What if we were comparing them to cattle or dogs?
What if we were comparing them to cattle or dogs?
That would be a step in the right direction.
Oy vay :) Having fun, fellas?
Update: My daughter (who is fully vaccinated) installed her first Warre hive this weekend past. She dubbed it "Cinnamon". We installed the bees on a lovely, warm still morning. Mid-morning it turned cold, rainy and windy and has kept up that way for three days. All of the attendant bees in the queen box were dead, but her highness seemed fine. They HAVE released her, good news.
We were gifted with a lang nuc, which was a wonderful pain in the tush. We used a piece of plywood w/ the appropriate size hole, to go between the nuc box and the top of two warre boxes, which are nadired below. So far, they have no interest in moving down. I've read about cutting the frames to fit, shaking the bees and isolating the queen below w/a queen excluder, etc. Right now, we are trying patience.
Don't get your feathers all fluffed up over the medication/no-medication. We've been gifted an untreated nuc, and it would be a shame to undo all the work that the previous beek put into THAT. Just do what works best for you, and share your successes! If you have the guts, share your failures too. We can all learn from both, with gratitude.
I'll update again, successes and failures both, with photos soon. Thanks again for all the input! Daughter is totally digging the windows, and we ended up putting the hive as close as possible to our cabin. Guess who was waiting for me just outside the back door this morning? A black bear. Sheesh.
My failure has been assuming they would move down. Keep a close eye on them as my warre hives would rather swarm than move down as expected. If they are starting to look a bit congested in there I would find a way to get a comb in that lower box.
Congratulations on becoming a new beek. Sorry to hear about that black bear. Did you fence-in the hive?
With regards to getting the bees to build down, Bush_84 is right. The principle actually came from Bernhard (building a ladder). And I've applied it last year on my bees myself.
Good luck. I'll be looking forward to photos, too.
valerieanne, please post pics of your hive!
It would go against the natural inclination of bees to make a top entry. They naturally make comb on the top of the cavity of a tree,or the top of a frame, first for brood, then for winter storage of honey. They work their way down, leaving filled comb overhead. As winter progresses they eat their way back upwards. Some feel this is a way to provide some insulation as well as food. Warre hives will show this nicely. I use warre nearly exclusively, it is obvious in the smaller boxes. Best of luck!
It continues to be cold, windy and wet. The colony is active during breaks in weather, foraging on alder catkins and dandelions. We hung both a wax strip and a strip of birch bark from the middle top bar, in the warre box directly under the lang nuc.
The lang nuc bottom is completely open to the top bars of the warre box below, so hopefully we see some movement downward soon. We are going to stop with all hive manipulations for a week, as long as we see activity/foraging going on. When the weather breaks again, I'll get a photo of the hive in place. Here is a photo of daughter setting it up the bottom box. She helped to build/paint/install/etc :)
A photo of the base w/ entry holes, and two warre boxes with windows. Don't worry, we faced the windows the other way when we set it in place! We followed the internal dimensions exactly, but went with two inch (1.5 actual measurement) thick walls, due to our climate.
Thats a good material for boxes, the thick wood. I make hives for me w/ it. They still freeze! But I'm at 7000 ftelevation. It will take a long while forr them to move down. I do moves like that in late Fall. The bees dont leave, they have no time to get a new proper home. Great pics!
Day 12, and the weather is just awful. They are foraging at every break in the rain, and coming back heavy with pollen. There was a huge spike in the number of bees coming/going around Day 9. Yesterday, daughter noticed that there are lots of drone bees hanging out on the outside of the box, and surrounding trees. They are alive, but seem displaced. Have they been kicked out? We also found what looks like drone larvae being tossed out of the bottom of the box. They have food, but are ignoring it in favour of the alder catkins/dandelions. What is going on with the drone annihilation?
Here's a link that might answer your question. Scroll down to "Drones" subsection.
Day 15. We finally got a break in the weather yesterday. Daughter has been following the bees, to observe where/what they are foraging. She's also been following them to the lake beach, and watching them get water. We saw our first mite today! We've been collecting any dead bees/brood that we find under the hive, and sure enough... two mites (also dead).
There is now a single frame with foundation in the warre box directly under the nuc, but they aren't budging. I don't know how this colony will do, but we sure are having fun watching them.
Almost one month in. They are numerous, busy, friendly little bees that will not do what we want them to do - move down. Do we stick with patience here, or is it time to rig a box above the nuc box?
Dd made a small display case for the 4H fair, identifying the different bees, stages of life cycle, a mite, and a bee w/mite attached. We also took a small piece of burr comb that fell off during an inspection. She's been journaling what they are foraging on, etc. She may not have honey by September, but it is has been a super fun project for her.
Are there any frames in the nuc that do not have brood? If so, remove them & replace with bars from the bottom box, attach a longer strip to the top of the bars so they can hang in the nuc box. Spread the remaining combs in the nuc box & put the bars between them so the bees will build comb on them. Once the comb has brood in it, move them down and replace in the nuc with more warre bars for them to build on. Continue till job done.
Thanks, Oldtimer. It looks like there may be brood on each of the five frames. I'm not totally confident, as the comb all looks so dark. We are going to shuffle the boxes, putting the nuc between two boxes, each with a frame of foundation. Doing this today.
There are ants hanging around the hive. We don't see any in the boxes, but I am thinking of taking a few preventative measures. We are going to place cedar chips under the hive. Can we sprinkle diatomaceous earth in the chips, or will this harm the bees? The only bees I've seen on the ground have been dead ones...
Pretty much all beehives get ants, they are just such a good environment for ants, dry, warm, and the odd rubbish thrown out that ants can scavenge for food. They will not go in areas where the bees are though, in a strong, healthy hive.
Some ant species are totally benign to the bees, and others more aggressive and will put pressure on the bees, always ready to exploit any weakness. So just observe behaviour and see if they are bothering the bees at all.
Re the brood, as a beekeeper you really need to understand what is brood, what isn't, plus the stages of the brood and if it is healthy or not. I'd suggest, if eyesight is the problem, getting some of those cheap reading glasses, and have a look in the hive, looking carefully in the cells and identifying and becoming familiar with what is brood and what isn't.
A huge amount of beekeeping revolves around what's happening with the brood, and not knowing this will greatly limit you. For example, it already has limited you, you cannot perform a basic comb switch to start moving the bees into the Warre, because you cannot identify what is brood.
I would go so far as to say that if you do not totally familiarise yourself what is brood and what isn't, and what is healthy and what isn't, it is almost a certainty that at some point you will lose the hive.
Thanks for the ant info!
Re the brood, I would call us bee-observers or bee-giners at this point, not full-fledged beekeepers. It appears (to us) that there is brood on all five frames. Again, having never done this before, we cannot say with 100% accuracy.
I would go so far as to say that even longtime keepers that are well familiarized with every aspect of beekeeping still lose hives :) Thanks for the info, though!!
Dd9 put some cedar chips down below the hive bodies, and the ants are virtually gone.
And, it finally happened :) They moved down into the Warre box sometime this week, and it is almost 1/2 full! We are so glad that we have the windows :) I can't imagine trying to do this with a child, as newbees, and not having those windows. It took almost six full weeks for them to move down, and this was the weekend that we were going to try rotating the boxes, so the nuc would have been on the bottom.
They are foraging mostly on rose and thimbleberry, and we've spotted them as far as 1k from the hive. Now, we need to scramble and get more boxes built, as we only started with two.
Sorry for the poor quality of the photo, had to use my phone:
We had so much feedback and fantastic advice, that I want to keep this thread updated when something happens. The bees have filled two warre boxes and started on a third. There are only four in the stack...
Today we noticed bald faced hornets attacking and killing some of her bees. There are many dead/dying hornets and bees around the hive. We also observed a group of bees "balling" and killing a hornet, which was interesting. The hornets are thriving in a big way this year. Big, big way. We've already killed several nests that were located too close to equipment/living quarters. Another thread mentioned following the hornets and killing the nest - there are just so darn many of them, this doesn't seem practical. We are going to put up 1/4 inch hardware cloth on the hive opening and kill any individuals we see on the hive. One honeybee colony against hundreds of hornet nests... yikes.
Bernhard, the windows were so worth it! She is able to check in on the bees daily, and doesn't need to get dressed up to do it!
edit - the bees hate the hardware cloth, we pried it back off