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Author Topic: Frustrating day with another beek  (Read 911 times)

Offline Oblio13

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Frustrating day with another beek
« on: September 30, 2013, 07:44:56 PM »
A friend with three hives called me up and asked me to stop over to help him figure out what killed a bunch of his bees. He'd extracted honey in his garage, then left his equipment there and opened the door so the bees could clean it up. He said the bees had acted like they were "drunk" and didn't fly back to the hives. When I got there, he showed me a big pile of dead bees he'd swept up, maybe two gallons worth. I expected a bunch of drowned bees, but that surprised me. Any ideas?
Now the frustrating part:

We peeked in his hives. They looked ready for winter except for a nuc he'd put in a ten-frame box. There were bees covering about three frames. Only two frames had any brood. Only one frame had some pollen. There was no capped honey anywhere at all. I tried to talk him into putting them in a five-frame box and feeding them. He said he'll feed them tomorrow, but doesn't want to move them to a smaller box because it would be too "disruptive". They're his bees, but I think they just lost their only hope of wintering and I feel bad about it.

Now the REALLY frustrating part:

He wanted to put some extracted frames right next to the hives so the bees could clean them up and then walk back to the hives even if they couldn't fly. I am not making this up. He had never heard of robbing and was very skeptical when I tried to explain it. We both got a little aggravated. He put the frames next to the hives and went into his house for dinner. I stayed behind to watch. Within minutes it was a disaster. I stuffed grass in the hive entrances, moved the wet frames back to his garage, and went home. So now I'm sitting here feeling a bit disheartened about both the bees and the friendship.

Offline Vance G

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Re: Frustrating day with another beek
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2013, 07:54:34 PM »
Experience is a harsh schoolmaster and a fool will keep not other.  The supers are not dirty they are wet with honey.  I have never seen a commercial beek clean out his supers!  ridiculous.  Bag them up to keep the bugs out and walk away.   If he won't isten, there is nothing you can do but buy his equipment cheap after he decides he doesn't like keeping bees. 


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Re: Frustrating day with another beek
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2013, 08:07:56 PM »
You can't save the world, or all the bees for that matter.  :-D

I think you're being way to tough on yourself...You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

Growing up, my older brother would always end any advice he may offer with the following statement, "Now that my friend is good advice, now what you choose to do with it, is up to you".

I would suggest you take the same approach with your buddy and not take it personal, he'll either figure it out, or he won't.

Good Luck!  :)

Offline rwlaw

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Re: Frustrating day with another beek
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2013, 09:34:36 PM »
Sounds like your bud only wanted your advice on what killed his bees, but not how to keep bees. Got a buddy of mine that sets out his boxes next to his hives to be robbed out all the time, drives me bonkers but somehow the hives survive, if I did that I'd lose a hive LOL
 Sooo, what's a fella to do, speak your mind gently. If they listen great, if not you've done your best. :-D
Can't ever say that bk'n ain't a learning experience!

Offline GSF

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Re: Frustrating day with another beek
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2013, 10:26:58 PM »
"Life is hard. It's even harder when you're stupid."

John Wayne
When the law no longer protects you from the corrupt, but protects the corrupt from you - then you know your nation is doomed.

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Frustrating day with another beek
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2013, 11:28:04 PM »
Beeks will be beeks.  They can be very stubborn! 

As for the dead bees, 2 gallons is a lot if you only have 3 hives.  It could be some bees got disoriented in the garage with the lighting.  They’ll bounce against the windows until they’re exhausted and die if that appears to be the easiest way out.  Another possibility is the bees had gotten stuck in the honey/extractor and he tried to wash them with water.  That’s usually a pretty good way to cool off their bodies and kill them this time of year too.  That makes them act drunk until they croak.   

The odds of 3 deep(?) frames of bees making it through NH in any wooden box is very low.  Three deeps in a thick foam nuc might survive. 

Offline bigsting

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Re: Frustrating day with another beek
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2013, 01:10:00 PM »
 I put sticky back on the hive the bees clean and dry them out them pull them off the bees use the honey and I get a clean dry supper which stores better and you try talking and by the sound of thing a heavy hand would not work ether I had a boss like that last Friday until I got in my Ute and went home and left him to it he has been of a brown noisier since

Offline 10framer

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Re: Frustrating day with another beek
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2013, 01:43:28 PM »
the good news is that he probably won't be a beekeeper long.
i have a neighbor that has no experience and put a package on a 10 frame deep of foundation the last week of may then added a second a few weeks late after they had only drawn out three combs.  i told him not to but he did it anyway.  they absconded in early september leaving brood behind (hive beetles) there were only 6 drawn combs.  we don't get much of a flow after the first of june so there wasn't much they could do.
people are going to do what they are going to do.