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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Wrexham,North Wales,UK
    Posts
    7

    Question

    Hello all

    Last week (4th November), I got a call about some bees on a honeycomb in an apple tree. When I went to se, sure enough, there were bees clustered on several combs suspended from a near-horizontal branch some 7 feet up.

    I took a few photos and wondered what to do. To hive or not to hive, that was the question. In the end I guessed that they'd no chance of surviving the winter if left, so into a hive they had to go. I cut off the combs, wired them into empty frames and bunged 'em into a hive placed below theoir branch. Three combs had patches of sealed and unsealed broodabout 3 inches in diameter. Once the combs had been cut away it became plain what had happened. There was a spherical hole in the branch, some 5 inches in diameter. A swarm had settled there some time in the summer, then outgrown the space available. Poor things

    Anyway, when I went back the next night,the bees were in the hive, with no stragglers left on the branch, so I brought them home and started feeding.

    Questions. What can I do to increase their chances of survival? Should i feed sugar syrup? Will they be able to thiken it enough for it to keep? or maybe give them some honey? I have no combs of sealed stores to give them and I don't want to disturb my other bees this late in the season. Would it help to give them some insulation to help them keep warm,bearing in mind that there's not a huge number of them?

    Also some reassurance that I've done the right thing in moving them would be nice> I'm feeling some pangs of conscience for destroying their home, even if with the best of intentions.

    Your input would be much appreciated

    Lu.

    ------------------
    Lu

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    California- bay area
    Posts
    188

    Post

    Lu wrote:
    Should I feed sugar syrup? Will they be able to thicken it enough for it to keep? or maybe give them some honey?

    I'm a fist year beekeeper and don't have any experience in wintering so I'm not sure if I am totally correct.
    How much sugar are you using in you sugar syrup? For bees that did not have a chance to build stores I think you are supposed to give them the thickest sugar syrup you can make. I am using 3 5 pound bags of sugar to 1 gallon of water. You need a big pot for this. I don't Know if you can use honey but I don't see why not.
    I just caught two hives one very small the other pretty big and one swarm so I'm in the same situation.

    Lu also wrote:
    Would it help to give them some insulation to help them keep warm, bearing in mind that there's not a huge number of them?

    Could you combine the hive with your other hive? That's what I did with my small hive and swarm I just caught (I's still not sure if I was successful because it has been raining). I think there is a post talking about insulating a hive with wood chips and an empty super.

    Joseph Tona

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Wrexham,North Wales,UK
    Posts
    7

    Post

    Thanks Joseph.

    Your suggestion re: using a spare super seems a good idea. I have a square feeder that I can use for this.

    Regarding sugar syrup, I use 2 pounds of sugar to 1 pint of water, which I guess gives a similar strength to yours, bearing in mind US gallons are smaller than ours.

    Today (13th November)was warm and sunny, with no breeze and the bees were flying. I took the opportunity to look inside to see how things were shaping. Hurray, I spotted the queen. This was a great relief, since I'd not seen her up 'til then. They have taken about half a gallon of syrup and sealed it, so it looks as though they can thicken it enough to keep after all. Whew, that's a relief. They've drawn some new comb too.

    You suggested combining to another hive.

    I'm reluctant to do this for two reasons. Firstly they may be carrying disease - I don't know where they're from after all, and AFB has been reported in my area. Secondly I've put my other bees to bed for the winter and I don't want to disturb them now.

    Thanks.

    ------------------
    Lu

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Medford Lakes,NJ,USA
    Posts
    94

    Cool

    Lu, You did the right thing by hiving the feral bees. It is very late in the season to be feeding syrup. The old girl might be stirred up and produce too many mouths to feed and the hive would be in trouble. Try pouring granulated sugar on the inner cover or make fondant and place directly on the frames, the bees will take it readily and store it away too. I like the idea of the extra insulation. Good job, let the BB know how things turn out.

    [This message has been edited by NewBee (edited November 24, 2001).]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Galloway Oh
    Posts
    44

    Post

    I would be cautious about feeding much syrup this time of the year. If you do feed syrup, make it thick 2:1 instead of 1:1 this will lessen the likelihood of mass brood production. I recommend feeding fondant. This consists of 3# sugar 8oz water and a dash of cream of tarter. Heat to 240 degees, stirring constantly and NOT BURNING IT. Pour the cloudy material into a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. When it hardens and cools, cut into 10x10 pieces and place on top of frames. This will hold them about 3 weeks per square.

    ------------------
    Tim Gifford

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    mcminnville, tn usa
    Posts
    33

    Question

    Tim

    you have fed this mixture yourself? how well received by the bees is it?

    what race of bees do you keep?

    thanks

    george

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi Lu and all,

    Could you describe the colonies make up? Number of combs with brood and number with honey, ect? Don't feed granulated sugar! Feed very heavy syrup if you must. Here is a method for feeding in an emergency situation. I don't feed sugar only honey however should you not have enough honey fondant will work. Purchase file folders from local store 200-300 in a pack for just small amount of money. Staple the sides and then tape it with clear 2 inch tape to make a pocket like an envelope. Fill the envelope with granulated honey (not liquid) or fondant(make alot. Squeeze the packet in the shape of a frame and tape the top closed. Make two or three up ahead of time and keep in the freezer. In the winter when the bees are running low (don't wait too long)pull empty frame next to cluster and place the packet of honey right next to them. Poke a few holes in the packet first and squeeze the honey. Why do this! It mimics a natural comb of honey. The bees can reach it with ease even with a cold spell. Bees do not start brood rearing thus consume their small amount of stores. A very strong colony can consume a packet in 15 days. Weaker colonies take alot longer. Check every 15 to get a feel to see how long a packet lasts. I have used this method and have saved many colonies doing this. You can flank the cluster on both sides if in a real emergency. Oh, feed pollen in spring if possible.

    Clay

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Galloway Oh
    Posts
    44

    Post

    Yes, I did this myself. I had a similar situation this year. I had empty supers in the garage and a swarm moved in. You can imagine the suprise when my wife walked into the garage. LOL The bees ate it and did just fine. I have both Italian and New World Carniolan hives. In the past I have fed it to both races and they seemed to recieve it well. I got the receipe from ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture.


    you have fed this mixture yourself? how well received by the bees is it?

    what race of bees do you keep?

    thanks

    george[/B][/QUOTE]



    ------------------
    Tim Gifford

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Wrexham,North Wales,UK
    Posts
    7

    Post

    Hello and thanks for all the feedback

    Clayton asked about the colonys makeup. Well there is one comb with a patch of brood + larvae + eggs some 5 inches in diameter on both sides and two more with the same but on one side only.
    For food stores they have two mostly filled half frames sealed + a bit more on the next frames. I didn't notice much by way of pollen stored.
    They are in a WBC hive with 12 X 14 inch frames. They're not all that common with you over there, I believe. I expect the double skin will help with heat conservation.

    I have noticed, on the three occasions that I've handled them, how placid they are compared to my own mongrels which hated me this year. I've reared some new queens from my calmest stock this year but it's too early to tell if it's helped yet.

    My plan of campaign then.
    I will fill my spare feeder with wood shavings and put it on top of the crown board. I will feed them no more sugar syrup,as advised. I'll make up some honey pockets as Clayton suggested and put them in, then I'll weigh the hive. Once I've a record of the weight, it should be easy to keep track of how much food they have left, without unnecessarily opening the hive to look inside. The hive is standing a few yards from my back door so this should be no difficulty.
    Then what else? Just sit back and hope for the best I guess.

    Thanks again all. I'll post again when there's more to tell.

    ------------------
    Lu

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi Lu,

    Then what else? Just sit back and hope for the best I guess.

    reply:

    I thought the colny was a bit larger. Do the same as you plan, Do you have a double screen board or snelgrove board? You could place this colony on top of a strong stock using the above board (this is how we winter nucs here)to take advantage of the heat from the larger colony below. Do this when the bees can no longer fly. This will give them a better chance.

    Clay


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