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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Haymarket, Virginia
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    Question Cold weather installation on foundation

    Given the near-term forecast, how would you suggest we manage packages picked up on Wednesday (3/20)? http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/man...eather/8252_pc

    We have no drawn combs, no frames of honey. The current plan is to hold them in the basement, and feeding 1:1 syrup until Friday. On Friday, we'll drive them to the beeyard, hive them in warm 10-frame deeps (with warmed frames) and place a gallon each of warmed syrup on the top bars of each hive. We'll reduce the entrances to the smallest opening, but I'm not sure what to do with the SBBs - the ground at the yard can get VERY boggy. Considering today's snow, I expect it to be swamp-like on Friday. Should we close the bottom boards? Keep them open? Not sure with feed open to the air inside the hive.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,341

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    If you put them in your basement and keep them dark and quiet and make sure they don't run out of food, you can keep them confined for quite some time. I usually refill the cans if I think they will be there a while. There are two types. One has a rubber grommet and a piece of cloth. These are quite easy to refill. The other just has small holes punched. These, I use a "church key" and put just big enough of a hole to get syrup to run in. Then I soften some beeswax or propolis and stop the hole with it and put the can back in. If you don't want to refill cans, you can spray some syrup on the screen once a day. Soak the screen pretty good and let them suck the syrup off. You could do that about twice for each package and they should not starve. If you do install when it's cold, you need to give them something they can take, that means whatever it is has to be against the cluster and either dry (like dry sugar) or warm (like syrup you warm up at least once a day so they can take it). You can warm syrup up to what you can stand to put your finger in without getting burned and they can take it very well. You would need to warm it once a day until things warm up. Remove the cold syrup and put it in a pan and warm it then put it back in the feeders. Feeders that they don't get into work well (jars, cans ect. with holes as opposed to frame feeders) because you can get the bees off of them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
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    2,948

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Michael's plan is a good one - but I've got to say "Welcome to agriculture!" Sometimes the only way to success is by ad libbing. Dark and quiet and don't let them run out of food. Keep them cool too. I'll bet you can keep them going in the package for close to ten days.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
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    197

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Thanks much for the feedback. We'll do the best we can with what nature throws at us.

    I got burned this month on my early plant starts as well. Some years you win, some you don't!

    **Edit**
    10 days would get us a LOT closer to better weather. It's something to think about. Regardless, I'm seriously considering to feed both warmed syrup and dry sugar with our lows in the 20s.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Haymarket, Virginia
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    197

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Our best bets weather-wise seem to be Saturday, and possibly Monday depending on when and how likely it is to rain. Meanwhile, my husband is concerned about the queen getting fed and/or her attendants dying.

    Do we need to give each queen cage a droplet of water or syrup at every feeding? My husband also wants to expose the candy plug. Not sure letting them work on the queen's candy is a good idea, but I'll ask the question.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,341

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    The cage is in the package is it not? The bees in the package will feed the queen. Odds are there are no attendants in the cage. There certainly don't need to be.

    Installing them when it's cold out isn't the worst option, it often keeps them from drifting or absconding, you just have to keep the syrup warm if the weather is cold. Also make sure the bees are warm when you install so they can crawl back up after you shake them in. If they are cold they could get chilled and not make it back up to the cluster.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    southwest colorado
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    How would that advice apply when the hive set-up is new and no comb has been drawn yet?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Stafford county,Virginia,USA
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    27

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    I'm getting my bees same time and place, I've made candy to put on them and will be using boardmans vice a top feeder until it warms up. Highs are suppose to be around 50 and they never get it right, so I'm going for it. Each hive will have a couple frames of drawn comb though. I'll have my bottom oil trap in but venting through the inner cover.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2012
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    Haymarket, Virginia
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    197

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Broadside - I had second thoughts about bringing them home with today's highs in the 50s, but we stuck with the plan. If they were staying at the house or I had drawn comb we definitely would've installed them today. For now, they're stashed in our basement fermentation and storage room. The ale temps seem to be good enough for the bees.

    All in all, I'm excited to have our first bees despite the unseasonable weather!
    http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/...-20-12_577.jpg

  10. #10
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    Mar 2012
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    Stafford county,Virginia,USA
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    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    I installed my three. Did not use any sugar spray due to the marginal temps, but everything went OK. As long as they snuggle up to the queen they should be good (queens looked a little small, but I haven't had young queens before, just old ones from a couple poor nucs). By the time I was done almost all the straggler bees had made it up into the hive (I kept them in the truck until ready to dump them in). I put a lot of candy and a pollen patty on them (some bees still had pollen on them!). I had to put my hive top feeders on empty just to have some space for the candy, I made it a bit too thick.
    Hopefully you can get them in this weekend, I think it's supposed to be a little warmer than tomorrow. FYI, the cans have one small hole for the bees to lap from (no fill plug), and there are attendants with the queen. The cork was a bear to get out...don't bother with the hive tool use a small nail or awe.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
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    197

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Thanks for the heads-up. Spent some time today making candy since it'll be mostly too cold for them to want syrup. I'll probably spray the foundation and sprinkle in some sugar tonight - anything to keep the food as close as possible. I keep trying to tell myself it's not a total loss if they don't make it since we'll have a nuc coming later this Spring, but I'd still feel bad about it.

    So we will install them tomorrow or Saturday. If they stay here much longer our dog will break down the door to our storage room and try to eat both packages. He's already enjoyed several sugar-coated hitchhikers that crawled under the door....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    New Kent County, Virginia, USA
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    4

    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    I’m new to all this; in any event, I also picked up two packages on 3/20 and hustled back home (just outside of Williamsburg) as fast as the law would allow. When I arrived it was a beautiful day warm and quiet, so I installed them; unfortunately, today is brutal it was snowing and the wind was howling, tonight it’s going to be in the mid 20’s, so I’m worried my Girls won’t break cluster to feed from the top feeder. The forecast is mid/low 50’s for the next several days with the nights in the 20’s. They were installed on new foundation, smallest reducer opening and bottom board in place. I'm thinking of blocking up the reducer and bringing both hives into the garage for the next week. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Last edited by NickW; 03-21-2013 at 07:04 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    > I'm thinking of blocking up the reducer and bringing both hives into the garage for the next week.

    I would wait on this to see what has happened with the feed levels each day. If the levels drop, clearly they can access the feeder. Make sure it doesn't run out. If you have to, you can swap out cold feed for warmed feed containers on a daily basis for a few days.
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Haymarket, Virginia
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    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Hived the packages today. They had maybe 1/2 a can of syrup left and started to build comb in the package - beautiful, fragile white stuff. I would've rubber banded it to a frame, but I have a feeling they'll build enough crazy comb as it is if they make it through the week.

    Bad news is I got called for two out of town medical appointments - they're extremely difficult to get, so I can't cancel. But that means no warmed syrup. Worse, the forecast calls for highs in the 40s with rain and snow for the next three days - won't be above 50 again until Friday. We left the feed cans on top of the frames along with our feed, pollen substitute, and hard candy.



    Lesson learned: If we have to buy packages again, it won't be for March delivery....

  15. #15
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    Apr 2006
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    Pepperell, MA.
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    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    As mentioned before, this is not the end of the world. I don't spray the bees with sugar water at all, I keep them warmish until I'm ready to hive, I shake them in quite quickly to be efficient. I hang the cage between two frames. Warm syrup on top and I'm done. From opening of the package to walking away it's maybe two minutes.
    Last edited by Ravenseye; 03-23-2013 at 06:08 PM. Reason: Editing to match thread topic
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  16. #16
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    Mar 2013
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    New Kent County, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    >
    I would wait on this to see what has happened with the feed levels each day. If the levels drop, clearly they can access the feeder. Make sure it doesn't run out. If you have to, you can swap out cold feed for warmed feed containers on a daily basis for a few days.
    I checked the feed level this morning, they had not taken a drop as far as I could tell, so I removed the feeders and did the Mountain Camp method misted with warm water, took a peak this afternoon and they were in a feeding frenzy poor things. Lots of activity outside the hives too; although, one hive seems to be doing much better than the other. Don't know why, both were installed the same way at the same time; in any event, two more days of cold rain/snow mix then a very slow warming trend. Thanks for your help ya'll.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kingston, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    I installed two packages last Monday, so far so good. Queens are out of the boxes but almost no wax has been blown on the foundation. It's been cool here all week (north Ga) and the forecast is just as bad for this coming week. So I'm putting a garage light under the nucs boxes tomorrow and adding more 2:1 sugar mixture to the top feeders. A 60 watt light blub will generate some needed heat for the coming week. Call me crazy but right now the bees are just wasting time and are too cold to work on the foundation.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Stafford county,Virginia,USA
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    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    The temp was just into the 50s Saturday and the bees were flying. I think as others have said they'll be fine even though we have several more days of cold weather. I could tell mine were taking the candy, there was lots of sugar dust in the beetle pan (I have Freeman beetle traps for my bottom boards). All three took some syrup (using boardmans until it warms up) Saturday. These were very good packages with lots of bees, a week delay in building isn't going to be the end of the world.


    (BTW the manage attachments tab isn't working for me, so I can't delete the attached photo....which I never attached in the first place.)
    Attached Images Attached Images

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Broadside, when using a 3rd party photo host, if you UN-click the checkbox on the URL tab on the "Insert Image" tool most likely you will avoid getting the attachment issue you referenced above.

    (But after you have already made the initial post, that won't help fix it.)
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Haymarket, Virginia
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    Default Re: Cold weather installation on foundation

    Broadside, nice looking yard!

    Quote Originally Posted by Broadside View Post
    These were very good packages with lots of bees, a week delay in building isn't going to be the end of the world.
    I have to agree. Even with this being our first packages, they were very full and few dead bees on the bottom. I felt pretty good about things until reading a post on FB about someone who already lost a hive. Guess we'll find out on Thursday. :S

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