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Thread: Help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
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    13

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    Hello All,

    I am Very New to beekeeping. Up until yesterday i didnt have any bees.
    I have been reading thses forums for a few days. i am a hobbist woodworker i have made
    some parts for a local beekeeper.
    bottoms and tops .

    well yesterday i went looking for some old hive boxs so i could make me some for this next year so i could raise some bees.
    i bought 4 boxs with with 2 tops and bottoms.
    on the way home i remembered some hives i had seen out in a pasture for a long time so i went to talk to the guy about bees.

    well he had lost interest in bees so he gave me the hives. i came back to get them later that day there was 8 complete hives with supers and all.and like 6 very small
    boxes (nucs) i think.

    well 4 of the big hives and 2 small ones still have bees LOL.
    ( he said he hasent even went to look at the boxes since LAST fall so these bees have been on there own going on there second winter the full size ones where heavy
    like around 200lbs with supers on them .

    but my problem is the small ones that have bees are real light i didnt open any of them but i can hear bees in them.

    i am afriad the small boxs will starve.
    and i read its to cold to feed them.
    so what do i do. Help !!!

    Ray



  2. #2
    BILLY BOB Guest

    Post

    You can feed dry sugar, by putting it on the top bars or inner cover of the hive. If the wind is not blowing you can pop the top of the hive open and have a look inside.

    You do not want to pull any frames out. Look and see if they have any stores in the comb. Any honey should be capped off. If you can not see the comb for the bees in the way, I would say that they are low on stores and have moved to the top of the hive.

    If the stores are low, you can put a feeder on the hive. Close the hive entrance up and bring it into a barn, gurage, or out building. If you can keep them warm (anything above 55deg) for only a day it will help them get to the feed. I would not keep the nucs inside for more than a few days and always take them out side if the temps outside go above 52degs. This will let them fly out and go to the bathroom.

    BB

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I usually try to just accept that in the spring whatever would have happened has happened. It's difficult to do much during the winter for the bees.

    But if you get a few nice days where the bees are flying you may be able to help some. If the bees are flying you can open up the hives and look inside. If you think you have a lot of surplus (200 pounds is a lot of winter feed) you can take some full frames of honey out of the heavy hives and put in the light ones. Replace empty combs that are near the cluster. You can feed the dry sugar as suggested. They can eat the sugar when it's cold, but are not quick to take syrup. But on a warm day they will take a lot more syrup than dry sugar. So you may want to feed them some syrup if it gets warm enough.
    Good luck.

    The "small" empty boxes you think are nucs, how may frames does one of those boxes hold? A "standard" nuc is five frames, but some people make them two or three or four frames. There are 8 frame boxes, that were popular at one time for comb honey production and are still made by Brushy Mt.

    On the heavy (200 lb) hives, how many boxes and how deep are the boxes? On the light hives, how many boxes and how deep are the boxes? How heavy are they? As a general rule a hundred pounds or so of stores will get a hive through the winter without problems around here. They come out a bit stronger in the spring when I leave them more, but they will survive on that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    13

    Post

    well the 200# was hive supers and all and the bees in the big hives sound like they are right at the top of the hive.

    the small boxs have 4 frames and a black platic thing the size of a frame.

    the big ones are all different some have 2 brood boxes some just one some have 3 supers but most of them just have 2

    i have a small shop thats heated but it should be in the lower to mid 50s all week

    if i see them flying i can open the hives ?
    i will try both sugar water and dry.


    Thxs VERY much for the help
    Ray


    [This message has been edited by rayvin37 (edited December 30, 2003).]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    mn, wi, tx
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    174

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    That "black plastic thing" is a feeder. Fill it with either corn syrup or sugar syrup, and the bees will feed on it in the warm days.

    After filling with syrup be sure to put in a wooden stick that is slightly smaller than the internal dimensions of the feeder to serve as a float, otherwise your bees will drown in the feeder.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    but my problem is the small ones that have bees are real light i didnt open any of them but i can hear bees in them.

    i am afriad the small boxs will starve.
    and i read its to cold to feed them.
    so what do i do. Help !!!


    reply:

    The small nucs if they have honey may very well winter better than the large colonies. It is a common practice to over winter 4 or 5 frame nucs here in the north east. They require about 20 lbs of honey not the 60 to 120 lbs of a large colony. So we are talking about 4 combs of honey/ pollen. You say its going to be in the 50's. I do surgery on those bees and open them up and know there condition. Look and see what the cluster size is on the small ones compare it to a foot ball and let us know, also count frames of honey. Write it down as you go so it will be accurate. Then move on to the full colonies..... If your nucs are fine, place them on the ground butted up against each other one facing on direction and one the other (side by side like). Then when it snows bury them in the snow except for there fronts. The snow will protect them, since you propably don't have the equipment to place them over the parents with double screen setup.

    the small boxs have 4 frames and a black platic thing the size of a frame.

    reply:

    The plastic thing is a division board feeder. If the full colonies have lots of honey, swap that feeder with a comb of honey in the nucs. (DO NOT FEED THE NUCS, better to add the honey directly from the larger colonies so as not to stimulate them) I guess thats the best I can say without more info....

    Clay

  7. #7
    BILLY BOB Guest

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    In my haste to answer your question I did over look the fact that you have stronger hives. I agree with what has been said above. A frame of honey from one of your stronger hives will go much farther than any feed you an give them.

    BB

  8. #8
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    As everyone has pointed out, the bees will use honey in the comb whenever it is next to the cluster. They will not use a feeder of syrup unless it stays warm long enough for the syrup to warm up. They will not use dry sugar at a very good rate at any time but they will use it when it's too cold to use syrup. Anything is better than nothing, but a comb of honey next to the cluster is the best.

    The other issue that Clayton brought up is that you don't want to stimulate a hive that is low on stores. If they start thinking it's spring they will raise brood and use up stores at an alarming rate.

    Are the "light" hives in the nucs? Or just in two or three boxes? How deep are the boxes? 11 5/8"? 9 5/8"? 6 5/8"? 5 3/4"?

    As Clayton has pointed out, a small cluster of bees needs much less stores than a large one, so depending on the amount of bees they may be fine. If it looks like they are ok on stores for the amount of bees, it's sometimes best just to leave them alone. As mentioned already, you don't want to stimulate them to start raising brood.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sapulpa,OK USA
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    Welcome fellow OKIE. This is a great site just ask and everyone will help you. Here just outside of Tulsa the temps are up so I would think that your temps are up around the 55-60s. I agree with the others that frames of honey from the other stong hive would be the best way to feed. Do a search about putting hives together there are ways to do that if you need to. Odds are if the have made it a year without managment they are good stock of bees. Just watch iopening the hives on windy days. The wind is a killer today sharp and cold.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
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    Hello All

    Hiya fellow okie .

    i checked all the hives today beatiful Dat by the way lol

    all of them still had caped slats the little ones had about 1 1/2 caped slats.

    the big one with supers most had most of the of the cells cap in both super that as far as i could see from the top so i think
    they will be ok.

    the bees were out flying today in force
    they seemed real gentle they buzzed around me a little but really payed me no mind at all.


    Thanks For all the help

    Ray

  11. #11
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    Jul 2003
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    Micheal B, I was reading that they will start brood raising once the pollen begins again. So why if they're not getting pollen, does giving them some syrup stimulate them to raise brood?

    They know it's winter by the length of daylight and no pollen.

  12. #12
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >I was reading that they will start brood raising once the pollen begins again. So why if they're not getting pollen, does giving them some syrup stimulate them to raise brood?
    >They know it's winter by the length of daylight and no pollen.

    I think they know it's winter just by the length of daylight. But it's a combination of the temperature, the stores of honey, the nectar coming in, the stores of pollen and the pollen coming in that stimulates them to raise brood.

    In February the trees will start producing pollen, but there will not be any serious amount of nectar (around here) until the dandelions. So if I give them syrup (in the hive or away from the hive on warm days) then they think there is a nectar flow AS WELL AS a pollen flow. It is a combination of everything that determines how much brood they will dare to raise. From the bee's point of view it is a gamble. Rasing brood uses a LOT of stores and then they keep eating stores after you raise them.

    The decision to raise brood is not based on one or two criteria, but many.

  13. #13
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    Oct 2002
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    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    >I think they know it's winter just by the length of daylight. But it's a combination of the temperature, the stores of honey, the nectar coming in, the stores of pollen and the pollen coming in that stimulates them to raise brood.


    Indeed, I gave my observation hive some Bee-Pro on Saturday and on Sunday the queen had lain a cluster of eggs. I had zero before that.

  14. #14
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    How did you feed bee pro to the observation hive? You have some way to get it in? I dump loose pollen in the where I feed honey in a small frame feeder, but it doesn't really work well.

  15. #15
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    Well MB it's mid January and we still have short days.... Cold nights and some warm days, but nights are always cold...

    Of my four hives, one seems to be scrambling with lower stores... The one that seemed to have the most bulk of stores in winters beginning... But the queen is one I bought from a fella down south, she runs her brood differently from the others that I started from a couple of years ago. But she lays alot of eggs.

    Anyway, I sense and agree that we are going to continue having a mild winter here.. So I am going with my sixth sense.

    BTW, I did pour some more sugar into three hives today. Those whose bees were coming to the top to feed. One hive (the large one that I combined earlier that has(d) two queens, is doing acceptionally well on stores... They fed at the porch feeding station again today. I put out five jars to get more access to them.

    So far they look very healthy. Or appears to be. Thanks fellas.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    >How did you feed bee pro to the observation hive? You have some way to get it in?

    I buildt the ob hive in the plans section here in beesource. It has plexiglas, and on the top it will spread. I took a three inch swuare of pattie with wax paper on one side and slid it in from the top.

    Caution, do not drop it in, it will fall to the cluster and p them off. Next time I plan to lower it on a string. I also have vent holes all around the sides and top. In two of the holes on top I filled with a watered down version of the paste that runs down to the screen where they feed.

    I only have enough bees to cover both sides of one mediumso they have lots of room to grow. They took all the pattie in two days and are still working on the feeding/vent holes. They have only taken about 1/3 of the 2-1 syrup in the last four weeks. They need to empty it so I can refill it with 1-1.

  17. #17
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    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    >Anyway, I sense and agree that we are going to continue having a mild winter here.. So I am going with my sixth sense.

    We may be having a mild winter so far, but mark my words, there is still some hard winter to come. It was a late fall and a late winter, and it will be a late spring too.

    Sixtyfour degrese today, and more mild in the forcast. I am wondering how the stores are going to hold up.

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