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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    87

    Default adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    My neighbor decided that he didnt want his hive any more and I agreed to adopt it. He hasn't given the hive any attention in at least 6 months. Im not sure if he has even taken the top off during this time. Im a new to beekeeping though i do have bees on order that will arrive in the next few weeks. In any case, I went out to check the neighbors hive today expecting to find honey to harvest as I live in Austin Texas and have heard that bee keepers often harvest honey by this time in the year. What I found, though, was a crowded and somewhat aggressive colony with no honey. Some of the comb seemed to be irregular in form. I did see a few spots that had nectar and were uncapped but it was pretty sparse. I took several photos. Can anyone with experience, especially in central Texas look at the photos and give me your best assessment of the situation? Is this normal? Will there likely be honey later in the summer? Is there anything I can do to help this hive out?

    You can see the photos here: https://picasaweb.google.com/1153781...LLrycG1j4_MrAE

    Many Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,923

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Make sure the frames are pushed together correctly, there's too much space between a few, probably the one with the cross combs. Just cut those sections off, pusthe frames all the way together best you can. I'd feed those bees, was there any brood?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    I need to find neighbors like this

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,211

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Feed them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,661

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    I didn't spot any brood. Queenless perhaps?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,923

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Well, i think he was only showing frames from the top box, looked like a double deep set up to me, so hopefully there's brood in the bottom.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Yeah, I was only looking at the super frames, not the hive body. It hadnt occurred to me that it could be without a queen. I will take another look this evening and report back.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Larimer County, CO
    Posts
    501

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenzero View Post
    I need to find neighbors like this
    that's what i was thinking.
    I'm the dude, so that's what you call me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ka'u Hawaii
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Well, the frames are too widely spaced, for one.
    It is difficult to keep the bees calm in an unworked hive as everything is stuck together tightly, including lid, frames and boxes.
    I would have a well lit smoker going and slowly take it apart comb by comb. Have a 5 gallon pail or some such in which to place the honey from any comb that is not as it should be.
    Get down to the bottom box, If there is no brood, add a frame with eggs.
    There seems to be a fair amount of bees, so my bet is that there is a queen.
    Good luck.
    AND, the bees are often easier to work on a nice sunny morning, rather than late in the day when the field force may all be home. Slowly and gently are the key words for this operation.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Thank you for all of this great information. Yes, the hive was pretty aggressive but im sure part of that was my inability to keep it slow and quiet due to the difficulty of getting the frames out. I also imagine that, to some extent, the bees must get used to the presence of a keeper and, after months of neglect, are a bit more wary.

    Now on to another question: What is the best way to carry this hive into my backyard?
    Ive heard that you transport bees at night so my plan was to pick a cool evening sometime in the next couple of days, put a strap around the hive and carry it over with my fiance. Should I cover the front entrance/exit so that none of the bees can get out? Does this sound like a good plan?

    Thanks!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,661

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Sounds like a plan, but I would cover the exits. Bees tend to crawl around (not fly) at night. A bee covered fiance' is not a good idea for longevity.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Since you are going out there today, bring a rachet strap and strap the hive around, top to bottom, before you leave. If you wait till you are about to move it they will get annoyed (bees and fiancé, both).

    I also vote for the entrance to be screened, first thing you do at go time.

    Since this is at your neighbors house, do you have a plan for getting the bees to orient to their new location and not go back to their old yard?

    Daniel

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by dandio View Post

    Since this is at your neighbors house, do you have a plan for getting the bees to orient to their new location and not go back to their old yard?

    Daniel
    Good question! No I do not. Does anyone have suggestions??

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by michos View Post
    Good question! No I do not. Does anyone have suggestions??
    Here is a link from Michael Bush's website to get you started: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmoving.htm

    The site is full of great information, bookmark it!

    Good luck,

    Daniel

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by dandio View Post
    Here is a link from Michael Bush's website to get you started: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmoving.htm
    l
    That was a super helpful read. Thank you!

    Now after reading this im reconsidering my options. I do have a piece of land about 30 miles away from my house that I visit about once a week or once every two weeks. My original plan was to put my neighbors hive in my yard along with the new hive I will be receiving in a couple of weeks. I was then going to attend both of the hives for a few weeks before bringing my neighbors old hive out to the land. Now I wonder if I should just transport my neighbors hive directly out to the land. The only reason I didn't think to do this in the first place is that, since im not there more than once a week, I wasn't sure if I would be able to attend to the hive enough to help it regain health. Ive got a 2 gallon frame feeder for the hive. If I feed the hive to help it out, how often would I need to put more syrup in the feeder? Is it foolish to leave my neighbors hive unattended for 1-2 weeks at a time at this stage? Or is it foolish to move the hive once, and then move it again a month later?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: adopting an unattended hive in Austin Texas

    I bet you will only get to feed it once or twice before your nectar flow starts anyway.. I'm just a few hours North of you and I'm seeing Indian Blanket and various other wildflowers popping up already, and I assume you guys are a bit ahead of us..

    I'd bring it to the out yard and be done with it.. but even if you kept it at your house, as long as you give the bees reason to re-orient, I think you would be okay. If any end up next door you could always get them.

    For feed, use 1:1. As far as how much feed will they take, I bet the 2 gal will get them through a week okay... and this time of year there are more nectar sources coming on line every week, so I wouldn't be surprised if they lost interest in your feed pretty soon anyway. You just need to make sure they get over the hump..

    Good luck!
    Daniel

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