When it's cold I always feed warm syrup. If the syrup is cold, I warm it up...
Alright all is well. I went in today and they have at least 3 half drawn combs. there may be more but I stopped when I saw the queen was alive and well. I didn't take the time to see if there were any eggs but I did notive pollen getting packed in. they went through about a pint of sugar syrup. They had created a traffic jam today in it and there were about 30 that were just about to drown. I scooped them out on the ground and they started cleaning themselves. I refilled and added some more beads.
Comb is finally solidly visible through the glass. We are in a Cold snap right now so they probably won't make much progress until the weekend. Our daytime highs are not going to make it out of the 50's today.
Alright a couple of pictures from last night. The first 5 bars look about the same. They had really stalled out on building comb and now they are back at it. The new comb is all being added to the sides of the older comb. I am not sure why they built the bars 3/4 out then moved to the next bar back. Bar 6 is 3/4 built but empty. They have just started on bar 7. I added a bar between 3 and 4 and added one more bar at the back so they have 12 to work with. I am guessing that all this brood will be emerging in the next week.
Gorgeous! Isn't it such a thrill?
In one of my two hives, the bees also built "less" comb on a greater number of bars. Maybe it's my short attention span hive!
Alright things are still going good in hive #1. They don't seem to build as fast as some of you but they are making progress. About a week ago I noticed them building comb with much larger holes than any of the other combs. I figured that was destined to hold honey. I went ahead and added spacers to make the bar 1.5" wide. They had also started on the next bar, it was only about a 2" piece of comb. I moved that between bar 4 and 5. Things seemed to slow down after that. The queen was still laying and after a few days I could see brood and capped brood through the window. I was kind of excited to have the chance to see brood crawl out.
The larger comb is on the right.
Unfortunately I was not able to see any of the brood come out, the population of this hive has to have at least doubled, if not tripled. This is a weekish later.
>I also should have listened. My thinking was is I hang the queen I risk messed up comb. If I direct release I risk loosing a queen.
You have a 99% chance they will mess up all the comb in the hive if you hang the queen cage and leave it too long. You have a 0% chance they will kill the queen if you direct release (unless there is a queen loose in which case it is irrelevant as you still have a queen). You have a 1% chance the queen will fly, in which case you have a 50% chance she will return... you have a 15-20% chance they will abandon the queen (caged or not) and move next door to a better queen because of the quality of the queens... you just have to play the odds...
Hanging the queen cage in a foundationless system "just to be safe", is not "safe"...
Ruth Meredith https://www.facebook.com/topbarbeehive
>Michael, how do you feel about direct release of a replacement queen in a hive that has been queenless for some time?
I never direct release a queen to a hive. A package is really just a swarm of sorts. A hive is a different animal entirely. The only direct introduction I ever do to a hive is a frame with the laying queen and her entourage and her brood into a hive that knows it's queenless.
How long do the bees stay in the hive before they go forage? We had a nice sunny day and most were still just festooning in the hive. They had completely built out the first inserted bar in the brood area so I went ahead and added one more bar. All the capped brood from post 26 were out. and now there is capped brood on the perimeter of all those combs.
>How long do the bees stay in the hive before they go forage?
Sometimes they have to sit and think a while. The colony is making up it's mind what it plans to do. Sometimes they sit like this a while and then move to a different part of the hive and go to work. Sometimes they stay there but go to work... how long it takes them to make up their mind varies from colony to colony...
I hate to say it but it looks like this hive is dead. We had a nice sunny day in the 50's and I still did not see any movement. Peaking through the window, there were a couple of non moving bees on the some comb along with a rather large beetle. This seems odd considering it looked like this at the end of the summer:
We did have a pretty crazy first frost/hard freeze to get this winter rolling. Maybe they just didn't see it coming.
I am looking into a replacement package now. I looked at beeweaver but the price with shipping is pretty crazy. I am looking are wolf creek also,This may be what these were (sold through a reseller) so I am a bit torn about going down the same road since they made through so little winter. Does any one else have any other suggestions?
It is possible they are dead, but I would not write off a colony until it's a sunny day in the 60s or 70s and no one is flying. It's not dead until it's warm and dead. On a day in the 50's it may or may not get warm enough inside to get them flying. Sometimes the colonies that do the best are the ones that are the least active in the winter.
Well it is official, this hive is completely dead except for the beetles on moths that have moved in. It was in the 70's last weekend. The other hive was very active so I decided to see what was happening inside this one. I found no more than a handful of bees on 2 or 3 combs all frozen in place. Some bees were head first in the comb. And I found the queen, also dead. I pulled 2 more mostly full combs and took them over to the other hive. I pulled 2 for myself and then took about 5 partially full of pollen and honey and put it in the freezer. The next day I noticed activity. the other hive that is about 1000 yards away had found this one empty. The cleaned out all the honey that had dripped on the bottom and were finishing off all the honey that was left in the comb. It was crazy. It looked like a healthy active hive in the summer with all the bees coming and going.
So, I have a replacement package coming in about a month and a half. What do I need to do to get this hive ready for the new residents? I brushed off the dead bees that were on the comb. There are a few still head first in the comb that won't come out easily.
1 TBH, started 4/09/14; split 2/22/15, so maybe 2 hives...
>> So, I have a replacement package coming in about a month and a half. What do I need to do to get this hive ready for the new residents?
If you are not confident that Mother Nature's freezer has/will do the job, you could put those frames in your freezer for a couple of days to destroy any remaining pest eggs.
As for the rest, the new bees that you install will take care of cleaning up the comb.
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft
well we are supposed to be a few degrees below 0 tomorrow, So that will probably do the job.