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Author Topic: Optimal number of bees at entrance  (Read 1110 times)
Delmer
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« on: April 28, 2009, 09:34:34 PM »

Tried the search function to see if this has been asked before, so forgive me if it is a duplicate.  Installed two 3lb packages a week and a half ago.  I've just been observing the hives in the afternoon from 20 feet or so- and one hive has probably twice the activity at the entrance as the other.  Both have top feeders full of syrup in each (at least as of last Sat.). 

Is there a number of bees per minute that should be coming/going from the hive? 

Does less activity mean there may be a potential problem with the package?

Thanks
Danny

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2009, 10:01:26 PM »

The bees adjust this number based on the population, the flow etc.  Whatever the number is, it's optimal for that colony at that time.  Smiley
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doak
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2009, 10:12:39 PM »

Assuming you did make sure the queens was released. only thing I can think of is a poor performing
bunch of bees. At this time it cannot be blamed all on the queen, unless there is not a queen.
I would check to make sure about the queen. If she is present and laying a good pattern give her a little more time. A good queen with a poor performing cluster is some thing one may get with package
and not much can be done early to correct it. I can't see taking a chance of replacing the queen Not being sure  it is her fault.
If you got the packages from the same source they should be equal.
But remember, the bees will not work with out a queen.
Hope I made some kind of science.   doak
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Delmer
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2009, 08:46:20 AM »

Thanks doak-  what's odd is that is the hive in which we did find the queen.  (The other hive had released the queen from the cage-  but I could not find her in a reasonable amount of time.)

Both hives had some comb built and about the same number of bees in the hive.  See photo



Just wasn't sure if I've had bees starting to die off for some reason.  Other than being painted two different colors they are identical. Is it possible to have a package 'die' after only a few weeks?

thanks again
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jdpro5010
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2009, 09:30:17 AM »

The packages will decrease in size for the first couple of weeks due to a die off of the older bees until the new queen's brood starts hatching and coming full circle.  So could this be what you are experiencing?
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Two Bees
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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2009, 09:33:27 AM »

Colonies have distinct and different personalities.  Perhaps the "busier" hive simply has more foraging bees while the other has more nurse bees.  They are both building comb and using sugar syrup so that is good.

When I installed my two packages last year, I noticed the same thing.  While one hive was doing well with plenty of bees and brood, the other hive was really kickin'.  

I also noticed that the bees in this kickin' hive would crawl up the front of the hive a little bit and then launch into flight.  The bees in the other hive would launch straight out of the hive opening!  

Now, I know that you think that I am crazy but that goes without saying.  I do keep stinging insects, you know! BUT, I moved the queen from this kickin' hive along with 5 frames of brood/honey/pollen into a new hive about a month ago.   And the new foragers that have hatched climb up the front of the hive before launching into flight! Must be in their DNA!
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 02:46:01 PM by Two Bees » Logged

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Hethen57
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2009, 12:36:47 PM »

I have observed the same difference with my two packages.  However, the one with less activity at the entrance takes in twice as much syrup.  The other one appears to be bringing in more pollen.  It will be interesting to see how the two different "stategies" work out for each of them when I do a more thorough inspection in a couple of weeks.
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-Mike
Delmer
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2009, 12:57:00 PM »

I have observed the same difference with my two packages.  However, the one with less activity at the entrance takes in twice as much syrup.  The other one appears to be bringing in more pollen.  It will be interesting to see how the two different "stategies" work out for each of them when I do a more thorough inspection in a couple of weeks.

This may be the same thing I'm seeing.  I did not measure the amount of sugar water consumed, just topped off the feeders.  Hopefully I'll have similiar size hives when I check again in a week and 1/2.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2009, 11:51:06 PM »

I have observed the same difference with my two packages.  However, the one with less activity at the entrance takes in twice as much syrup.  The other one appears to be bringing in more pollen.  It will be interesting to see how the two different "stategies" work out for each of them when I do a more thorough inspection in a couple of weeks.

The one taking the most syrup should show more comb build up during an inspection, whereas the hive bringing back the pollen is focused on brood development.  I would lay odds that the pollen harvesters will soon overtake the other hive in comb buildup and population.  What sub species are the hives, the same or different?
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Delmer
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2009, 11:07:09 AM »

Not sure about Hethen57's hives but both of mine are packaged bees (Italian) from Brushy Mtn.

Danny
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Hethen57
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2009, 01:46:28 PM »

Mine are both Carnies (well, the queen is), but the workers in the package were mostly Italians, with some others mixed in.  The weather was too lousy last weekend to check, so I am looking forward to the next good weather day to compare the two.  The "welfare" hive is sure putting away the syrup...I'm hoping maybe they have drawn enough comb to put on another hive body.
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-Mike
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