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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    West Baden, Indiana
    Posts
    19

    Default Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    My wife and I got a hive from her parents for Christmas last year. They have been busily working away. I went outside today and found this!





    What do I need to do??
    I've never opened a hive by myself, but I'm not afraid to try.

    We bought a starter kit to add another hive soon. It is currently empty. It has one super and a base and lid, etc.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    If it is warm they may be too hot and 'bearding'. Do you have any local bee clubs or a local beekeeper who can help you open and see what you should look for?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    West Baden, Indiana
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    Quote Originally Posted by CaBees View Post
    If it is warm they may be too hot and 'bearding'. Do you have any local bee clubs or a local beekeeper who can help you open and see what you should look for?
    It is 80 here today.
    There is a "kinda" local club. I'll see what I can do there....

    Any other advice??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    Well I am 'fairly' new myself but the best way to learn is from classes with other beekeepers or get a mentor. Also the youtube videos are good, like the fat bee man etc. The blogs and books, Michael Bush in particular.

    But it is also great weather for you to suit up, get a little smoke going and pop the top off and see how full your box is. If it is completely packed then get a medium up there as soon as possible. Steps to look and please anyone correct me:

    Pop the top a crack and put in a little bit of smoke, pop down the lid and wait 10 - 20 seconds.
    Open it up and CAREFULLY remove an end frame...straight up try to not squish anyone.
    Set down leaning agains something, from there you can move the next frame toward you and lift to look at.
    You are looking to see what is in there. The outside may be honey. Inner frames may be brood, pollen.
    Always keep them in the same order; always work gently, slowly, carefully.
    Roaring noises from the hive means put it all back quickly and move away!

    good luck and let us know what you find out!
    the more you do this, the more confident you will get. You could very well be ready for your second hive...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    West Baden, Indiana
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    I know there is room in the top super for 3-4 more frames. We left them out so I could put some ziplock feeders in. So should I put those empty frames in? Switch the top and bottom supers?
    Would they swarm this late in the day?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,044

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    Who tends your bees? They're bearding right now, my guess is because the entrance is reduced and they need more ventilation. Open up that entrance, I don't think they need the reducer anymore.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    Yes, put the frames in or they will build comb from the top board and you will have a mess! Remember bees may not fill up the entire box and may leave the outside frames free, they want to go up!
    Yes they would swarm this late but I think yours are bearding. JRG13 is correct, more ventilation needed too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    West Baden, Indiana
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    My in-laws brought this hive down in January, so I haven't had to do anything to it yet.

    It has been cool here at night, in the 30's, so I still had the reducer in. I'll go out and remove that.....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,044

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    I got ya, but once bees are actively brooding and your population looks good, you don't need to worry about those cooler nights if your days are hitting 80's. You have enough bees to keep the hive warm. If you don't want to remove it, you can shim the top a little as well to let more air out the top. If you're really nervous about going into the hive, adding an extra box with frames will help to, but I'd be checking for swarming if the hive is really full right now. Here's my tip, bring an extra box and bottom board with you. I set it on the ground next to me. I remove the first frame from the box, look it over and set it into the empty box next to me. Now you have room to work the rest of the box easily. You can pull the second frame and put it into the box as well if you need more room to work with, just makes things easier, and you won't be squishing bees trying to put the frame on it's side etc... or just lying it on the ground. No need to reverse boxes either if they're occupying them both, I don't know why people encourage that. The only time to reverse boxes really is when the bottom one is empty come spring.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    West Baden, Indiana
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    Ok. I took the reducer board out of the opening and propped the top up, maybe that will help with ventilation.

    My wife is out of town for the night and I am on call for work and have to go back in shortly, so I can't really do much more.
    I guess I'll just pray and cross my fingers...

    Thanks for the help.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    826

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    Patrick: Looks like you are well on your way to a happy and healthy colony! Solid advice provided already. Remove the entrance reducer for sure. (Put on a pair of gloves...it will be propolised in place, so there will be definate resistance when you try to pull it out. This will help reduce the congestion at the entrance. Beware of removing the top by yourself the first time, especially since the upper box didn't have all the frames in there (for several months???). You WILL have comb built on the inner cover or lid. You need to get in the hive for a closer look, but seriously, if at ALL possible, please don't try to do it alone. If things go bad your first time, it can really intimidate you for the future. You said the hive was a gift...do they keep bees also? DO suit up. Since you already have another empty hive, it may be advisable to do a "split", but a split is beyond the knowledge of somebody doing their first hive inspection, IMO. Remove the entrance reducer, and keep an eye on them. Looks like you have a very full hive, IMO. They need attention, for sure, but proceed with assistance if you can find it. Bee keepers are a great bunch, and I will be surprised if you can't find somebody willing to assist (but don't waste time in trying to find somebody!).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    West Baden, Indiana
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    Entrance reducer removed.
    Just went out and checked on them again. Still lots of bees around the entrance, but all the ones that were on the outside are gone (inside? flown away? who knows)
    I took the lid off and peeked through the hole in the cover, bees everywhere. Some coming out of the hole in the cover....
    You can't see it in the pictures, but there is a shallow (?) super above the two deep supers shown. When I peeked in, there was not any hive I could see attached to the inner cover.

    Now, I just have to find where my wife put my smoker.....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,044

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    They didn't fly away, they went back inside and it's probably cooler now so they don't need to be outside 'bearding'. What you see is perfectly normal in a strong hive when temps start rising above 80 and with the entrance reducer on, they couldn't get enough ventilation to keep the hive cool so somebody has to go sit outside for awhile...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    West Baden, Indiana
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Help! I think my bees are leaving!

    Much happier bees, and me today.




    Lots of pollen being carried in.

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