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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
    4,010

    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
    1,473

    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
    449

    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
    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.

    Thanks for the info Ziva & the rest of you.

    I've got a sheltered deck and that's where I moved the hive. I'm trying to make fondant and I'll give it to the bees once done. Not sure of my race of bees but they're from New Zealand. I can't make a nuc as I don't have the tools to do so. I hope I don't lose these guys, you get so emotionally invested in this and the last thing I want is to lose them. My deck is warm, the temps at night on the deck will be 6c and during the day around 11c. I know it's not much of a temp difference but it could help.

  8. #8
    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.

    The sheltered deck sounds good. The main problem now is the bees not having comb. Without comb the queen can't lay eggs. The bees that came in the package will die off within 6 weeks, which is why there needs to be new bees being raised to replace the old ones that die. The bees won't build comb with fondant. They need 1:1 syrup for that, and warm enough temps to eat the syrup. You could try giving them warm syrup, in small enough amounts that they'll eat it before it gets cold, and then you need to keep giving them more warm syrup. It'll be labor intensive right now, but if it keeps them alive and they can make comb, it's worth it! Since you have the hive on your deck that makes it convenient for frequent checks. You can fill a small feeding jar with warm syrup and wrap it to keep it warm longer. Put it right next to the cluster and dribble a small amount of syrup (very small amount, just enough to let them know it's there!) so they can follow the trail to the jar. You could also use the baggie method but the syrup would cool off too fast.

    To help keep them warm, have the follower board close to the cluster, with about 5-6 bars available. Then fill the empty space behind the board with something insulating. I've used packing peanuts, a burlap bag filled with wood shavings, anything that works, so the bees have a smaller space to keep warm. Also something on top to keep heat from escaping. I have a burlap bag filled with wood shavings on the top bars of my TBH, with a roof over the filled bag. In the past I've also used one of those silver emergency blankets (forget what they're called) wrapped around the hive to hold in heat for a small cluster.

    Are your bees dark colour or light (golden) colour?

    Sorry for being so "wordy" but I feel so sad to lose bees, mine or anyone else.......especially since it's your first hive!

  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.

    Thanks again Ziva, this is what I did, I made a 600ml of 1:1 and wrapped 3 hand warmers (11hours of heat) around the jar and put it right next to the cluster of bees. Then I covered the hive with 2 emergency blankets. The queen is most likely alive. But I have a question should the bees be buzzing or something? they are all clustered in a big fat ball, the dead ones are on the ground, but I didn't see much buzzing or movement. The bees were a light golden colour.

    I'm going to switch the jar in 9 hours and again wrap it in hand warmers to keep it warm. I hope they don't die.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    509

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

    id bring them inside the house.use screen to cover the holes you also can take the lid off and use the screen to place over the top.also they will take the syrup better also you can buy some brood builder patties to place on top that should get them to start laying.hope that helps

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    422

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

    You can use a heating pad set at the low setting on the floor to warm the interior of the hive. I've always fed 2 to 1 syrup for the early packages also pollen patties are a must. Use a container that has floats in it so the bees don't drowned by placing floating wood chips or something similar. Then push it right up and even a little bit into the cluster. They must take feed at all times and it must be warm.

    That said the early packages can do fine if we have an early spring but normally they are best suited to be installed on already drawn combs that hold bee bread and honey.

    Keep them warm enough so that they can continuously take both feeds mentioned and keep your fingers crossed for warmer weather.

  12. #12
    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 vancity View Post
    Thanks again Ziva, this is what I did, I made a 600ml of 1:1 and wrapped 3 hand warmers (11hours of heat) around the jar and put it right next to the cluster of bees. Then I covered the hive with 2 emergency blankets.
    You're welcome vancity and what you did sounds really great!
    Quote Originally Posted by vancity View Post
    The queen is most likely alive. But I have a question should the bees be buzzing or something? they are all clustered in a big fat ball, the dead ones are on the ground, but I didn't see much buzzing or movement.
    It's normal not to hear buzzing while they're clustered. Once you get used to bee behavior at different times of year you'll be able to detect a slight "hum" sound while they're clustered, but not always. Sometimes you can't hear anything at all without a stethoscope. Anyway, nothing to worry about right now. The fact that they are clustered in a "big fat ball" means they're trying to keep warm.
    Quote Originally Posted by vancity View Post
    The bees were a light golden colour.
    You have Italians. They are more suited to southern warmer climates and since they're Italians it's even MORE IMPORTANT to keep them warm right now. Darker bees (brown, black) will work (forage when possible, build comb) in cooler temps but Italians don't. If they make it, it would be a good idea to re-queen in the summer with a Carniolan or locally adapted queen, but don't worry about that right now.

    I completely agree with what franktrujillo and Delta Bay said! Bring them inside or use a heating pad-----ESPECIALLY since they're Italians!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by vancity View Post
    I'm going to switch the jar in 9 hours and again wrap it in hand warmers to keep it warm. I hope they don't die.
    I hope they don't either!! But again, it's best to follow the advice of franktrujillo and Delta Bay. And, like they both said, pollen patties are a MUST! You can make your own until you can buy some. I (and everyone where I live) have always used 1:1 syrup in the spring for comb building (and 2:1 in the autumn for winter stores) but Delta Bay is closer to you and it's always good to do what is best for your location.

    To feed bees with no drowning, these are the best feeders! I always had drowned bees using floats in syrup, but with the rapid feeders never had 1 drowned bee! I use them in all my hives.

    http://www.beeworks.com/catalog/inde...products_id=14

    Like Delta Bay said, it's important to have the warm syrup right next to/into the cluster. Again, especially with Italians who don't/can't move much unless they're warm enough. So use the heating pad and/or bring them inside!

    Hang in there and don't give up!

  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.

    There are a zillion different recipes for pollen (substitute) patties. I've never used any before (lots of pollen around here so I never needed to) so someone who has could provide a better recipe and advise you on which store-bought brand to buy. But for now, until you can buy some, here is a recipe my friend gave me. Like I said, I've never tried it but she has for her bees when she lived in Texas:

    "1 1/2Cups fat-free organic soy flour
    1 1/2Cups brewer's yeast
    1/2t tea tree oil, can also use, spearmint or lavender optional-

    1 1/2Cup granulated cane sugar
    3/4Cup hot water

    mix dry ingred
    mix syrup ingred in another bowl
    slowly add dry mix to syrup. it will yield a stiff dough. press between two sheets of wax paper. on a warm (?)) day open the hive, remove wax paper and place patty on the top bars, above the cluster.
    can be frozen and thawed before use."
    She was using Langs, that's why she wrote about placing it above the cluster. I'm not sure how patties are fed in a TBH. Hopefully someone with experience feeding pollen patties can advise you!

  14. #14
    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.

    Want to give you all you guys a bear hug. I placed a heating pad on the bottom board and WE'VE GOT ACTIVITY!!!! The temperature of the hive is going to reach 21c, at this point it's around 15c. It's really rainy hear so I couldn't hear the buzzing and assumed the worst my brother took the initiative of putting a heating pad on. This is looking positive. I'm using a floating feeder but it's not a drowner, and it's looking like it'll hold for the time being. I'm going to place an order for the one you've recommended as all your recommendations have been great!!! The activity is minimal but it's still there and I think with time it'll increase, heck I don't think half the hive was dead more like 1/5 died. I'm going to switch to a 2:1 as Delta Bay has said. I'll post another update before I go to bed.

    Again even if this package is unable to survive, I'm still thankful for all the tips you've given me (especially Ziva, Delta Bay, and franktrujillo) you guys are all champs in my book.

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

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

    Yay!!!!! Activity!!!!!

    Yes, they will become more active as they get warmer---and eat more!! And the buzzing will increase as they get more active. You're doing great----keep up the good work!!

    This IS looking positive! Just continue to keep them warm and fed. That's great that the float feeder is working too. I think you'll love the rapid feeder. (It's really great to be able to add more syrup to it without bees getting inside the area where you pour the syrup at the top. They have access from the bottom but----oh, you'll see how it works when you get it . ) and the cover over it keeps any other critters (ants, earwigs, whatever) from getting in the syrup.

    As long as you keep doing what you're doing, I think they have as good a chance as any other package to survive!! Yay!!!

    Keep us posted!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    proctorsville, vermont
    Posts
    151

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

    well im feelin better now too. i was pretty bumed for ya when i first started reading the thread.
    thats the way i roll.

  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.

    Well their is some bad news and some good news. Bad news is my bloody heating pad as a 2 hours auto shut off, meaning I must put on an alarm for every two hours and sleep on the couch to keep it on, but I'm up for it as it's for the bees. Good news is they're even more awake now and really clustering around the feeder.


    I started the day in angst and depression that my bees would die, but I'm ending it and beginning a new day with vigor and might, ready to wake up every 2 hours to turn on the dang heating pad.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Baden Wurtemburg Germany
    Posts
    144

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

    Have a look at this switch, it will turn your heater off and on for you, but leave a 15 min gap between shut down and power on.

    http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-...1#.UTMVwtvkfyo

    maybe then you'll sleep better. Good luck

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    422

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

    I'm assuming you got your package from West coast Bee supplies in Richmond? You can get 1 lb pollen patties that are made with 15% pollen for a couple of bucks each there. The Pattie can be pinned to the sloped wall up near the top and also pushed slightly into the cluster. Half a Pattie at a time and replace before the first half is completely gone.

    The reason for feeding 2 to 1 is because the 1 to 1 will make the interior of the hive too damp. With 2 to 1 they will collect only the water they need from close by near the hive which is plentiful now.

    It looks like we will be having a good bee day today which will allow most of them to get out at some point to relieve themselves.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

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

    You have to consider this from the perspectives of the bees. Given that you are in CD an this is a package we are talking about... Those bees were likely in 36c temps in lovely New Zealand last week. Now they are in wet and cold Canada.. they are pretty depressed about that
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

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