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Author Topic: Checked on the girls today....  (Read 411 times)
Nonprophet
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« on: April 18, 2013, 01:03:19 PM »

I installed my package last Friday, and we had 3-4 cool rainy days right after that so there wasn't a lot of activity at the hive. Two days after I installed them I went in to make sure the queen was out of her cage and to retrieve the queen cage. The past few days have been nice and sunny and the girls have been pretty active! We've got lots of stuff blooming right now--dandylions, cherry, apple, etc.

I went in the morning to check their feeder and to see how the queen is doing. They're building out comb nicely, which is great! It looks like some of the cells are being filled with nectar because it's a darker color than the sugar water I'm feeding--but I don't know for sure. I found the queen, she seems to be just fine and they seem to be taking care of her with attendants. The frame feeder I'm using was about 1/3 full, so I know they're feeding on the sugar water.

I did have a few questions and would appreciate any help offered!

Almost every day there are 6-8 dead bees near the entrance--is this normal? I know that they will remove the dead ones from the hive, I guess I thought that they would take the bodies farther away? Is 6-8 dead bees a day anything to worry about?

Instead of an entrance reducer, I installed one of the metal mouse guards. We have LOTS of mice here, and it seems prudent to use one. The guard itself reduces the entrance some, but, seeing as many suggest that with a new installation an entrance reducer allows the new bees to defend a smaller space, I covered up about half the mouse guard with two pieces of electrical tape (one on each side stuck to each other so no exposed stickyness to trap bees....) and hope this will work. So my question is: any problem with doing this? How long should you use an entrance reducer?

Second question is about my SBB. I built it myself and used 1/8" mesh screen. I created a channel/shelf for a cover/mite inspection board under the screen, but right now it's open as I figured I wouldn't put the cover on until this Fall with the cooler temps. But in another thread here, I saw people speculating that opened screen bottoms were a potential reason for absconding, which of course got me worrying! lol Should I put the cover on now while the bees are new and the night time temps are low (40's-50's)?

Thanks!

NP
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 01:19:59 PM by Nonprophet » Logged

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codeboy
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2013, 01:29:32 PM »

Quote
Almost every day there are 6-8 dead bees near the entrance--is this normal? I know that they will remove the dead ones from the hive, I guess I thought that they would take the bodies farther away? Is 6-8 dead bees a day anything to worry about?

A few dead bees is quite normal.  A big pile of them might be of concern.  I've watched my bees take out the dead (or not quite dead yet) bees and typically they drop right off the edge of the bottom board and that is where they stay.

Quote
Instead of an entrance reducer, I installed one of the metal mouse guards. We have LOTS of mice here, and it seems prudent to use one. The guard itself reduces the entrance some, but, seeing as many suggest that with a new installation an entrance reducer allows the new bees to defend a smaller space, I covered up about have the mouse guard with two pieces of electrical tape (one on each side stuck to each other so no exposed stickyness to trap bees....) and hope this will work. So my question is: any problem with doing this? How long should you use an entrance reducer?

You use a metal mouse guard because in the winter time the bees are clustered together higher up in the hive and they are not coming and going through the entrance on a regular basis.  So the bees aren't defending the entrance.  This time of year the temps are probably warm enough where the bees aren't in cluster anymore.  They are coming and going and probably have guard bees at the entrance of the hive (assuming the temp doesn't drop way down again), so #1 I don't think a mouse would try and get in and #2 if they did the bees would probably kill the mouse.  I think you would be fine just putting a regular entrance reducer on the small setting.  Then again, I don't think you're hurting anything if you just leave the mouse guard on either.

I hadn't heard anything about screened bottom boards possible leading to absconding so I'll leave that for someone else!
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 02:24:11 PM »

Since the bees are building and starting to store nectar, the chances of them leaving because of the SBB are extremely slim.
 I'm pretty sure that many of the bees that were in the package were winter bees. There's little doubt that they're dying and being carried out now.
 Congrats on your success so far and good luck for the rest of the year.
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annette
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2013, 09:07:03 PM »

Like others have said, dead bees in front of hives are normal. There will even be times you have more than just a few.

I have seen bees carry dead bees far away from the hive and also just dump them in front

When I am feeding bees, I am very careful about having the entrance reducer on the smallest setting so the guard bees don't have to work so hard defending the opening.

I keep my SBB open year round so I cannot comment on the third question.  Have never had bees abscond from using the SBB open.

Good luck with the bees

Annette
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2013, 11:06:23 PM »

I keep my hive entrances reduced all if the time now. When the hive is new or weak, I give them 3/8 b 1/2 when they get strong enough I open it up to the 3/8 by 2" opening. That is larger than most natural hives have.
As far as the SBB, I use an oil pan under it to kill the SHB's. The pan has to be sealed to keep the bees out of it. If you leave it wide open moths and SBB can. Get in that way. I designed mine to allow air flow through window screen that is under the pan and in the front of the hive forward of the pan. The back has a board attached to hitherto pan to close off that opening.
Jim
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