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Author Topic: First year hives still alive  (Read 1636 times)
doug494
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« on: January 07, 2012, 04:37:05 PM »

 I started two long hives (or ttbh) this spring.  A couple weeks ago I checked on them on a 40+ degree day and saw no activity and heard nothing, so I thought they were goners.

Yesterday it hit 57 and I went back to check and both had flying bees.  I cracked them open and there was plenty of bees and they still had stores.  grin

So last night i made some sugar blocks (3 cups sugar, 3 tbs water, mix til looks like wet sand and press into a form)

Today I placed one block in the bottom of each hive pushed as far in as I could.

Boy are they pissy when the hive is opened in the winter!  I did not use smoke because I did not want to make them run.

Here's hoping they make til March.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 09:15:43 PM by doug494 » Logged
Larry Bees
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 06:18:18 PM »

Quit Bragging!

Just kidding!   lau

I know what a great feeling it is to see that they made it. I had a lot of success in my first year, but my second year was awful.

Maybe 2012 will be better.

Larry
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DavesBees
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2012, 11:24:30 PM »

Were they light on stores?  Didn't you have a pretty good season over there.  I wouldn't open them or feed them unless I had.  The best way to check is lift the end of the hive to see if there is any weight.
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doug494
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2012, 02:28:38 PM »

I do not know how much they have left.  I did not do a full check because I wanted to maintain the cluster integrity as much as possible.  After peeking from underneath (I have screened bottoms with a removable floor below that) to see where the cluster was, I went in just far enough from one side to see where their stores were and make sure they didn't leave any behind.  Best case they have 3-4 combs (deep size) of stores/winter brood left.  Worst case they are on their last.

The TTBH hives are pretty heavy to begin with and it is my first year, so lift test don't tell me much.

I did not feed into the winter because they were doing well packing it away.  However the warm temps had me more concerned that they could be burning through it, and I figured dry sugar would be the least intrusive way to give them additional resources.  I realize they may never be able to get to it if we get a long cold spell, but we usually have warm days through the winter.

Regardless, assuming we actually get a winter now, they are back on their own until March.

It was interesting that as I looked up through the bottom screen, they would quickly drop off of the comb and gather on the screen above me, ready to defend.  As I said much more aggressive than this summer.

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AliciaH
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2012, 04:08:11 PM »

Quit Bragging!

Just kidding!   lau

I just finished reading the article in this month's ABJ.  Are TBHs really that difficult to keep alive the first year?

Congratulations on the good news, though!  Sounds like it's well earned!  Smiley
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doug494
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2012, 08:45:55 PM »

I never comsidered it a tbh issue.  I consider it a first time beek problem due to the lack of resources to share between hives and inexperience.

I have a coworker that started a year before me with langs and lost all of his the first winter.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2012, 10:42:23 PM »

>Are TBHs really that difficult to keep alive the first year?

Not, they are not.  Any hive is hard to get through the winter if you don't leave enough stores...
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Michael Bush
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gjd
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2012, 08:30:15 AM »

My first-year KTBH did not even come close to producing enough for themselves, much less for me to even consider taking any.  I believe they are still alive because I rigged up a way to feed fondant above the bars as soon as it was too cold for syrup.   I haven't read the mentioned article, but my speculation is that the hive design is a less stable environment than the standard commercial varieties, and results will vary widely based on bee types, local forage, local climate (I'm USA zone 5), details in hive design, local pests and diseases, and handling.   Not necessarily for beginners.  Successful and experienced beekeepers looking for something new, yes.  And experts such as Mr. Bush, of course, whose comments to others have helped me keep mine alive so far.   I will say that I liked the window I put in it so much I'm trying to put some in Langstroth bodies, just for fun.   Greg
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luvin honey
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2012, 07:11:13 PM »

Congratulations! And remember to keep checking on them. I've lost hives in April/May after thinking they were scot free. Good luck!
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luvin honey
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 07:12:43 PM »

I will say that I liked the window I put in it so much I'm trying to put some in Langstroth bodies, just for fun.   Greg
I've promised myself a trial of Langstroths once I successfully overwinter my topbars (which may happen this year!). Anyway, this is one feature I would dearly miss. I don't know how people can stand beekeeping without windows Smiley If you find a way to rig that up, I'd love to see a photo!
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
doug494
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2012, 12:24:48 PM »

Still alive as of Friday.

It was 45 and sunny.  They were very active at the entrance with alot of bees coming and going and flying circles right in front of the entrance.  Orientation or cleansing, I don't know which, but it was happening at both hives.

I do think it helps I have a side entrance on one end facing Southeast, which means on entire 4 ft side of the hive gets full sun on colder days.  I've noticed the cluster likes to stay on that side.
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Jonat
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2012, 04:58:14 PM »

Boy are they pissy when the hive is opened in the winter!  I did not use smoke because I did not want to make them run.

Maybe they were pissy because you did not use smoke?  Even a little smoke can go a long way to reduce their defensiveness.
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