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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA

    Default 65 and Sunny -- Bees Still Clustered??

    This winter I practically memorized the "Beekeeping for Dummies" book. I got one package of bees this year, and they arrived April 26th -- I installed them the same day.

    About a half hour before putting them into the hive, I sprayed them with a 1:1 sugar syrup, as the book said. I unplugged the queen cage, which did not have a candy plug (and being a novice I did not have any marshmallow with me). I saw the queen scamper out of her cage and down into the hive. I put the rest of the bees in the hive, and put on a baggie feeder with a 2:1 syrup ratio because I was medicating with Fumdil (and that's what the fumidil instructions told me to do)

    I left them alone for the week. It was a bad weather week -- temperatures in the low 40s and rain. Today, I went out to check on them (today is sunny and 65).

    Arriving at the hive, there was no activity. About 10 bees laying dead on the bottom board and two bees slowly crawling over them. I opened the hive and saw no activity. There were two dead bees in the baggie feeder, but it was if the syrup was not touched at all. The majority of the bees were clustered together, but not moving -- almost as if the sugar syrup dried and glued them together. I didn't think today was so cold that they still would be clustered. If I would touch them, or spread some of the out of their cluster, they would start crawling around -- so some of them are still alive. But I swear the sugar syrup must have dried and glued them together.

    So, I couldn't find the queen (because of the sticky clusters) there was no comb drawn, no eggs, no pollen. I switched out the baggie feeder and placed a 1:1 ratio of syrup on.

    I'm going to give it a couple more days. But, so many things could have happened here:

    - maybe the Queen was killed immediately because of no candy plug (this isn't my main concern because the bees came from Florida to Wisconsin by truck) I figured that 3-4 day road trip would've been enough time for them to get to know each other
    - The weather wasn't the best, so I'm sure they're weren't out foraging -- but they could've been taking the syrup and at least building comb
    - Maybe the 1:1 syrup spray did dry, gluing them together so they couldn't get any work done

    Any ideas -- and what I should do next?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA


    Apparently it was too cold to get to the syrup and they are starving/starved. If they are moving at all, I'd spray them with some warm syrup and see if they will eat it off each other.
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Dane County, WI.


    If this was the first time you have installed a package into a hive, you may have been a bit apprehensive [doing it right] about the whole process and oversprayed the package too much. This would be especially detrimental if the weather was cold; 40-50 F. or less. I read somewhere about spraying a package with sugar syrup but not so much that the bees get "soaked" in any way. It doesn't seem like the baggie leaked. I usually just use the stream setting on spray bottles and trickle down about a tablespoon on each screened side of the package every 5-10 minutes during that 1/2 to 1 hour before installing; although spraying works to. This gives the bees some syrup in case the can became empty in transit; it usually calms them. A package of bees DO NOT usually become riled so much that stinging or just flying off becomes an issue when installing; even for first timers. Sometimes, at a demonstration of installing, bystanders without protection will ocassionally get stung.

    I hope the warm syrup method worked.


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