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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    sheffield, illinois,usa
    Posts
    32

    Default Restarting Dead Hives

    howdy folks, i have a few question, i have 16, hives total, and over the winter i have lost 9, and one of my best. this leaves me with 7 hives.

    Question #1, is it possable to get these hives started again, and still get a harvest from them, they have drawn out comb, in both deeps.live in illinois, 100 miles west of chicago.

    Question#2, because i'm on disability income, i have very little cash to work with and spend my foodstamp on sugar for me bees,m often eating from my garden and veneson and been hungry a few times. is it possable to buy a 3 pound package and an extra queen, basicly split a package into, two different hives,two differnt queens, would this low # of starter bees jepordize any production, ive come to realize to never expect a harvest the first year, but have seen two supers come out of a package 1st year.

    last year i did a lot of experiments to try n save money in the future, i tried cutting wax foundation into 1 inch starter strips, then wrote in the frames with an ink pen what each frame had, i did the strips with, and some without the support wires, the end result was everything looked beutifully done. i realize it takes a lot of pounds of honey to equal a pound of wax. thankfully this year i have all drawn out comb, however ,this year i am going to experiment , am going to melt my cappings wax and poor it into the sawblade channel where the foundation sits into, thinking the bees will build off that.

    i had mice break into one of my hives, bees dead, 7 real fat honey feed mice jumped out, i managed to kill 6 of them the seventh one went right into a live hive, thinkin the bees should take care of him.
    QUESTION do i need to DISINFECT this hive somehow, because of mouse urine and fecese ????????? and what can be used??? vinigar perhaps??

    im just trying to figure out the best way to go here and still get some production, i dont have a credit card, and about 600 cash to play with and have 9 hives to build up again.

    QUESTION, if i just bought queens, would i have enough of my own bees out of the seven hives to start the 9 empty ones by just adding queens and a few bees. but if i go this route, will it hurt ant production.

    i sure sound greedy here somewhat, i bewen broke for the last three years, saving cans, finding used lumber, even made 200 frames out of my nieghbors scrap wood pile, right now i am going to move because i cant afford rent and bees too so one had to go, i chose the bees over my house i rent , i am moving into a camping trailor this summer so i can afford to save my money and get bees going, and also use my honey sales to try and buy me a piece of land somewhere and build a small cabin to live in, and solar electricity pannels , just killing me financialy to try and servive anymore, cant make it on a fixed income and the honey bees are my ticket , something i can do and still have to pay out for grunt work but thats only a few times a year cause i,m still small, the kids love helping too. anyways, i know im asking a lot from you folks and every bit of knowledge you can share , will be greatly charished and never forgotten

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Restarting Dead Hives

    >Question #1, is it possable to get these hives started again, and still get a harvest from them, they have drawn out comb, in both deeps.live in illinois, 100 miles west of chicago.

    A package that has drawn comb to start with and especially if they have any stores at all (honey and pollen) can take off very quickly.

    >Question#2, because i'm on disability income, i have very little cash to work with and spend my foodstamp on sugar for me bees,m often eating from my garden and veneson and been hungry a few times. is it possable to buy a 3 pound package and an extra queen, basicly split a package into, two different hives,two differnt queens, would this low # of starter bees jepordize any production, ive come to realize to never expect a harvest the first year, but have seen two supers come out of a package 1st year.

    It's probably better to start it in one hive and then split that when it hits critical mass and let them raise their own queen. With the drawn comb you will probably get away with a split. A split that is at critical mass of bees etc. will take off quickly. A small amount of bees will struggle to get going.

    >last year i did a lot of experiments to try n save money in the future, i tried cutting wax foundation into 1 inch starter strips, then wrote in the frames with an ink pen what each frame had, i did the strips with, and some without the support wires, the end result was everything looked beutifully done. i realize it takes a lot of pounds of honey to equal a pound of wax.

    I don't believe that.

    > thankfully this year i have all drawn out comb, however ,this year i am going to experiment , am going to melt my cappings wax and poor it into the sawblade channel where the foundation sits into, thinking the bees will build off that.

    Just cut a strip of wood and glue it in and forget the wax. A bead of wax is not a reliable guide. It doesn't sick out far enough. It's also not very sturdy and might fall out on a hot day.

    >QUESTION do i need to DISINFECT this hive somehow, because of mouse urine and fecese ????????? and what can be used??? vinigar perhaps??

    The bees can clean things up, but I like to hose it off and leave it out in the weather for a few rains to clean it up...

    >im just trying to figure out the best way to go here and still get some production, i dont have a credit card, and about 600 cash to play with and have 9 hives to build up again.

    Been there. Cutouts and swarm calls are your friends.

    >QUESTION, if i just bought queens, would i have enough of my own bees out of the seven hives to start the 9 empty ones by just adding queens and a few bees. but if i go this route, will it hurt ant production.

    If you pull say one frame of brood and one of honey from each hive in the peak of the buildup and put them together for one split and do this once a week, you can build up pretty quickly.

    The object is to keep all the splits you make at critical mass. Critical mass is that point where they are no longer living hand to mouth and they have enough stores, workers, nurse bees and brood to have a surplus. Think of it as economics. If you have barely enough money to pay your bills (or even fall behind on them) you are struggling. When you get to the point where you can pay your bills, you can start to get ahead. When you get to the point where you have some money in the bank and you have a surplus of cash, then life gets pretty easy. Prosperity tend to lead to more prosperity as you can now do things right instead of just getting by. Try it another way. If you run a store you're not really coming out ahead until you cover your overhead.

    A hive needs a certain amount of workers to feed the brood (it takes a lot of nurse bees to keep up with a prolific queen), haul the water, pollen, propolis and nectar to feed the brood, build the comb etc. guard the nest from ants and hive beetles, guard the entrance from skunks and mice and hornets etc.

    Once that overhead has been met they can start working on a surplus. If your splits are strong enough to meet their overhead they can take off quickly. If they have barely the resources and workers to survive, they will struggle and take a long time to start really building up.

    If you make strong splits and you don't weaken your hives too much you have a shot at getting more splits because they grow faster and more efficiently. Also if you don't weaken your main hives you have more surplus bees to make a surplus crop.

    If you take only a frame of brood from each of your strong hives every week they will tend to just make up the difference very quickly with hardly a noticeable lull. One frame of brood and one of honey from each hive put together to fill a ten frame box has a good chance of taking off quickly as opposed to only a few frames of bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,872

    Default Re: Restarting Dead Hives

    Raise your own queen cells using your strongest hive as the breeder queen. This saves you cost of queens and shipping.

    When the cells are 10 days old, make up splits from your weakest hives and give them a cell. Keep a feeder on them until they get up to critical mass.

    Keep your strongest hives for honey, don't split them down, as it takes over abundance of bees to make surplus honey.

    Here's a link to raising queen cells easily and using the equipment you already have at hand...

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=249478

    Best of luck to you.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    sheffield, illinois,usa
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Restarting Dead Hives

    i have to thank you folks, this is all very helpfull as i'm getting some cash together and planning on getting my bees ordered, am in the process of moving into a camper trailor this summer for a hundred a month and going to realy try n get these galls going. 100% attention this year, these losses are pretty painfull, but am no quiter, .
    I found signs of NOSEMA in most of the servivor hives, brown spots all over the complete outside of the hives on 2, and then found the same symptoms inside, i feed them fumagilin in the fall, and just put a quart on each living hive over the weekend, is to cold and i know they wont drink it untill it warms up a bit, that could be soon as wednesday though, upper 40s, they all looked pretty low on population, i raked out all the dead bees with a stick made sure they looked all vented, i am possativly going to get pollen patties orderd first thing in the morning, hoping to get the queen started laying early, but to conserve, i will cut them in half with only a small amount of bees.
    QUESTION do i have to be worried about this nosema virus, do i keep this bee yard isolated????? i worry about viruses spreading i guess and am going to set up 2 more different bee yards, and buy ten more packages, i sold my car and deepfreezer to pay for bees

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Restarting Dead Hives

    It's a shame he wasn't able to follow any of this excellent advice he got about increasing inexpensively.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    sheffield, illinois,usa
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Restarting Dead Hives

    i have every single bit of this info, so there was no waste of anyones time.read and bookmarked the links posted before me, planning to use it all, i wont know how well all of this works untill i try it, and am going to try everything at least once, when i started this thread i was searching for ideas,i now have 1200 rather than the 600, so i can still buy bees, and try and split some of the new packages , my goal here was to still be able to get production, and it takes more than a couple days to sort out information and put plans into action, bees are not even ordered yet, im a disabled beekeeper, i take enough morphine and vicoden to nock out a horse in one day, so please bear with me folks, my mind doesnt work as fast as other folks.
    on the queens, i read the thread posted, saw the pictures, compared notes i have in my book, so, am going to try cutting the strips, and also going to try grafting, i wont know what suits me best untill i try it.
    id rather stay away from agressive splitting, i'd like to make sure my queens have the best chance possable, last year i tried making two frame starts, they all died because it was to late in the season.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,145

    Default Re: Restarting Dead Hives

    We've had mice in hives, and never cleaned up other than to remove the nests they build. The bees can take care of the rest but they will repair the damaged combs with drone comb if there is not already enough in the hive.

    The following advise is assuming the bees did not die of AFB, a serious, but rare disease.

    Packges are expensive, I wouldn't buy any. In fact I see no need to spend any money at all, other than maybe some mite treatment and MAYBE feed.

    I see you from the other thread you will be raising some queen cells. Go ahead, and once you know how many you will get, make preperations to split enough hives into 4 frame nucs to recieve the cells. You can use your old dead out hives for the nucs just keep the entrances small and don't have any spare combs in there the bees cannot defend.
    It is unlikely you will get 100% mating success, so do a few MORE nucs than you need. If mating goes well and you end up with too many nucs, sell them. MAKE some money.

    Do a second bunch of cells, timed so that when the queens in your nucs should have mated, if some of them haven't, you have another cell ready to put in, along with a comb of brood to help them out. When the second bunch of queens should have mated, if any haven't, combine the nucs it is now too late in the season to try again.

    Where I am a 4 frame nuc can build first season into a 3 or 4 box hive with a good honey crop, but this is not true in all locations, unless they have help. The two areas I'd focus on, and this is where some money may need to be spent, is making sure they are mite free, and feeding if needed. To build up, the bees need to think there is a decent amount of food coming in. Of course if they are gathering their own, don't feed them. If you'd bought packages, you might have had to feed them, so no loss having to feed your nucs. The key is keeping them mite free, and fed.

    And if it all goes real well, don't let them swarm, split them at first sign of attempted swarming.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    sheffield, illinois,usa
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Restarting Dead Hives

    9 dead hives equal 18 deeps with drawn comb, .
    i have 6 homemade 5 frame deep nuc boxes, with a jar feeder hole in the top, these all have drawn comb.

    so i'm thinking , building 9 more tops,bottoms and deeps, and if the moneys allow, perhaps build ten more full hives after that.

    this is why i was concidering buying more bees, i still want to be able to get a decent harvest, and expand at the same time, wants my cake and eat it too., i truthfully dislike the idea of medicating, they do it in the ag business regularly, cows, pigs, chickens, all feed antibiotiics as a regular feed supply weather they are sick or not, id say bees are a little bit more sensative to these medications. and costly too.

    there will be a lot of experimenting this year. with frames, queen methodes, splitts and starts. and hopefully, different breeds of queens, am possativly keeping notes on every single hive and numbering them all, that way i can have an exact record of each hive and its production, last fall i bought those peel n stick numbers for mailboxes. just need to get everything organized.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Andover, MA, USA
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Restarting Dead Hives

    @millbeezhoney
    i am going to experiment , am going to melt my cappings wax and poor it into the sawblade channel where the foundation sits into, thinking the bees will build off that.
    I tried that; here is what happens.
    • First, the wax leaks out the ends if there is a gap so you learn you have to put a daub of glue at each end first just in case, or push a glob of soft warm wax into each end that is big enough not to melt away when hot wax hits it.
    • Second, if the frame is not exactly level then the wax sloshes down to one end, pools, and overflows onto your shoe. You try holding the frames level while they dry but it is boring and when you lose concentration the frame tilts slightly and spills. You learn you have to use a tool level and make sure your work area is not canted even the slightest bit so you can stand the frame on the table and leave it while it dries.
    • Third, beeswax shrinks dramatically as it cools and so instead of a wax bead in the slot you get a trough. When you try to put more on top then the wax does not stick to the wax very well and will not be a good support for the comb. You learn you have to be generous filling the slot.
    • Fourth, you really overfill the slot hoping to get it to bead up. This is somewhat successful, in the end, but at first there are some problems. Overfilling the slot leads to wax overflowing all over the place. Then you end by scraping the excess off and sculpting a ridge by hand, a tedious and finicky task. If you wait too long and the wax gets hard it is much more difficult to cut the ridge right so you have to do the touch up right away just after the wax congeals but is still soft.
    • Fifth, you run out of wax because it takes a lot more to fill the slots than it seems at first.
    • Sixth, the bees only take the wax bead as a suggestion and do not strictly honor it. You end up trimming off some of the zig-zag comb, especially near the ends of the frames where they wander off the line. This means you have to futz around with it because you can not remove the ridge while removing the irregular comb but must instead trim around the ridge somehow. Then you have to find a place in the hive where the bad area will be sandwiched between good combs so they will not rebuild it as it was.

    My suggestion is not to do it that way. Strips of wood or something else in the slot is a better idea; I have heard of people advocating popsicle sticks. Small strips of foundation are not all that expensive, they do not have to be that wide. Gluing them in place with wax is better than trying to build up the wax glue to any height.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Helena, Montana
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Restarting Dead Hives

    Mike,

    As a newbeek your examples of hive strength was very helpful to me. Thanks for putting things in a way new guys can understand. Personally a picture is worth a thousand words to me.

    Best Regards,

    John Q
    Montana

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