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Author Topic: Strange Beehavior  (Read 1399 times)
shado_knight
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« on: June 19, 2006, 07:12:00 AM »

On Sat I checked on my hive, both deeps were about 95% full of brood & food, so I added a queen excluder, a spacer with an entrance hole, and a medium super for honey. On Sun morning, the whole front of the hive was covered with bees. I went to check, they were all furiously buzzing with thier stingers in the air, and thier heads down.

Now, I have only been a beekeeper for 3 months, so I have no idea what this  might mean. There are a few varmints around, they keep stealing the ant traps, but it was also a humid morning. I went to get my camera to get a picture, but they had cleared. I had noticed a few going into the entrance hole in the spacer for the top super, and others coming and going from the bottom entrance. I checked during the day, activity seemed normal, just not as much as usual. I have no idea how long they were covering the hive, & it was a humid day.

I do use a screened bottom board, and there are two entrance holes in a spacer above the inner cover for ventilation, and it was only about 88 yesterday.

I'm hoping they didn't swarm, but there is less activity then normal. It's raining this morning, so I am going to try to get into the hive this afternoon to check if they are all still there.

Any helpful ideas as to thier covering the hive in that manner?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2006, 07:40:27 AM »

>On Sat I checked on my hive, both deeps were about 95% full of brood & food, so I added a queen excluder, a spacer with an entrance hole, and a medium super for honey. On Sun morning, the whole front of the hive was covered with bees. I went to check, they were all furiously buzzing with thier stingers in the air, and thier heads down.

That's what they usually do if they are disturbed or they are swarming.  It's "nasonoving".  They also smelled like lemon pledge.  Why they would do this when you weren't in the hive I don't know.  But the pheromone is not an alarm pheromone.  It's a signal to regroup and get back together after a disturbance.  Is it possible you misplaced the queen and she's clinging to some piece of equipment with some bees in a cluster outside the hive?  That would cause them to nasonov to try to guide her back to the hvie.

>Now, I have only been a beekeeper for 3 months, so I have no idea what this might mean. There are a few varmints around, they keep stealing the ant traps

Maybe they were recovering from some varmits messing with them.

>I'm hoping they didn't swarm, but there is less activity then normal. It's raining this morning, so I am going to try to get into the hive this afternoon to check if they are all still there.

When they are swarming a lot of bees off in the tree would be doing the nasonove thing.  Smiley

>Any helpful ideas as to thier covering the hive in that manner?

Sounds like a regroup manuver.  Why, I don't know. If you pull the lid off of a hive and wait a while they will all do this.
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Michael Bush
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shado_knight
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2006, 11:13:55 AM »

OK, just checked the hive. I pulled the top super off, & removed the queen excluder, they were blocking it off with burr comb? Amazing how much wax they can create in just a day and a half !! The top brood box, a deep, was chock full of bees, so I replaced the med super without the excluder.

I don't think they swarmed. After checking around the hive, I think it was from varmint trouble. We have an occasional skunk, which is why the hive is raised, some raccoons, and a groundhog, and loads of chipmunks ! They seemed quite calm today, too.

LOL, being a newbee & never seeing this beehavior, I was worried  embarassed

Thanx !!
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2006, 09:11:07 PM »

You have just learned why I and many others refer to a queen excluder as a Honey excluder.  I don't use the things, except for very specific instances.  As it stands right now I don't own one and don't miss them.
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shado_knight
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2006, 11:32:47 PM »

LOL, well I won't be using it anymore !! They seem to have a pretty good honey line?, I think it's called, so the queen shouldn't cross it?, from what i've read anyway.
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2006, 11:38:43 PM »

She may cross it, there are no guarantees.  That's why standardized equipment is a good strategy.  You can move brood down and honey up.  I have found queens in the top deep having crossed 2 full supers of honey to get there.  Sometimes, a colony will gather so much pollen, the bottom box is compromised for brood rearing and things get tight.  A good queen goes looking for room.  Having said that, I never use honey excluders.  Until August, the more brood the better.  One strong hive will outproduce 2 average ones every time.
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Finsky
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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2006, 12:24:44 AM »

Quote from: shado_knight
On Sat I checked on my hive, both deeps were about 95% full of brood & food,


Seems to be a good hive. You may give one deep box more.

Lift all honey frames to third box which have food of have small area of brood. Put pollen frames against the wall.
Give foundations between brood frames especially between larva frames.

See what happens. After one week I suppose that you may add one box more.

If colony have no intension to swarm they start to drar foundations. If they do not touch foundations it may mean swarming.

Expanding the hive is tha most important in this situation of hive.

If hive has 2 box brood, it will grow up to 5-6 boxes. It takes 3-4 weeks to grow. It depends if they get honey and how they need combs for honey.  You have full summer of course there.

Look every week signs of swarming and free space. Follow progress of colony to learn the speed.

.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2006, 07:16:29 AM »

The other name for a queen excluder is a swarm generator.  To me their use is limited to retaining queens.  Primarially when raising queens where there's a chance one of the cells hatches early before you can move the queen to a mating nuc, that way you don't loose her and maybe some of your workers.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
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