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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Edgemont, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default cell starter deaths

    Is it normal for a high number of bees to die after being placed in the swarm box for first 24-36 hours? I lost about a baseball sized bunch. I gave them water and placed them in the shade. The end result was 11 out of 12 queen cell success.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: cell starter deaths

    Quote Originally Posted by yem View Post
    The end result was 11 out of 12 queen cell success.
    Congratulations! That's great take.
    I am sure more experienced ones might have a different experience w/starters...but, I would say yes, you'll find some dead bees. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending of your set up. First time around, I used a 5 F deep nuc, with screened bottom, water sponge and frames of honey/pollen. But the frames were deep also. Lost about a cup of bees. But the take was also very good. Second time, I placed the 5 F deep nuc, on top of an empty, 5 F medium, giving the bees more space under the frames.
    There were some, dead bees, but not that many.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Edgemont, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: cell starter deaths

    Thanks, my first run was similar 6 outa 6, not as many dead bees but I did not pack as many in.After hatching out two queens never made it back. I suspect birds. I also run the deep 5 nuc with the an extra 6 inch screened bottom. I like the ease of leaving a one cell in and let them hatch her out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,459

    Default Re: cell starter deaths

    The most likely cause of death in a confined starter is lack of water. Being in the sun could contribute.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Newton, NC, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: cell starter deaths

    What is the best way to provide water in a cell starter?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,730

    Default Re: cell starter deaths

    There are ALWAYS some deaths. A baseball sized bunch is getting up there but is within normal range, hopefully wouldn't be that bad too often though.

    For the comb / feed set up, the ideal is a comb each side of the queen larvae. One comb has plenty of pollen including some that's been in the hive a few weeks for "processing", and the other comb newly collected nectar. Capped honey is less good as it is very concentrated and the bees being confined, have to use their own resources to water it down so you may get less well fed larvae.

    Other things to watch are the correct bee numbers, around 3 lb to start up to 48 cells, 4 lb for 64 cells. Plus ventilation. Bees trying to get out can clog ventilation gauze so the best way to handle this is the starter box should be 4 inches deeper than the frames, with a strip of gauze 4 inches wide along the two bottom sides, The gauze being large and vertical keeps the bees from clogging it, but keeping them in the dark can also subdue their efforts to escape and keep the whole starter box calmer.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,459

    Default Re: cell starter deaths

    >What is the best way to provide water in a cell starter?

    I make the starter at least 3" deeper than the frames. Then soak a large sponge in water and put it on the bottom. If you don't have room for all that, then spray water on open nectar when you give them nectar/pollen when setting it up so they don't need so much water.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Newton, NC, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: cell starter deaths

    I used a deep 5 frame deep nuc body and a medium 5 frame nuc body (with holes cut in the sides and bottom and then covered with hardware cloth for ventilation) and fastened them together to make my cell starter/swarm box so I've definitely got the room for the sponge. Thanks!

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