As new beekeepers be are starting with 2 hives and installed 3#pkgs with Carnolian Queens on May 3rd, for Northern Idaho that is plenty early. We have been giving them Syrup (as Per Dr Steiner's recipie) and added essential oils as per the honey-B-healthy recomendations.
I assume Dr. Steiner's recipe is for 1:1 syrup. I'm not familiar with the name.
We used wax coated starter sticks, (no foundation) to the tops of frames.
Wax coated is extra unnecessary work, just use plain wood slats. If using wedge type top bars just remove the wedge and mount it sideways so you have a ridge running the full length of the frame.
The weather has been mostly cold & cloudy with some rain & wind on many days. They have been busy drawing comb and bringing in pollen on the rare sunny days. We have not checked the hives because of the cold temperatures. Yesterday we added another box because they were trying to build comb in the top feeder of one hive The boxes seem light and I wonder if they have drawn very much. We will go into the hives as soon as we get good weather to check more on them.
The building of burr comb in a hive top feeder is one of the many reasons I no longer use that type of feeder. Comb in the feeder has nothing to do with how the development in the hive is going. Cold, cloud, rain, snow, winds....this is the PNW, normal type of weather this time of year. Peak at them when you get the chance.
[qute]Are we giving them too much room with 2 boxes? How soon should we need to add the second brood box? Do we force them to finish drawing all the frames before adding the next box?[/quote]
If the initial box isn't 70-80% full of comb and bees then yes you added the super too soon. As the previous sentence indicates you super using the 70/30 or 80/20 rule, depending on which school of beekeeping you're from. In a 10 frame hive supering should take place sometime between when the bees move over and begin working the 7th frame or the 8th frame in any box. The increasing population can force the bees beyond that in a day or 2 lof newly hatched brood. Forcing the bees to do anything, especially to drawcomb instead of supering can cause the to swarm, even if it is a new package.
So far we have a problem with ANTS getting into the hives. One hive especially has lots of small and large black ants. The big ants have even been seen killing a bee- it had bitten off her hind leg & wing on one side and she was helpless as it killed her and then hauled her off, she was trying to sting it, but the ant was too smart for her....I tried Cinnamon around the hive and even painted it on the hive sides - no effect Then I tried Coffee grounds all around the hive - no effect, then I put borax & boric acid around the hive - fewer ants but they are still there, I have also tried bait for the ants but they are not interested in the baits. ANY more suggestions?? I may need to construct a barrior if all else fails but I would appreciate any other suggestions.
At this point the ants are after the same sugar syrup you're feeding your bees. Later they will be after the wax, dead bees, discarded brood, and other things. a good way to keep the ants out of the hive is use bottomless or SBB hives with a solid material, like plywood, under the hive so the ants can get what they want without having to crawl into the hive for it. Since going to bottomless hives I rarely find an ant or earwig in my hives anymore.
ANOTHER PROBLEM is that our top feeders (we made them ourself out of plans) leak. We tried to seal them with varnish, paint, beeswax, parafin, and glue... not all together but in various layers as we constructed them. What is the best way to seal up these feeders? They are the kind that are a wooden tray, with a center slot for the bees to enter, and wire to keep the out of the syrup tray parts. They really use them very well and I like the feeders but would appreciate knowing how to seal them up. (this is also part of the ant problem when they leak)
Thanks for any suggestions...
sagesounds in Idaho
Best way to seal the joints in home made feeders is with glue and caulking. Caulk before painting, varnishing, or treating the wood with any curative.