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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,743

    Default Can't keep bees! (need advice)

    The scenario.
    I have two hives, one Langstroth and on Top bar hive both with large (4-5 lb) swarms I captured hived in them. The TBH is doing remarkabley well with comb, brood, queen, etc. The Lang on the other hand has had two swarms WITH QUEENS hived into it and has both times swarmed out after a week. These swarms were captured 20 miles away.
    I believe everything is right with the Lang, no new paint, new frames, great location.
    It's a ten frame, 1 super, inner cover, outer cover,.... the works. No insect infestation.
    I just don't get it.
    Any insight?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,702

    Default Re: Can't keep bees! (need advice)

    What kind of foundation, if any, does the Lang hive have? And by "1 super" do you mean the total hive is one box, and is that box a deep, or something else? (Deeps are 9 5/8" high.)
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: Can't keep bees! (need advice)

    Hard to tell exactly what is going on - swarms do on occasion decide that where they've been put is not where they want to be - and leave. If they just leave it is called Absconding rather than swarming. In a swarm, part of the original population remains in the hive and most generally there is a queen cell in progress.

    One trick I've tried in the past is to provide syrup to a new swarm to help convince them that they are in a good spot. The logic works in my mind but I don't know how the bees see it. I don't think there is anything intrinsically wrong with your Langstroth. You mention you have new frames - new foundation too? I've had best luck hiving swarms onto drawn comb.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,743

    Default Re: Can't keep bees! (need advice)

    Deep super. Plastic foundation with wax coating.

    Absconding is what I should have stated, result is the same unfortunately. lol
    I had no drwan comb, first time start up. Started with syrup for about four days, then I noticed my TBH bees were robbing and fighting with the Lang bees. Needless to say I removed the feeder... may have statred the ball rolling. But then again, these bees are used to fending for themselves, right?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Brookshire, Texas
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Can't keep bees! (need advice)

    I am switching over from the plastic coated foundation to the soild wax foundation. Though I hear many do ok with the plastic coated foundation my bees just don't appear to like it and will do anything in the hives except work with the plastic. I have asked local beeks their ideas and some say the wax coating is not thick enough. When the bees try to "shave/cup" the bottom of the cells before building out the comb they run into the plastic and then give up. I do not know how true this is but I've got to give it a try. My best producing hive has been ignoring a medium box for weeks with plastic foundation though they are still going crazy filling out some old all wax foundation I had on hand.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,702

    Default Re: Can't keep bees! (need advice)

    While there are many beekeepers successfully using plastic foundation, there are also plenty of reports on Beesource of bees that "don't like" plastic foundation.

    As far as the feeder, was it a "boardman" style feeder? You may have more success with a feeder type that is less susceptible to robbing, such as a "hive top" feeder.

    You may find this Glossary useful (some terms are illustrated with photos).
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...eping-Glossary
    Supers are generally considered to be boxes intended for honey storage, wheras the same box intended for brood is a hive body, or perhaps brood box (chamber).
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 06-22-2012 at 07:13 AM. Reason: spelling
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
    Posts
    1,114

    Default Re: Can't keep bees! (need advice)

    If when you get another swarm take a Brood comb from TBH and place in Lang
    Bees don't leave brood
    If you have to cut it out of TBH, just rubber band it into frame

    Good luck
    T

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: Can't keep bees! (need advice)

    Starting new in beekeeping is tough as your are finding. If you are using a boardman type feeder, try another type, or as an alternative you can put the jar & lid with holes from the boardman upside down over the hole in the inner cover and then surround it with another deep - then put the outer cover on. I like tommyt's suggestion for taking some brood out of your TBH.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,134

    Default Re: Can't keep bees! (need advice)

    If your top bar is doing well than take a frame from it (preferably with some brood) and put it in the Lang. I don't know if they fit but make it fit or cut it out and rubber band it in a Lang frame. Bees would not select a home with foundation in it. The plastic is even more of a detriment. A drawn brood comb or two will give them an incentive to stay. I think with brood in it the nurse bees won't leave and that keeps the rest of the colony stuck.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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