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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bristol, Pa
    Posts
    26

    Default trying to figure out where I went wrong and stop if from happenning again

    Hello,

    First time keeper here. Have a top bar hive. Started with a queen and 5 pounds of drone.

    All was going well. At one time I had 30+ bars of brood with honey at the top 2-3". My box was 48" long and I had 1/2 to 3/4 of it with bees. Bees would orientate like crazy in the afternoon. You could feel the heat when you opened the lid.

    Then one day, I saw my first beetle and flies. Then the number of bees started dwindling. A couple of times, I took out any of the brood comb that had flies or maggots on it and cut down the opening of the box. My opening was originally 3/4 x 4.

    I was feeding them sugar/water for a couple days to try to keep them home and keeping pests out of the box.

    Then one day, there were only ten bees in the box. I am guessing that there was a queen and the rest of the bees left with her.

    I did have an oil trap and it was killing more bees than beetles and flies. My screen on the bottom of my TBH was made of plastic. When hot, it would buckle and make openings that bees could leave through the bottom. Do most people use plastic or metal screening for the bottom? I know I need a better design for my oil trap also. I was relying on the plastic screening but it was not bee proof.

    I did have those home made corrugated pvc borax style traps with crisco for the whole summer. not one beetle ate the crisco and got to the borax. I also tried the cd case ones with borax and honey mixture. not one in those traps either.

    Early in the summer, I had an ant problem. Diatamaceous earth all over the ground stopped that problem. I am sure it cost me some bees, but when you have over 50k bees it was not a consideration.

    I also plan on making new legs for the TBH. I will use fence posts. I plan on making two small bends in aluminum sheet. One will have cinnamin in it and the other will have DE in it. This way, pests would have to crawl through cinnamin (for ants) and then through DE to get to the hive. I would put a rain drip edge over the two sections so rain would not wash them away. Does height have anything to do with the ability of hive beetles to get back to the nest?

    It was frustrating considering that I was so close to being able to harvest. When my bees left, they took everything with them including the honey that was there two days earlier.

    Any suggestions appreciated. I can post photos if needed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,082

    Default Re: trying to figure out where I went wrong and stop if from happenning again

    Leon, I am going to assume that you started with a 5 pound package of workers, drones and one queen, and yes pictures are very beneficial to solving mystery's such as yours, it takes some of the guess work out of it. First off I wanted to say that if the plastic parts at the bottom of the hive was warping and you could feel the heat when opening the hive I would guess that your bees were way to hot inside the hive and probably absconded on you, and the hive was robbed, when conditions inside the hive get to be unbearable to the bees they will leave. The next time you set up the hive it might be best to place it in a more shaded area or under some type of small roof and perhaps upper ventilation as well.

    The maggots could be from the flies although beetle larvae look similar to fly larvae if you are not familiar with them, your hive may have had more beetles than you were aware of. I am not familiar with dietamaceous earth but I don't think that it would be the cause of your hive absconding.

    I am saddened by your loss, as a fellow beekeeper I know the amount of care and time it takes to get your hive as far as you have and it is always disappointing to loose them and your honey crop, keep your chin up there is always next spring which is not that far off.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: trying to figure out where I went wrong and stop if from happenning again

    Sorry for your loss.
    a couple of questions - where is the hive, in full sun or partial or shade?
    why not use 8 mesh galvanized screening for the bottom? it comes in 100 ft rolls,, and it is somewhat the standard size for screen bottom boards - beetles can fall through but bees cant. ( make sure you do something to ensure the bees cant get to the oil from the sides or bottom)

    is what you have as larvae crawling around hive beetle larvae or is it wax moth?

    I am running over 40 hives,, all in the full sun all day,, and I am not having a beetle problem

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryville, tn, usa
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: trying to figure out where I went wrong and stop if from happenning again

    I hope this doesn't get kicked out... But this is a reason to start with a standard lang hive first. Is you top bar hive have good air flow this is required to cure honey and prevent disease in winter, however, if your hive was truely to hot for the bees I would think you would see lotsa bearding before they up and left. Maggots from flies, if you are seeing this your problem happen weeks ago flies wont enter a hive unless it is already nasty from small hive beetles and moths however as stated above the grubs of these to problem species do look somewhat like a large maggot. Keep the hive (s) in the sun moving to shade will make the hive beetle problem worse. Get two hive so you can compare growth and problems and use the second as a resource for re building.
    Diatomaceous earth shouldnt cause any problems with the bees i am a little supprized it helped with the ants, slugs and snails sure anyway hope next year goes better study up on what small hive beetle larva and wax moths larva look like.

    Daniel

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bristol, Pa
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: trying to figure out where I went wrong and stop if from happenning again

    I was not commenting that I think heat was a problem. I was just commenting that it was a way to tell they were healthy.

    I never saw any moths in the hive. A few would circle the TBH, but the bees would knock them around and they would fly away.

    https://plus.google.com/photos/10623...75720738200513

    google somehow got rid of my picasa preferences and jammed this google+ crap on me.

    Sunlight until noon, then partial sun til sunset.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,345

    Default Re: trying to figure out where I went wrong and stop if from happenning again

    Quote Originally Posted by leonphelps View Post
    I was not commenting that I think heat was a problem. I was just commenting that it was a way to tell they were healthy.
    I never saw any moths in the hive. A few would circle the TBH, but the bees would knock them around and they would fly away.
    Ive never been able to use heat coming from the hive as a tool to tell the health of a hive, kind of lost me on this one?? The sound the bees make when I lift the cover and activity at the entrance are signs I look for on the health of the hive.

    You usually wont see the moths..........but you will see the "webs", tunnels through the comb and wax moth larva. I will see a moth once in a while in my ventilated inner cover, but its very rare.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Pinehurst, NC
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: trying to figure out where I went wrong and stop if from happenning again

    Quote Originally Posted by leonphelps View Post
    Sunlight until noon, then partial sun til sunset.
    I think this is not a lot of sun.

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