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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    30 East Memphis TN

    Default My 2008 Bee Story

    Greetings all,

    I have been keeping bees since March 2006 so I am still a pretty new keeper. My schedule keeps me pretty busy so I don't get to the bee keeper meetings in Memphis and I don't have a mentor either. I adopted a pretty laid back management style last year because in my first full year I checked them often with very few tangeble results except that I disturbed them regularly. That is to say that all my checks really did very little for the bees. I find it rather difficult to open the bees with my flimsy gloves/screen hat in the searing Memphis heat/humidy to keep the burr comb scaped off so my boxes are pretty cloged up, but I digress.

    I have 2 first hive started as a single deep in March 06 and built up well last year ('07). I added a second hive in '07 that did real well (5 gallons) this year. My first hive however swarmed on April 19 of this year and produced a really small crop of honey. On August 7 2008 I just left the honey with the first hive since I was pretty worn out extracting all the honey from the 2nd strong hive in my hand crank plastic extractor. Between August 15 and Sep 22 2008 the first hive really went down hill. I noticed few/decreasing bees at the entrance and a real lack of activity. I did not open them and just let them go, not really knowing what to do.

    To make matters much worse...One evening around Sep 1st 2008 I noticed a moth fly out of the entrance and the hive smelled of decaying wax, moth damage and brown wax crumbs were seen piling up near the entrance. Completely dejected over this hopeless situation I did nothing -planning to clean them up when cooler weather arrived in October.

    Amazingly on Sep 22 somehow bees returned to the hive! There is a lot of activity at the entrance now. For the past 2 evenings I have noticed ugly brown/black moths about 1.25 inches big on the outside of the hive with very good activity at the entrance. These bees put away a quart of 50/50 feed today.

    So what do you all think happened?

    A) The strong hive robbed the weak hive and I still don't have a queen.
    B) The Weak hive needed time to hatch a new queen.
    C) The strong hive swarmed in the current goldenrod flow and moved into the weak hive and is kicking out the wax moths.

    Cheers to All!
    Rob S.

    PS: The 2 hives are only a few feet away from each other.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Cleveland, Texas


    It sounds to me like the first hive died out and a fall swarm has moved into it. Whether it came from your other hive or not is hard to say. It also seems unlikely that the weak declining hive suddenly got stronger. One thing for sure, at this late date, they will need fed plenty (1:1 syrup) in order to survive the winter.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    cumberland, me

    Default I feel you Rob :-)

    I also started in 2006. Robs story reminded me alot of my experience this year. 1 hive did GREAT, would of done even better i'm assuming if i had put the other supers on soon enough . My two other hives just didn't seem to get going even though the queens were laying. They were packages but both had all comb to work with. My good hive was a package too. Anyway, to make a long story short, the two struggling hives seemed to come out of it (maybe requeened themselves) mid august and look to be very well prepared for winter. Other than brood, all 3 mediums have lots of stores ready. Good thing, i wonder how cold it will be this winter ~

    Good luck Rob!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS


    Quote Originally Posted by Rob S View Post
    Greetings all,

    These bees put away a quart of 50/50 feed today.

    So what do you all think happened?

    Did you open up the hive and see the feed in the cells or did you just assume that the feed is in there? Do you see any bees bringing in pollen?

    I'm thinking you have robbers. You won't know unless you open the hive and see if you have a queen or at least see if there are multiple frames of bees there all night long.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS


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