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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Lakewood, CO
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    12

    Default newly-installed bees not using "correct" entrance

    Hello,

    Quick background: Second-year noobie beekeper here; last year I started too late and my colony didn't make it over the winter. Langstroth hive.

    I installed a new package of bees + queen on Saturday. Our weather has been bad here lately-- down to the low 30s, upper 20s at night, and cold and rainy during the day... I was a little concerned, but they seemed to be quite active yesterday afternoon when it hit 50 or so.

    HOWEVER (and there's always a however, right?), I am using a new screened bottom board this year (last year I used a traditional solid board), and somehow one of the sides warped convexly after it was painted, leaving a small gap along the back corner of the hive. I didn't notice this until I was installing the package. Well, my bees have decided that they're going to use that gap as the entrance, instead of the regular hive entrance (which I currently have reduced to the smallest size).

    I plan on checking on the release of the queen after work today, and I'm wondering if I can just duct-tape-close this gap. I assume I do not want them to use the gap as the entrance, since there is no easy way to change the size of it. And since I rarely will need to separate the bottom board from the box, I'm thinking duct tape might be just fine.

    Any advice? Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,035

    Default Re: newly-installed bees not using "correct" entrance

    It certainly won't harm the bees, but from a management standpoint as you say it's preferable to use the front door . Duct tape it.

    It does seem odd that just painting would warp a bottom board so badly... you'll eventually need a proper repair. Duct tape doesn't last forever.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,496

    Default Re: newly-installed bees not using "correct" entrance

    I would use caulking instead. It is easy to use, will allow you to remove off your bottom board and will just plain work better then tape. Also, why do you have the entrance reducer on? That may be one reason they are using the other entrance. Open up the hive for them.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Lakewood, CO
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: newly-installed bees not using "correct" entrance

    Can I caulk with the bees installed? The fumes won't harm them?

    I was also under the impression that I needed to reduce the entrance when installing a new package of bees. Not true? The intent is to reduce the chance of robbing when the colony is so small. I also neglected to mention that I have installed several (pre-frozen) frames of honey leftover from last year, as well as frames of drawn brood comb.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 05-03-2011 at 06:58 PM. Reason: unnessary QUOTE

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Lakewood, CO
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: newly-installed bees not using "correct" entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Brewcat View Post
    It does seem odd that just painting would warp a bottom board so badly... you'll eventually need a proper repair. Duct tape doesn't last forever.
    I agree-- I was very surprised to see it. Especially since I had the hive all assembled the day before and everything looked fine. It's possible I just didn't notice it until it was too late, or maybe I had the orientation of the hive in relation to the SBB flipped (and it fit better that way).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,496

    Default Re: newly-installed bees not using "correct" entrance

    Yes you can caulk with the bees in there. We carry caulking as standard as part of our bee yard kit cause it can be used for soooo many things. You usually only need to reduce in the fall when robbing is the greatest problem and that's if you have multiple hives in the same area. In the spring, most bees are busy hitting flowers to be robbing...unless there is a darth on. Good idea to have frames of honey in the hive, but I hope you let them get to room temp before installing them...frozen frames of honey next to brood makes it tough for the bees to keep the temp right.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Lakewood, CO
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: newly-installed bees not using "correct" entrance

    OK, good to know. I will most likely use caulk to repair this "leak", then.

    The last three frames that I froze were put in about 5 hours before the package was installed, so I think it was OK. Thanks for the info.

    Edit: just to make sure... we're talking about standard caulk here? Like the silicone white stuff you use around the bathtub?
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 05-03-2011 at 06:59 PM. Reason: UNQ

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Beckville Texas,USA
    Posts
    297

    Default Re: newly-installed bees not using "correct" entrance

    I would use a standard latex painters caulk. Not silicone.
    Just as an aside. When my boxes don't fit quite right I just put a couple of cinder blocks on top for awhile. Usually does the trick.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Lakewood, CO
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: newly-installed bees not using "correct" entrance

    An update: I'm glad I checked on the queen today, she was stuck behind a piece of remaining cork that I couldn't remove with my drywall screw when I installed her on Sunday. I pushed the remaining piece (gently!) back into the chamber and put the cage back horizontally. She should be able to get out now... I hope. Honestly I don't know of a hobby that I worry more about (except maybe homebrewing)!

    Quick question: it seemed that the bees were more agitated than they should be-- was it perhaps because their queen was still behind bars?

    I decided to put a couple of large rocks on the lid of the top cover to try to "unwarp" the bottom board. I see now that they are using the front entrance to some extent, so hopefully the gap will shrink to the point where they just fill it with with propolis.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Drain, OR
    Posts
    424

    Default Re: newly-installed bees not using "correct" entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnkodiak View Post
    ... Honestly I don't know of a hobby that I worry more about (except maybe homebrewing)!...
    Hmmmm... Homebrewing is easier I think. You can worry and fuss about it, but the whole process is done and over in 3-4 weeks typically, and you can do it year round. Bees are seasonal, more expensive, potentially tempermental, your screwed if something happens to the queen, etc, etc.. Both are rewarding though for sure. I have plans to merge the hobbies by starting to make mead.
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    2,386

    Default Re: newly-installed bees not using "correct" entrance

    Homebrew when you make a mistake you drink the spiols. When you make a mistake bee keeping you loose your bees or get stung or both. Brewing way easier.

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