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Thread: bees absconded!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default bees absconded!

    hey all. i installed 2 packages of bees on sat (2 days ago) and when i checked on them this morning one of the hives was completely empty! the other hive seems fine. i'm thinking i didn't clean out the hive well enough from last season, i noticed a lot of ants. is it possible the ants chased them off?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: bees absconded!

    Did you direct release the queens? I had a customer this year who called because one of his packs absconded and he wanted to know if he could buy a replacement. He left the queen caged and all that was left in the hive was a handful of bees and the queen in her cage.

    The next day he called back to inform me that the absconding bees had returned to the queen in the hive and all looked well.

    One simple step saved him 90 bucks.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: bees absconded!

    Ants won't help, but unless there are a lot the bees usually drive them off pretty easily (at least in my climate). What I see more and more (with and without directly releasing the queen) is that the bees don't like their queen and move next door. When I have the queen in a cage she may have five or six bees or no bees left. When she is free, she still may have five or six bees or no bees left and is wandering around the hive by herself. It probably helps to install late in the day so they can settle in better. Maybe even in the rain (if you have a choice)... or set the sprinkler for the rest of the day to keep them in...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: bees absconded!

    i released her directly on the bottom before dumping in the package.

    upon further inspection, no queen or bees at all. also, i reattached a loose wax foundation with wire before installing and it had fallen off the bar. it was pretty hot here yesterday. i've got to come up with a better way to attach foundation.
    maybe with the ants and the foundation getting in their way they just decided my hive was not suitable? i'll be walking around the neighborhood today to see if i can spot them. i know, it's a long shot. unfortunately my other hive is a few blocks away so they couldn't "move next door" as you suggested michael.

    thanks for the replies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,438

    Default Re: bees absconded!

    Just curious, was it a solid or screened bottom? Some have mentioned they are more likely to abscond from a screened bottom board.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: bees absconded!

    Solid board.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: bees absconded!

    Quote Originally Posted by schwinn View Post
    i released her directly on the bottom before dumping in the package.
    I do not recommend direct release, but if you are going to do it you should dump the bees in first, then release the queen.

    If you were put in an empty house and than looked up to see 10000 of your closest friends getting dumped on top of you; the first thing you would do is run for an exit. In the case of a queen; when she heads out the exit the 10000 friends are going to follow.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,438

    Default Re: bees absconded!

    I think replacing the candy with a marshmallow is a good way to go. They can release her in a few hours.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    chicago, il
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: bees absconded!

    Well said bluegrass. I didn't think of it that way.

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