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Author Topic: What are my bees doing?  (Read 2135 times)
yjk
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« on: June 13, 2009, 05:46:40 PM »

For the last week my bees have been congregating at the entrance and on the front of the hive. I've checked inside and everything seems fine. They are starting to fill the upper most super.  I have two other smaller hives and they are not doing this. Can anyone give me an idea as to what is happening, and do I have to worry.

Please let me know.
YJK
« Last Edit: June 13, 2009, 09:35:55 PM by buzzbee » Logged
MustbeeNuts
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2009, 06:07:29 PM »

Well thats a fairly vague discription, two things, first your location would help, as would temperatures, time of day , or what ever. If the hive is fine and not crowded then there just getting some sun and the new hatched bees are checking outside. You don't say wether they are crowded or how old this hive is, if you just put it together from a package just lately or what. Some more informaton would really help along with your location becuase every location has different things goin on at any time. Also some one in your area would have a much better handle on what the problem if it is a problem could bee.
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yjk
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2009, 06:26:07 PM »

I'm sorry my picture would not go through, I'm to new to the forum and I am not allowed to post a pic. I'm can't even delete this.

I'm in Tulsa, Ok
The bees are doing this all day. The hive is a couple of years old.
They are covering the enterance and front of the hive, They seem to be fine, no dead bees in front, none crawling on the ground.
I'm not sure if I'm crowding them or not. I have 2 large hive bodies and 3 supers, then a extractor and one honey super on top.

I'm trying to get the modirator to let me post a pic.

thanks
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MustbeeNuts
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2009, 06:28:58 PM »

Thats ok, a mod can add pictures if you pm them, but location is really important. Welcome to the forum by the way. there are many knowledgeable beekeepers on here. So were are you, you can change your location in your profile. even the state would be a help.
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yjk
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2009, 06:38:39 PM »

I've sent a email to the mod to add pic.

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MustbeeNuts
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2009, 06:44:12 PM »

My first step if it were my hive would be to check and see if there are any swarm cells, or queen cells, its the right time of year and if its an older hive it might have swarming on its mind. IF that is the case then remove the frame with the cells an put a few extra frames of brood into a nuc or a hive body and you will have an extra hive. replace those frames with new ones and that makes some extra room for the queen to lay. If thats the case, but on the other hand if its really hot, they will do that also. and of course young hatched brood will orientate every day around 3pm or so. both earlier and later, they run over the front and lots of bees will fly in front of the hive going back and forth then land run around and then do it again,  the they usually end up circling and flying off for a bit.
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iddee
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2009, 07:53:36 PM »

They are bearding. Just their way of controlling the hive temp. Quite normal.
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yjk
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2009, 07:57:20 PM »

How do you know if the hive it to full. I thought that with 4 hive bodies that they would have plenty of room. Can a queen keep up with that many frames.

I'll open the hive tonight and see if I have any room in the hive. Would adding another honey super on top help?
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yjk
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2009, 07:59:48 PM »

Bearding,

I have not heard of that. If they are just trying to keep temperatures down, Can I add a empty super to the top to give more room for ventilation.
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MustbeeNuts
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2009, 09:00:59 PM »

YOu could crack the top of the hive for more ventilation put a small block under the front that lets out air., or move a super back a littel for more as well.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2009, 09:42:05 PM »

As stated above crack the supers a small amount or prop top cover open a little with a shim or better  yet a STICK Wink!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2009, 09:58:25 PM by sc-bee » Logged

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yjk
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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2009, 09:55:18 PM »

Ok,

I just went out and took the hive apart. This is what I found.

First I was not able to locate the queen, and I found larvae, but not the real small ones, little rice grains (none).  No queen cells either.
No more than a dozen or so drone cells. The hive is really full of bees. All most every cell had something in it. (

Bottom hive - frames 50% open honey, rest pollen and a few capped larvae.
2nd up hive body - 30% open honey, 30% pollen, rest large larvae
3rd is a super - 30% honey, 30% pollen, rest large larvae
4th super - 60% honey half capped, 10% pollen, very few larvae
Queen extruder
Top super - 50% capped honey, 20% uncapped, rest open cells

When a queen swarms i thought they took most  of the hive with them. My hive seems really strong.

Any suggestions.

Joel
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sc-bee
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2009, 10:13:15 PM »

A queen is hard to find in a populous hive. Eggs are often hard to see. Home much unfilled open space for queen to lay is one of the keys to identifying weather a hive has swarmed or not or about too.

Some signs of a hived that swarmed:
Brood area backfilled with honey no open space.
lower population of bees
Off course queen cells or remnants of old queen cells
No young larvae or eggs mostly capped brood

May have just caught them before they swarm. If you feel the hive is too crowded, check for the queen again and split if you find her. Look for bees polishing cleaned out cells (a sign of a queen or virgin queen in hive --- per id). I had not heard that until recently.

If I couldn't find the queen, I would put it back together. Definitely vent it when you put it back together. Check in a few days for eggs, queen cells etc. And access again. 

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yjk
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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2009, 10:33:12 PM »

I'm going to open the hive top up tomorrow.

The brood space is filled with a lot of honey, not many larvae, lots of capped brood.

If the hive is to full can I just take off a couple of supers and start a new hive without a queen. I don't want to weaken the hive.

JK
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sc-bee
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« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2009, 10:39:36 PM »

Are you in a flow now --- we are through in my area  and my queens are shutting down.

Remove some honey frames in brood chamber if honey bound. Extract or feed it back away from hive. Add new frames of drawn comb or foundation if no drawn to brood area. Foundation in slots 3 or 7 if no drawn. Keep brood together but should not be that critical in an over populous hive and warm weather. Some folks add empty frames in brood chamber to reduce crowding.

IF there is no flow they will cut the wax foundation and not draw it out. But as Brianb always says, If there are enough bees for the foundation to be under the foot, they will draw it out.

Could have swarmed and you never knew it!!! New queen may not be laying yet.

Or Hive may just be bearding from heat.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2009, 10:51:08 PM by sc-bee » Logged

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yjk
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« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2009, 10:43:55 PM »

I really don't know if we are in a flow or not. How do you tell.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2009, 10:53:01 PM »

Adding nectar to your new supers and drawing comb. Bloom in your area.

Any local beeks or clubs in your area to give it a peek or confer with?
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yjk
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« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2009, 11:07:06 PM »

They look like they are adding nectar. The hive supers have added allot of weight in the last week. I haven't found a local that lives near me to ask for help.

I think i'll wait a few days and open it again and see if i can find some new larvae.

The pic I posted finally came up. What do you think their doing?
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doak
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« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2009, 11:25:08 PM »

If the bees are coming and going then I would say this is normal bearding.
That is when it get's hot in the hive some bees will gather on the outside.
You should have a bunch on the landing/entrance board fanning their wings.
If the top super has most all drawn comb and is gaining weight go ahead and add another super.
With that large of a colony too much room is better than not enough.
If you are 85 degrees or higher then it is hot enough for them to beard.
Where your are you are probably in the 90's.
I would not be going to deep into the hive to often with this is going on.
If you have anything blooming then they are most likely doing O.K. :)doak
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Vibe
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« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2009, 11:27:08 PM »

I have one that has been acting that way, but worse. There for a while they were 1-1/2" thick on the front, you couldn't see any of the hive itself. But only on the front. I only have one deep brood and a super on each of my hives, and have robbed this hive almost every 2-3 weeks. I got about 1&1/2 gallons from each of my 2 older hives today (this one and one other). But of the 3 hives I have, only one is behaving this way. And it's the one in the shade. All 3 are set up the same way with solid bottoms, queen excluders, and top screen ventilation under the roofs. This hive looks crowded. I thought that this hive was getting ready to swarm, then it rained for 2 weeks. Could the weather have interupted a swarming and left an overpopulation? I'm undecided as to whether to try a split, or just add more supers. I have a hard time managing the brood frames for an inspection or brood frame upkeep (just not sure what to do with the super and other parts, as well as what exactly to do anyways Cheesy) I've only had bees starting last year when 8 swarms landed in my FILs yard, and  4 more this year, somebody had to help keep them. I got elected. Good thing I managed to get interested. Cheesy
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