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Author Topic: Phish's new feral colony  (Read 2059 times)
flyingphish
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« on: August 29, 2009, 12:54:07 AM »

hello.   

i have two feral colonies living in my yard.  one in an oak tree the other inside the wall of a guest house.

the tree-hive is at least 10 yrs old.  the wall-hive 2-3 yrs.

last saturday i bought two 10 frame dadant hives, a smoker, and a bee suit and moved the colony from the wall to one of the dadant 10 frame hives.  i left out 3 frames in order to fit a large chunk of natural comb that the queen was working on.  the wall-hive was 5'X6'X2" in all.

there were so many bees!  bearding i soon learned it was called so i added the second brood chamber yesterday.  it has all 10 frames in place.  i did not remove the wild comb from the lower brood chamber as it is already worked into place.  so it has only 7/10 frames in place.  is this a problem?

feeding sugar water 50/50.  plan to feed 10-20 pounds then quit. 

need to move it i gather, someplace sunny in the garden?  move it at night correct?  its only about 50 yards away. 

ive learned everything i know about beekeeping right here on this forum over the last two weeks and i thank you all for the info and insight.  it is much appreciated.

i also bought Franklin Carriers' book "Begin to Keep Bees"...he signed it for me at his shop, what a great way to start.

i plan to use no chemicals or meds.  i want an organic colony.  just put the box where i please and let them take care of themselves.  my only concern at this point in time is the missing 3 frames, the move i plan to make, and how to protect from ants (using the 4-bowls-of-water technique at present).

thank you kindly

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bee-nuts
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2009, 04:14:12 AM »

flyingphish

"there were so many bees!  bearding i soon learned it was called so i added the second brood chamber yesterday.  it has all 10 frames in place.  i did not remove the wild comb from the lower brood chamber as it is already worked into place.  so it has only 7/10 frames in place.  is this a problem?"

Yeah, it  will be a bit of a mess.  What keeps the bees from building comb from one frame to the next is called bee space (3/8 of an inch).  If it is less they fill it in, more the built bridges between it and then you have a bunch of stuff connected to together.  Or you could call it a big mess.

Me and my buddy made a similar mistake with the first package of bees we installed and left frames out when shaking the bees in and then left a frame out as not to crush bees and when we finally went back in they had built there own frame of comb in the space but fused sides of comb to the real frames.  It was full of brood so we just left it alone because we did not want to kill brood and bees fixing the mess. The bees did not make the winter so it was fixed the following spring.

I have never done a cutout but i know people cut the comb to fit the frames an put rubber bands around the whole thing to hold all in place.  I'm guessing when you go in you will have a big mess already and the best idea i have is to wait until next year and when you find the queen put her in another box then put a queen excluder in, then when all brood is hatched cleanup the mess.  all though maybe just fixing it now with the rubber band trick would not be any worse than the cutout itself.

Either way, i dont see any reason to worry too much.  You will just know better next time.

Keep reading.  Local library is the cheap way.  Probably the best way too because it you don't like the book it did not cost much.  I am waiting for "The ABC and XYZ of bee culture) to show up at my local library. 

You should at least put your state in location if you want relevant advice.  10 to 20 pounds does not sound like enough sugar water unless it does not freeze where you live.

study up on moving the hive too.  No more than three feet or over three miles is the standard rule of thumb.  Which brings to mind;  Did you keep the bees on the property you did the cutout from.  If so, I'm surprised they did not try to fly back to original spot.

That my 2 cents.  More experienced advice will come your way soon I expect.

Good luck and have fun!!!

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PeeVee
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2009, 06:35:13 AM »

Phish -

I did pretty much the same as you with the cut out. Rubber banded the come into the frames.

I don't believe we got the queen - that was over a month ago. The girls have been foraging and i hope they raised a new queen. I've been trying to leave them alone to see what the outcome will be.

I too have learned a bunch here and many thanks to those who are many times more experienced and take the time to help!

Check out "Natural Beekeeping" by Ross Conrad.

-Paul
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-Paul VanSlyke - Cheers from Deposit,NY
flyingphish
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2009, 12:44:27 PM »

hey there thanks for the replies.

bee-nuts, ill leave it bee then.  they seem happy.  the new hive is sitting 18 inches off the ground outside the entrance to their old wall-hive.  i caulked closed the opening to the old wall-hive so as to not let them repopulate that space.  it has been a week now and they have stopped looking for that opening.

-they suck down one whole feeder jar per day.  amazing.  you're right they may go thru more than 20 lbs.  my understanding is that when 75% of the frames have comb i can reduce feedings?

-when i put the second brood chamber on i put it right on top of the first, nothing in between.  good?

-i have two lids, the inner and outer.  should i use both?  it does not freeze here.

i am having a blast with these bees.  compliments my reef tank nicely except for the stings.  my first day out i wore black "mechanics" gloves.  that didnt go over so well.  the next day i learned about the veil and how to wear it...I let it get too close to my skin and got stung on the neck twice, by the time i got into the house and unzipped the veil the little stinger darn pumped most of its venom into my jugular.  its been nothing but one adrenaline rush after another.  aircraft and motorcycles can't compare.

have a nice weekend.




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wayne
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2009, 06:17:25 PM »

  If your outer cover is a telescoping, that is one that sets down around the top of the hive, then by all means use the inner. The bees will glue down the top and the inner lets you lift off the outer and it is much easier to pry lose than the outer.
  Unless you are a beek that feels compelled to see the queen every week or so don't worry about the brood box. The old "Bee Space" doesn't work on my smaller ferals and they make burr comb to make up the difference. So except for a spring visit to tidy up and see if all is well I stay out of their turf.

Best of luck.
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I was born about 100 years too early, or to late.
bee-nuts
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2009, 03:13:27 AM »

"-i have two lids, the inner and outer.  should i use both?  it does not freeze here."

I have never used only one lid.  From what I understand, having the inner and outer cover also add insulation to the top of the hive.  Commercial beeks will tell you that with only one cover it will get hot in the top of hive and melt the wax, and thats up here in Wisconsin.  So I imagine that it is even more important where you live to have both on. 

"my understanding is that when 75% of the frames have comb i can reduce feedings?"

If your goal is to draw comb, ya.  But, this time of year most people are concerned about the bees having enough stores to make it through winter.  I dont know what kind of flow you have in the winter if any.  If you have a flow then you may be fine.  Anyway the point is you have to become familiar with your seasonal sources of nectar, pollen and the weather.  Just because it dont freeze does not mean there may not be a long period of dearth (no nectar flow or pollen for that matter).

"-when i put the second brood chamber on i put it right on top of the first, nothing in between.  good?"

What would you put there?  A queen excluder?  I recommend you stay away from them and just let them do there thing for a while.  Putting frames of foundation above a queen excluder is a big no, no.  Bees do not like crawling through them and likely will then pack the brood chambers with honey, leaving no room for the queen to lay all while ignoring the space above.  This results in swarming.  Once they have drawn comb and are packing honey then you can put them in and they will move through it.

Bee careful.  This stuff gets addicting.

Have fun!!

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The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory

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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2009, 03:14:14 AM »

Hello Phish,

We also put in only 7 frames when we took a wild hive one time.  Come requeening time, I've never had so much absence of fun.  We were out bush helping the mates requeen, and took home a spare queen.  It was already mid afternoon.  Lo and behold, the darlings had built tunnels, moats, passageways, rooms with chandeliers, curtains, big palaces with ballrooms, in short, so many places to hide the Royal Highness, that in desperation I ran into town with the largest worker I could find.  The mates identified her as such, and I had to split the hive with one queen in each super separated by newspaper.  Unfortunately, neither hive took, but that is another story.  Now I make sure there are no fewer than 10 neat and tidy frames (and order queens with spots on them).

I hope you have as much enjoyment from them as I do  Wink

Lone
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Sparky
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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2009, 08:35:36 AM »

Just as House Bee said, there is a bunch of good books and internet reading to help. This site is loaded with great people to help. One book that is good would be The Complete Guide To Beekeeping by Roger Morse. You may want to entertain the idea of slowly exchanging a couple frames at time, as they build,in the early spring with the starter strip of either Popsicle sticks or paint stick cut and put at top wedge frame and let the bees build it from scratch so the wild bees keep the natural size cells to work.
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flyingphish
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2009, 10:34:11 PM »

these are some mean bees.  all i want to do is watch the little guys then one bee comes charging and stings me on the back or neck or hand.  too funny they really are protective eh? 

changing the feeder without protection is always fun too.  i will now do that at nite.  they are up to two jars per day.

i also had an ant invasion.  one of the bowls of water dried up...never seen the bees angrier.  i felt as though i let them down.

peace
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Cheryl
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2009, 11:25:51 PM »

these are some mean bees.  all i want to do is watch the little guys then one bee comes charging and stings me on the back or neck or hand.  too funny they really are protective eh? 
Heh, you just moved them; now they know your scent. They know you are the one who messed them up! Don't be surprised if they're super defensive for a while. After I moved my first bees, I couldn't get near them without a veil for the first several weeks.

They sometimes go for the eyes (a direct sting to the eyeball can blind you). Be wise.

Welcome to the world of beekeeping!! grin
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beecanbee
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2009, 01:01:02 AM »

the next day i learned about the veil and how to wear it...I let it get too close to my skin and got stung on the neck twice,

Sporting a wide rimmed hat, I put a small towel in the veil - so that the veil hangs away from my neck.  The towel is long enough that it allows me to wipe any perspiration from my face without removing the veil.  Before learning this, my bees liked to nibble...
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Paul

“I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me."  Duncan Vandiver

A boy can do half the work of a man, but two boys do less, and three boys get nothing done at all. Smiley

(False) Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.  - Samuel Johnson
flyingphish
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2009, 02:18:22 AM »

i was wondering if it was a scent thing.  wasn't sure if they marked me with a bee scent or if they remembered my stinky human scent. 

either way im screwed as i got stung again today in the back just passing by.
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flyingphish
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« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2009, 11:20:06 PM »

so my brood box is full of comb, brood, pollen, and honey.

only problem is that the bees made a mess of the 7 frames in a 10 frame box.  i cant pull any frames without tearing major comb.

should i:

1.  leave it alone.
2.  do a cut out.  now or in spring.
3.  turn box upside down and put a new deep brood box on top and see if bees will move up.

i inspected my brood box today and saw larvae, etc.  looks like the queen is still around.   i read that if i turned the brood box upside down that could be an easy way of moving the colony up ino a second new brood box...


thx

jason
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sarafina
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« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2009, 11:44:21 PM »

i was wondering if it was a scent thing.  wasn't sure if they marked me with a bee scent or if they remembered my stinky human scent. 

either way im screwed as i got stung again today in the back just passing by.

I have spent a lot of time disrupting one of my hot hives that I had to re-queen recently and last weekend I had a bee chasing me in the front yard WAY away from the hives.  Nobody else was bothered, so it was ME  grin  They remembered the smell of who had killed their queen and gave them a new one and caused all their grief!   evil
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Sparky
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« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2009, 09:24:10 AM »

flyingphish . Another way to get them to move up is, assuming to your upper with foundation is to mix upper frames with some frames of brood from the lower box. They sometimes are reluctant to move into a box with nothing but foundation frames. Sounds like they are working out with the new location. Keep in mind in future, if you move a hive to a location close to where they were removed from that you can also bunch up some dead grass and place on bottom board by entrance to make them orient themselves when they come out of the new hive.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 04:02:43 PM by Sparky » Logged
jclark96
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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2009, 10:00:15 AM »

I don't have tons of experience but I would fix the combs/frames as soon as possible. The longer you wait the bigger the mess will be, and you will have to destroy more stuff.
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flyingphish
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2009, 05:43:20 PM »

thanks for the replies. 

ok then here is what i plan to do.  please correct me if im on the wrong track.

i am going foundationless for starters.  i plan to glue popsicle sticks or bevel the underside of the top bar. 

i will cutout enough brood for two frames (use rubberbands to hold them in place, how many bands, 4? 6?  can i remove the bands at a later date without rupturing the comb or is it a non-issue when removing them?

i will put these two frames in the new hive at position 1 and 10.  i will also put in one frame with plastic dadant foundation at position 5 or 6.

then turn the old hive upside down and put the new hive on top and wait...

this is crazy i have no idea what i am doing.

jd
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2009, 10:54:13 PM »

My opinion for what it's worth is that you should either leave it alone for now, or fix it all.  Don't turn the old box upside down in any event.  If you leave it alone you can wait until they build a bit of good comb in the new box, and then get the queen in the box of good comb and put an excluder between them.  Once the brood is all hatched out you can do whatever you want to with the box of crooked comb - feed it to the bees probably.

But what I really think you should do is fix it all by tying it into new frames like this.  Using the thumb tacks and string is a lot easier (for me) than getting rubber bands around fragile comb with one hand while you try to hold it with the other.  Fix it all - honey, brood, empty comb - all of it.  Get it as straight and centered as you can and the bees will fix up the rest.  Make sure you get it all right side up!  The reason I think you should fix it all is that they probably won't ever build as much comb as quickly as they did in the first few days after you put them in there, and it will take a long time to redo it all from scratch.

I made a very similar mistake as you last spring, and I tied it in (first time) and did the best I could, and it all worked out fine.  I used rubber bands, and it wasn't all that straight when I got done, but now at the end of the season the bees have it all straightened out.  Today I caught them pulling one of the rubber bands out of the hive...

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd8DrZ9Bcao" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd8DrZ9Bcao</a>

The quicker you get it all over with and quit messing with them the better it will be.  Good luck.

BTW, I'm a first year bee keeper so take it with a grain of salt.   grin
« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 11:17:52 PM by David LaFerney » Logged

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flyingphish
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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2009, 01:31:24 AM »

david i agree.  completely.  bee-nuts has already set me straight, im still just trying to get comfortable. dont like to rush, but if anything needs to be done now ill do it.

so i need to decide between bothering them bigtime with a cutout.  or let them move up naturally and exclude the queen.

theyve been thru a lot so im leaning towards leaving them be till spring.  sounds like it would be easier to just exclude and then tear the old hive down with no worries...

thx again everyone.
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flyingphish
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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2009, 01:35:55 AM »

the rubberband video is pretty cool david.  that answers my question.
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