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Author Topic: New Hives - Help Please  (Read 3643 times)
GT
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« on: March 31, 2006, 11:04:02 PM »

Greetings from a 1st time poster. I found this site today and am impressed with the amount of feedback. Now I have a few questions:

I had two hives die off and the moths moved in, destroying everything inside. New Mann Lake supers/frames/ritecell arrived today, two packages of bees arriving 4/15. Are the mothed hives and ritecell foundation salvagable? Can I scrape and clean and use the equiptment as spares? Or throw it all away? I bet the ritecell would make it through a cycle in the dishwasher (and since my wife is away the next few days its a good time to try it!)

New equipment means I wont have any stored honey or built up cells for the new bees. Is that okay? I'll feed them sugar syrup, but have concerns that it wont be enough, the bees will have no cells, and the queen wont be able to lay until cells are built up. How long will it take?

Based on the replies to question #1, if possible I'll use an old super to cover up the syrup on top of the hive, if I cant use it than I'll have to use the frame feeder, but I never likes that method, so many bees drown, and it looks like my hives will have a natural downturn in population right away, they don't need me to kill off a few hundred more.

Has anyone ever made an entrance feeder? Seems simple, but a plan to follow would sure make it easier.

Any general advice is extremely welcome. I've been doing this for about 7 years, with mixed results - some years the honey flow is tremendous, the bees love me and survive a winter to prosper again. Other years (like this one) its a total failure. But I have the "bug" and will never give up. I've repopulated with nucs some years, packaged bees other years (love the call from the local post office when the bees arrive), so I have enough knowledge to know that I dont have enough knowledge! Learning from people here would be most appreciated.
Thank you again...
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2006, 11:24:35 AM »

>I had two hives die off and the moths moved in, destroying everything inside.

Everything?  You mean all the wax and they filled it full of webs.  They sometimes burrow a little into the wood, but they seldom destory everything.

>Are the mothed hives and ritecell foundation salvagable?

Usually everything but the combs themselves is salvagable.  The frames, the plastic foundation (if it's embossed like Ritecell) the box.  Everything but the combs.

> Can I scrape and clean and use the equiptment as spares?

Absolutely.

> Or throw it all away?

I have never thrown one away.

> I bet the ritecell would make it through a cycle in the dishwasher (and since my wife is away the next few days its a good time to try it!)

I'd just scrape the webs off of it.  If you liek hose it a bit.  Washing it with soap may give it a smell the bees might not like.

>New equipment means I wont have any stored honey or built up cells for the new bees. Is that okay?

We do it all the time.

> I'll feed them sugar syrup, but have concerns that it wont be enough

It's how most people start packages.

> the bees will have no cells, and the queen wont be able to lay until cells are built up. How long will it take?

They will start drawing comb withing two days. As soon as ANY of it is 1/4" thick the queen will lay in it.  They will build much faster than you think.

>Based on the replies to question #1, if possible I'll use an old super to cover up the syrup on top of the hive, if I cant use it than I'll have to use the frame feeder, but I never likes that method, so many bees drown

Try cutting a piece of wood the size of the bottom of the frame feeder for a float.  Or, better, cut some #8 hardware cloth to fit inside the feeder AND cut a piece of wood to fit the bottom for a float.  Then you have a ladder and a float.

>Has anyone ever made an entrance feeder? Seems simple, but a plan to follow would sure make it easier.

They are worse becaue they set off robbing.
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2006, 11:38:29 AM »

Other problems with enterence feeders are that one top of robbing they usually won't be able to supply enough food for long periods (more than a day), the sugar syrup will commonly spoil, bees won't feed below 57┬║ (or thereabouts) and, every one I've used leaked and would attract ants.  I just drilled a hole in my cover and put in a 2 liter soda bottle.  When it's not in use I cover it with a brick.
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2006, 04:42:36 PM »

Quote from: GT
I bet the ritecell would make it through a cycle in the dishwasher (and since my wife is away the next few days its a good time to try it!)


DON'T PUT YOUR FRAMES IN THE DISHWASHER! Dishwashers use only hot water and if you've ever used hot water to clean, say, your extractor after you use it, you know it melts all the little bits of wax in there and all you get is a coating of wax all over the inside of the extractor. Imagine explaining that one to your wife when she gets home! Clean your extractor with only cold water, and scrape the wax off your frames, you'll thank yourself later (when your wife gets home)! Cheesy
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2006, 05:43:33 PM »

MB is right about scraping off the frames, it also will cause your bee's to draw out the frames correctly because you will still have some wax on the sheet.... odds is they will anyway because they really not starting from scratch even though there is not any comb left  if that even makes since, they will still smell and there will be some wax even if it's wax residue, some might disagree but that's what i have seen,,,,,just my thoughts and my 2 cents...
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GT
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2006, 08:00:07 PM »

good advice. Especilly the wax build up in the dishwasher. man would i have felt like a horses ass. MB - the reason I'm on this forum is because I found it thru your site, which is excellent by the way.
The moths made an ugly mess of everything. burrowed into the boxes, the frames, webs and silk matted into everything. If you think I can clean it all up and re-use it,then thats great. I'm still uneasy about starting hives with nothing natural to give them, but what other choice do I have now? Besides, if you think its okay, then it will be okay. positive thoughts. I guess I'll pass on the entrance feeder, no one I speak to seems to like them except those that sell them. I'll float wood in my feeder with some cloth, that'll work.
Thanks again, I hope I can return the favor one day soon
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2006, 06:53:45 AM »

In the past,  I have taken entrance feeders and placed them on top of the top bars with a hive body to cover them.  Works very well and no drowning.
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2006, 08:18:38 AM »

Go to your local deli and ask for a couple empty 1 gallon glass jars (they use them for pickles and such).  Make sure they are glass,  the plastic ones don't work so well.

Poke or drill some holes (1/16") in to lids.  place then over the hole in the inner cover and put an empty deep super around it followed by the top cover.

No drowned bees.  You can refill/monitor without digging into the hive which is good if it is cool outside.  Bees can feed 24/7 regardless of outside temp. No robbing.  It's cheap wink    I have yet to find any purchased feeder worth spending $$$ for compared to the gallon jar.



These pictures show a quart jar, but the principle is the same.





BTW,  where about in Long Island are you?  My Dad grew up in West Sayville and I still have some relatives there.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2006, 12:37:29 PM »

>MB - the reason I'm on this forum is because I found it thru your site, which is excellent by the way.

Thanks.

>The moths made an ugly mess of everything. burrowed into the boxes, the frames, webs and silk matted into everything.

Seen that more times than I like.  Smiley  Certan would be the best prevention.  http://www.beeworks.com/usacatalog/items/item134.htm

> If you think I can clean it all up and re-use it,then thats great.

Of course you can.  A few of the thinner parts might be too weak but most of the frames will clean up fine.  They will have some grooves from the wax worms.  But that's just appearance.

> I'm still uneasy about starting hives with nothing natural to give them, but what other choice do I have now?

Bees start hives all the time with no help from us.  A package is just a swarm.

> Besides, if you think its okay, then it will be okay. positive thoughts. I guess I'll pass on the entrance feeder, no one I speak to seems to like them except those that sell them. I'll float wood in my feeder with some cloth, that'll work.

I was talking about HARDWARE cloth wich is coarse screen wire.  Actually any screen wire will do for a ladder, but the 1/8" is small enough the bees can't get themselves trapped on the other side and stiff enough to stay straight and not get the float hung up.
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Michael Bush
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GT
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2006, 05:12:38 PM »

Robo -
I'm very close to West Sayville, I live in Islip, about 10 miles west
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2006, 05:42:34 PM »

My mother-in-law lives in E Northport about 20 minutes north of you next to Huntington. We go down to visit her a couple of times  a year. Actually we owe her a visit pretty soon. Cheesy
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2006, 06:10:26 PM »

I'm with Robo on the gallon-jar-feeder philosophy. I'm still a newbie at this, but my experience with frame feeders has only led me to the conclusion that these things just suck.

1. Your bees drown
2. Small capacity = frequent refills
3. Gotta disturb everyone to get to them
4. Takes up space where an extra frame could be
5. They suck, etc.

There's not really anything frame feeders do that a good ol' gallon can't. Only drawback I can really think of to using the gallon is you have to employ an extra empty deep super to house it. But if you have to use the frame feeder and don't want your girls to drown (AND you don't want to run to the hardware store), we used to just drape a small twig into the feeder - one end into the sugar water, the other barely peeking over the lip of the feeder. Just one more idea.

Sounds like you want to avoid the FFs anyway, but I thought I'd share my 2 cents too. Hate the things!  evil

Viva la gallon jars!
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2006, 03:47:06 AM »

It is very enjoyable to read all of the information that experienced beeks are sharing with all of us newbeeks.  Cheesy   I plan to use a 1 gal jar inside of a homemade ventilated "attic" similar to the pic in "Robos" post with a medium super on top then outer cover.  I have several questions for the group:

1) If the jar lid covers the entire "attic" vent hole down into the hive, should I drill additional vent holes?  I believe I will be feeding this whole season while the girls get things drawn out.

2) At what average daily low temperature can I open up my SBB?

3) At what average daily low temperature can I remove the styrofoam insulation in my "attic"?

4) My homemade attic also doubles as the top entrance to my hive.  What is the minimum (or maximum) width I should make the entrance?

5) Should I purchase a small amount of pollen from a health food store to give to the bees on the top bars till the foragers get established?

Thanks in advance,  

Dave
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2006, 07:26:44 AM »

There are two ways to drown bees.  Letting them fall in without a float or ladder or putting a jar on top and having it leak all over them.  Smiley  I've done plenty of both.
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2006, 07:40:56 AM »


1) If the jar lid covers the entire "attic" vent hole down into the hive, should I drill additional vent holes?  I believe I will be feeding this whole season while the girls get things drawn out.

Multiple holes won't hurt.  Lately I have been making two oblong holes (like the bee escapes) in mine.  With the gallon jars,  I like to prop it up on twi sticks,  the sticks provide a way for the bees to pass thru and also recude the area for propolizing.

2) At what average daily low temperature can I open up my SBB?
I know some leave them open all year, even here in the North.  I like to keep mine closed until the nights warm up. Keeping them closed makes it easier for the bees to keep brood warm and hence they can raise more brood at a time.  I leave mine closed until night time lows are in the 60s.


3) At what average daily low temperature can I remove the styrofoam insulation in my "attic"?
Depending on day temps and how much of a pain you find it,  as long as there are no extended below feezing temps,  you can take it off.  

4) My homemade attic also doubles as the top entrance to my hive.  What is the minimum (or maximum) width I should make the entrance?
Is this the only entrance?  There really isn't a set rule.  If it is the only entance, then it needs to be bigger (min 6" maybe).  If you have a lower entrance than it could be as small as 3/4", but I'd go with 2" or so.

5) Should I purchase a small amount of pollen from a health food store to give to the bees on the top bars till the foragers get established?

Save your money.  My bees are bringing in pollen now, so Tenn should have plenty available.  If there is natural pollen available, the bees won't touch your store bought stuff.
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« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2006, 07:47:38 AM »

Quote from: Michael Bush
putting a jar on top and having it leak all over them.  


Good point.  Make sure the jar is GLASS.  Don't even think about trying the plastic gallon jugs that mayo comes in.  The plastic is too flexible, and as temperature changes, the expanding and contracting of the syrup will flex the plastic and "pump" out the syrup.  Also make sure the top is tight wink

Yes you can drown them with an inverted jar,  but it is much less likely then with a frame feeder.
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« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2006, 08:47:26 AM »

Quote from: GT
good advice. Especilly the wax build up in the dishwasher. man would i have felt like a horses butt. MB - the reason I'm on this forum is because I found it thru your site, which is excellent by the way.
The moths made an ugly mess of everything. burrowed into the boxes, the frames, webs and silk matted into everything. If you think I can clean it all up and re-use it,then thats great. I'm still uneasy about starting hives with nothing natural to give them, but what other choice do I have now? Besides, if you think its okay, then it will be okay. positive thoughts. I guess I'll pass on the entrance feeder, no one I speak to seems to like them except those that sell them. I'll float wood in my feeder with some cloth, that'll work.
Thanks again, I hope I can return the favor one day soon


In her book, ( I can't recall the title right now ) Sue Hubble, a chick beekeeper AND an excellent writer says that she lets the chickens clean out the equiptment after an infestation of wax moths.  Of course she also kept chickens. Sooooo now you will have to be into chickens for some efficient  frame and hive box cleaners.wink

The whole idea of wax moths and the associated offsprings in a hive box is kinda gross but they are really not. In fact in the Beekeepes Handbook by Diane Sammatoro and Alphonse Avitablee  ( a very informative book on beekeeping, the best ,probably ) there is a section covering those very moths. The wax worms are high in protien and once deep fried, good to eat. Yummie  Tongue  Some are raised for excellent fishing bait.

Actually wax moths and bees have a long enduring relationship, not exactly a symbiotic relationship, but they go together, to the moths advantage.  However if the moths are in your hives,  it's your fault. You must monitor your hives even when the colony of bees is dead. if there is some comb availlable. The moths will even lay eggs in accumulated hive wax debris located under the screen bottom boards that has fallen on the ground. I find the worms in plastic buckets, with the lids snapped shut, I use to store old comb. They are everwhere and a fact of beekeeping.  angry

The remedy here is " once burnt, twice learnt ".

I have used the landing board feeders, home made, using a 40 oz peanut butter plastic jar,  without problems. Then again I am not beset by ALL those problems I read about keeping bees in adverse conditions such as northerners have to endure.  

I use  " non natural " Pierco all plastic frames and they work. The moths don't like them though.
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« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2006, 12:18:06 PM »

Quote from: Robo
Go to your local deli and ask for a couple empty 1 gallon glass jars (they use them for pickles and such).  Make sure they are glass,  the plastic ones don't work so well.

Poke or drill some holes (1/16") in to lids.  place then over the hole in the inner cover and put an empty deep super around it followed by the top cover.

No drowned bees.  You can refill/monitor without digging into the hive which is good if it is cool outside.  Bees can feed 24/7 regardless of outside temp. No robbing.  It's cheap wink    I have yet to find any purchased feeder worth spending $$$ for compared to the gallon jar.



These pictures show a quart jar, but the principle is the same.




BTW,  where about in Long Island are you?  My Dad grew up in West Sayville and I still have some relatives there.


why doesnt the syrup just leak out? and how many holes?
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« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2006, 12:50:47 PM »

why doesnt the syrup just leak out?
It creates a vacuum. Make sure the jars are completely filled before inverting.
and how many holes?
I usually use 4-5 holes.
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« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2006, 03:23:55 PM »

Silly question  maybe but are the holes punched from the outside or the inside of the cap? Should the sharp little nipples that are created by punching the hole be up inside the lid or do they protrude down on the outside?
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