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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Mapleton, Utah, Utah
    Posts
    2

    Default Mystery: New pkg gone bees remaining sickly - Help

    SITUATION
    All new hive equipment. 3lb package of bees hived 1 week ago. In hive feeder full of fresh syrup. Chunk of Nutra-Bee feed supplement on top of brood chamber frames surrounded by an empty box. We saw a lot of activity recently but hadn't checked the last couple days.

    Today (one week after hiving the package) we inspected it for the first time. Found only a few hundred lethargic bees in the hive clustered on the middle frames. Lethargic bees don't hardly seem to even be able to walk around, only a few can fly. Some heads down in the comb cells with little energy to get out. No dead bees piled outside the hive. A few hundred dead bees on the bottom screen (many may have been from inside the package box and were just never pushed out).

    No queen that we could find. Queen got out of the cage fine and laid a lot of eggs in a nice consistent pattern. Colony drew out a lot of comb and started filling a considerable number of cells with pollen and nectar. No evidence of any disease, mold, no animal scratches on front of hive. Bees consumed half of the syrup in the feeder.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,690

    Default Re: Mystery: New pkg gone bees remaining sickly - Help

    Welcome to Beesource!

    Well, its not clear what the issue is, at least to me. This may be off the wall, but how do your neighbors feel about the bees?

    Perhaps you could clarify how you happen to be feeding Nutra-Bee. You sound like a hobbyist, yet my understanding is that Nutra-Bee is typically only available in large quantities. Could you actually be feeding a different, but perhaps similar, supplement? Or do you have a connection with a commercial beekeeper, perhaps?
    Graham
    --- Victor Hugo - "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Mystery: New pkg gone bees remaining sickly - Help

    Chunk of Nutra-Bee feed supplement on top of brood chamber frames surrounded by an empty box.
    Can you clarify this for me? I read it as if you have the following setup: bottom board, brood chamber, empty box, then hive cover...with no cover between the brood chamber and top box. In other words, I'm thinking that your brood chamber has no cover on it, just an empty box on top to allow for the feeder to sit on top of the frames.

    I'm probably wrong, but if I'm not, your bees might have been unable to stay warm enough if you had a chilly night in Utah. What with all the empty space above them.
    Try it. What could happen?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Mystery: New pkg gone bees remaining sickly - Help

    I think J Stinson is on the right track what kind of feeder do you have? It might be to cold for them to take the syrup? I don't fully know your set up or the temps there?
    All beekeepers can agree on one thing, and that one thing is, that all beekeepers can't agree on one thing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Mapleton, Utah, Utah
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Mystery: New pkg gone bees remaining sickly - Help

    Quote Originally Posted by beehonest View Post
    I think J Stinson is on the right track what kind of feeder do you have? It might be to cold for them to take the syrup? I don't fully know your set up or the temps there?
    Yes I had a 10 frame deep brood box on top of a screened bottom board. An empty deep was on top of the brood box and it contained the in-hive feeder and protected the lump of Nutra-bee (same stuff used professionally, I bought a 5lb bag at IFA). On top of that was the inner and outer covers.

    Temps the last couple days have been cold at night - into the low 30s, with 50-60 days time temps. There has been a steady low wind as well.

    The lack of approx 10,000 bees and the queen is what has me puzzled. I had only a few hundred lathargic beefs on the comb and enough dead bee bodies in the bottom screen as you would find in a 3lb package. None outside the hive. I didn't think a hives that was establishing itself with a laying queen, eggs, nectar, pollen cells etc would up and leave.

    Neighbors aren't a problem, it's a rural area and our yard has a 6ft locked fence outside of a hedge around it prohibiting entry.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,695

    Default Re: Mystery: New pkg gone bees remaining sickly - Help

    Screened bottom board, bees got cold or left.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,408

    Default Re: Mystery: New pkg gone bees remaining sickly - Help

    If the bees aren't above 50 F they will be lethargic because of the temperature. If the syrup doesn't make it above 50 F they can't eat it, so they will starve and starvation will make them lethargic. With a package which has no stores and cold weather you need to heat the syrup at least once a day so they can take some and prevent starvation.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Mystery: New pkg gone bees remaining sickly - Help

    Really sorry about your bees. Beekeeping is tough. Unfortunately, some lessons are learned the hard way. Next time separate the bottom and top box with an inner cover and put your feeder on top of that. The bees will walk up there and take it if it's warm enough for them to break cluster.
    Try it. What could happen?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,695

    Default Re: Mystery: New pkg gone bees remaining sickly - Help

    and cover up a screened bb in temps that low.

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