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Author Topic: Installing bees into a TBH, howto?  (Read 1769 times)

Offline jeremy_c

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Installing bees into a TBH, howto?
« on: May 21, 2009, 08:33:51 PM »
I have 4 TBH's (Picture of Apiary). The first two I installed and hung the queen between two top bar's. I was then told quickly that it was the wrong thing to do, so the next day I released the queens and got the queen cage out of there. Yesterday I installed two new packages and pulled the cork on the queen during the installation process and laid the queen cage on the bottom of the hive for her to get out. Today, both of those hives are empty and the bees are no where I can find them.

I built the top bar hives according to the same plans. The only difference in them is with the first one I tacked 1/4"x1/4" square wood to the top bars for a guide and the 2nd one I glued popcicle sticks into a groove I cut. The glue I used was Titebond Wood Glue. It says cure time 24hrs, they dried for about 36hrs.

Any thoughts? The other hives are doing great, these ones are a pretty big disappointment :-/

Jeremy
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Online kathyp

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Re: Installing bees into a TBH, howto?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2009, 09:22:00 PM »
a lot of people direct release.  i do not.  as was mentioned earlier, the queen doesn't come from the hive(s) that your package bees come from.  although she has probably been in there a couple of days, there is no harm in leaving her in the cage a few days more.  i usually swap the plug for a marshmallow unless the cage has a candy plug.  you may get some comb building on the cage, but that is not a big deal if you don't leave it to long.  i also feed a swarm or package for a few days.  some don't if there is a good flow, but i don't think it hurts.

you also have things happen when you do everything right.  you may have made no mistakes and the bees just did their thing in spite of your efforts.

i have never done a TBH, but i would think that the principle is the same when it comes to starting them out.
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Offline fermentedhiker

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Re: Installing bees into a TBH, howto?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 09:35:00 PM »
If you are direct releasing a queen with a package you might try putting a strip of queen excluder sized mesh over the entrance for a couple of days to encourage them to stay. 
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Offline mtbe

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Re: Installing bees into a TBH, howto?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2009, 01:15:07 PM »
Jeremy,

I did it similar to you.

I sprayed the bees with sugar syrup and dumped them in my TBHs (I have 2).

I then sprayed the Queens and dumped them in too (well....okay....the first one I forgot to spray and thought she flew away when I released her....but just checked yesterday and all seems well).  I didn't wait any days to release the queen.  I released her at the same time as I dumped the bees in.

I placed/laid grass over the entrance of the hives.

They all stayed.

One of my TBHs, I cut a guide into the top bars.  The other TBH, I cut a groove and glued a guide into the groove with Titebond.  I 'painted' both guides with wax before putting them in.  I don't think that mattered in your case.


Offline slaphead

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Re: Installing bees into a TBH, howto?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2009, 02:26:28 PM »
Jeremy,

You may have just been unlucky.  However, if the queens had not been in the packages for long their scent may not have been transmitted to the workers in the package.  One approach to get over this problem, beyond leaving them in their cages for a couple of days, is to spray the bees and queen with 1:1 syrup containing honey-B-healthy or to introduce her while the colony is undergoing a Thymol treatment.  In both cases the scent of the lemon grass oil or thymol, respectively, over rides all other odors in the hive and a direct release quenn is accepted.  It doesn't sound like this was the problem here, you didn't find a dead queen in the bottom of your TBH.  A second possibility is they didn't like the smell of the hive and absconded because of that.  Had they been painted, varnished or stained recently?  I've been told it can take several weeks for stain and varnish odors to become acceptable to bees.  Finally, they may have just taken off for reasons completely beyond your control.

PS.  That's a fine looking apiary you've put together.

SH
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Installing bees into a TBH, howto?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2009, 11:44:58 PM »
Michael Bush
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Offline mtbe

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Re: Installing bees into a TBH, howto?
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2009, 10:24:06 AM »
Michael,

Your opinion is always wanted!

Offline Utah

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Re: Installing bees into a TBH, howto?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2009, 11:09:54 AM »
I have 4 TBH's (Picture of Apiary). Yesterday I installed two new packages and pulled the cork on the queen during the installation process and laid the queen cage on the bottom of the hive for her to get out. Today, both of those hives are empty and the bees are no where I can find them.
...
Any thoughts? The other hives are doing great, these ones are a pretty big disappointment :-/
Jeremy

Hey Jeremy, The same thing happened to me. I also captured a swarm, placed them into a TBH and they only stayed one day and then flew off.  My belief is that they do not have what they like in these new top bar hives. They probably need something different than what is typically there.  I have had my old TBH as a hive lure with all the scents and wax, etc.  No luck here after missing several swarms in my area.
Utah