Breaking foundationless comb and dropping it in the box with angry bees;
Trying to remove dropped comb out of the box, honey everywhere, bees stuck to the comb...
Successfully fishing out the comb (with bees) from the box and immediately dropping it on the ground...
Stepping on the dropped comb with bees... and walking around not noticing...
moving two hives box-by-box at night to the new location...
I told you - my bees ARE real survivors!
At night, moving swarm from the box into TBH and not noticing that most of the bees were adhered to the side of the box - dropping supposedly empty box on the ground covered with thick layer of pine-needles... bees dropped from the box into the pine-needles... scooping bees WITH pine-needles (flashlight) and placing them into the hive... at night ... by hands ...no single sting ... bees were attacked by ants (in pine-needles), oil cups (bees are in oil), removing the pine-needles from the hive along with the dead bees...
Taking perfectly sound advice and applying it perfectly incorrectly.
4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.
Opening up a hive in February(in eastern WA)...I thought my hive was dead..tons of dead bees, no sound in hive(whereas a week before there were signs of life). I started tearing it apart and discovered a small cluster--and then they were really dead. I brought the top box into the house because it had a lot of honey and discovered that the queen was still alive(she was above the cluster and I had separated her from then when I took the box off). There was no saving this hive.
Also I will not wrap the hive again. During a warm spell I believe the cluster had broken and didn't have enough time to get back together.
Going in and giving sugar water with no protection...one little guard bee followed me back to the house and went up my shirt, down my pants and into my britches...eek...my hubby and dtr had quite a laugh when they saw me stripping down in the living room. The poor little thing tried to sting me on the back end, but didn't succeed. She of course gave her life for the hive.
Not me, but a customer of mine trying to figure out why his package failed. after 15 minutes I finaly found out he was opening the hive EVERY DAY and rearranging the frames. read somewhere he had to do that to stop swarming..... poor queen never did get to lay...
Mods - could you please make this a sticky/pinned thread for complete newbs like me? Some good info in here that I would hate to see get lost over time.
I'm the dude, so that's what you call me.
Forgetting the sage advice:
"There are 40,000 women in that box you are trying to make happy"
Second the motion of making sticky
I'm too inexperienced to know what mistakes I've made, but I'm sure I've made some.
Well, there were probably a good number of them throughout my first season if you asked the bees, but my own personal highlight was learning that warnings that bees get "testy" as fall sets in is extremely accurate. My bees were so docile through the summer that I was regularly going down there in shorts and bare feet - no smoker or sugar spray needed and I could have a nice leisurely inspection. One cool September afternoon, those docile sweeties turned into an evil horde that sent me screaming with a good 20 stingers (all OVER!).
Standing in front of a hive with shorts, no socks on cleaning up the hive next to it and bumping it. Granted, it was dusk and cool out but regardless, 4 bees on the ankle immediately stinging away and yes, I can still run!
My biggest newbie mistake, was feeding. We hived the packages, and then put on feed, which is good. After they built out on 7 of the frames, we added a second box of frames, still good. But, they weren't building comb as fast as we wanted them to, so, we kept topping up the feeder, even with a flow running (we didn't realize there was a flow at the time, to new). They were foraging for nectar, and hauling feed out of the feeder, backfilled the broodnest and swarmed.
I have since learned, the bees will build comb, and lots of it, when there is a flow on. When there is no flow, they wont build much / any comb. If you insist on feeding them, when they are not short of food, then they will swarm. This is why so many newbies have packages swarm early, they feed and feed, but the bees dont have space to store it all, so backfill into the broodnest, and then half of them fly away with the queen.
Now, if we want more comb, we take a completely different tack. Prepare a box full of empty frames, and then wait patiently for the dandelions to show. Once the dandies have started to bloom, put that box on top of a hive, pull one frame of comb up into the new box, place one of the empties down in it's place, put the lid back on, and wait patiently. The comb will come, and, plopping a feeder on top will actually hinder the process rather than expedite it, because it'll just get bees into swarm prep mode instead of comb building mode.
In our first year, both hives had feeders on when the dandies popped, and both swarmed. Last year (our second year), 1 hive had a feeder on when the dandies popped, it swarmed. The others had no feeders, but boxes of empty frames, they built comb. This year, our third year, none of our 6 hives have feeders, all got a built out super when the dandies started to pop 3 weeks ago. One of them is capping the first super, and storing nectar in the second, the rest are all putting nectar into the first super still. Remains to be seen if we have swarms to deal with this spring, but, the feeders stayed in the garage, and the bees are doing great.
Feed them if they are hungry, but, trying to induce comb building with a feeder is counter productive, that's the lesson we've taken from this.
In theory a "bee chute" sounded good. Maybe the "bee chute" would have worked with the inner cover off. I was tired of shaking a thankless swarm into an empty hive. The solution was to extend the wall of the empty hive with empty supers (3 or 4 shallows) Well, it worked; the bees started fanning and everybody stayed. Only problem is that the next morning the bees were plastered on the inside walls of the bee chute. The configuration was the empty super swarm trap, the inner cover, the bee chute, and the outer cover.
Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences. Seems like the common theme is -- the learning never stops.
Leaving my spare boxes along the side of the house without a full compliment of frames in them....Now home to a swarm. I was able to get 4 more frames in the day after, who knew the bees were all balled up still in the empty space hanging from the second box.... They were really unhappy when they fell from there when I popped the top box off. Managed only one sting as a bee got into my veil and when I took it off to let her out around the corner of the house some other bee got me above the adams apple. I had it all set up a few days prior, but pulled 6 frames out to pull nucs and didn't restock it when I did.
Brought home a cutout with no queen and set it up in my backyard. I live in a subdivision with houses on 3 sides of my backyard. Before the day was over my wife, my daughter and 3 neighbors were stung. My back door neighbor was stung 4 times. Needless to say I did a lot of apologizing, gave away lots of honey to neighbors and got the bees the h*ll out of my back yard as soon as it got dark. Cutout bees are not happy bees for the first week or so. They're fine now. Lesson learned.
Wearing white at night while moving un-closed hives. Black at night, white during the day.
Going to California Almond Gold assuming there are no sharks far from the cost ready to take your flesh.
Grozzie2 - Nice post! (#52) Thank you.