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Author Topic: Are they dead or alive?????  (Read 4484 times)

Offline beebiz

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Are they dead or alive?????
« on: February 19, 2006, 08:10:03 PM »
The other day we had a nice day and I opened my hive to make sure the girls were doing alright.  Sure enough, they were.  Being a small hive that was newly installed late last year, I decided to put my glass gallon jug feeder on them to make sure they had enough to eat and to hopefully encourage an early build-up.

Two nights later we had a bad storm with very high winds and the next morning it snowed.  Around 2 or 3 PM I looked outside and freaked out when I saw the telescoping cover to my hive laying on the ground; covered with snow. :(   Aparently, when I put the cover back on, I must not have gotten int on square and the wind blew it off. :x

I quickly got dressed, went outside and looked inside the deep box which contained the feeder jar.  There was about 2 inches of snow inside.  I tapped on the side of the hive and heard NO sounds coming from it.  I just knew the girls had all frozen to death. :(   And, it was ALL my fault!! :x

With temps teatering between the teens and the 20's, I didn't dare open the hive further to inspect it.  My heart now having fallen down in my shoes, I replaced the lid and went inside. :(  :(

My wife wanted to knw what the problem was and I told her.  Being a nurse for 25+ years, she had a couple of stethoscopes lying around.  She suggested that I use one of them to listen and see if I could hear the girls inside the hive.

I quickly grabbed one of the stethoscopes and headed back outside.  I placed it at the front of the bottom box and tapped... no sound. :(   I placed it on the side and tapped.... no sound. :(   Now grasping at straws, I placed it over the small winter opening in the entrance reducer.  When I tapped that time, it sounded like a 747 winding up to take off!!! :o  :D   The girls were still alive!! :D  :D

I know that a stethoscope doesn't allow you to "see" inside the hive to see how the girls are doing.  But, if you have a hive that you are afraid has no life in it and the weather conditions are such that you can't open it up, a stethoscope can quickly let you know if the girls are still alive or not!

It's been too cold to open the hive, so I don't know the actual condition of the girls.  But, I've been using the stethoscope to check them a couple of times a day and there is still life in the hive!!  I won't completely quit worrying untill I can open them up, but at least I can get some sleep!! :D

Robert[/b]
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Offline Understudy

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bees make very tiny snow angels
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2006, 08:28:10 PM »
I am glad you heard sounds of the bees.
Winter will soon be over.
I begining to understand all beekeepers get to be nervous wrecks when something happens to their bees. I have been one more than once.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
The status is not quo. The world is a mess and I just need to rule it. Dr. Horrible

Offline Kirk-o

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are they still alive
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2006, 09:53:53 PM »
Hey Buddy in 1970 I purchased 100 beehives for ten dollars each when
I went to get them they had been in a ladies backyard in Gunnison Utah for 25 years they were in bad shape 3 hives had swarmed at differnt times on a Lilac bush the lady had just put a super under the swarm and shock them in the super no botttom board no top board.I asked her when that was she said it was the 1st of may 1955 right after her husband died.
Now it snows like hell down there they were very much alive.She said her husband always had good strong tuff bees.Your bees will probably be fine
kirko
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Offline Grandesa

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great idea
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2006, 12:04:38 AM »
Well I hope that your situation never happens to me but if it does I am going to use your idea of a stethoscope! That was a pretty smart idea and a good story with a happy ending! :D

Offline Rich V

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2006, 01:00:02 AM »
Hopefully when the snow inside melts it won't run down on the bees.

Offline bill

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2006, 10:54:00 AM »
I think the lesson here is to always put a cement block on top of the cover. Whe get a lot of wind here and I have had one hive blow over and three covers blown off.  the one that blew over was my only full blown hive. it was still together only each super had slid about halfway across the ones under so I was able to slide it up and slide them back to gether but it was a job. they all have cement blocks now and that has solved the problem of tops blowing off. fortunately I didn't have to deal with snow
billiet

Offline beebiz

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2006, 12:51:36 PM »
As of this AM the girls were still buzzing inside when I checked them with the stethoscope! :D

Bill, you are right about learning that something heavy needs to be kept on top.  And, my girls now have a concrete block on top of their cover too!  But, the other lesson that I learned was to LOOK and make sure that the cover is on properly!! 8)   Just because it FEELS like it is on right DOES NOT necessarily mean that it is.  A quick two second check with my EYES would probably have prevented this problem.  I say this because we have had winds blow harder than they did that night and I'd never had that happen before!!

Thanks for all the well wishes for the girls.  Keep your fingers crossed for them!  They are more like my pets than "just a box of bees"!!

Robert
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Offline Apis629

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2006, 04:21:25 PM »
I've been in the same boat before.  Less than a month after I installed my package we got a glancing blow with 40 mph winds from hurricane...(I forgot the name...it was in July)  Anyways, the cover was blown off, and needless to say, that didn't help the bees.  They recovered all right, mostly because even though I was out of town, a concerned neighbor offered to replace the cover.

Offline beebiz

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2006, 10:22:22 PM »
There ARE still some good people in this world, aren't there Nathan?
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Offline beebiz

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2006, 06:33:54 PM »
The temps were still a little cool to be completely opening the hive today.  But, hallelujah the girls were flying!!  I took off the outer cover to see if any of them were taking the sugar water that I put in......  and they were!!  Just as busy as...... well, as a bunch of bees!!  I'm so glad!!
Smile!  The rest of the world will wonder what the heck you're up to!

Offline gsferg

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2006, 06:49:44 PM »
>I think the lesson here is to always put a cement block on top of the cover.

A good rock or 2 will suffice, and they're free.. at least around here- Maine is lousy with rocks. Put your concrete blocks *under* your hives :)

George-
"So long, and thanks for all the fish"

Offline beebiz

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2006, 06:59:10 PM »
Hey George,

Here in the northern part of West Tennessee, there aren't that many "natural" rocks lying around.  Most of the ones that you find are the ones that have been put in place to prevent erosion.  And, folks around here will quickly call the police and have you jailed for "borrowing" them!!

Last year there was a double-wide close by that burned and they had a bunch of concrete blocks that they wanted to get rid of.  I bought 40 of them for ten cents each ($4 total)!!!  At that price, using the blocks is cheaper than paying for the gas to go find and pick up rocks!!  And, I didn't take a chance on going to jail either!!

But, thanks for the suggestion!
Smile!  The rest of the world will wonder what the heck you're up to!

Offline gsferg

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2006, 10:06:24 AM »
>Here in the northern part of West Tennessee, there aren't that many "natural" rocks lying around.

Heh. I know that rocks are scarce in some parts of the country.. hard for me to relate to since here in the northeast, they're everywhere. For several hundred years farmers have been hauling them out of fields, building walls, making piles, filling holes, and building with them. They're everywhere. When the glaciers receded 10,000 years ago, their load of rocks, gravel, and sand were just dropped. Much of our subsoil, where we actually have subsoil, is "glacial till", a pudding of clay, sand, gravel, and rocks of all sizes. It's hard diggin...

A beekeeper here once said that the most valuable and least expensive piece of beekeeping equipment is the rock on top of your hive. Rock, concrete block, bricks, chunks of wood, whatever it takes to keep the lid on.

Good deal with the blocks. Here they cost $1.25 each, and most of mine end up in the lake with a rope through them for boat moorings, for which they're quite suitable, if you use a piece of chain through them lest the rope chaff and your boat goes on the rocks... a lesson I learned the hardway, several times.
"So long, and thanks for all the fish"

Offline TwT

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2006, 10:31:52 AM »
I use 2 bricks myself to hold down the top, regular housing bricks..
THAT's ME TO THE LEFT JUST 5 YEARS FROM NOW!!!!!!!!

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Offline Jack Parr

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INNER COVERS ???
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2006, 10:08:41 PM »
I don't use inner covers and the bees glue the hive cover to the box. Well glued.  

Haven't had a hive blow over or a cover blow off yet.

A fairly large beekeeper I know has 500 ? hives and he doesn't use inner cover either.  In fact him telling me that made me decide to eliminate the inner cover also. Seems to work OK as far as I can tell.

Offline Diver

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2006, 09:36:37 AM »
I can never understand why you want to put rocks on top for wind protection these days .Giving yourselves something else heavy to lift. I use nylon straps that either go around the hive and through the concrete blocks I use as stands( the type like a fig. eight on its side) or for more movable hives fixed to pet tethers(like a large corkscrew that screws into the ground with a ring on top for tethering horses /goats etc.) either side of the hive. Holds the top on ,stops them blowing over and are easily expandable. the best of all no heavy lifting and the cost is negligable (around a pound sterling= two dollars US) and they last for years. Looks neater too!
listen to others. You do not always know as much as you think you do.

Offline Kris^

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2006, 12:57:13 PM »
They say that the cheapest piece of equipment in the apiary is the rock that sits atop the hive.  I forgot to replace the rock on one of my hives last weekend, and sure enough, the cover blew off when the cold front rolled through.  Fortunately, there was a candy board below, so no rain got it.  Lost my styrofoam, though.

-- Kris

Offline Michael Bush

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2006, 12:48:05 AM »
I keep meaning to put  some wires on to tie the lids on with so I can get rid of the rocks, bricks and concrete blocks.  :)
Michael Bush
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Offline JP

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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2006, 02:00:38 PM »
For Katrina & Rita I used ratchet straps to secure my hives. I have them on a set up that allows me to secure them with these straps. Before Katrina I had two Russian hives & two feral. I lost one hive due to a large tree limb, but still have the other three (which of course I am feeding right now) Can't wait for the honey flow!
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Offline beebiz

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Are they dead or alive?????
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2006, 03:03:00 PM »
gsferg wrote:
Quote
I know that rocks are scarce in some parts of the country.. hard for me to relate to since here in the northeast, they're everywhere. For several hundred years farmers have been hauling them out of fields, building walls, making piles, filling holes, and building with them. They're everywhere.


It's much the same way in East TN.  I've heard many folks over there say that they are envious of our relatively "rock free" soil, and I've heard folks around here wishing that they could just go out and pick up landscaping rocks from their own property.  It just goes to show that you can please some of the people most of the time, most of the people some of the time, but you will NEVER please all of the people all of the time!

I don't know for sure Driver, but I'd say it has something to do with two basic traits that I have seen in most beekeepers.  The first is simplicity.  With a rock, brick, or such, you simply pick it up, then put it down.  Less steps than the straps! :)   The second is being frugal or cheap, as some might call it.  Though the straps only cost a couple of bucks, it's still more expensive than than bricks, logs, blocks, or free rocks! :)

Just my personal observation!! :)
Smile!  The rest of the world will wonder what the heck you're up to!