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Author Topic: Advice appreciated: redeeming a trapout and saving a cluster  (Read 1117 times)
OzBuzz
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Location: Melbourne, Australia


« on: June 03, 2012, 08:02:10 PM »

Hi Everybody,

I'm hoping I can get some advice from the wide world web of beekeeping!

I've got a trap out that I set up a few weeks ago - it was going well and then I went away overseas for work! the little critters found another way back in to the hive in the wall... I'm going to be going back there to plug it up and also put in some sheets of corflute to try and restrict their movements to going in to the hive I've placed at the entrance. The issue I have, in addition to that, is that it's winter here! there is no hope that they will raise their own queen with a frame of brood and the likelihood of obtaining a frame of brood is slim without having an impact on the survival of the donor hive. So my only option I believe is to use a weaker hive with a queen and put that in position. A few questions though:

1) How would the queenright hive react to foreign bees walking in under those circumstances? one would assume they'd have nectar/pollen to 'donate'
2) Is it feasible to redeem the trapout by using corflute to 'encourage' them to walk in to the other hive rather than down to the base of the wall where they're accessing the old hive in the wall (basically i'd put a sheet of corflue under the hive extending out a fair way to intersect the current path they're using to walk down to the 'new' access point)

Another issue arose that could be of benefit...

I got a phone call the other day from the gentleman where i keep my hives telling me there was a small cluster of bees in a tree... I'm guessing it's the bees from a hive that absconded (they were in a possum box with a large entrance and i'm assuming rain and cold wind probably got in there hence they absconded) - the cluster is probably a large hand full. Last night i got a five frame nuc of drawn comb - made some 2:1 sugar syrup and poured four cups worth on the frames. I then collected the cluster and put it in the box... there is definitely a queen there as i held her in my hand. The weather is average at best at the moment (12oC and rain) so i had a really strong nuc which i moved about a metre to the right and placed the cluster nuc in the original location of the strong hive. Given the weather this week there is no chance i will be able to get a frame of bees out of my hives... the strong nuc has bees flying in light drizzle and at temperatures as low as 6oC so there's plenty of movement. Is that the best thing i could/should do? or should i crack a hive and grab a frame of bees out? How will the 'cluster nuc' go accepting the bees that just fly in? they, obviously, will have pollen and nectar to give up..

Thoughts and advice appreciated Smiley
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2012, 11:08:36 PM »

Put the cluster nuc on the trapout. It will work fine. Make a flat top for the box with a hole in it that you can invert a jar of sugar water into.
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prestonpaul
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012, 03:19:05 AM »

The trap out I am doing at the moment had a similar issue, no way to get a frame of brood to the hive without compromising the viability of the eggs so I did as iddee suggested and used a weak hive. I have had absolutely no problems with the hive accepting the foreign bees. There have been no dead bees at the entrance to the hive which I would have expected if they were fighting it out on the front porch. I beleive the theory is as long as the trapout bees have pollen or nectar they will be accepted.
I think Iddee has the right solution for you. Combine the 2 problems and solve them both!
Good luck.
Paul.
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2012, 09:07:17 PM »

So I put the weaker nuc in place of the stronger nuc and was able to boost their numbers a bit - I've also been feeding these ladies a 2:1 syrup since the beginning of this week and they've taken almost 2 litres! so i think they have a bit of fight... this morning I put it on the trapout site and watched for a little while as I noted the bees returning to the entrance of the trapout starting to re-orient to the entrance of the queenright nuc - so far so good! The weather is supposed to warm up a little on Sunday/Monday so hopefully we'll see a fairly steady stream of bees leaving the wall and boosting the population in the nuc hive... now I've just got to cross my fingers that the queen will start laying...
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2012, 02:10:02 AM »

Would it cause many problems if I haven't been able to get back since Friday to top up the sugar syrup? I'm hoping that the field bees have been able to source some nectar locally and hopefully the kg or two of syrup they have will tide them over... I'm going to be putting a larger jar on when I next go there so I don't have to visit as often to top up the feeders...
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 06:50:03 PM »

So yesterday the weather was actually quite nice in Melbourne so I went back to the trap out site... I replaced the small 400ml jar (which they were going through two of in one day) with a 2L jar! needless to say that should keep them busy for a few days hopefully! It was also warm enough to open the box up and see what was going on! the bees have been brininging in pollen, there was some sugar syrup left in the frame so they weren't hungry as a result of my not being able to get there for a few days! and I spotted the queen regally walking around on the frames... she's shrunk down a bit - probably shutting down for winter - I'm hoping that with the supply of sugar syrup and the pollen that's coming in that she might fire up for a round or two just to boost numbers a bit... she's a gorgeous little black queen. They were also starting to repair some of the frames as I used old frames that had been damaged by mice and wax moth (all I had available at the time)

Just a question in regard the trap out - after returning from my holiday I saw that they'd found an alternative access to the hive in the wall - I sealed this up so they can no longer use it and, just to mak certain, covered the base boards etc with sand so they really couldn't get in there anymore! I noticed yesterday that there are still bees going to that spot expecting to get in... will they eventually learn that they can't?
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Birdswood
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 09:48:22 PM »

Yes they will Oz. How far is that spot from your hive, I presume not very far. Common sense will prevail with them, that's been my experience so far.

Leigh
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