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Author Topic: Porch Monkey Bees  (Read 2452 times)
FrogPond
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« on: June 10, 2005, 02:04:50 PM »

I started three hives from packages the second week of May. All three hives are doing fine, but I have a question about the behavior I am seeing on hive #2...

All this week the landing board (bottom entry) of hive two has been full of bees. They are hanging out, not fighting, and just milling around. Some walk in, some walk out. They fly here and there, but don't seem really interested in doing much more than hanging out on their "porch." I don't see any fighting or fanning either. They are just hanging out...

The other two hives seem 'normal' - a few bees flying in and out every second or so, the occassional rest on the landing board, but nothing like hive #2. There are usually 30 to 50 bees 'lounging' on the landing board, where they sit for minutes at a time. I don't see any little coolers or bee-beers, so I can not tell why they are facinated by loitering there.  cheesy

What do you think is going on? This has been going on all week - no breaks in the behavior. Nothing has increased or decreased their activity - they just seem to like hanging out! Appreicate the thoughts - if you need more info ask and I will get you what you need to know.
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Charles Fry, Amatuer Farmer & Entremanure
Frog Pond Acres   -    http://www.FPAcres.com - come by for a visit!
drobbins
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2005, 02:29:03 PM »

Charles

I too am a beginner
I see similar behaviour
I'm able to check on my bee's often during day and it's quite amazing how must variation you see in there behaviour
normal coming and going
lounging about like you describe
sometimes very little activity at all
but the cool thing is when the new bee's start doing orientation flights
mine are a little older that yours
give em 3 week for the first eggs your queen laid to hatch
another 2 weeks as house bee's
then you'll start to see hundreds of em at a time just hovering in front of the entrance
they do it for an hour or 2 then stop
quite a show

Dave
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JP
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2005, 07:54:27 PM »

Charles, what I call hive #2 does the same thing you're talking about. There are usually about 75% more bees on the bottom board entrance than in hive #1 but They are both on track inside the hive. At night same thing many, many more bees exposed than hive #1. I believe these two hives just have distinctively different personalities.
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

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Stingtarget
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2005, 08:19:47 PM »

JP

I'm also new to beekeeping but my hives do not exhibit what you're describing.  Package bees are suceptible to Nosema.  If you notice black squirts on your hive you can count of Nosema disease.  Bees are lethargic and sometimes dizzy and confused.  The sure sign is the black marks on your hive body which is bee diarea.  You may want to have a knowledgable beekeeper check it out.  If it is Nosema I'm not sure if it is too late to treat with Fumidil.

Joel
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Miss Chick-a-BEE
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2005, 08:24:44 PM »

How are you set up on ventilation? Screened bottom boards or anything? Could it be they're getting too hot - especially in the late afternoon?

Beth
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stilllearning
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2005, 08:38:58 PM »

What is the status of your queen in this hive?
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Wayne Cole
FrogPond
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2005, 10:54:22 AM »

The hive has a screened bottom board and the insert is open - plenty of ventilation. In fact, the outer cover is propped open an extra inch or so to increase ventilation. All the hives are the same, so it can't be a heat issue...

There is no nosema - the bees are clean and so is all the equipment. New everything... again, same as the other two hives, #1 and #3.

The queen is good and strong in this hive and the others - building brood like nuts. I just had the hives inspected a week ago by the county bee inspector and he told me all three hives looked great. We found the queen in two of the hives and all is well. In fact, I am expecting play flights in the next week or two.

So - suggestions are helping; I will keep answering. So far the only person to offer something specific is JP (the screaming monster?) and if we take our data, the problem seems to be in naming the hive "#2" - since his "#2" does the same thing. Maybe I should rename it "#4" or something...  cheesy

Thanks for the ideas. I checked them last evening and yep, they are still "porch monkey bees."
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Charles Fry, Amatuer Farmer & Entremanure
Frog Pond Acres   -    http://www.FPAcres.com - come by for a visit!
FrogPond
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2005, 07:34:53 PM »

UPDATE!
  I checked the hive today and it was really full. Frames of brood, pollen, and honey. I don't know if they were out of room or not, but I added the second deep super and gave them the last of my syrup. We'll see if this interests them in coming inside and getting to work!
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Charles Fry, Amatuer Farmer & Entremanure
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Miss Chick-a-BEE
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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2005, 08:34:05 AM »

Maybe crowded was all it was. Let us know how it goes. It might be very helpful to someone who finds themselves in the same situation.

Beth
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2005, 01:29:57 PM »

It takes a lot of surface area to evaporate nectar (or syrup).  Make sure during the flow, that they always have lots of empty supers to spread out the nectar.
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Michael Bush
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JP
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2005, 05:55:39 AM »

after observing my hives for almost three weeks now (& they are package hives), my opinion of hive #2 is changing. For a while I thought the two hives were evenly numbered, but now think that hive #2 simply has more numbers as a result of drifting from that initial set up period. When inspecting interior the other day, numbers seemed about the same on interior, but now I have my doubts. It is most evident at night, when the bees are hived. There are approx. 200 bees on bottom board entrance of hive #2 as there are perhaps 15-20 bees of hive #1 at night on a regular basis. My next inspection is tomorrow, the 14th & I think it will be soon time to add that next super. The bees will probably be close to having filled 8 of 10 frames anyway. Will be interesting to see if adding that extra space will solve this not so mysterious ( I am sure) mystery, of "the extra bees phenomenon. "
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

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My website JPthebeeman.com http://www.jpthebeeman.com/jpthebeeman/
Finsky
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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2005, 07:46:56 AM »

Quote from: FrogPond
UPDATE!
 *  I checked the hive today and it was really full.
* gave them the last of my syrup.



Hive is full and you fill it more, why Tongue

When I started to read this thread, I at once quessed that hive is full, either bees or honey.  Then you must take away, not give more.

In this case you must take store frames away and give empty frames or foundations. It takes a while before bees start to act.

Also it reveals that beginner does not look enought to hive or he does not understand the meaning of free space.

In our country blooming of rape has same effect. Small hive will be full of honey during one week and colony will escape and yield too. Nothing helps.

Like Michael Bush gived to understand that, someone had made bigg mistake when has wrote that "feeding syrup to nuc is solution to all beginner's problems!
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FrogPond
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2005, 02:19:47 PM »

OK, I am still trying to sort this all out, so bear with me!

My original observation was that two hives that were otherwise identical (install date and method, condition, geography, etc.) were showing two differing behaviors. In fact, this remains the case even though the additional super was added a couple days ago. I will check later today and post any updates in hive #2 behavior.

As for feeding the last of the syrup, this does not strike me as odd. If the choice is to complete the feeding or dump it out, I will complete the feeding. My goal this year is to end the season with three strong hives with a lot of comb and brood for next year. I am a hobby producer, not a commerical producer, so I don't see anything misleading about using sugar water to get them started.

This is a great conversation and I am learning a lot. Thanks!
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Charles Fry, Amatuer Farmer & Entremanure
Frog Pond Acres   -    http://www.FPAcres.com - come by for a visit!
drobbins
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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2005, 02:29:42 PM »

Charles,

like you, I wouldn't throw syrup out.
I had a similar question, how much to feed them.
my plan was to feed them all summer, my thought was that this would stimulate them to build comb vigorously all summer so I'd be in good shape next year. Several folks here pointed out if you feed them to much they may store honey in the brood nest which should be available for brood.
I guess that would be your classic "too much of a good thing"
kinda happens to my waistline too come to think of it

Dave
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Finsky
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« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2005, 02:35:27 PM »

Quote from: FrogPond

My original observation was that two hives that were otherwise identical (install date and method, condition, geography, etc.) were showing two differing behaviors.


Cool now... Hives are mostly very different. Seldom things go like dream. Some make brood quikly and are lack of pollen and honey. Some store it hive full.  Some queens are violated and they learn never  bee good. They are really many. If you have 2 nucs, they can be what ever.

This spring in my hives is great variation. Last summer I did not raise new queens and they made them selves. It may be that oringin of bees are not so good as if I had taken larvas from best hive.

Some hives are in 4 box and some are in one.  Also I think that some colonies react on cold weather and are not willing to make brood. Some do not care weather at all.
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