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Author Topic: I killed some bees today...have a contingency plan!  (Read 1598 times)
JWW
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Location: Upper East Tennessee


« on: April 10, 2006, 06:25:15 PM »

cry Today was my first visit after hiving a package a week ago.
This is my first year and I have just the one hive.

I had a plan but I wasn't anticipating that the bees had been so productive in a short period of time.

I also made mistakes. The first was not counting the frames when I assembled the hive, I left out two frames instead of one to make room for the queen cage.

When I opened the hive the bees had attached and drawn almost what would be equal to a full frame, had there been one there. I use a plastic hive top feeder and they seemed to have really liked it to build comb on. The problem was that when I raised the feeder up to set it down I didn't realize that the comb and bees were hanging on the bottom and when I sat it down onto my top cover I mashed quite a few bees. When I did realize what had happened I picked it back up and there I stood with a feeder heavy with syrup and a wad of bees and comb on the bottom. The only thing that I could do was try and balance the feeder on the edge of the hive body and remove the comb. The syrup shifted and I dumped the whole thing onto the ground. Then I removed the comb and shook and smoked the bees off and put the comb in my scrap bucket.

My second mistake was focusing all of my attention on the hive (tunnel vision) which would have worked had everything gone according to plan HOWEVER my inexperience led me and my big feet to shift position and I stepped square into the middle of where I had dumped the syrup and the wad of bees that had gathered there killing several before I realized what I was doing.

THEN after making a lot of bees mad I ran out of fuel in my smoker. I had not fired it up and tested it to see how long my smoke would last. That made for a very quick inspection and to tell the truth I can't tell you exactly what I observed. I didn't see the queen even though she is marked but I did see brood cells and pollen.

It was really depressing to have planned and promised yourself that you were not going to harm any bees and then kill a bunch even though it wasn't intentional. Second degree bee slaughter?

Thanks for letting me vent! I hope that some other new beekeepers might learn a little from my mistakes.

John
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manowar422
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2006, 08:29:57 PM »

Working bees means squishing a few. cry
I've never opened a hive (and closed it back up)
without getting at least one.
When I take boxes off the hives, the first thing
that I do is lay the cover bottom up on the ground,
then I take off the deep box "vent" that sits on the
inner cover(I feed with glass jars over the inner cover)
and place it inside the telescoping cover.

After that, any boxes that come off get stacked upon
those. It helps me to minimize damage to anything
hanging from that first box, cause it fits into the deep.
This also keeps the bees from falling to the ground and
being stepped on by the beekeeper or a helper/observer
and you don't tend to bend so deeply when lifting heavy boxes. Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2006, 08:44:23 PM »

Anytime I get a nice comb that isn't in a frame, I put it in an empty frame and tie it in with string or rubber bands.

I hate to see it go to waste when they are just getting started.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Apis629
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2006, 09:29:28 PM »

Don't feel too bad about squishing a few bees.  On my first inspection a week after hiving a package the burr comb they built between a frame fell off when I flipped the frame over.  Then I began my frantic search for the queen but just as I was about to start digging through the comb, there she was with her white dot on the back of my right hand.

As for squishing bees, I've read of some estimates that say in the average inspection, around 300+ bees are killed or maimed.
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GT
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Location: Long Island NY


« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2006, 09:59:46 PM »

Hang in there, we all have stories like that, and it'll seem funny before long. Maybe someone should put a "horror story" section on this site and we can share our biggest and funniest mistakes. Here's one top kick it off:
The first time I brought bees home (at least 10 years ago) I let my golden retriever follow me to the hive location. I got as a gift two full hives, bees, comb, honey, everything transferred from my brother in laws home to mine. When we placed the hives in their spot and took the entrance blockers off we must have had 200,000 bees flying all around us, getting acquainted, agiated fromthe truck ride. What a site, I was hooked immediately. Well the dog thought that they were flying dog treats and was snapping them out of the air like pieces of popcorn. the bees retaliated and stung her a whole bunch, but she just kept snapping away. Finally I got her back to the house, pulled bees out of her thick fur and wondered what was next. Can you guess? She threw up more than 10 times over the next few hours, the first few times there must have been 100 bees drowned in her gastric juice. clump after clump she would throw up. Finally she got out last of them! Probably a few ended up in her poop too.  She survived just fine and lived a good life, we buried her just behind the hives.
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amymcg
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2006, 07:04:06 AM »

My Golden did the same thing.  I got him to stop after the 5th sting to the mush.  He moped around the house for about 4 hours wimpering after that. Luckily, he didn't actually SWALLOW any of the bees. But after that, he doesn't try to snap them up like Scooby snacks
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Robo
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2006, 08:07:04 AM »

Look at the good side, you learned a lot of "what not to do's" in one visit.  Hope the queen survived.
Now you have an appreciation for the #1 rule of never putting less than 10 frames of foundation in a hive and always make sure they are tight together.  This seems to be the hardest thing for people to accept until they experience having to destroy the hard work the bees did building comb.  Especially the first comb.  Just think how may frames they could have drawn by now.

You also may want to consider trading that high price bee feeder for a free glass gallon jar that is much easier to handle (and works better too)
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"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison


JWW
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Location: Upper East Tennessee


« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2006, 03:42:20 PM »

Thanks for all of the encouraging words!

Michael, I never thought a minute about tieing the comb into a frame, that's where experience comes in handy. I will know the next time.

That hive top feeder is very clumsy and I am in the process of rethinking it and a gallon jug sounds like a good solution.

Thanks again!
John
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2006, 07:14:32 PM »

The hive top feeders are very awkward to remove to inspect.  That's the thinig I dislike about them the most.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Apis629
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2006, 09:50:10 PM »

Down here all you end up with a hive top feeder is a massive pool of SHB larvae.  All I use are jars and 2 liter bottles designed to fit in holes drilled in the cover.
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2006, 07:17:58 AM »

is a fact of beekeeping. If you really want to get an idea of bee life and dieing, once your hive gets up to speed place something like a piece of ply or anything that will extend 4 or 5 feet out from the hive to keep the grass down, and you will see that bees die and are removed from the hive everyday. Unless you put something on the ground you will not see the action, or inaction, of bees dieing because the live worker  bees cleaning out the hive tend to grab the dead ones with their feet and launch off for at least a few feet and drop them. Happens almost continously in highly populated hives.

Once your hive has 40-50000 parishoners cheesy  a few dead bees is no biggie.

Then ants do fast work of clearing bead bee carcasses.
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