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Author Topic: More First Time Disasters  (Read 2254 times)
David LaFerney
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« on: May 18, 2009, 11:41:52 PM »

Even thought this is my first hive of bees I should have known better.  I remember Michael Bush telling someone not to to put the queen cage inside of a foundationless hive or they would be likely to build crossed comb off of it.  Well, I did, and they did.  I'll listen next time.


If you look you can see the metal strip that the cage is hanging from in the middle of the frame.


After I cut the queen cage out and brushed off the bees you can see that they built in two different directions across the frames.


I rubber banded it to keep it from falling out, and twisted it around as straight as possible.


There was probably about 3 frames worth of beautiful new comb (I hived the package of bees one week ago today) that were running across the frames, and when I opened the hive most of it collapsed.  Plus about 3/4 frame total that they had built more or less correct.  I hope that I got all of it right side up at least - I doubt it though.


That nice piece there on the right actually grew there - I banded it in to keep it from falling out while I worked on the crooked one that crossed right next to it.



I never spotted the queen - she wasn't in the cage though. Hopefully she's O.K. - I was careful and the bees were really mild so the carnage wasn't too bad despite this being the first time I ever saw the inside of an active bee hive.  I did a fair amount of damage to some of the comb, but considering it was only a little bit more firm than biscuit dough I think I did alright for my first time.

At the rate they were going up till now I think that the 8 frame medium they are in would've been full of comb in another week.  I'm sure this is a speed bump at least, but I'm thinking I should check back in 4 days or so to make sure, and to try and find the queen.  I hope this gets them going more or less straight.

By the way, thanks to everyone for all of the great information that I've been sponging.  Even though this isn't what I was hoping to see the first time I opened a hive I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to try to do, and no panic occurred.  No stings either.  Kudos on the gentle Italian package bees from Rossman apiaries.

BTW - photography by my lovely and fearless wife Shirley who stood 15 feet away without a stitch of protective gear to take these pictures.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 12:25:33 AM by David LaFerney » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2009, 11:57:22 PM »

Live and learn!  It doesn't look so bad once you got it all back together.  Looks like they are doing what they are supposed to.  I'm a newb too, so I learned something new, Thanks!  good Luck------Todd
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2009, 03:42:57 PM »

Those are some great pictures.....the bees will fix everything up in no time.
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2009, 05:09:19 PM »

Those are some great pictures.....the bees will fix everything up in no time.

I hope you're right.  I can tell you one thing though - they aren't as friendly today as they were before this happened.
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 06:06:02 PM »

As new Beeks....there are things you will learn....use smoke (important)....just a few puffs and let the bees alone for a few minutes. They think there is a fire and may need to move the home, so they want to take food. Open the hive and spray a solution of water and cane sugar..be easy (sugar water 1:1.. 5 pints-water-5 lbs sugar)....they will bee very happy. Now..you can remove a frame from the outer edge of the box to give you room to remove the other frames. I use an empty box to place these frames into.

Now...you have every member on this site that will help....Brian, Mike, Robo....have to put Cindi in here...all you  have to do is ask a question....the bad question is the one that was not asked.

Brgds,
John
 
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iddee
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 06:21:15 PM »

Or make life simple.....Use foundation.
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 08:44:45 PM »

David I don't know when you installed them but they will probably get going on comb building soon.
I am doing all foundationless frames in my langs as well.
This has been my experience with them.
I felt like 2 of the nucs were going kind of slow building comb for the first 2-3 weeks, I was kind of surprised but they were still going slow and steady and filling the combs with brood and food so I figured I wouldn't worry about it.
 Today I went out there and they had a whole box filled out and all of the combs were perfect.
One thing I know is that they will not build comb that they cannot cover and my nucs were a little light on population when I got them.
Now that they have brood hatching it may be that they have more bees and will build out more.
They also have more workers to build comb.
As far as any crazy comb, I really have not seen much of that myself.
There was one comb in one of the hives that was slightly turned so I turned it and pushed it into the bar to keep it straight and they finished building it fine.
There was one other comb that they started to build a small comb over the finished one.
Kind of like a second layer. I pulled it off and they are good to go.
I think the most important thing is to keep all the bars pushed together tight so you don't leave them any extra room to get creative.
Both times that they had started to get off track was because I did not have the combs pushed tight enough.
I love the foundationless frames. I am really glad I did not go the route of foundation for many reasons.
If your bees are a little testy today its because they remember you bothering them and messing with their hive.
A few more days and they will forget about it.
The other thing is that the bees that you got originally are dying off and being replaced by the queen's offspring and they could have a totally different demeanor.
What type of bees did you get?
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 11:10:28 PM »

I have found that when it comes to foundationless frames the bees will usually draw out the 1st hive body without any problems.  The 2nd and 3rd boxes, though, can easily go astray with wild combs.  There I would recommend pulling 2 frames from the 1st super (the oldest is best) and placing them with an undrawn fram in between and the remainder of the super empty frames.
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2009, 08:02:55 AM »

As new Beeks....there are things you will learn....use smoke (important)....just a few puffs and let the bees alone for a few minutes. They think there is a fire and may need to move the home, so they want to take food. Open the hive and spray a solution of water and cane sugar..be easy (sugar water 1:1.. 5 pints-water-5 lbs sugar)....they will bee very happy. Now..you can remove a frame from the outer edge of the box to give you room to remove the other frames. I use an empty box to place these frames into.

Now...you have every member on this site that will help....Brian, Mike, Robo....have to put Cindi in here...all you  have to do is ask a question....the bad question is the one that was not asked.
 

I didn't smoke them this time - they were so calm - Probably will next time though.

I've actually been hanging out here for a few months soaking it all up.  Just like on any forum you have to sort out the opposing opinions and decide for yourself what to do though.
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2009, 08:06:27 AM »

Or make life simple.....Use foundation.

Nah, not yet.  It was actually a blast.  Despite the initial "Oh S***" moment I completely enjoyed the experience.  I don't want to be doing this every time, but I think I'll get better at avoiding it.  Anyway, now if I ever do a cutout I have a bit of experience with framing the comb.  I have a couple of ideas about how to make it easier too.
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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Samuel Clemens

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David LaFerney
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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2009, 08:10:15 AM »

David I don't know when you installed them but they will probably get going on comb building soon.
I am doing all foundationless frames in my langs as well.
This has been my experience with them.
I felt like 2 of the nucs were going kind of slow building comb for the first 2-3 weeks, I was kind of surprised but they were still going slow and steady and filling the combs with brood and food so I figured I wouldn't worry about it.
 Today I went out there and they had a whole box filled out and all of the combs were perfect.
One thing I know is that they will not build comb that they cannot cover and my nucs were a little light on population when I got them.
Now that they have brood hatching it may be that they have more bees and will build out more.
They also have more workers to build comb.
As far as any crazy comb, I really have not seen much of that myself.
There was one comb in one of the hives that was slightly turned so I turned it and pushed it into the bar to keep it straight and they finished building it fine.
There was one other comb that they started to build a small comb over the finished one.
Kind of like a second layer. I pulled it off and they are good to go.
I think the most important thing is to keep all the bars pushed together tight so you don't leave them any extra room to get creative.
Both times that they had started to get off track was because I did not have the combs pushed tight enough.
I love the foundationless frames. I am really glad I did not go the route of foundation for many reasons.
If your bees are a little testy today its because they remember you bothering them and messing with their hive.
a few more days and they will forget about it.
The other thing is that the bees that you got originally are dying off and being replaced by the queen's offspring and they could have a totally different demeanor.
What type of bees did you get?


Thanks for your advice.  My bees are Italians from Rossman Apiaries in South Carolina (I think in SC).
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2009, 08:18:43 AM »

I have found that when it comes to foundationless frames the bees will usually draw out the 1st hive body without any problems.  The 2nd and 3rd boxes, though, can easily go astray with wild combs.  There I would recommend pulling 2 frames from the 1st super (the oldest is best) and placing them with an undrawn fram in between and the remainder of the super empty frames.

So assuming they start now and build a typical brood nest with brood in the middle, drone brood, and stores towards the ends.  Which two frames should I move up?  I'm thinking 2 frames of brood to keep from crowding the nest and making them swarm. But what do you say? 

Since I'm using 8 frame mediums I'm probably going to have to do this in only a few days if they keep going like they have.  They might slow up though because I've stopped feeding for now because the comb that they've built is full of uncapped honey (syrup) and pollen, and It seems that they are providing for their selves.  I was worried that If I keep feeding (about a pint a day they were taking) the comb would get too heavy for the soft new wax as they repaired everything and it would collapse again.  It seems like at this point it would be better for it to go a little bit slower as far as storing honey.  As long as so many things are in bloom anyway.
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2009, 12:08:42 PM »

Thanks for your advice.  My bees are Italians from Rossman Apiaries in South Carolina (I think in SC).

Rossmans is in Moultrie, GA.
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2009, 12:28:16 PM »

Quote
Which two frames should I move up?  I'm thinking 2 frames of brood

maybe 1.  when you move brood, you have to be very sure that you'll have enough bees to cover.  everyone does things differently, but i don't move brood except as a last resort to get bees to move from a crowded box.  also, i usually add my second box below the 1st.  only rarely have i had a problem with bees moving down.  i no longer use all foundationless in a box.  in the 1st, 2 or 3 sheets of foundation.  in the 2nd, 1...maybe 2 full sheets.  if you are constantly having to cut comb loose, you will set back the growth of your hive.  better to get them started correctly the first time. 
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2009, 12:16:05 AM »

I have found that when it comes to foundationless frames the bees will usually draw out the 1st hive body without any problems.  The 2nd and 3rd boxes, though, can easily go astray with wild combs.  There I would recommend pulling 2 frames from the 1st super (the oldest is best) and placing them with an undrawn fram in between and the remainder of the super empty frames.

So assuming they start now and build a typical brood nest with brood in the middle, drone brood, and stores towards the ends.  Which two frames should I move up?  I'm thinking 2 frames of brood to keep from crowding the nest and making them swarm. But what do you say? 

Since I'm using 8 frame mediums I'm probably going to have to do this in only a few days if they keep going like they have.  They might slow up though because I've stopped feeding for now because the comb that they've built is full of uncapped honey (syrup) and pollen, and It seems that they are providing for their selves.  I was worried that If I keep feeding (about a pint a day they were taking) the comb would get too heavy for the soft new wax as they repaired everything and it would collapse again.  It seems like at this point it would be better for it to go a little bit slower as far as storing honey.  As long as so many things are in bloom anyway.

If you move brood up you need to keep the frames together so the bees can cluster on them.  If you move up one of brood and one of stores you can space them with empty frames in between.  I, too, use 8 frame mediums and I always pull 2 frames of either brood, stores, or a combination when adding supers.  It draws the bees up, helps keep the brood chamber under construction, which reduces the swarm tendency, and keeps the bees from backfilling tthe brood chamber with honey so the queen can't lay.

I only feed my bees 1-2 gallons of syrup, depending on weather.  Last year I should have feed them 2 gallons but only fed them one and when the 2nd winter in April and May came along 3 out of 5 hives starved and 1 took all summer to nurse back to a 3 box medium hive for overwintering.  This year I fed each hive 2 gallons.  After that they're on their own until fall when I'll feed several gallons to force them to backfill the broodchamber to insure sufficient stores for overwintering.  When all the frame are full, mostly capped, and they start drawing burr comb I know they're ready for winter.

I don't coddle my bees, it's sink or swim with no pest treatments other than an occasional sugar shake, but with Russians I've even stopped doing that as they go into a brood dearth (no they're not queenless) right after a moderate to heavy flow.  They will quickly build up at signs of another flow and then shut to brood chamber down again.  I believe that's one of the reasons they are so effective against varroa, the shut down of the brood chamber when the brood isn't needed.  It also conserves stores between flows as there isn't so many mouths to feed.  Flow or not the Russians then do another brood chamber explosion during late September or early October for the overwinter bees.

I know I've strayed away from the thread but it's some of the things I've been thinking about lately.
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2009, 08:16:26 AM »

If you move brood up you need to keep the frames together so the bees can cluster on them.  If you move up one of brood and one of stores you can space them with empty frames in between.  I, too, use 8 frame mediums and I always pull 2 frames of either brood, stores, or a combination when adding supers.  It draws the bees up, helps keep the brood chamber under construction, which reduces the swarm tendency, and keeps the bees from backfilling tthe brood chamber with honey so the queen can't lay.

I only feed my bees 1-2 gallons of syrup, depending on weather.  Last year I should have feed them 2 gallons but only fed them one and when the 2nd winter in April and May came along 3 out of 5 hives starved and 1 took all summer to nurse back to a 3 box medium hive for overwintering.  This year I fed each hive 2 gallons.  After that they're on their own until fall when I'll feed several gallons to force them to backfill the broodchamber to insure sufficient stores for overwintering.  When all the frame are full, mostly capped, and they start drawing burr comb I know they're ready for winter.

I don't coddle my bees, it's sink or swim with no pest treatments other than an occasional sugar shake, but with Russians I've even stopped doing that as they go into a brood dearth (no they're not queenless) right after a moderate to heavy flow.  They will quickly build up at signs of another flow and then shut to brood chamber down again.  I believe that's one of the reasons they are so effective against varroa, the shut down of the brood chamber when the brood isn't needed.  It also conserves stores between flows as there isn't so many mouths to feed.  Flow or not the Russians then do another brood chamber explosion during late September or early October for the overwinter bees.

I know I've strayed away from the thread but it's some of the things I've been thinking about lately.

That is an extremely helpful reply actually.  I've wondered if hive management that included interupting the brood cycle (FE walk away splits) might not be effective in mite management.  It didn't really dawn on me that some breeds might do that naturally.  Sounds like Russians would be worth looking into - After I figure out what I'm doing with the ones I already have.

But, back to the original question - When you pull frames to move up you say that you keep them together (with one empty between) so that they can more easily cluster on them.  Do you move the frames directly up to the spaces above their original location or do you just pick a good straight frame of brood and one of stores and then put them together where you want them? 

And where do you want them?  In the center of the empty box? a little off center?  Right above the main cluster - That would probably be my guess?

Thanks for your help.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 09:12:49 AM by David LaFerney » Logged

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David LaFerney
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« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2009, 09:09:45 AM »

Quote
Which two frames should I move up?  I'm thinking 2 frames of brood

maybe 1.  when you move brood, you have to be very sure that you'll have enough bees to cover.  everyone does things differently, but i don't move brood except as a last resort to get bees to move from a crowded box.  also, i usually add my second box below the 1st.  only rarely have i had a problem with bees moving down.  i no longer use all foundationless in a box.  in the 1st, 2 or 3 sheets of foundation.  in the 2nd, 1...maybe 2 full sheets.  if you are constantly having to cut comb loose, you will set back the growth of your hive.  better to get them started correctly the first time. 

I can sure see the logic in that, but I don't want to bail on foundationless until I've at least given it a serious try.
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2009, 09:10:29 AM »

Thanks for your advice.  My bees are Italians from Rossman Apiaries in South Carolina (I think in SC).

Rossmans is in Moultrie, GA.

Yep, that's it.  My bad.
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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2009, 01:12:05 AM »

If you move brood up you need to keep the frames together so the bees can cluster on them.  If you move up one of brood and one of stores you can space them with empty frames in between.  I, too, use 8 frame mediums and I always pull 2 frames of either brood, stores, or a combination when adding supers.  It draws the bees up, helps keep the brood chamber under construction, which reduces the swarm tendency, and keeps the bees from backfilling tthe brood chamber with honey so the queen can't lay.

I only feed my bees 1-2 gallons of syrup, depending on weather.  Last year I should have feed them 2 gallons but only fed them one and when the 2nd winter in April and May came along 3 out of 5 hives starved and 1 took all summer to nurse back to a 3 box medium hive for overwintering.  This year I fed each hive 2 gallons.  After that they're on their own until fall when I'll feed several gallons to force them to backfill the broodchamber to insure sufficient stores for overwintering.  When all the frame are full, mostly capped, and they start drawing burr comb I know they're ready for winter.

I don't coddle my bees, it's sink or swim with no pest treatments other than an occasional sugar shake, but with Russians I've even stopped doing that as they go into a brood dearth (no they're not queenless) right after a moderate to heavy flow.  They will quickly build up at signs of another flow and then shut to brood chamber down again.  I believe that's one of the reasons they are so effective against varroa, the shut down of the brood chamber when the brood isn't needed.  It also conserves stores between flows as there isn't so many mouths to feed.  Flow or not the Russians then do another brood chamber explosion during late September or early October for the overwinter bees.

I know I've strayed away from the thread but it's some of the things I've been thinking about lately.

That is an extremely helpful reply actually.  I've wondered if hive management that included interupting the brood cycle (FE walk away splits) might not be effective in mite management.  It didn't really dawn on me that some breeds might do that naturally.  Sounds like Russians would be worth looking into - After I figure out what I'm doing with the ones I already have.

But, back to the original question - When you pull frames to move up you say that you keep them together (with one empty between) so that they can more easily cluster on them.  Do you move the frames directly up to the spaces above their original location or do you just pick a good straight frame of brood and one of stores and then put them together where you want them? 

I usually pull the 2 outside brood frames and replace them with empty frames (foundationless) that keeps the brood nest open building comb and reduces the chances of swarming as bees building comb in the brood chamber seldom swarm.  Where I put them is dependant on the queen.  Where does she start laying and from which side do the bees start building comb?  There are left, right, center, front and back orientated bees...orientation being where they start building comb within the hive.
 

Quote
And where do you want them?  In the center of the empty box? a little off center?  Right above the main cluster - That would probably be my guess?

Thanks for your help.

I think I answered that in response to the last question, the more vital question is, where do you want the frames?
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