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Author Topic: Do bees abscond more from TBH's than Langs?  (Read 2149 times)
gardeningfireman
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« on: August 04, 2010, 02:52:21 PM »

I lost another colony from a TBH! darn ants got in again. I have Langs, nucs, and TBH's on cement blocks in the same yard. Only the TBH's get ants. I have lost three out of my four attempts at hiving bees in my TBH's. I have lost ZERO out of my standard nuc boxes or Langs. Do bees abscond more readily from a TBH than a Lang? And why do ants always invade the TBH's? I think I will need to make legs for my TBH's and put them in cans of oil. I am getting really sick of losing bees. Of course they didn't go to any of my three bait hives! Sad
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2010, 07:05:00 PM »

i have seen ants attack langs just as fiercely.

it isn't because it's a tbh.


beek friend of mine in Georgia is fighting the ant war and is having a time of it.  all langs in his yard.

Big Bear
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Honey Hound
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2010, 11:57:04 AM »

I have had more trouble getting bees to accept TBHs as well, but I feel it is more of a management issue than TBH flaw.

I typically have had less brood to transfer into TBHs.  With langs, I always have 3 to 5 frames with brood, honey, & pollen that I use to start a new hive.  Until I got a TB running well, I was shaking bees in or cutting up one or two frames from a lang.  The less brood & supplies they have in a new home, the less likely they are to stay.  With less stuff to protect, they may be less defensive and more prone to being overrun by ants or other pests.  Once I have several strong TBHs to pull frames from, I think I'll have equal success to langs.

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bud1
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2010, 09:37:29 PM »

use a folower board to reduce the size to start with, plastic polition signs work fine
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2010, 10:08:48 PM »

Sounds like ants are your problem.  1 part jelly, 1 part borax, 1 part water makes great ant bait.
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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2010, 02:39:27 PM »

MB is right, treat the ant problem for the entire apiary, the borax works well or use the ant baits that come in the tin or plastic containers, the holes are too small for the beees to enter and placing a few in the travel paths of the ants will knock them down quickly.

Once the ant problem is under control then work at establishing your TBH using a following board.  TBH's have too much vacant space, at the start, for the bees to control the space well.  In a Lang the quantified space plus the frames and foundation, give the bees much more control over the interior space and the entrance.  TBH's lack everything but space so limiting the work space is muy importante.  Give the bees enough space to house the cluster plus an inch or so, depending on bar width, on each end, then as the bees build comb and population expand the space a bar at a time by hop-scotching the rear-most drawn frame.

Bees will only draw comb underfoot, so if they don't have the population to expand onto the next frame they won't do it.  Also they will leave drawn comb but not brood combs.  In a Lang the outer 2 frames are almost always storage combs, in a TBh it should be the 1st and last frames.  This is an important factor to consider when manipulating frames within a hive.
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gardeningfireman
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2010, 06:52:47 PM »

Thanks for all the info! I did put some ant traps around the hives, and sprinkled some cinnamon around. Seems to be a lot fewer ants around now.
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iddee
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2010, 09:53:19 PM »

I have never had a TBH, but I do believe you have a top cover sitting on the bars.

The only langs I have ever lost or seen lost from ants had inner covers with no, or less than 3/8 in., space between them and the outer cover. It gives the ants space that the bees can't get to.
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2010, 12:59:46 PM »

Sounds like ants are your problem.  1 part jelly, 1 part borax, 1 part water makes great ant bait.


Michael is that Petroleum jelly? How is this applied to keep bees from getting in it? I'm using water moats & Tanglefoot on the legs but mini apiary is in my friends duck enclosure & ducks go to town in the water sometimes.

Cheers, David S
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2010, 12:06:09 AM »

That is cheap grape jelly.
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Michael Bush
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Apis_M_Rescue
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2010, 04:48:41 PM »

Thanks Michael, always a fountain of how to, high five.

Have some ants to reduce in numbers as they found branch of orange tree & started invading plus this hive was being robbed so placed reducer & lessened entrances. Live & learn.

Cheers, David S
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Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.  Proverbs 16:24
gardeningfireman
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2010, 10:00:54 PM »

Well, the tally for the year is four TBH's lost to absconding and one Lang combined with another due to a laying worker situation. I will make some changes next year to control the ants better, and hopefully I will have better luck. Right now I am at three Langs; two strong, one so-so. All are being fed because of no nectar this fall.
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