Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    45

    Default Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    Day two of my new adventure...got some questions:

    Is it normal for there to be a large (100-ish bees) cluster on the outside/bottom of the screened bottom board?

    Nights are still pretty chilly here (~40) - should I slide in the plastic insert under the screened bottom board?

    Still getting over my nerves. How much smoke is too much smoke when working the hives?

    My hive stand is level, but the boxes don't appear to be. Maybe off by 1/8 to 1/4 inch side-to-side. How worried about this should I be?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zanna View Post
    Is it normal for there to be a large (100-ish bees) cluster on the outside/bottom of the screened bottom board?
    I can remember seeing at least 5 photos of bees clustered on bottom boards just from posts in this forum during the last 45 days...nothing to worry over.

    Nights are still pretty chilly here (~40) - should I slide in the plastic insert under the screened bottom board?
    Might be a good idea to cover it, at least until you have some open brood in your hives. More to discourage absconding than to keep things warm.

    Still getting over my nerves. How much smoke is too much smoke when working the hives?
    I barely use any smoke...just a few whiffs in the entrance right before I crack the lid and leave it setting aside the rest of the time. I'm sure more wouldn't hurt the bees much, but that's all my bees seem to need.

    My hive stand is level, but the boxes don't appear to be. Maybe off by 1/8 to 1/4 inch side-to-side. How worried about this should I be?
    To this I say: "bees will be bees" ... lol, right now I have a TBH with bees in it, I used 1.5"-2" squares of drawn comb, melted to the bars, as comb guides; now I have lots of nice, neat, straight combs that are only 1.5"-2" wide and 9" deep, go figure! lol

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Chicago,Ill.
    Posts
    61

    Wink Re: Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    Where is your queen at this time? Did you place your queen between frames and then shake the rest of your bees over her and the rest in your box with the, feeder in place,then close it up ? Also useing the smallest entrance on bottom ? If you did all this then there just waiting in line for there job assignments. Remember you want to smoke them a little, not cook them with to much hot smoke.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    @ lenny: I am using the smallest entrance. I installed from a 5 frame nuc, but I didn't look for or see the queen when I transferred the frames to my hive body. I assumed she was on one of the frames, which had a lot of capped brood, when I installed them. There were, however, a lot of bees still in the nuc box that I didn't have the courage to shake in to the hive body. I laid this up against my hive frame, and when I came back later and they were out of the nuc box, I assumed they found their way home. But now I guess it is possible that they are just hanging out on the bottom. I took a pretty close look at the bottom today, but couldn't identify a queen there, though there were a few "lumps" of bees that looked like they were clustering over something. I wondered if these were other insects being mobbed. Could that have been a queen?

    @rob: thanks for the encouragement. probably I need to lay off the smoke! :-)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,473

    Default Re: Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    You should shake the bees into the nuc if they are not on the frames.

    It's possible the queen is on the wrong side if the screen. I would gently push the bees off the screen with some cardboard into a box and shake them into the hive, then put the mite drop board in when there are no bees underneath. If they are making comb down there, you very likely have the queen underneath the hive instead of inside, another reason to shake all the bees in at first.

    A gentle puff of cool smoke into the entrance is all you are going to need with a new hive, there isn't that much space in there. The smoke masks alarm pheremone, and also covers up other scent communications in the hive, if you can smell it the bees are swamped with it. The only other way I use smoke is to puff a little across the top of a box to get the bees down off the edges when I want to put another box on top. Just takes a whiff. Too much smoke and you can run the bees right out of the hive! In fact, dense clouds of smoke is one what to run the bees out of a log or "gum" or box hive into a Langstroth hive.

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    Just a quick update:
    I got really worried that the queen was out there, so I brushed the bees that were on the outside of the screen onto a the mite drop board and shooed them in to the front and top of the hive. I didn't see the queen, so I think they were just confused foragers trying to get back in the wrong way. I couldn't get all of them off the screen, so I didn't slide the insert into the bottom board. Sure enough, the next day there was another large cluster under there. Oh well. I'm hoping they will figure it out in a few days. I may dry brushing them toward the entrance again, and may switch the entrance reducer to the wider opening. Hopefully at some point I'll be able to get that insert in there to discourage their congregating on the screen. I'm leaving them be for a few days, though...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    if the queen's not down there,, then there's really no harm in their being there IMHO...they might be "confused foragers" but I think they're more likely to simply be keeping cool...have you checked to see if they're still down there at night, or if the all go inside for the night? (btw, if you're wanting to install that mite-drop board, night-time is the right time...shouldn't be any bees outside the hive at night)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    Thanks, rob. I have been going out at night to see if I can get the mite-drop board inserted, but the cluster is still there even after dark. I wouldn't worry about it at all, except that it can still get pretty cool at night here in the mountains of Western NC. But I'm not finding frozen dead bees on the ground in the morning, so I'm inclined to just let it go as you suggest. I'm sure they are tired of me intervening.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    OK, if they're still down there at night, and the hive isn't CRAM-PACKED-FULL, then this one's outside of my knowledge/experience, so I'll hand off to someone more experienced to answer that...idk why that would happen (unless the hive's THAT overcrowded, and just hasn't swarmed/absconded yet).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    I don't think the issue is overcrowding. I just transferred this colony from a 5 frame nuc to an 8 frame deep 3 days ago, and then at the advice of the fellow I bought it from, added a medium super the next day. He told me it isn't that unusual to see this, and they are just "confused" and will figure it out. There aren't as many down there as there were at first, so I'm thinking the situation is improving. Thanks for all your input!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,473

    Default Re: Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    I think this is a hint to put the mite drop board in before hiving the bees, something I'll try to remember. Got our first swarm call today, looks like it's going to be a busy season!

    Peter

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie Day 2: bottom board, smoke, leveling?

    Yes, good point, Peter. My lessons learned on this one:

    1. Put the mite board in before hiving bees.
    2. Knock/brush the majority of the bees out of the nuc box into the new hive boxes so you don't wake up in the middle of the night doubting your queen is inside.
    3. Taking short cuts because you are nervous will probably lead to a crash course in getting over your nerves when you have to go back in the hive several times to correct your mistakes.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads