I hived my package on Friday, late afternoon. I purchased a 3lb. package of Italians with a Russian Queen from Kelly's.
Bees looked real healthy and everything went OK. Left 5 frames out of the hive like the instructions said. I have an entrance feeder on and have the entrance reduced. I put grass in the entrance like the instructions said to. On Sat. I observed the bees(didn't open hive just watched from outside)and they're working their butts off. Grass was out of the entrance Sat. morning and they were cleaning out the hive, dead bees that were in the bottom of the package when I dumped it. Hey, it didn't say anything in the instructions about the dead bees, not many though. They even pulled out a little piece of the masonite board that fell off the package when I dumped it! Late Sat. and Sun. I've watched them making flights and hauling in pollen. They've almost emptied a quart of 1:1 sugar water.
Now for the questions. How long should I keep the hive entrance reduced? I plan on putting in the 5 frames I removed and cking on the queen on the 3rd. day. When should I add another super? Should I use another hive body or a shallow super? Should I use a baggie feeder or is the entrance the best at this time? Should I add grease patties(crisco & sugar)? Are there any treatments or monitoring I should do at this time? I learned about bees quite a while ago so all these mites are something new.
Thanks in advance for any help. If it helps at all I'm in E. TN.
Hello Eman -
Sounds like exciting stuff! I'll comment on a couple of items.
My POV is that entrance feeders are inferior feeders. I'd be happy to send you a bag of them that I bought years ago and only used one season. Go with feeders that get it above the bees. Miller type, glass jars upside down over the inner cover hole, Baggie feeder, frame type feeder, etc.
Enlarge the entrance a few bee spaces at a time as the population increases. Once you have one hive body full of bees and drawn comb, it would be safe to remove the reducer altogether if the remaining gap is 3/8" high.
Add a second hive body when 3/4 of the first one has comb drawn out. You need to concentrate on growing the brood and not honey. Don't add honey supers till you have at least 2 deep brood chambers full of bees and comb. I'd forego honey this year and try to get as many brood chambers as you can. Go for 3.
Recommend that when you check to see if the queen is out, put on you pollen supplement patty and your grease patty. I use a 1-gal bucket with a 1-inch diameter screen hole as a friction feeder above the inner cover. Above the inner cover I have an empty hive body the cover. The entrance feeders bring problems, i.e. robbing, and other pests like ants.
Right now I feed 1 Gal of 1:1 feed every 4 days as they draw out the foundation. I intend to keep feeding till they do not take anymore or the Honey flow takes over. <two weeks from now> I keep the smallest setting of the entrance reducer till they have 8 frames of bees in the first Hive Body. I use screened bottom boards so ventilation is not a problem. When I have enough bees to guard the entrance I will go to the next size entrance and add the 2nd Hive body.
This should occur in about one month.
This is what I do, it may work for you.
I didn't know I should add a pollen supplement. The grease patty is supposed to sit on the top of the frames,correct?
I do have a glass 1 gal. jar that I can punch holes in the lid to use as a feeder. If I use baggies should I put them on top of the inner cover with an empty super around them?
My question about whether to add a hive body or a super was not to add for honey production, but just what to add for hive strength. I don't see many hives around that have 2 hive bodies. I've even read through posts on here and some say just give the bees a body and a super. I personally think that 2 bodies would work better but have been told they will be very heavy to lift.
I opened the hive today(Mon.) after lightly smoking. The queen has been released and is on the drawn comb. Many cells have sugar water stored in them. Some cells have a red color to them, what is this? I installed the rest of the frames and closed them up. I did notice that there was a cluster of bees on the inside of the inner cover when I removed it.
Ahh, be there peace in the world...
The red/orange stuff is most likely redbud pollen. make sure to keep feeding them till the will not take it anymore. Your first population increase will be in approx 21 days after the queen started laying and progressively after that.
Plenty of redbuds blooming so that must be my red cells.Do the bees work lilacs? Should I definetly put a pollen supplement on? I am changing over to baggie feeders this week.
I have pollen supplements on mine just to give them the extra boost when the weather turns bad.
I won't need to put any on after this last one because the blooms has come out here big time.