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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Erie county New York USA
    Posts
    28

    Default wet clump of bees

    I have a 5 week old Nuc and there is a wet clump of bees that refuses to go inside even though it is pouring rain. It is not a big clump (child's fist size). I had a swarm last week from another colony so I'm a bit concerned. I inspected the wet clump colony a week ago and I'm waiting for good weather to take another look. Last week there may have been one queen cell cup on a frame but no other queen cells present. During last weeks inspection, I noticed that they were just starting to draw out comb in the upper deep so I presume that they have enough space. Does a colony feel cramped even with a deep of mostly undrawn plasticell foundation above them? Should I get ready to do a split when I inspect later today considering these circumstances?? Could a strong colony draw out and fill (pollen and nectar)six frames in 6 days? We have had a heavy flow on with the sumac. My lack of experience makes preparation more difficult when I don't really know what they like and what they are capable of. Thank you,

    Jack

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,284

    Default

    Does a colony feel cramped even with a deep of mostly undrawn plasticell foundation above them? Not normally. If they are predisposed to swarm they'll do it no matter what but adding a mostly undrawn deep on them will stop the urge for all but the most dedicated from swarming.

    Should I get ready to do a split when I inspect later today considering these circumstances?? I would say in this curcumstance no unless you see swarm cells that are active or capped. I would be surprised if you see this though. However, I would say you should always be ready for a split.

    Could a strong colony draw out and fill (pollen and nectar)six frames in 6 days? I've never seen it but give them two weeks with heavy flow at peak population and you'll have to add something.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,737

    Default

    Is your queen in that clump?
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Erie county New York USA
    Posts
    28

    Default busy bees

    Thank you D Coates for your through response. I was surprized to find 4 fully drawn frames and 2 additional frames are 1/2 drawn each...so nearly 5 frames from just 1 frame worth of scattered comb a week ago. WOW. The second deep has been on there since June 7th and they didn't touch it until last week and now Boom! The sumac is abundant and within seconds for the colonies. Which leads me to another question...Of the 5 drawn frames in the top deep, none have brood. It's all nectar , pollen and Honey. There is also 2 full frames of honey in the bottom box. Should I bring one of the capped brood frames up to the top deep and replace with an empty drawn comb frame? Will that help get the queen working upstairs?

    Also, should I remove the reducer completely? There does seem to be a jam at the entrance during the day. Do they sound ready?
    Finally, If the bottom box is 100% and the top deep is at 50%, is the entire colony at 75% capacity? or is it based soley on the capacity of the box to be covered?

    Ravenseye, I didn't see a queen. Can you poke a clump and do an inspection ?

    Thanks a bunch,

    Jack

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Starkville,Ms,USA
    Posts
    516

    Default

    Not to alarm you but I had a clump of wet bees outside a nuc a few weeks ago during the rain and they absconded the following day. They had been under severe stress from small hive beetles and as soon as I added a queen they flew. They won't swarm without a queen.

    You say you haven't seen a queen or brood in the top box. This sounds similar to my situation pre-requeen but the only problem with that theory is your hive has been booming- that doesn't sound like a pest problem driving them out. But bees clumping during wet weather- something must be wrong.

    I really wonder if this hive still has a queen. If not I would be curious to hear what the problem may be from someone with more experience..
    Last edited by Dr.Wax; 07-03-2008 at 10:53 PM. Reason: bee

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Peckham, London, England
    Posts
    24

    Default

    I had a clump of wet bees hanging outside my hive a few weeks ago after I had introduced a new queen. They had freed her by eating the candy plug and I thought everything was fine. They had been queenless for a while and were bad tempered and now I realise that my new queen was in that clump of wet bees and they had driven her out.

    Clump of wet bees and my new queen died during a storm one night.

    Hope same thing is not happening to you. Best to look for the queen in the clump.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,737

    Default

    Yes, you can poke the bees in the clump. I'd look for a queen in there. Had it happen to me and had to re-introduce her.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Erie county New York USA
    Posts
    28

    Default back to normal

    Thank you guys for the feedback and sharing your experiences. The hive in question is back to business and hasn't clumped again. I become concerned when something looks out of place and I don't know how to proceed. I will poke the clump and see who's there next time.

    Dr Wax, I saw the queen on the 26th of June and saw larva yesterday. I just studied egg images on line and will attempt to see eggs , if nothing else, at the next inspection. I was looking in the wrong place.
    Also, I noticed this colony isn't bringing in pollen sacs...there are bringing in pollen duffle bags! They must have a hard time flying.
    I think I'm going to put a honey super on in 4 days and wait for the top deep to hit 70%+ capacity.

    Thanks again fellow beekeepers.

    Jack

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