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Thread: feeding a tbh

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Posts
    61

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    I installed my first hive of bees on Sunday. I was caught off guard when the post office called me Easter morning to come pick up my bees.

    I had been debating how to feed them, and I decided to use the "slits cut in a ziplock bag method." I put a gallon of syrup into a ziplock bag, put it in the bottom of my tbh, and cut a slit in it with a razor blade. Syrup went everywhere!!! I scooped as much as I could out of the entrance, and wiped up what I could with a paper towel. After I hived the bees, the hive continued to drip until the next morning.

    I was concerned that all the syrup had dripped out of the bag, so I put together a quart of syrup in a mason jar, punched some holes in the top with a small nail, and inverted it over a couple of blocks of wood next to the hive. (I have the hive resting on two 2 by sixes screwed onto the dead stumps of two trees in the backyard). That began to drip as well, though not as much.

    Now all the ground beneath the hive is candy-coated, and there is a small coterie of bees walking around down there. I'm a little worried about ants showing up.

    My questions are: a) where did I go wrong with the plastic bag method? b) Should I check the hive earlier than the one-week check to make sure the queen has been released? and c) should I attempt to water down all the syrup that has dripped onto the ground or just let the bees go at it?

    I'm a newbee, and i'm a little nervous about the whole thing, but I'm fascinated by the bees.

    I used Les Crowder's hive design, by the way. The three-eighths of an inch by three inch entrance seems small, but it doesn't seem to stop the bees from going and coming. I could watch them for hours.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

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    Too much feed in the bag, its not supposed to be "high pressure". The slits should be 3 inches long. I cut 3 of them into the center of the bag. You get some spill, but the bees clean it up quickly enough. Otherwise it holds all the syrup you put in it if its not "pressurized".

    Feeding outside the hive still forces the bees to leave to get it. That's one of the reasons you feed inside a hive so they don'thave to leave to get it. Its already their's, they just have to eat it.

    You also are feeding a lot of other colonies that may or may not be yours also when you feed outside, so you could be wasting sugar or you could even be feeding a neighbor's bees who doesn't want them to be eating sugar syrup either.

    Stick with the baggies. Practice makes perfect.
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clatskanie, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    93

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    don't fill the hive with frames and put a small bucket with something to keep the bees drowning in one end.... when it's gone put the frames back in.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,809

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    As everyone has said, the baggie should only be slightly over half full. Not full. The slits should only be an inch and half to two inches long and not more than three of them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

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    another way to do it is to make a top bar feeder. Basically just a trapzoid of 1/4 inch plywood attached to the top bar at the top with or without beespace and with material the same size as the top bar on the sides and bottom.

    Drill some holes right near the top, stick in some screen for them to crawl on so they don't drown and drill a hole in the top with or without a plug. You can feed them easily without disturbing the hive. I think there are some pictures of one on my web site. the detailed plans are somewhere on the web, can't remember where.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    605

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    put the mason jar in the back of the hive on the little blocks of wood. ive used the baggie but prefer the jar for a crowder hieghth hive. i like juice jugs on there sides for short hives or multiple pints. the baggies leak, drown bees and fill the landfill.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

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    I prefer the baggies because I can prepare them before I go to the field and switch them out faster than any other feeding method. Speed is important when you have lots of hives.
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,809

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    Acually, I've always hated feeding. It seems to be the root of far too many problems. Robbing, drowning bees, spoiled syrup....

    If there's a flow at all, leave them alone. If they are at risk of starving, feed them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    27

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    Hey everybody,
    You are all so full of great information, most of the time I just read and read the posts, and learn so much!
    But now, I have questions...
    I just installed my very first package of bees in a TBH. I think I was quite less graceful about it than I had planned on being!

    First of all, I couldn't figure out which way was best to open the package. I ended up prying open the side which was ok, but messy. Then I got a bunch of bees in, and promptly got stung on the ass! Not as painful as I expected, but quite a surprise! So I walked away for a while, and realized I needed to go back to get out the queen package. I did that and put her in, but didnt really know where to put her. I laid her little container on the floor of the hive, and all of the other ladies seemed okay with that. Is that ok?

    Next, the feeding problem. I am in Oakland, CA, and the sun was actually out today - flowers are blooming despite all of the rains we've had. But I took the feeding can that came with the package and put it on top of 2 little blocks of wood in the back of the hive (like somebody described in a recent post.) Is that ok, and how long should I leave that there? I also put a bowl with rocks of sugar water just outside the hive - is that necessary?

    Also, some bees remained in the shipping box, so I set that near the entrance. Then I closed up shop. It all seemed much more chaotic than I was hoping, and I feel like I probably smushed way too many bees. Also, how long should I leave the hive closed before I check on them?
    Any advice you all have would be great.

    Thanks,
    beebee

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,809

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    &gt;I did that and put her in, but didnt really know where to put her. I laid her little container on the floor of the hive, and all of the other ladies seemed okay with that. Is that ok?

    Not a good plan, but better than not putting her in. I'd just release her.

    &gt;I took the feeding can that came with the package and put it on top of 2 little blocks of wood in the back of the hive (like somebody described in a recent post.) Is that ok

    If they can get to it, it will work fine.

    &gt; and how long should I leave that there?

    You can even refill it if you like and leave it threre for some time.

    &gt; I also put a bowl with rocks of sugar water just outside the hive - is that necessary?

    No. It may attract other bees and set off robbing. If you want to open feed do it quite a ways from the hive.

    &gt;Also, some bees remained in the shipping box, so I set that near the entrance.

    There are always a few but I try to shake virtually every one into the hive. Sometimes the form a small cluster in the box and perish on a cold night.

    &gt; Then I closed up shop. It all seemed much more chaotic than I was hoping, and I feel like I probably smushed way too many bees. Also, how long should I leave the hive closed before I check on them?

    A week is good, but since the queen is on the bototm, I'd go release her tomorrow.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    27

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    Thanks Michael,
    I released the queen this morning, and everybody seemed happy about that. I also managed to get the remaining bees from the container into the hive.
    Whew - I'm glad the install is over, and hopefully I'll do better next time. Now I'm excited to watch all the bees live and flourish.
    Thanks for your tips!
    beebee

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,809

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    &gt;hopefully I'll do better next time.

    Probably. At least you'll be able to think more clearly next time. Not quite as much adrenline. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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