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Author Topic: Differences between hives  (Read 1055 times)
BEE C
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Location: British Columbia, Canada


« on: February 03, 2007, 05:14:02 AM »

I have a quick question.  I have two hives.  Both are darn heavy at this time.  One had HUNDREDS of bees flying around the other day when it got up to 12 during the day.  The other is still alive but I maby saw two bees come out of it.  I opened it up to take a look and after poking my nose into it to see if there was a problem, a few bees came up to the tops of frames to investigate me, and they looked like they were waking up out of a sleep or something, shaking off a hangover or whatnot.  I didn't have any gloves or gear on so I closed it back up.  I lifted to see the weight and this hive was as heavy as the next.  I slid out the bottom board and there was wax particles from bees chewing at the cappings (from the last 24 hours).  My question is this, is this normal range or might this indicate a queen problem?  I assume the bees would not have made it through winter without a queen, right? There has been uncapping wax particles so I know there are bees eating, and hive isn't dead or in need of stores. It smells like the other hive when open, the smell of bee pee or dead bees or whatever.  Last spring I worked with my instructor doing spring feeding and that smell of wintered hives isn't my favorite, but I know/assume the smell is simply that there may be some dead bees on the bottom screen that they haven't had a chance to clear out. 
This quieter hive did have less bees going into winter, and perhaps a feral or young queen.  It swarmed in summer, and I caught the swarm.  While the swarm was in another box I introduced one of my instructors queens, which may have been a mistake as the swarm queen may have taken time to mate and begin to lay.  So the swarm queen may have killed the introduced queen, and nonetheless one of them started to produce a nice laying pattern.  A bear came and swiped this swarm hive over, but I was able to gather up the bees and combine it using the newspaper method with this quiet hive.  So long story short point, I have no Idea for sure about the status of this queen other than she was mated and laying a nice pattern which I broke the hive down for winter. 
Should I leave them alone?  Add a pollen patty?  Get a queen in there as soon as they become available? Or something else?  Cindi, I went to see ron today about this but he was out, apparently he doesn't have any premade patties he used all the ones he made up on his hives.  I am thinking this would be the best option.   The varroa mite drop on this hive is 0 right now.
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2007, 09:04:40 AM »

Hek if they have stores and it is cold let them alone let them be Bees .Bees got along
without mans intervention for some time.Spring is comming .
kirk-o rolleyes
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"It's not about Honey it's not about Money It's about SURVIVAL" Charles Martin Simmon
Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2007, 11:20:24 AM »

Brother Adam (who bred the Buckfasts) says he prefers bees that are quiet all winter and don't fly.  He says they winter better.  There is a difference in bees.  Some are out anytime it's 40 degrees F making a cleansing flight and foraging at 47 F or so.  Some don't come out until it warms up above 50 F.
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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
Cindi
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2007, 11:56:13 AM »

Steve, can't answer all your questions, but I agree with Kirk, I don't think that you need to feed the pollen patty yet.  If the hive is heavy, they would surely still have enough pollen and honey.  Let them be for now.

I'm wondering maybe you didn't see any more bees flying is because they had taken a cleansing flight and now they were taking care of things in hive instead.  There is nothing to gain from nature yet for the bees, too cold.   Not sure, but that may be a thought.

Last year when I took "revive the hive" with Ron, it was March 4.  That same day I gave the hives pollen patty.  When I was in the hive that day, I saw lots of larvae, no capped brood yet.  So, if you do the math, last year the bees began to raise brood around Feb 28 or so (approx).  This is when they need the extra pollen for precaution.

I think that the weather this year has been colder than last year, so I don't even anticipate that the bees have begun to raise brood yet.  If they are, it would be slight.  Probably in at least 2 weeks time though bees should be starting in a big way, no sooner.  The days here have been warm, right Steve, but it has dipped to several degrees below zero at night now.  See today is cloudy, the temperatures will be warmer.

Your hives are in the shed that you built.  That should provide quite a bit of protection from the wind and other elements, that is good.  When the bear knocked over the swarm, was it outside the shed temporarily?  He can't get inside the shed it seems to me.  Darn those bears.  YOu should see the bear fence that I have to protect mine, literally a fortress, but after 2 seasons, no bear attack.

I didn't quite get which colony you added Ron's queen to.  If it was the issued swarm, that queen that was in the issued swarm would have killed the introduced queen for sure.  If you added the queen to the old colony that had the swarm issue from, the queens that had not hatched yet (and there probably would have been several, if not many queen cells ready to hatch in a few days after swarm issue) may have hatched at the same time that the introduced queen was released and there would have been a mortal fight.  Or maybe this queen would be released quickly and go and kill the other queens still in their cells.  Regardless, it sounds like it worked out OK either way, you had good brood pattern.  Great day.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
BEE C
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2007, 06:04:24 PM »

Its a good thing I don't have children, I would be a nervous wreck....i talked to my mentor/teacher today and he suggested to just leave them and see what happens, perhaps wrap the small hive to give some extra insulation so insure they can move around if they are a smaller cluster.  He suggested to not feed patties to the small colony but rather the large colony.  He just finished feeding all of his large colonies pollen patties.  Of course he is getting them ready for pollination contracts so needs them to be ahead of the game for blueberries.
Cindi I think I saw a picture of your bear fence, it looks bombproof to me.  The hive that got knocked over was outside of the hut at the time because I already had the two parent colonies inside the hut.  Thats why I decided to make the apiary yard so big, because I don't want to not have space to put nucs or hives ever again.  It was horrible to lose the swarm unecessarily. 
MB thanks for the reply.  Thats hopeful news.  Kirk-o, that about sums it up, leave them alone....this is my first spring with over wintered bees so I'm a little bit of a worry wart.  Getting so anxious to begin the season.  Thanks for the replies! grin
PS cindi, I broke down and bought pollen from ron because I figured that I will need a lot this year and next, and can just freeze it like MB said, so thanks for offering some of your pollen, and Ill see you at the out of winter seminar next saturday. grin                                   steve
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Cindi
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2007, 09:02:23 AM »

Steve, aha.  So, we should be beginning to feed the pollen patty (to larger colony).  We want the hives to build up quickly too.

The pollen is expensive, but ya, it will hold for a long time frozen.  Do you need the brewer's yeast?  Call me, I have lots and you can have some, you said that you could only find it in small amounts.

Ron hasn't told me yet about the seminar, so I will go on that it is Saturday coming up, what time?  I have some stuff I have to get from Ron PDQ, so that is good.  I need to get more jars because I still have to bottle more honey, still got lots left and will have to get rid of it.  I don't have many customers yet, so the honey sits, it still has not began to granulate.  It was extracted around the beginning of September, so I guess that is good. 

Off to make the pollen patties today, hope Ken's new drill holds out, I burned out his one last year, it kept smoking.  I used a painters paint mixer attached to his drill.  Poor guy.  That put the drill to the test of time for sure.  Thank goodness he is a tolerant man and just said oh well.  Great day.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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