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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    43

    Default Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Hi,

    I received my package on Feb 28, all of Feb was fairly sunny and warm (4c at night 10c during the day) I got my package and installed it on 28th, it was bloody pouring rain. It's been pouring ever since! I checked on my hive today and just my luck, half of the bees were dead and the other half were balled trying to keep warm. Temps have been 4c at night and 10c during the day. Is it safe to say I lost these guys ? Should I order another package for April? I'm really upset to see this happen, spent $200 on the package which was supposed to arrive in March 3rd but came on Feb 28th. Any tips would really help!

    Sigh......

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Do you have other hives?
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    No, this is my first year of beekeeping, not a fun start. I don't know why the bees are dieing, I got them feed from the beekeeper I bought the bees from, they've only taken a quarter of the feed about 200mL. I would really like this package to succeed but odds aren't on my side.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,526

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Wow, that sure is early for a package, particularly for some place that far north. I don't see how a package could make it in Canada in the middle of the winter, since they would have no comb or stores. There is little for them to work, I assume you would feed them, but with the temps that cold I think it would be fairly hopeless. You may want to see if there is someone that could combine the bees with their hive and then start over once it gets warmer, maybe they would give you a split or something in return.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Vancity,
    That is pretty early to get bees, that being said your problem is what to do now. When it is cold the girls can not / do not consume or use the syrup you are feeding them. I would make some fondant candy and get that on top of them as soon as possible. They can use the candy when it is cold and keep warm with it. I am not sure how many bees you have left and or if it is enough to keep them alive. Worse thing is you try to feed them the fondant and they don't make it. Best case is they are able to pull through and get you rolling for spring.
    Hope this helps
    Jason
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Island county, Washington, USA
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Hi Vancity,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your situation, and I agree with what everyone else has said. But don't lose hope yet! I live on one of those wild, wet, windy islands south of Vancouver Is. and I know the difficulties. I have mostly Warrés, but my one kTBH has been in a shelter protected from the wind and rain since day 1. It's in it's third year now and doing great (even though it only gets morning sun---on the rare occasion there IS sun!). Better than my warrés which are not sheltered.

    Do you have a sheltered area to put your TBH? Basement, attic, garage....? Some place where you can keep them warm enough to take syrup so they can draw comb and stay alive? (They can eat fondant, but they won't draw comb with it). Can you, or someone you know, make an emergency TBH nuc to put them in? Something small enough that you can bring in the house (to keep them warm/dry) with the entrance rigged to a window/opening for access outside? I know it sounds crazy but I and others have done it before. If that isn't possible, do you have a small tent, or tarps you can rig a tent with, and put the hive near the house so you can put a heat source in the tent? A small space heater or plant heater to keep the temps at ~ 10C day and night?

    What kind/race of bees do you have?

    Sorry my advice sounds pretty 'out there' , but in an emergency all options are on the table!

    The best idea, that someone else already said, would be if there was someone with a hive you could combine yours with and then do a split when the weather is better.

    *fingers crossed*

    Please keep us posted!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,990

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Isn't Vancouver BC Canada far up north where it is still cold and snowy? Wasn't it months too early to order a bee package? Even down here we don't get our packages that early.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    The southwestern corner of BC has pretty mild winters. When and if it snows it doesn't stick around for long, many times melting by the next day. Our biggest issue is rain. The year we hosted the winter Olympics the bees were flying almost every day working hazel starting Jan. 15th. This year it started about mid Feb and the pussy willow and early cherry are not far off blooming.

    As far as the packages go I wouldn't recommend them. Instead I would wait until late May and look for someone to shake a package of local bees and a queen.

    Comparing them to a 4 frame June 1st nuc, the nuc will out perform the early package most every time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Delta Bay your advice so far has been great, yup I got the package from Bob really nice guy. What do you think the odds of survival are for my package? The queen is alive and well, the bees are flying and relieving themselves. Now that they've relieved them selves I think they'll start eating. What would you say the odds of survival are in our current climate? The day today is great and the next two look decent as well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Quote Originally Posted by vancity View Post
    Delta Bay your advice so far has been great, yup I got the package from Bob really nice guy. What do you think the odds of survival are for my package? The queen is alive and well, the bees are flying and relieving themselves. Now that they've relieved them selves I think they'll start eating. What would you say the odds of survival are in our current climate? The day today is great and the next two look decent as well.
    If they are taking their feed very good, they should do just fine. They should be taking about 1 1/2 to 2 liters per week once they get a little comb built. Seeing that they came as 2 lbs of bees 1 1/2 liters is a reasonable amount but they will need to build comb for some storage area first. Once they have built some comb they will start to take more syrup as of now their bellies are full and will have to process it into wax. The key is that they always have easy access to warm feed and that they are taking it.

    Are you sure it was the queen you saw and not a drone? It's unusual that the queen would leave the hive for a fly about.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Alright guys so far so good. Hive is at a constant temperature of 25c, again we had great weather today and the bees were fly about. I haven't opened the hive so I have no idea if they're taking syrup nor have I checked the pollen patty. But their is 750mL of syrup, so it should last till Friday, and if they're is good weather Friday I'll check on the status of the feeder. That's about it for now, I'll post an update on Friday.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    No it wasn't a drone it had a massive red dot marker. I've set the temperature of my heater to 25c, should I increase it to 32c because average hive temp should be 34.5c or should I not? I don't have to open the hive to adjust temp the heating controller is outside the hive.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Island county, Washington, USA
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Isn't Vancouver BC Canada far up north where it is still cold and snowy? Wasn't it months too early to order a bee package? Even down here we don't get our packages that early.
    Since the OP's name is "vancity" I'm assuming the location is Vancouver City which is lower BC ~Lat49. I'm on an island just south of there (I can see Vancouver Is from here) and we have more rain than snow. In fact it didn't snow at all this year (well, just a little bit) but we have 9-10 months of constant rain. Today's high forecast is 10c (45F). It's been raining and really windy the past few days (lots of whitecaps/rough looking ocean) but today there's a bit of sun poking through the mostly clouds.

    Our packages are being flown in by cessna in April. They always arrive in April and it's always raining when they're hived. We have to feed up to July (when the sun decides to come out for more than a few hours or days at a time).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Got to go with Ziva, temps are not that bad, equal to my mid-April when most packages arrive (because of Georgia seasons). When shipped with syrup, packages can arrive very wet, and very full. My first packages I installed upon returning home as temps were going to drop. Should have kept them inside and let them clean off and dry out. My bees that froze looked like frosted flakes, sugar coated. Wet bees freeze fast.

    Now that the bees are settled in a little bit, the question is how long before some pollen is available. If there is anything available they will fly in low 40's to mid 40's depending on hive. Rain will keep them home, but an hour of dry will get them out.

    My concern is that you get the bees laying too heavily before the season starts. Local, local ,local on that call. If you need to hold them off for more than 3 weeks, light on the sub and dry sugar on a sheet of paper on top of the frames will keep them fed.

    After they have a little comb or foundation, I would not worry too much about keeping the heat on. If they have brood and it gets cold, maybe give them a shot of heat, they should be doing fine without the heat in the 30's and 40's.
    Last edited by Saltybee; 03-03-2013 at 01:24 PM. Reason: had to run

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Island county, Washington, USA
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    My concern is that you get the bees laying too heavily before the season starts. Local, local ,local on that call. If you need to hold them off for more than 3 weeks, light on the sub and dry sugar on a sheet of paper on top of the frames will keep them fed.
    But it's a hTBH so there are no frames and zero comb or foundation. The top bars are butted together (forming a 'roof') so there's no access for the bees to move up between the bars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    After they have a little comb or foundation, I would not worry too much about keeping the heat on. If they have brood and it gets cold, maybe give them a shot of heat, they should be doing fine without the heat in the 30's and 40's.
    Even for Italians? I don't know because up here in this cool, rainy climate I've only had Carniolan, Carniolan/mutt mix. Once, I got a package that was supposed to have a carni queen, but the queen was Italian. Those bees rarely left the hive due to the cool temps and rain,(and had to be fed constantly) but the Carni's were out foraging anyway. I requeened as soon as possible with a Carni and then the hive started doing well.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Slide a bar on the edge of the cluster a little apart if you have a little space above. Dry below with a little sprinkle to get it set will work as well. It all depends on how long you need to stall. I would not worry about syrup in the short term. I would use it (probably 5/3), but I am just guessing how long to forage.
    Bees with brood will not travel off the brood to get feed if it gets cold. when they starve with honey on the next frame. That is my concern with early bees, sub and syrup.
    Yes, 30's and forties to install does work. Some Italians will fly at 41, 42. Others 46 or so. Bare frames is tough. If I had to do TBH again without comb and with early bees it would be in a TBH nuc of some kind, at least for those first few frames to get drawn. Even cardboard followers would help. Later would have been better, if possible. Straight ahead now.
    Switching to carnis makes sense, just not now.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    I want to update you guys on the status today. The day is currently beautiful temps hitting 13c (which is quite nice). I took of the blanket and guess what the queen flew out and then flew back in (I guess for fresh air?) and then hundreds of bees began to take relief flights and put a nice brown speckled pattern on my deck. They aren't eating much feed and only took about 75 ML but I think they'll change and start eating, I've dropped a pollen patty and they seem to be taking to it. Weather is looking great for the next 2 days (sunny and mild). Not much comb action yet but I'll wait and see. But they're really flying and exploring the environment which is awesome.

    But I honestly didn't think the queen would be alive, but she is and that's a big relief.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Baden Wurtemburg Germany
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Have I got this right,
    They have enough syrup and sub for 10 days or so.
    They are warm, blanket and heater.
    They have free access 24/7
    the weather looks good for a few days.

    You have done well, in fact there is not much more you can do. Now they need warmth, food and peace and quiet to build comb. You might consider a hands off approach until you see pollen coming in, if available in your area. Every time the hive is opened valuable heat is lost and they need high temps to build comb. No comb, no brood and the colony will die.

    Keep them fed and warm
    Good luck

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Vancity, Stephenbird says it well. You have saved them. Just do not try to push them ahead of the weather, too much help can do that. When the natural stuff starts coming in they will take it from there.

    Sprinkle with a little water, just enogh to make it a little crusty it starts them on it and keeps them from carrying it out. Mister works best, sugar water in a mister will keep them calm when working.
    Last edited by Saltybee; 03-03-2013 at 04:41 PM. Reason: missed question

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Got my package in February 28 2013, check my hive today not good. Please help.

    Not really, It's quite mild here, we didn't get any snow this year!

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