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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
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    2,706

    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
    6,564

    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
    2,960

    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
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    2,706

    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
    112

    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
    6,564

    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
    1,113

    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
    2,960

    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
    10,005

    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,706

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

    All great advice!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
    Posts
    260

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

    What tommyt said +1

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,156

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

    When drawing single frames of plastic frames or foundation, it is best to feed them into the brood nest one at a time betweeen frames full of brood. They get drawn very well that way. Otherwise, put a whole box of them on and put them tight together. When they are all drawn out but the outside ones, move those to the middle. Same advice is sound for any foundation though.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westminster, SC, USA
    Posts
    36

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

    Just had to reply because of the comments on the plastic foundation.

    I am a new beek too but this is what I have experienced with my bees. I have a 10 frame deep hive that I bought complete with bees last year. Foundation was wax. I put a super on it last year but bees ignored it...it was wax foundation also. This year I tried again and put a new deep on with new plastic foundation. They ignored it. Figured out they were honey bound so I moved the two most outer frames full of comb from the bottom box to the top and replaced with plastic foundation in the middle of box. They finally started filling out new comb but I have had to move more frames to get them to move up. So now this hive is 2 deeps and mixed foundation.

    We bought an 8 frame set up from someone who no longer was keeping bees and it was all plastic foundation and used so there was no wax on any of the frames. I bought a chunk of wax from a bee supply and rubbed the wax on the plastic and inserted a new package of bees. They did great filling out comb! The original hive was two mediums so I bought a deep 8 frame with wax foundation and put on top of the first medium. They started filling it out too and I have now switched the deep and the med so the deep is on the bottom. So I have mixed foundation in here too and they don't seem to mind.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westminster, SC, USA
    Posts
    36

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

    OH yeah...forgot to mention I sprayed the foundation with sugar water also. Maybe that helped some.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    537

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

    Ya I would agree on the brood comb. What size is your top bars? They just might be short enough to attach directly underneath the Lang top bar. You could use zip ties to easy attachment.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Under The Beeyard, Knox(patch), TN(Tax-nnessee)\ US
    Posts
    33

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

    lissa's definitely on the right track -- approx. 1:1 sugar-to-water ratio, PLUS spray/mist the frames with diluted lemongrass oil BEFORE adding the bees/queen -- NEVER spray lemongrass while a queen is in the hive, it can cause supercedure; after adding the bees, put a jar/pail top feeder full of syrup over the inner cover's hole so that the syrup is accessible from the inside of the hive, and IMMEDIATELY place a robbing screen (like from Brushy Mountain) over the hive entrance with the entrance reducer already placed such that the reducer's opening is as far as possible from the top entrance of the robbing screen (that's for the Brushy M. model) and open the screen's top entrance -- the distance between the food-scent-emitting reducer opening and the robbing screen's only open entrance induces maximum confusion in the robbers. The lemongrass is similar to queen pheromone and leads the bees to think it's a previously-occupied, and thus suitable, hive; it and the sugar water seem to help mask the plastic odor -- airing the plastic frames well before spraying would likely help too .

    Sometimes it almost seems to require whips and chains to get bees (at least for some package Italians) to draw wax-coated plastic frames, but the preceding should tip the odds in your favor.

    Also, once you've got the swarm queen into the hive, put a plastic queen excluder between the hive entrance and the queen for the first week or so -- if it's a mated queen, it'll at least slow her down if not prevent her from leaving instead of laying -- if it's a virgin queen, removal after the first week is important so she can keep going on as many mating flights as possible. P.S. Beware of robbing ANTS. Good luck!
    Dang it, Operator! For the 100th time, I said the Beekeepers' Singles Line, *NOT* Dial-A-Prayer!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,706

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

    Wanted to post an update to all that replied.
    This morning I wanted to perform a newspaper combine of a VERY SMALL (300-400) bees I trapped out of a post column two weeks ago. I figured what the heck, I have nothing to lose since the lang is now queenless with only abot 3k of bees.
    I first took some comb with eggs and brood from my TBH and introduced it into the lower brood chamber of the lang in hopes they could make a new queen.
    I laid the paper, installed a med super body and proceeded to open the nuc from the SMALL trap out. Did I mention.... SMALL?
    As I looked at the comb in the nuc I just about fell over. There to my surprise were eggs, capped brood (not drone) and a QUEEN! What are the chances right?! Needless to say the queen went into the lang with all her eggs, brood and comb. Fingers crossed once they combine, it should have all the makings of a good hive. Followed that with a queen excluder between the bottom board and the first super (queen includer at this point) and a screen over the inner cover vent opening.
    SHE IS THERE TO STAY!
    BTW, all of my swarms and TRAP OUTS have had queens with them so far.
    Got lucky this time. Thanks for all the input.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,005

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

    Can the drones get out?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Turnbow Hollow, Tennessee
    Posts
    176

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

    Back in May, I caught two swarms that I put into hives. During the heavy nectar flow. Both swarmed on me twice. I was very lucky and able to catch the swarms each time and the second time I removed 2 frames from the brood box and replaced them with an internal Mannlake Max Pro feeder filled with sugar syrup and Mannlake Pro Bee Health (pretty much the same thing as Honey Bee Healthy). They hold 2 gallons. I refilled them both twice and that was enough of a boost to get them on their way and draw out a good bit of the comb they needed. I think this allows the nurse bees to make maximum use of resources in building the hive while the foragers are learning their territory.

    http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeepin...es/page39.html

    They never swarmed again and are now both very strong hives building up fast.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,706

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

    No drones or drone brood yet.
    Installed the entrance feeder again as well. They are very active again! They have a new purpose again.
    I will remove the queen includer in a couple of weeks.

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