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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    14

    Sad

    Well I had a nice hive of bees living in a homemade bee box for a few months and things were going well. The only thing was that they decided to build there hive attached to the roof of the box and not on the plastic frames I had placed in there. I left them alone and thought they would eventually build on them enyway but they never did. Then one day I went out to check on them and found that for some reason there hive had collapsed and was all over the bottom of the box, what a mess. The bees were clumped outside the hive and have not returned inside yet and its been a few days. What should i do? Could the queen have been killed by the collapse? Can the colony be saved?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    I've been to Tucson... very HOT! It collapsed because it was out in the sun and overheated. I've had that happen to me even here in Arkansas when I left the hive (with a metal cover) out in the hot sun. Now, all my hives are shaded in the afternoon (sun only in the morning). You can also put rocks on the cover and put a board (shade) on the rocks, if you can't put under a tree. The queen is probably still around- just shade and put good frames in.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    14

    Post

    Why are the bees staying outside?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    It's probably too hot in the hive. When there is comb they can use water in the cells to evaporate and cool the hive, but without combs they can't cool it and even if they could stand the heat, they can't build any comb and get it to hold up in the heat.

    Is there a cool shady spot you can put the hive and put them back in?

    BTW was there a lot of open space at the top for them to build comb? Like an empty box or something?

    I've had this problem with a Top Bar Hive and had to cut all the brood comb and tie it in frames. But that was here in the 90's F and it's probably hotter there and may be too late.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    What I would do:

    How long has it been collapsed? If the brood has been over 100 degrees for long it's dead. If it's been under 80 for long it's dead. But if it's been a short time you could cut brood comb and tie it into frames.

    If not, I'd try to put them in a box in the shade and provide some water close by for them to use to cool things down, if it's too hot (which I assume it is)

    It is quite possible that they are also queenless. Hard to say. But you might want to buy a queen for insurance.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    14

    Post


    I checked on the bees today and there are still bees hatching from the brood. Can the bees raise a new queen without an old one or does the queen have complete control over that?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    14

    Post

    never mind my previous post.

    It seems now that most of the bees left. Does this mean that the colony failed? Is there a chance that they will return with a new queen?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    If they are gone, they have absconded. They will not be back. That's pretty normal after a complete collapse. Their instincts are if it failed before in that location, there's no point rebuilding there again.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    14

    Post

    Is there eny chance of having a new swarm move in? What should i do with all the leftovers in the box?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Lenexa, Kansas
    Posts
    445

    Post

    l remember last year, when I moved a hive of wild bees to a proper hive. After a couple of days, the bees all left.

    Then, 3 days later, they returned. I assume they did not find a better place to live. Trouble was, it was early spring and all of the brood had chilled and died. This set the hive back considerably. Since it is now summer, you may have better fortune with the brood.

    Why don't you set up a new box with frames and foundation for them? If you are VERY lucky, your bees may come home too. If they DON'T, perhaps a new queen for the hatching brood?

    [This message has been edited by Terri (edited June 07, 2004).]

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    I guess I haven't had absconders come back, but it's always possible.

    Do you have any other hives?

    If not, I'd scrap it all. Feed the brood to the chickens, cut the honey off and keep it for yourself. You can press it and strain it or, if it doesn't have cocoons in it, eat it as comb honey, or if you have another hive you can feed the honey to them.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    14

    Post

    Well at least the honey tastes good. I cleaned the box out and i plan to make some mods to the structure to make it cooler. Is there a possibility that a new swarm might colonize it this year?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,742

    Post

    I would be careful with the mods. Sometimes what intuitively would make it cooler could make it hotter. If the temps outside are higher than the temps should be inside then they have to CONTROL the ventilation and evaporate water to cool it. Too much air can actually RAISE the temps. Not enough can too.

    Of course, getting it out of the sun is always helpful and a hollow space like an "Attic" can keep the sun from heating the top of the hive so much.

    Insulation might be the key to keeping it from collapsing. But as far as I know Dee Lusby keeps bees in Tuscon with nothing special for equipment.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    Come to think of it, though, you're saying it was self built comb (where I'm not quite clear on yet, an empty box above maybe?) and Dee has bee very specific that in Tuscon the comb will collapse when the weather turns hot, without wires in the foundation.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    14

    Post

    What temp should the hive be kept at?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    Optimum temp is 96 F. but +/- 13 is supposed to be ok for brood rearing. I think Dee was telling me to start worrying when the internal temps reach 105 F. My hives this year so far have gotten as high as 102 F inside, and they are fanning like crazy even in the early morning before any sun has hit them yet. So its not all sun, the bees themselves generate heat, and when coupled with an ambient temperature in the 90s, its not unreasonable for a hive to get hot even when not in the sun. The sun IS what's going to be the element that causes heat failure though.

    Since the hive has collapsed inside, this would be a perfect opportunity to move them into a real hive. If you don't want to spend money on a lang, try a TopBarHive. Design a good roof for the hive that will provide shade for the hive even though the hive may be out in the sun all day. You can take a look at my pics to get and idea of how I built my hives. They cost me at most $40 each with brand new lumber.
    http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    14

    Post

    OK, I painted the hive with a roof paint that is said to reflect most of the suns heat, and i made to vents on the hive, one on the side and another on the roof, both have screens to keep enemies out.(note- the hive was already under a tree when the collapse took place) I baited the hive with lemongrass oil and pheromone and believe i saw a couple of scouts check out the hive today. Now all i can do is hope for a swarm to move in. I plan to put a thermometer in the hive and check to see how hot it gets in there tomorrow.

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