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  1. #1
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    Default Can Someone Mentor Me?

    My bees keep swarming, I don't know where to put them, or how to best help them make it through the winter & I have no one IRL to help me.

    This time last week, I had one colony that I got as a nuc the second week of June.

    They swarmed last Thursday (July 31). I had no hive, so DH made me a makeshift nuc box & I put a frame of brood in it as well as a few empty small-cell frames & dumped them in. They've hung around, but it's a very small hive at the moment. I opened it up today to add a few drawn frames & noticed there were a few eggs in there

    Today, my original colony swarmed again (I had heard a pipping about 30 minutes before we found the swarm). This time, there were many more bees & I had bought an additional hive (though we still had to rush to get it together), so I was able to pull a frame of honey & a frame of brood out of the original hive & get them set up properly.

    My original hive has very few bees left & the amount of brood is dismal. I have been unable to find eggs in it the past two weeks. There are, however 4 or 5 swarm cells in there right now.

    So, I'm not sure what I should do in regards to feeding, etc. I have my original hive that looks to be in rough shape. The first swarm, which has very few bees, but eggs & the second swarm, which had a lot of bees & I think they're set up well with a bit of brood and honey.

    I'm *attempting* to regress with small-cell frames, but also don't know where to go with that. I have nearly all small-cell frames right now, except the 5 that came with my nuc this spring, which are still all full of brood & now spread between the 3 colonies.

    I would also like to be treatment free & was also planning to feed as little as possible. But right now, I think feeding is probably necessary (how?), as I'd like at least one colony to make it through the winter.

    Can someone please walk me through what I need to do & answer any additional questions I may have? I'd really appreciate it....I'm feeling like I'm in way over my head at the moment!

    Thanks,
    Melanie

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    You must feed if they are to survive! 2:1 sugar syrup should help to start. Regression is a lengthy process but let's concentrate on what you have to work with first. How many hives do you have? Are they 10 frame or 8 frame? How many frames of drawn comb? How many frames of bees? How many frames of brood? How many queens( sounds like maybe one laying)? Are you using deeps or mediums? Do you have any feeders? Those are the things I need to know to help out. I am a treatment free foundationless beekeeper. I will help with what type of beekeeping you would like to do but let's get the bees back on track first. I'm at a loss no one had answered your post there are some very good people that do a good job mentoring here on Beesource. I will help best I can just answer the questions I've asked and we'll go from there.
    Last edited by Slow Drone; 08-05-2014 at 08:41 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    keep it simple. worry about cell size, foundationless, treatment free, top bar hives and all that fashionable stuff a few years down the road. for now keep it simple. I would guess in your climate you need the equivalent of about 2 1/2 10 frame deeps going into winter and a super cramed full of bees, if you have more you can take some honey off. if you have less you must feed. getting toward winter starts now [mid august]. if the bees do not have enough room they will swarm. you must add more space no later [hopefully a bit sooner] than when the bees have drawn out 80 percent of the frames in the top super. if a lot of nectar is coming in you need space ahead of this 80 percent number. if the good stuff coming in slows down reduce the entrance sizes. monitor for pests and problems with varroa etc. take action before it is out of control. stay out of the hives as much as possible. use lots of smoke when entering the hives but be slow and deliberate. have spare equipment ahead , more than you think you will need. before you open a hive figure out what you are doing and why. keep it simple and deliberate you will do fine. it is natural for brood production to slow down this time of year, lower population going into winter is normal, leave the bees in charge of this. for feeding getting ready for winter use some sort of tank or tub type top feeder. a feeder that feeds slower ,a mason jar or small bucket or frame type is good earlier in the year as long as it is on top or inside of the hive is good . if you are using an entrance feeder throw it away.
    Last edited by mathesonequip; 08-05-2014 at 09:16 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Drone View Post
    You must feed if they are to survive! 2:1 sugar syrup should help to start. Regression is a lengthy process but let's concentrate on what you have to work with first. How many hives do you have? Are they 10 frame or 8 frame? How many frames of drawn comb? How many frames of bees? How many frames of brood? How many queens( sounds like maybe one laying)? Are you using deeps or mediums? Do you have any feeders? Those are the things I need to know to help out. I am a treatment free foundationless beekeeper. I will help with what type of beekeeping you would like to do but let's get the bees back on track first. I'm at a loss no one had answered your post there are some very good people that do a good job mentoring here on Beesource. I will help best I can just answer the questions I've asked and we'll go from there.
    Thank you so much for replying!!

    I have 2 hives & a makeshift nuc box. They're 10 frame, mediums.

    I don't have exact numbers for the next questions, but I'll do my best guess:
    My first hive (my original that has now swarmed twice in the past week) has 2 mediums on it right now. The 2nd box is probably 60% drawn with a little bit of honey, but mostly empty, drawn cells.
    There are probably 2 frames of capped brood (I've taken 2 frames out, too) & the rest of the bottom box is mostly honey, with the outer most frames still mostly empty.
    The bees are spread out over all of the frames in the lower box, but they're not very dense these days.

    My 2nd hive (first swarm) is in the nuc box. It has one frame with some brood on it & the bees were clustering very thickly on this one frame & a few pieces of comb they'd attached to the cover (I only had 3 frames in it, so there were spaces where they made some nice, straight comb). There were some eggs yesterday in the frame of brood I had put in there last week.

    My 3rd hive is the one that swarmed yesterday. It was a bigger swarm--soccer ball sized. They're in a hive with frame of brood, 2 frames of honey, 2 drawn frames & 5 frames with just foundation.

    I do not currently have any feeders, but my husband is going to make some topfeeders for me. We have about 1/3 acre of flowering buckwheat right beside my apiary, and 50-75 acres of unused (lots of flowering weeds!) pasture right here, with plenty more in the vicinity.

    I also noticed a lot of drones in my 1st hive yesterday. Would it be because they're left behind in a swarm & now there is a disproportionately large population there? I don't *think* I have a laying worker, since I have seen *no* eggs in there in the past weeks.

    Thank you so much for your help

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    Quote Originally Posted by mathesonequip View Post
    keep it simple. worry about cell size, foundationless, treatment free, top bar hives and all that fashionable stuff a few years down the road. for now keep it simple. I would guess in your climate you need the equivalent of about 2 1/2 10 frame deeps going into winter and a super cramed full of bees, if you have more you can take some honey off. if you have less you must feed. getting toward winter starts now [mid august]. if the bees do not have enough room they will swarm. you must add more space no later [hopefully a bit sooner] than when the bees have drawn out 80 percent of the frames in the top super. if a lot of nectar is coming in you need space ahead of this 80 percent number. if the good stuff coming in slows down reduce the entrance sizes. monitor for pests and problems with varroa etc. take action before it is out of control. stay out of the hives as much as possible. use lots of smoke when entering the hives but be slow and deliberate. have spare equipment ahead , more than you think you will need. before you open a hive figure out what you are doing and why. keep it simple and deliberate you will do fine. it is natural for brood production to slow down this time of year, lower population going into winter is normal, leave the bees in charge of this. for feeding getting ready for winter use some sort of tank or tub type top feeder. a feeder that feeds slower ,a mason jar or small bucket or frame type is good earlier in the year as long as it is on top or inside of the hive is good . if you are using an entrance feeder throw it away.
    Thank you

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    it struck me that you said my hive swarmed and it has 2 medium boxes now. the bees needed more room, this is a big lesson to remember. I think from your post that you are moving stuff around too much, don't, let the bees adjust their home you may frustrate them into leaving. also I get the impression that the boxes are not full of frames at all times this is an absolute no-no from a management point of view. bees need room if the comb is full or empty is not important at given time. they need to have more room once the comb gets drawn out they can fill drawn comb fast. it looks to me that the bees have been crowded too much and have had a too much manipulation, basketball size is a smaller swarm, more like we want out. ok it was learning I hope. on the other hand way too much space on a weak hive can result in robbing, not your problem here but be sure and limit entrance size to defendable. you are way to weak for winter now. if the bees are getting ready to swarm drone build up is expected. 2 1/2, 10- frame deeps for winter translates to 4 mediums full of honey and 1/2 full of packed in bees, there will not be much if any brood at the start of winter. you could combine these 3 hives into one, this looks like the best chance to winter one, you might be ok for winter this way. find a local bee group or club and be thank-full for what you have learned this year. I think it is positive that you realize you have a good size problem. this time of year need to be headed for boxes filled not frames filled.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    >My bees keep swarming, I don't know where to put them, or how to best help them make it through the winter & I have no one IRL to help me.

    I take it this is three questions.

    Swarming:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm

    Where to put them:
    http://bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#locating

    Getting through the winter:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeswinter.htm

    >My original hive has very few bees left & the amount of brood is dismal. I have been unable to find eggs in it the past two weeks. There are, however 4 or 5 swarm cells in there right now.

    If they haven't torn them down, you might want to split them for now and recombine them in a few weeks.

    >So, I'm not sure what I should do in regards to feeding, etc. I have my original hive that looks to be in rough shape. The first swarm, which has very few bees, but eggs & the second swarm, which had a lot of bees & I think they're set up well with a bit of brood and honey.

    They were succeeding at one point or they would not have swarmed. Is there a flow now? Are they bringing in a lot of nectar? Look in the hive for uncapped stores and heft it for weight. If there is nectar coming in I would let them gather it. If not, you may need to feed. Be careful as feeding can set off robbing and it can set off swarming if they backfill the brood nest. So reduce the entrance. Keep an eye on the brood nest.

    >I'm *attempting* to regress with small-cell frames, but also don't know where to go with that. I have nearly all small-cell frames right now, except the 5 that came with my nuc this spring, which are still all full of brood & now spread between the 3 colonies.

    I'm not sure where you think you should "go with that". You have put them in. Let them draw them. Where I would go is simple. Don't give them any large cell foundation but at this point focus on getting them ready for winter.

    >I would also like to be treatment free & was also planning to feed as little as possible. But right now, I think feeding is probably necessary (how?), as I'd like at least one colony to make it through the winter.

    Timing for feeding for winter is something you would best get from someone in your climate, but it's likely you are right especially if the flow is over.

    >keep it simple. worry about cell size, foundationless, treatment free, top bar hives and all that fashionable stuff a few years down the road.

    It is MUCH easier to do foundationless or small cell now rather than a few years down the road. If you care about being treatment free and having clean wax then what is to be gained by using large cell foundation and contaminating it? It takes no effort at all to use small cell instead of large cell. It takes no effort at all to not contaminate your wax. You have to buy treatments and use them to contaminate it.

    I wasn't aware it was fashionable. For the 40 years or so I've been not treating it has NOT been fashionable to not treat...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    Quote Originally Posted by mathesonequip View Post
    it struck me that you said my hive swarmed and it has 2 medium boxes now. the bees needed more room, this is a big lesson to remember. I think from your post that you are moving stuff around too much, don't, let the bees adjust their home you may frustrate them into leaving. also I get the impression that the boxes are not full of frames at all times this is an absolute no-no from a management point of view. bees need room if the comb is full or empty is not important at given time. they need to have more room once the comb gets drawn out they can fill drawn comb fast. it looks to me that the bees have been crowded too much and have had a too much manipulation, basketball size is a smaller swarm, more like we want out. ok it was learning I hope. on the other hand way too much space on a weak hive can result in robbing, not your problem here but be sure and limit entrance size to defendable. you are way to weak for winter now. if the bees are getting ready to swarm drone build up is expected. 2 1/2, 10- frame deeps for winter translates to 4 mediums full of honey and 1/2 full of packed in bees, there will not be much if any brood at the start of winter. you could combine these 3 hives into one, this looks like the best chance to winter one, you might be ok for winter this way. find a local bee group or club and be thank-full for what you have learned this year. I think it is positive that you realize you have a good size problem. this time of year need to be headed for boxes filled not frames filled.
    I know the bees need more room: I do not have the equipment I need right now, and my local supplier is closed for another 10 days, so we're building what we can in the meantime--I was not anticipating having to house 2 swarms!!

    My primary hive did have 3 mediums on it, all full of frames, before they started swarming. They were just starting to draw the top box, so weren't too crowded right now (though I will admit that they built up VERY quickly in the first week that I got them & they were running out of room then, when I only had 1 medium on there & they put some honey in the brood nest...I'm guessing that this is what caused all of this trouble in the first place).

    The only place that was missing frames wast the makeshift nuc box--it had 3 frames with 2 empty spaces between where they drew nice, straight comb off of the cover. I dumped them in & wasn't sure how to do it with all the frames in there & I just didn't have any frames right then.

    Also, before the swarming started, I was only opening my hive every 7-10 days, so I don't think I was in there *too* much. I have had to open it up twice this past week, though, to get some frames of brood & to take the top (empty) box off, so that I could have frames/boxes for the swarms. Should I be opening the hive less frequently than this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If they haven't torn them down, you might want to split them for now and recombine them in a few weeks.
    I'm not sure what you mean? Split them *again*, or just keep the swarms separate for now & recombine in a few weeks based on which ones have eggs, more stores, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >So, I'm not sure what I should do in regards to feeding, etc. I have my original hive that looks to be in rough shape. The first swarm, which has very few bees, but eggs & the second swarm, which had a lot of bees & I think they're set up well with a bit of brood and honey.

    They were succeeding at one point or they would not have swarmed. Is there a flow now? Are they bringing in a lot of nectar? Look in the hive for uncapped stores and heft it for weight. If there is nectar coming in I would let them gather it. If not, you may need to feed. Be careful as feeding can set off robbing and it can set off swarming if they backfill the brood nest. So reduce the entrance. Keep an eye on the brood nest.
    I'm not sure how to recognize what there is for a flow right now. We have about 1/3 acre of buckwheat that is in bloom right beside them. Other than that, there doesn't look to be a lot blooming at the moment.


    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post

    Timing for feeding for winter is something you would best get from someone in your climate, but it's likely you are right especially if the flow is over.
    Thanks. We happened to find a local beekeeper today (while trying to buy a DADO blade secondhand online), and are hoping to visit him this week for some advice.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    Today, my husband built me a topfeeder. I'm hoping to put it on tomorrow.

    What concentration is recommended for syrup?

    Also, since I only currently have one & am low on frames to add any boxes to my hives, I'm not sure where to put it.
    I could put it on my original hive that has 2 medium boxes--the second one being mostly drawn, but still quite empty.
    Or I could put it on the one that swarmed yesterday, but they only have 1 box full of frames & I fear they'll be out of room.

    I'm thinking I need to get the bees out of the makeshift nuc box sooner rather than later, but I'm not sure where to put them or how to combine them (they have few bees, not a lot of room to expand, but a laying queen).

    Ideas?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    syrup strength varies from 1:1 to 2:1. that is by weight 2:1 is 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. traditonaly the 1:1 was for early in the year the 2:1 was for fall buildup.. a happy all the time mix is about 5:3. 1:1 spoils quick in hot weather. 2:1 takes a bit of heat to get it mixed. real hot tap water will about do it for 5:3. you do not want to scald the syrup this is not good for the bees. use only white refined sugar, cane or beet is fine but some like cane only. never give bees molasses, brown sugar or natural organic sugar they will get sick or worse. many add something to the syrup to get the bees more interested. a small amount of apple cider vinegar, a commercial mix such as honey-bee healthy, lemon-grass oil, spearmint oil or similar, an old beekeeper told me to use a little vanilla extract, just a little, the bees seem to like the cheap artificial stuff better than the expensive real stuff. this question will generate lots of debate. remember the mix is by weight before mixing. use only refined white sugar... large commercial operators often use corn syrup because it is cheap, it really is not as good.
    Last edited by mathesonequip; 08-07-2014 at 06:32 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    in the hives every 7 to 10 days is a more than plenty. unless you have a good reason 3 weeks would be better.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    running short on equipment is frustrating, shorting an on going good hive to do a split or grab a swarm is not a good plan after early spring. you need to get your colonies larger if a hive swarms do not take hive space away they will grow back into it soon. this will take some experience. sometimes the bees just do not co-operate on the swarm control plan. italian type bees are less prone to swarm and build up quickly that is why they have been the commercial favorite for well over 100 years. this statement also may cause some debate.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    >I'm not sure what you mean? Split them *again*, or just keep the swarms separate for now & recombine in a few weeks based on which ones have eggs, more stores, etc?

    As I understand your description they swarmed but still have a lot of queen cells. If they were done swarming, they would probably tear these down. I'm concerned they may afterswarm. If you split them again and make some room in the brood nest of both splits you could wait until they both have a laying queen and then combine them again. This may avoid the afterswarms.

    >I'm not sure how to recognize what there is for a flow right now. We have about 1/3 acre of buckwheat that is in bloom right beside them. Other than that, there doesn't look to be a lot blooming at the moment.

    Bees in a flow act different than bees in a dearth. In a flow the traffic is heavy and it seems to have specific purpose. They fly straight out and straight back (unless an orientation flight is going on). The comb will have nectar in it (uncapped and thin... it drips out if you tip the comb) and the hive will be gaining weight. In a dearth they will be more listless, losing weight, and more defensive as they are holding off robbers.

    >What concentration is recommended for syrup?

    First I would contemplate whether they need to be fed. Then I would count the cost of feeding in terms of increased robbing pressure and ants etc. Then if you think you need to feed for a very specific reason, then I prefer 5:3 because it keeps better than 1:1 and it mixes easier than 2:1. Maybe if your water isn't as hard as mine 2:1 would work. If your intent for feeding is putting on weight for winter, then a constant supply of syrup is good. If you just want to stimulate them to keep raising brood a little each night will work better as it won't clog the brood nest so much but will give them some income to spend on brood rearing. If you only give them what they can consume over night it will help prevent robbing.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    How do I combine two hives if I can't get one of the queens? I'd like to add the bees in the nuc to the bees in the original hive

    Yesterday, I inspected & here's what I found:
    nuc:
    not a lot of bees, practically NO stores (they didn't have much to begin with & it rained for almost a week), but a queen & a little bit of uncapped brood

    original hive (that swarmed at least twice):
    they've torn down the swarm cells, so I"m *guessing* they have a young queen...I could not find her & there are no eggs, only a very small amount of capped brood

    2nd swarm:
    has the most bees of the 3 hives
    have managed to draw a fair amount of comb in the week since they've swarmed (despite the rain!)
    I didn't find any eggs
    I added a 2nd medium, had to add about 5 foundationless* frames to the bottom box
    added a gallon of 5:3 syrup in a top feeder
    put an entrance reducer with the bigger opening

    How do I combine the nuc box and the original hive? I'd *like* to keep the queen in the nuc box, because I know she's producing, but I am not good at finding queens & even worse at catching them!

    *the reason I used foundationless frames is because I am out of frames & my husband made me some foundationless frames for now--I tried to put them between drawn frames when I could, hopefully they don't make too big of a mess!

    Thanks,
    Melanie

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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    winter is around the corner in the north. it sounds like you do not have enough bees for the number of colonies. time to consider consolidating. 2 stronger colonies will build up faster than 3 weak ones or maybe even 1 strong colony would be best. you have to find and eliminate the unwanted queen[s]. place the queen less bees above the ones with a queen separated by a single sheet of newspaper, slightly damp is good. provide a small top entrance for the upper group. if you are making 3 into one you can get away without the newspaper. the new bees must be queen-less. it is easier to combine 3 or more than it is 2 for some reason that the bees understand. it is also much better to do this while nectar is still coming in.... as for finding the queen practice, an extra box is helpful. even then not easy. open the hive separate I box at a time, do not waste time above the queen excluder if one is in use. do 1 box at a time, as you go thru place the inspected frames in a box sitting on the top cover placed within easy reach. look at both sides and the bottom of each frame, do a quick double check and go on to the next one. as you pull a frame look at the next one still in in the hive, often this is where you first see her. work away from yourself. an extra set of eyes helps a lot if available. when out of frames look close in the bottom of the hive. often you may find her with 2 to 4 frames left to go. she would like to hide. still no luck? put the hive back together inspecting as you go. if no success wait a couple of days for things to quiet down and try again.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    So, my original hive was robbing the nuc like *crazy* today. I think they got the queen (thought I'm not sure--I couldn't find her & there was a pile of bees on the ground in the grass under the hive--not sure what they'd have been doing. I dug through the 100 or so bees clustering down there & did not find a queen, there, either).

    I did not pull a queen out of either the nuc or the original hive (we looked and looke, but couldn't find one in either hive), but I put the nuc atop the hive with a sheet of newsprint between....

    There is hardly any brood at all in the original hive & only about a frame of young brood/eggs in the nuc. So hopefully there is a queen in there somewhere, if not, they'll make one from the nuc.

    How long should I leave them like that before taking the nuc box off? (Remember, it's a makeshift plywood box--I would like to take the frams out of it & put them in the 2nd medium hive body I have on the original hive & remove 5 empty frames from the original hive. That way I can get a proper cover on there, intead of plywood sheets!

    Melanie

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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    how long? I can only say when they get thru the newspaper good, maybe a week? robbers pretty well strip a hive before attacking a queen more often than not.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moon Lit Night View Post
    My bees keep swarming
    A couple of thoughts: Generally speaking, it sounds like your hives are too small and some of these may not be swarms, but rather absconding. I might recommend combining two if not all of them into one hive which would still be small in comparison to what it would be. I run 5 deeps or 7 mediums year 'round. To survive winter on honey, you'd need at least 4 mediums mostly full of honey.

    Small cell is good. Don't micromanage the regression process, just put small cell in there and call it foundation.

    I recommend only feeding granulated sugar which is done after the bees have started to bed down for winter.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    Moon lit night

    This post is getting off "Treatment Free Beekeeping"

    I suggest that combine Hive #3 back with Hive #1 try to get them into 10 frames deep if possible for wintering.
    You need to keep the bee numbers up in each hive for wintering. Add to this hive a med 10 frame for more room if you need to, bees should cover about 7-9 frames before adding another deep super I give bees 2 deep for brood and med for honey.
    Your hive #2 I would get into a deep super 10 frames if possible and add 1 med to top out. Is honey flow is almost finished???
    If your honey flow is finished then you got to feed like crazy to help build up stores. I would feed them sugar candy which can make your self.
    You should feed with very thick sugar ratio to water because bees would have to evaporate the water content down before they can cap.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Can Someone Mentor Me?

    Robbing has to be stopped immediately.

    http://bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm

    You are in NB. To quote the Stark's, "Winter is coming"... I think you need to form your plan and philosophy for the moment with that in mind. Look down the road to when winter will be here and try to plan according to that. One hive that has a good chance is probably better than three that are too weak to make it. I'm not saying you have to combine right now, or that they might not build up more than you think and maybe not need to be combined, but there is a time lag to building up and you are running out of time. I'm just saying your strategy should be based on getting them set for winter at this point.

    Hives that are struggling usually have one or more of several problems. They need resources, so if there is no flow or no pollen coming in, they may need to be fed. If you do, make sure you reduce the entrances and protect them from robbing.

    They need to be able to manage the room they have. A hive with too much room may have trouble guarding and occupying it. So once you get them past the afterswarming risk, I'd be compressing them somewhat so even if they are small they are strong. At that point (when the queen cells are all emerged or destroyed) I would start thinking about whether or not to combine some of them.

    Sometimes they are struggling because of the quality of the queen. A quality queen not only lays plenty of eggs, but makes plenty of QMP. Sometimes a queen appears good from our point of view but can't hold the colony together in a cohesive superorganism. A healthy hive has a sense of purpose and direction and solidarity. If one of yours has that and the others don't, you want that queen who can engender that.

    Beekeeping in August is not the same as beekeeping I April. Their goals (and yours should) change through the year. You need to learn how to assess the direction they are headed and what they are trying to do and help them do it. It takes practice. It takes making mistakes and learning from those mistakes.

    http://bushfarms.com/beeslearning.htm

    If the question in your mind starts “how do I make the bees …” then you are already thinking wrongly. If your question is “how can I help them with what they are trying to do…” you are on your way to becoming a beekeeper. So look at the hive, look at the time of year and where they need to be, consider the resources available to them and the resources it will take to get to where they need to be and try to provide the resources or reduce the need for the resources. For instance, in your robbing situation they don't have enough bees to guard the hive. You don't have bees to give them. But reducing the entrance will reduce the need for as many bees to guard the entrance.

    Keep in mind that a lot of beekeeping is managing space. Too much space is difficult for them. Too little causes them to swarm. The need for expansion is a spring to mid summer one. The need for contraction is a fall to winter one. Bees with too much room (more room than they can guard and manage) are stressed. Bees with too little room are less stressed but may decide to swarm.

    I'm saying all of this, not to tell you what to do, but what to be looking for and how to be thinking about the issues.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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