  But I did notice that when the feeder was brand new it had a bad plastic odor to it and I washed it really well before I placed it onto the hive.  This is a long shot, but you might want to make sure the feeder doesn't have an odor which would prevent the bees from eating.  Do you see them taking the syrup when you open it up?Huh?
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oldenglish
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2009, 03:19:54 PM »

Those bees look like they got poisoned with something the way they are falling over like that.

I use the Mann Lake Feeders also and do not have any problems with them.  But I did notice that when the feeder was brand new it had a bad plastic odor to it and I washed it really well before I placed it onto the hive.  This is a long shot, but you might want to make sure the feeder doesn't have an odor which would prevent the bees from eating.  Do you see them taking the syrup when you open it up?Huh?


I never cleaned mine out before using them, but I did have them for six months.
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kathyp
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009, 04:01:54 PM »

thanks for posting the video.  doesn't look very good.  what does the hive look like inside now?  sure there are no leaks from feeder, etc.  if you have exhausted all ideas in and around the hive, start looking farther out.  is anyone spraying, any stuff out that the bees might have gotten into thinking it was food?
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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
jeremy_c
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2009, 04:59:43 PM »

Ok, what I found is that the bees are not feeding on the top feeder at all. There are 3 dead bees floating in the sugar water and zero bees up there eating. I checked three times today (just removing the top cover) and no bees ever. I had two boardman feeders, I put them both in w/sugar water hoping that if feeding was the problem there would be ample supply for those that want some.

I went over about 30 minutes ago and about 20 bees were flying around the hive. That is the most active I've seen it. I pulled the boardman feeders out looking to see if anyone was eatting and I found no bees by or in the feeders. The top feeder still had no bees eating. I did not pull the top off as it's not my hive and being brand new to bee keeping, didn't really want to fiddle with someone elses hive. They were happy (called them at work) for me to put in the boardman feeders just in case.

As for poison. There is a sheep pasture and the fence line is sprayed once a year, but nothing else anywhere that I know of. It's some distance before you get to any farm land, although not right in the city. I do not know if maybe a neighbor does something with their lawn. Are there common lawn chemicals that could cause a problem?

Jeremy
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TimLa
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2009, 08:52:37 PM »

<quote>
As for poison. There is a sheep pasture and the fence line is sprayed once a year, but nothing else anywhere that I know of. It's some distance before you get to any farm land, although not right in the city. I do not know if maybe a neighbor does something with their lawn. Are there common lawn chemicals that could cause a problem?
</quote>

>> Yes, absolutely.  Here, we have all kinds of insects that like to live in a lawn, so it is common (much more so in the city) to spray insecticides on lawns.  The fence line spraying is probably not a problem, that's herbicide most likely.

Another cause of what you describe is a combination of underfeeding and cold weather.  My girls have been busy as all get out today, but completely lethargic two days ago when it was below 45 degrees during the day. Last year, I almost lost a hive due to underfeeding in cold weather, but they recovered once I figured out what was going on.

A feeder in the hive is a good thing.  The fact that they're not feeding points towards insecticide, I think, assuming all else is OK.

-T
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2009, 09:17:19 PM »

the video looks like the hive is shaded at that time of the day.  i'd like to see how they are at the warmest part of the day and see them in full sun, especially in the morning.   lawn spray could be an issue, but only if it were to drift to the hives.  the number of bees on the grass should be few to none unless there were flowering weeds in it.
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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
jeremy_c
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2009, 10:51:53 PM »

the video looks like the hive is shaded at that time of the day.  i'd like to see how they are at the warmest part of the day and see them in full sun, especially in the morning.   lawn spray could be an issue, but only if it were to drift to the hives.  the number of bees on the grass should be few to none unless there were flowering weeds in it.

Kathy, going back in the afternoon around 3:00pm, there were (a wild guess) 15 bees or so flying around the hive. The ones on the ground were still just walking around aimlessly. I pulled off the top cover to expose the top feeder and saw no bees feeding. About the shade... It is sitting under a tree but the tree has no leaves on it at this point in the season, the sun was on the side of the hive in full force. Today in our neck of the woods, it reached 77 degrees F. Is the placement of the hive bad? Once the tree has leaves, it will be shaded quite a bit of the day.

Jeremy
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hankdog1
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2009, 02:10:36 AM »

Well everybody is ruling out a ticked off neighbor.  Some people think that they can solve a problem they have by being sneaky at it.  I'd do some checking to see if there is a upset neighbor around.  A few shots of wasp or hornet spray can wreak a hive.  Just a thought and i hope that's not the case but some people are just messed up in the head and you can't rule that out.
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LAC
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2009, 05:44:38 AM »

Jeremy,
Just a quick question. Could your friend have used a clear wood preservative to treat the out side of the brood boxes and bottom board? I know that some preservatives do contain insecticides.
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tlynn
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2009, 07:23:59 AM »

the video looks like the hive is shaded at that time of the day.  i'd like to see how they are at the warmest part of the day and see them in full sun, especially in the morning.   lawn spray could be an issue, but only if it were to drift to the hives.  the number of bees on the grass should be few to none unless there were flowering weeds in it.


Kathy, going back in the afternoon around 3:00pm, there were (a wild guess) 15 bees or so flying around the hive. The ones on the ground were still just walking around aimlessly. I pulled off the top cover to expose the top feeder and saw no bees feeding. About the shade... It is sitting under a tree but the tree has no leaves on it at this point in the season, the sun was on the side of the hive in full force. Today in our neck of the woods, it reached 77 degrees F. Is the placement of the hive bad? Once the tree has leaves, it will be shaded quite a bit of the day.

Jeremy



You should have them in as sunny a spot as possible.  Hive beetles love the shade.  Earlier sun on the hive entrance gets them out of bed earlier too.  See http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmoving.htm.

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jeremy_c
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2009, 09:27:15 AM »

Jeremy,
Just a quick question. Could your friend have used a clear wood preservative to treat the out side of the brood boxes and bottom board? I know that some preservatives do contain insecticides.

Our hives are the same. We got them from Queen Right Colonies. They are boiled in paraffin wax. We did no treatment to our hive.

She is going to the hive this moring (11:30 or so) to look for other causes. I am going to meet her (her hive is about 3 miles away from my home).

I really appriciate all the help that you guys/gals have been with this hive. It's pretty discouraging for her at this point in time. She setup only one hive, so if she looses this hive she may be out of it for the season. She was pretty excited to give it a try too!  I am going to take my camcorder over and I'll record another short film and post a link here as an update. I am really hoping it was just a feeding issue and the boardman feeders I put it will have made a difference, but I'm just a newbie too so I really have little idea.

Again, your comments here have been fantastic. I'll post an update shortly about what we find.

Jeremy
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2009, 04:18:51 PM »

Maybe you should introduce syrup with a baggy. Since it lays on the frames,it will not cool so bad.If the syrup is getting cold over night,it takes quite a while for it to rewarm being inside the wood.
If at all possible,be sure the entrance faces south to southeast to get the bees active earlier with the morning light.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2009, 11:55:11 PM »

I saw your video last  night and this morning saw one of mine acting very similarly. kind of a buzz-hop without any takeoff
I stuck my finger out and let her climb on my hand to look closely for parasites or other problem (not sure I'd know if I saw one)
After a few minutes on my hand she fired up the main engines and took off.
It was a little chilly this morning; I'm guessing she borrowed a little of my heat to get herself going.

EDIT: scrolled up to the response about temps and sun. nevermind.
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2009, 11:25:24 AM »

Ok, I forgot my camcorder. After being fed w/the boardman feeders for 2 days the hive is starting to look alive. Her bees are not as busy or active as mine yet, but before there were 1 or 2 flying around and now there are 15 or so flying around at any given moment. We saw a few coming back with pollen packs on their legs, so that's another good sign. I am really wondering if they were just not eating from the top feeder. All of the times we had checked, there were zero bees feeding from it.

She does have a ton of dead bees at the bottom of her hive. I am sure most of them came from when we put the package in. However, the number of bees she has left will cover 1 1/2 frames. On both of my hives I have three frames of densely packed bees.

Jeremy
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kathyp
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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2009, 11:49:23 AM »

and she has her queen?  probably to late now, but it would be interesting to know if the feeder in her package malfunctioned. 
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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
jeremy_c
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« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2009, 12:28:50 PM »

and she has her queen?  probably to late now, but it would be interesting to know if the feeder in her package malfunctioned. 

Yes, we found her queen and she looked fine. I forgot to mention that.

About the feeder, not sure. She took it home with her and was going to wash it repeatedly with hot water thinking of the possible odor of it that was mentioned here in the thread. Right now she has a one of my boardman feeders on her hive (they came with the hive kit and later I decided to switch to pale feeders, so they were just laying around).

Jeremy
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« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2009, 05:00:19 PM »

I hate to even bring this up but, could it be that the syrup mix was to diluted? Just a guess. Brad
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