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Author Topic: Why don't my bees like the right side of their hive?  (Read 2979 times)
meade kampe
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« on: June 30, 2010, 01:23:20 AM »

Hi!  1st year beekeeper here, 36 year honey eater.  One of my hives took nearly 2 months to fill the bottom brood box.  The bees were packed solid and croweded on the left (or West) side of the box, but their was little or no activity on the right (or East) side of the box.  I sprayed sugar water on the empty frames to try to lure them to that side of the box.  The next week they had started moving into the empty frames and spreading out, so I went ahead and added a shallow box.  Now today, upon examination of that hive, I found that they never went any farther across the brood box, but have stuffed themselves once again into the left side of the hive.  I know bees naturally build upwards, but they are really crowded staying all on the one side of the hive, compared to the hive I have 10 feet away that is acting more like a text book hive.  My bee instinct (right,wrong or indifferent) is telling me that the bees just do not want to spread out.  Huh?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2010, 02:26:17 AM »

I'll  bet it's the sunny side (South or East).

Bees don't naturally build upwards.  They naturally build down.
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Michael Bush
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meade kampe
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2010, 04:05:13 AM »

You are right, it is the South East side.  Is it too hot, then?
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BjornBee
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 07:08:43 AM »

The bees were packed solid and croweded on the left (or West) side of the box, but their was little or no activity on the right (or East) side of the box.  I sprayed sugar water on the empty frames to try to lure them to that side of the box.  

You have it backwards. It is too cold. Or was when they started... Wink

Many hives start building on the "warm" side of the box. Which generally speaking, is the south, southeast, south, or southwest side of the box. New packages will take advantage of the sun's warmth and build where the bees will benefit most. Then what happens, they get stuck to the one side with a honey barrier preventing them from moving all the way across.

Of course you are finding out some things that bees do naturally. And understanding these tendencies can make you a better beekeeper. Years ago, all you heard was "Bees only warm the cluster, they do not warm the hive". This of course discounted the fact that bees do naturally work to the top of the hive through winter and raise early winter/spring brood near the top, taking advantage of trapped heat within the hive. Bees if given a choice, naturally do not select feral locations with top entrances. They not only want to start on the warm side of the cavity, but also want to start brood rearing at the top of the cavity (as MB said, they start at the top and build down), benefitting from the trapped heat and thereby using less resources to operate. They are very proficient. This is why the whole "top entrance" promotion by some is way off the mark. If beekeepers would stop pumping their hives full of high moisture syrup, there would be little if any moisture concerns in the hives.

 
You can take two frame out and slide the brood chamber to the other side and put in two frame on the warm side. We are past the point of worrying about warm side, cold side, etc.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 07:30:09 AM by BjornBee » Logged

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2010, 07:39:02 AM »

As Bjorn says, it's the opposite.  They are seeking heat.  They have to heat the brood nest and that side is warmer.
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Michael Bush
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meade kampe
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 12:33:09 AM »

Thanks to both of you.  No wonder I find the world of bees so intriguing.  Everyday I learn something new, whether on my own or from the very knowledgeable people on this forum.  Thanks so much.  Smiley
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gwalker314
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2010, 12:39:18 AM »

Thanks for asking the question Meade,
I have a hive doing the same thing and was wondering about it myself. Thanks guys for the responses.

GW
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n5odj
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2010, 08:28:26 PM »

So could one just lift up the whole hive (minus the bottom board) and turn it around - then setting it back down on the bottom board?  Or are there downsides to doing that?

Maybe not the easiest or most efficient way, but I got my curious up.

 Robert

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BjornBee
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2010, 08:37:37 PM »

So could one just lift up the whole hive (minus the bottom board) and turn it around - then setting it back down on the bottom board?  Or are there downsides to doing that?

Maybe not the easiest or most efficient way, but I got my curious up.

 Robert



The entrance of the hive, for the most efficient and productive bees, should be placed where the entrance faces southeast or south. If you turn the hive around, it may change the warm side, but it really is just a negative in another aspect.
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hardwood
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2010, 09:31:51 PM »

n5, Don't ever turn your hives willy-nilly! I tried that once and the whole thing blew up! It was terrible...little legless bees crawling everywhere crying "Medic!" and the queen holding a shivering pupa and shaking her little fist at the sky...horrid I tell ya...horrid. grin

Scott
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BjornBee
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« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2010, 09:48:37 PM »

So could one just lift up the whole hive (minus the bottom board) and turn it around - then setting it back down on the bottom board?  Or are there downsides to doing that?

Maybe not the easiest or most efficient way, but I got my curious up.

 Robert



Obviously I did not see the "minus the bottom board" part of your comment with my last post..... cool
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