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Author Topic: Newbee disaster!  (Read 1288 times)
tjc1
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« on: October 06, 2012, 03:51:27 PM »

Nice day today with bad weather ahead, so I decided to make my last hive inspection before winter. Removed the honey super and set aside - some honey stored there. Top deep looked good - surprised by the amount of capped brood and larvae - removed to the side. Bottom deep very light, some pollen... Then I turned and looked at the super and top deep and saw them crawling with bees. Took me a moment to realize what was going on - an enormous robbing disaster in progress! Tops of the boxes were so thick with bees I had a hard time putting the hive back together. Of course, I was shutting up the robber bees inside my hive.

Put a wet sheet over the hive, but it was pandemonium - a cloud of confused bees, bees fighting everywhere.

Distracted myself by making a robber screen per Michael Bush's book. At dusk I will uncover the hive, assuming that any bees left are my own foragers waiting to get in, and then I'll put on the screen and hope for the best tomorrow - supposed to be rainy the next few days.

When can I safely start feeding them to make up for the damage? Fortunately, I have a gallon of their own honey from extraction.
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tjc1
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2012, 06:29:34 PM »

 My beekeeping New Zeeland cousin jokes that "there are beekeepers and then there are bee-botherers". I sure feel like the latter today...

OK - I'm not sure what happened, now. At 5:50 (about 5 hrs. after the start of the event), I found all quiet at the hive. I took off the sheet - quite a few dead bees below the entrance. Opened the super for a quick look and found that seemingly, nothing was wrong - the capped honey was still there; the uncapped honey was still there. While I know that I saw some fighting going on earlier, could all of those bees swarming over the hive bodies just been my bees? Did I just ruin their last nice day of the season and cause death and confusion among them for nothing??? Aarrgghh!!!
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AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 06:37:14 PM »

So you have 2 deeps and a honey super?   I would loose the honey super.   You can feed, just keep the entrance reduced to near zero.   Feed inside the hive.  Now is the time for robbing.  Bees know they are running out of time before winter.   
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tjc1
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 06:58:18 PM »

I made an earlier post about trying to get rid of the super, but never got a good answer about how to get the bees to move the honey down. As I noted, some of the honey is capped and some uncapped, so I just can't take it off and store it.
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AllenF
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2012, 07:23:48 PM »

Open feeding would work, but it would also feed all those other bees.   Extract and feed inside the hive back to the bees maybe.    Extract and keep the honey for yourself and feed syrup back to the bees is what I would do. 
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tjc1
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2012, 07:34:08 PM »

Thanks, Allen. Will get that super off, one way or another...
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iddee
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2012, 09:16:19 PM »

You have a nearly empty deep on bottom, a lot of brood in the top deep. That tells me you have very little honey in the deeps. I would leave what little honey they have in the super and let the bottom deep go dry. Meaning they will move the honey to the top and all will be fine for the winter.

Too many people assume 2 deeps are always full.Too many bees die because of this assumption.
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tjc1
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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2012, 09:40:15 PM »

Thanks, Iddee - do I leave the bottom deep in place in that case, or have them winter in one deep? I wasn't sure about what you mean by assuming that the two deeps need to be full, and that assumption being dangerous for the bees. What about feeding at this point? I can give them back the honey I extracted, which I would rather give them than syrup.
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iddee
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2012, 08:09:09 AM »

You can feed as long as the weather permits. Be careful, as this is robbing season and feeding can start it.

If the bottom box has pollen, they will use it in early spring for brood rearing. If it is empty when you stop feeding, then remove it. Otherwise, leave it on. Heat rises. Open space below the cluster does no harm.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
kathyp
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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2012, 04:02:28 PM »

no harm, as iddee said, in leaving the honey super on.  it's space that matter, not size of boxes.  this year i had two small and late swarms that needed more room, but not a deep.  rather than have to mess with rearranging things in the fall, i expanded them with shallows.  now that fall is here, i have pulled one shallow off each and left the other on full of honey.  they will overwinter with one deep and one shallow each.  i'll do some fixing in the spring.

this is one of those times i wish i'd started with all the same size boxes...but that's water way under the bridge and almost to the ocean  grin
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Joe D
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2012, 10:31:45 AM »

My three hives winter last winter in 1 deep and 1 shallow per hive, they all did fine.  Good luck with your bees.



Joe
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