Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 41
  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
    197

    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...

    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.

  5. #5
    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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,121

    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,350

    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    Thanks for the tips. I'll try the oil. Where the bottom board meets the sides there is a small crack the length of the board. They actually line it at times, maybe blowing in air? I'm near Dallas but its not hot yet. They came from a hive just north of Dallas. I'll try the shade.
    At what point do I let them out? Should I catch the queen and cage her?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,350

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    It's amazing how hot the inside of a box in the sun can get. Once they have good shade, I'd give them a small entrance soon, if they're still alive. Being trapped in a closed box in the sun, without access to fresh water, is a recipe for disaster. Caging the queen would be counter-productive, since they need brood as soon as they can possibly start and grow some.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    I'll spray some water in when I get home and move them to shade for tomorrow. Thanks for the tips. Should I go back to only 10 bars? Maybe increase the sugar ratio?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    UPDATE: I added water, shade, and found some old piecies of sticky comb in the box they came in. I rubbed the comb on the top bar guides and stuck very small pieces on. I opened the entrance to let them out. Lots of foragers now for three hours. Just checked on them and they are ALL clumbed in the corner and no doubt ready to bolt again. Not even getting near the wax pieces. So...I guess they are just refusing the hive. Are there any keepers near Fort Worth/Dallas Texas willing to make a deal and trade bees...especially if you need to split a TBH and have an empty L hive? I am at your mercy! Thanks...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,073

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    Can you put a queen excluder over the entrance? They won't abscond without the queen will they?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,670

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    Maybe it's the cedar? I've heard of other peoples using cedar for their hives, but I've always wondered how that worked out. I thought cedar had insect repellent properties, but I'm not positive about it. I do a search for cedar insect repellent and I get pages of cedar products for that purpose. So... Maybe it's the box you are using.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Rock Port, MO. USA.
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    They may also be tired of their beekeeper frequently peeking in on them. :-)
    Plus, they may actually be building a comb within the clump. I suggest you try to let them be for a while unless you know for sure they absconded.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    GOOD NEWS! Bubbles was right! I do see a tip of a comb already about 4 inches top to bottom. Bad news is now I have ants crawling in to get to the sugar water. I know sitting the legs in oil is an option, but has anyone ever tried diatomaceous earth? Any other ways to get rid of ants? I just got some lemongrass oil too....should I still add a couple of drops? Am I safe to uncover the entrance of the hive now? Sorry...lots of questions. Thanks so much everyone for helping this clueless keeper trying to learn!!??!! These little critters are just plain cool.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,121

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    I would not add lemongrass oil to the hive not that the bees are inside. Yes, open the entrance. Diatomaceous earth will kill ants, and many other insects. The trick is to get the ants going through it, and not the bees.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    UPDATE: Entrance is open. Last night I put the hive legs on flat pieces of wood and piled DE around the legs to make sure the ants would have to crawl through it to get to the legs. This morning...no more ant trails. Now to make sure the bees arent curious and check out the white piles below the hive. Thanks again for all the help everyone. I'll keep y'all posted...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Marin, CA, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    Haha, RacerX, you seem to be telling my story this year. It's my first year beekeeping, and I already had a package of Carniolans abscond a few weeks ago. It was quite hot (mid/high 90's) all week, and then dropped quite cool (high 50's) for a few days. I didn't have a bottom board on (was just using a screen) at the time, and think that plus the fact I was checking in on them every day to refill the small makeshift feeder I was using, was just too much for them.
    ...I had also spilled some sugar syrup with an accidental knock while refilling my feeder, and after the ants had cleaned that up they discovered the feed I was using inside the hive.

    I've since added a removable bottom board, cleaned the hive body out from all existing ants, and added diatomaceous earth (recommended by our friendly fellows here on beesource) around the cinderblock supports the hive legs are standing on. I did a passive install with my new package of Italians 4 days ago with a larger feeder. There are no signs of ants though a few dead powder-covered bees are near the cinderblocks, as I expected some would be. And I've only peeked once at the bottom board slightly, where I have a bunch of hopeful looking wax shavings.

    I think my downfall was the bees' inability to temperature regulate by themselves, and my constant pestering of them, while the ant problem no doubt added to their irritability. So as everyone else says, try and give them their space, as much as you want to check in on them. Though it seems you are headed in the right direction!

    I'm not sure I've added anything useful for you, but your story seems to match up to mine quite closely. Good luck!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    LEFT AGAIN!!??!! Just caught them...still in the cardboard box. They left about 30 sq inches of comb, 3 drones, and roughy 40 workers???!!?? Would be tempted to sell. I'm at wits end here. Any advice?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Package bees keep leaving...

    It sure seems like there is just something they don't like about your hive. I really don't know the answer but can you try a different hive? One that is not cedar? Do you have a nuc or something you can make quickly out of pine and put them in instead? You could always use a nuc for a split or another swarm if they left it too. I would try that and if they left it too I would let them go. (I'm only on my second year so this is just an uneducated opinion.)

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads