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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default are my bees dying?

    i installed two packages one week ago and they are not doing well. i know that i released the queens successfully. i came back the next day and put some sugar on the bottom board and sprayed it with a little water. i came back over the next few days to check on them without opening the hives and they appeared to be very active coming and going. i finally opened the hive today, about a week after installing them and they are all clumped together, moving very slowly and shaking, some not moving at all. they are attached to the top bars but mostly lay on the bottom board. there are dead bees throughout the hive. they did take some of the sugar. there are some bees coming and going and looking healthy but not many.

    did i kill them with sugar? any comments or suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Stillwater, Oklahoma
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: are my bees dying?

    What was the temp when you looked at them? Did you look into the clump to see if they had drawn any comb yet? How large is the entrance to the hive?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: are my bees dying?

    45 degrees and sunny. the entrance to the hive is about 3/8 of an inch. i didn't shake off the clump. the bees attached to the top bar are not moving at all.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Stillwater, Oklahoma
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: are my bees dying?

    That's pretty chilly. They are clustering to keep warm. To draw wax, they have to have the area quite warm.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: are my bees dying?

    that makes sense. but wouldn't the cluster be buzzing, wings flapping, etc.? they're just holding onto each other like they're frozen...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,397

    Default Re: are my bees dying?

    Have you been feeding them sugar water since you installed them?
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    derbyshire england
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: are my bees dying?

    general rule in England is dont open up hive in temp under 60 degreesto prevent chilling

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Stillwater, Oklahoma
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: are my bees dying?

    In my observation hive the bees hanging from undrawn frames are quite still. When they vibrate to keep the cluster warm, their wings do not move.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: are my bees dying?

    i laid about a 1/4 cup of sugar in each hive and sprayed it with water. that is all.

    In my observation hive the bees hanging from undrawn frames are quite still. When they vibrate to keep the cluster warm, their wings do not move.
    i didn't know that, thanks dana. so you guys think it's just not warm enough yet to draw wax.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,397

    Default Re: are my bees dying?

    You need to feed them 1:1 sugar syrup to get them to draw comb for at least two to three weeks. Laying sugar in the bottom isn't going to cut it.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: are my bees dying?

    thanks for all the replies. i added some syrup.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Springfield, MO, USA
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: are my bees dying?

    45 degrees is definately too cold to open the hive for any less than an emergency. Wait until the temperature is at least 55 degrees, preferably 60. AND don't upen the hive unless there are bees actively flying in and out.

    Disturbing them when it is cold to give them sugar does more damage to them than the benefit gained from giving them the sugar. Patience, patience

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