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Thread: My Bees Left Me

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ypsilanti, MI USA
    Posts
    32

    Default My Bees Left Me

    Me and my son are first time beekeepers. I built a top bar hive and installed a package of bees Saturday April 25th. WE pulled the cork on the candy and hung the cage in the middle of the hive. On Wednesday we went back to check on them and the queen hadn't been freed from the cage yet, so we pulled the cork on the non-candy end and let her lose in the hive. The following Saturday we went back and there were only about 25 bees left in the hive. I'm trying to track down another package, but what can I do so they don't leave again? I've read about restricting the opening with what is basically a Queen excluder used to "exclude" her from the world, that is keep her in the hive.

    You can see all of this on my web page

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Mount Desert, Maine
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    What kind of wood did you use for the hive?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ypsilanti, MI USA
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    32

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    Old pine boards.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    326

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    Did you leave the whole bottom board open ( screened ) ?

    Bees simply didn't like it there. Either hive or area around.... no way to really know....
    Sig

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ypsilanti, MI USA
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    It is a screened bottom.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    326

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    Next time try with closed BB and then open(if you wish so) it when colony is established....
    Sig

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Plant City, Florida
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    did you feed them?
    Bob

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ypsilanti, MI USA
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    Yes, I had a quart of sugar water and a patty of bee feed in the hive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
    Posts
    526

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    This is probably not the reason, but do you have any friends or family that may have "Wanted to check to make sure your bees were doing ok"?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ypsilanti, MI USA
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    No one else knew where the hive was, so I don't think that happened to me.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,709

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    The first thing I noticed was that during the package install, the package was open for over 3 minutes before you dumped the bees in the hive. Then, you placed the package on the ground without getting all the bees out. If you left the package within a couple inches of the hive entrance, the bees might find their way in. Try to dump the bees in the TBH quickly. Do it in the evening, so the bees do not get a chance to fly around much. That way they are stuck in for the night, and you have a better chance of them accepting the hive.

    Thump the bees down and remove the syrup can and queen cage. Dump the bees in the hive. Thump the bees to knock them loose in the cage so you can dump them in the hive. Once the bees are in the hive, get it closed up as quick as possible. Here is how I install packages.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5__v4qj3RLY

    Due to the bees not drawing any comb, I would say the bees had not accepted the hive. Next time, do not release the queen until they have started drawing comb. Feed sugar water to them, as much as they will take.

    Your blog said the package bees ate the whole one pound pollen patty. This seems very unusual. Bees normally will not eat patties unless they are within 2 inches of brood, and you have no brood. Also, a strong hive will eat one pound in a week - packages starting out consume patties much slower. Did a coon/mouse or something get in the hive and eat the patty, and drove off the bees?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    On your blog it looks like the wood is painted/treated with something inside and out, looks a bit like stain?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ypsilanti, MI USA
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: My Bees Left Me

    I didn't see any evidence of something disturbing the hive.

    Some of the boards had been stained, but that was at least 20 years ago, more like 30 so I didn't think it would be an issue.
    Last edited by jtcweb; 05-09-2010 at 09:23 AM. Reason: spelling error

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