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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Finally found the cluster!

    I peeked under the cover of the hive this afternoon, and found the cluster quite easily: smack in the middle of the upper super. My understanding is that this means that they've pretty much eaten everything else. I'm not sure how fast they'll go through the 8 frames that are there (all they filled before Winter), but I'm starting to think about feeding in the near future. My mentor was right, and I'm certainly glad I added that extra super in the late Summer! I'll try to open the hive this week to get a better look at the situation.

    I was a little dismayed to see a couple of drops of water on the screen over the bee escape. I guess I need to do a little better with ventilation.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    386

    Default Re: Finally found the cluster!

    Splatt,

    It is better to give your girls a little emergency feed than to lose them during the next 30 days. They may have honey stores a frame away but will not break cluster to get to it because of the low temperature. You might consider emergency feeding by either the Mountain Camp Method (MCM), or "Ted's Mush" (three pounds of sugar plus one cup of water) on top of the inner cover and near the central hole.

    I'm confused with your comment "couple of drops of water on the screen over the bee escape". Can you explain that a little better?
    I assume that you have a lower entrance, an upper entrance, a screened bottom board or all of them for ventilation. The upper entrance will assist in the venting of moisture from the hive in the winter.

    Steve

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Finally found the cluster!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bear Creek Steve View Post
    I'm confused with your comment "couple of drops of water on the screen over the bee escape". Can you explain that a little better?
    Sure. During the season I screened the bee escape to close off the top entrance but still provide ventilation. I never took the screen off at the season's end. For the Winter I inverted the inner cover (providing an upper entrance via the notch in the IC) and shimmed it to make a gap two Popsicle sticks deep all around (providing ventilation), then placed the TC on that. The TC has a 3/4" layer of expanded polystyrene on it. When I pulled the TC off this afternoon, there were a few drops of water on the screen over the bee escape. It looks like there is some moisture laden air passing through the screened bee escape, condensing on the TC, and dripping back down.

    I didn't see any water in the hive proper, and everything looked dry, but I wonder if I should do more for moisture control.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    386

    Default Re: Finally found the cluster!

    Splatt,

    I'm assuming that the "bee escape" is the oval hole in the middle of the IC and you have a screen secured over that hole. If you have the "notch" on the IC downward and also have popsicle stick shims between the bottom of the IC and the next super below there should be plenty of ventilation for moisture out through both of those openings. You should be OK. I would guess that there is a small amount of moist warm air passing up through the hole in the IC with screen, becoming trapped under the OC and condensing on the cooler metal screen. That should be minimal, but if you are concerned about it you could add a couple of popsicle sticks between the top of the IC and the bottom of the OC to vent moist air within that void.

    Steve

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Finally found the cluster!

    Lift the back of the hive and see how heavy it is. If it feels like empty boxes, it probably is. If it does not, they probably have some food left.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Finally found the cluster!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bear Creek Steve View Post
    I'm assuming that the "bee escape" is the oval hole in the middle of the IC and you have a screen secured over that hole.
    Correct. For some reason I think of that hole as the bee escape!
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Finally found the cluster!

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Lift the back of the hive and see how heavy it is.
    Could hardly lift it.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    386

    Default Re: Finally found the cluster!

    Splatt,

    The term "bee escape" is generally defined as a device which permits the bees to proceed in one direction but not return. It is commonly used to remove (most of) the bees from a full super of honey that the beekeeper is intending to take off for harvest. They are commonly about 98% efficient. The process may take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days so they are commonly put into place on the hives the day before one intends to harvest.

    There are several types in common use. One is called a Porter bee escape and consists if a pair of thin springy metal "reeds" which allow the bee to pass in one direction but not return. It is placed in the oval hole in the inner cover with a full super of honey above, and an OC on top. This can be on the parent hive or elsewhere in the bee yard with provisions for egress from the bottom of the hole in the IC. The downside of the Porter bee escape is the delegate adjustment of the reeds resulting in bees getting stuck in the exit and thus blocking it up. Sometimes multiple Porter escapes are installed in additional holes made in the IC.

    A second and far more efficient form of bee escape is called a triangular or vortex escape. This is similar in size and appearance to an IC except there is a maze of triangular paths on the bottom side which the bees must negotiate to escape. Do some homework on your own to understand the theory on how it works. It's interesting. I commonly use the triangular bee escape when I harvest and within an hour or so all but a couple of the bees are gone from the super. Sure beats removing frame by frame and brushing each frame.

    Hope this information is helpful to you. I build all of my triangular bee escapes and they are easy to make.

    Steve

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Finally found the cluster!

    >Could hardly lift it.

    Then I see no reason to feed them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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