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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Post

    Well, yesterday was my first chance to get into the hives I bought at the beginning of the month. First the strawberry field hives: Five of them. One was a heartbreak. Starved. This is the first time I've ever seen this firsthand. It had been a very strong hive. I cleaned it out and left literally piles of bees in the beeyard. I took a bee brush and cleaned the frames as best I could, but there's still a lot of little bee butts sticking up out of cells--two boxes worth. I trust I can take these boxes and put them on top of the other hives and those bees will clean them out, right? The remaining hives are all extremely healthy and full. It's obvious their stores were low, too, because I've been open feeding them since March 7 and they've been taking almost 4 gallons a day, depending on the weather. A lot of the frames are full of sugar syrup. There was still some honey and there's pollen and the brood patterns all look good. I'm trying checkerboarding on two of them (got Walt Wright's manuscript the day before yesterday and read it before I went out yesterday). One of the two remaining is only in one box, so I gave that one the boxes from the starved bees. The last box is my main question. It's one deep and two supers. The brood is "chimneyed" through all three boxes! Obviously, I can't checkerboard this one. Do I just add a super? Do I split the hive? Opinions, please. Oh, and I removed the Apistan strips (FGMO for me, please), put all four hives on SBBs and gave the strongest hives slatted racks as well.

    I also moved two other hives from seller's home to my home last night. Went out there 6:30 this morning and removed the front doors and will go back out later today to look into them, remove the Apistan strips and put them on sbbs and slatted racks. I'll see if I have to feed them, but my old bees are finding nectar, so I don't think it'll be necessary.

    Am I forgetting anything?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Tia- I've always had either one or two hives, pretty good luck with them, but the other day I went over to help the local aging commercial guy. I think we went through 100 hives with brood food powder, brood patties, and syrup. Out of those hundred and all the time we were out there, I bet there were 30 hives and more than half our time total spent banging the top bars of frames on the boxes to knock out starved bees. I felt like death when I got home after working all those things.

    However, he's a numbers guy and I learned a lot by reading his spreadsheet while we were in the truck between yards. 90% of his dead-outs were italians (he runs mostly carnis, the italians were either from buy-outs or mis-shipments). I've always had italians, but since I worked for him for 7 hours that day I talked him into giving me 4 queens out of his coming shipment so I can switch over, and some honey to start another batch of mead!
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Post

    I prefer Italians because they're so gentle, and so far I've never starved any. I take off honey at the full moon in June (and oldtime gave me that rhyme to help me remember) and leave the rest of the year's nectar collection to the girls. July and August are pretty slim pickins here in NC and I don't want the goldenrod honey which starts coming in thereafter so I leave it for my girls to winter on.

    By the way, just got inside from checking on the 3 hives I have here at home. Put them all on slatted racks and SBBs and all 3 have Boardman feeders since I ran out of Miller-type feeders at the strawberry fields. Pulled the Apistan and added a box to both of the new hives.

    QUESTION FOR MICHAEL: Last night I moved my pre-existing hive over to where the new hives are and, per your instructions, put a branch in front of their entrance so they would reorient. Didn't work as well this time as last. A lot of them are hanging around the old hive site. So I put a box there for them. I figure tonight I'll go out and move that box right next to their new location and maybe tomorrow they'll figure it out. Am I right? Help please. Don't want them dying 'cause they couldn't find "home."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,208

    Post

    >I trust I can take these boxes and put them on top of the other hives and those bees will clean them out, right?

    Yes. Or they will seal the over if they can't.

    >The last box is my main question. It's one deep and two supers. The brood is "chimneyed" through all three boxes! Obviously, I can't checkerboard this one. Do I just add a super?

    I'd mix some empty frames into the brood area to make sure there is room for the queen to lay.

    >Do I split the hive?

    That depends on whether you want more hives ore more honey.

    >Opinions, please. Oh, and I removed the Apistan strips (FGMO for me, please)

    Of course, they should not still have been in there.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,208

    Post

    >QUESTION FOR MICHAEL: Last night I moved my pre-existing hive over to where the new hives are and, per your instructions, put a branch in front of their entrance so they would reorient. Didn't work as well this time as last. A lot of them are hanging around the old hive site. So I put a box there for them. I figure tonight I'll go out and move that box right next to their new location and maybe tomorrow they'll figure it out. Am I right?

    That's exactly what I'd do. I don't put a box at the old location until almost dark so they will be looking for the new location, then I put the box at the old location and after dark move it next to the new location and put a branch in front of that box as well. I've never had any bees at the old location the second night.

    >Help please. Don't want them dying 'cause they couldn't find "home."

    This is the time of year where that's a bigger issue because it can sometimes get cold at night and if there are only a few of them at the old location they may not be able to stay warm enough, but then if there are only a few of them, it's not THAT big of a loss.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Post

    Shucks, didn't remember that part about not putting the box there until later in the day. Oh well, I'll move the box after dark and put yet another branch in front--they should be all right so far as temps go--it's been in the 50's at night and last night it was even in the 60's (YAY! C'mon spring!). Thanks for the speedy answer; now I can relax.

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