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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    31

    Default Package bees keep leaving...

    Hi everyone... I'm new at this so any help is appreciated. I built a cedar TBH and added about 2 lbs of bees last Saturday that a beekeeper shook from an existing L hive. We both saw the queen go in. (no cage) Gave them about 10 bars worth of space. Been feeding 1:1 sugar syrup. TBH has a wooden bottom...no screen. I noticed they stayed clumped and didnt seem interested in building comb. I let them out Monday around noon since a few found a small exit and they started gathering like crazy. Noticed many bees entering with tons of pollen on their legs (5ea 3/4" holes and 2ea 1" holes at the end on the top; so I could see which size they liked best). By Tuesday afternoon the hive was empty and I found them in my neighbors' tree. I captured and returned them to the hive, this time with 20 bars of space, and have kept them fed but locked in. Many are clumped in one spot and many are active around the hive, but none are building comb. I do not have any to get them started. There is a dog that barks about 30 feet behind my fence on occasion. I do not believe that bothers them much because they seem gentle. I caught the swarm and check the feeder with no gear. Occasionly I'll get buzzed but nothing close to aggressive. I have only looked in the observation window about 5 times over the last 2 days. Any ideas to make them stay? Am I doing something wrong? Fire away with any questions. Thanks...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    266

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    what are you using on the top bars to start comb? do you have wax starter foundation or paint stirrers,, or what?

    I have seen this happen many times,, for some reason they dont like the hive,, paint,, sealant,, green wood,, wrong sign of the moon,, WHO KNOWS??

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    199

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    Racer,

    Do you think the guy who gave you the bees, would part with a frame of brood? If you can tie in that brood on one of your top bars, it might help. Bees will rarely abscond when there is brood in the hive. Just a thought.
    Matt

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    I actually asked for that but he was reluctant to part w it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,188

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    I add 2 drops of lemongrass oil to the wood inside my hives before adding bees. My theory is that if it works for swarm traps there is no harm in doing it for hives, and possibly some benefit.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,381

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    Sounds like there is something about the environment in your hive that the bees don't like. What kind of ventilation do they have? Is there a way for them to easily get fresh air, but without too much of a draft?

    If your outside ambient temperature is high, as it is here, and the hive is in direct sun, it will be too hot inside the hive for a small starter colony to deal with efficiently. They will need shade, at least until they are much stronger.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    Thanks for responding. I am using about an 1/8 sliver of wood that's part of the top bars. I used a table saw to just rip a little off. They aren't exactly straight but does "hang" down a little. No wax or honey rubbed on them.

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