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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    morgan,georgia,usa
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    7

    Default new observation hive problems?

    Hello all
    I have built an observation hive to take to local farmers artisan market. it is an ulster type built on a 5 frame bottom box and two frames above under Plexiglas.
    I have 3 fames below and a feeder. I cut a queen excluder to fit and place queen upstairs under the Plexiglas. this morning I noticed worker bees pulling out larvae. there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the larvae, no visible mites. I have air holes along top of hive and along the top of the glass. also a screened bottom. Are they just stressed being closed up, or not enough ventilation. or is something going on with larvae.
    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    morgan,georgia,usa
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    any help or advice would be well received

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    I don't know what your local conditions have been or where the bees are kept or if the glass is protected from light. Judging by the time of year etc, I would guess they could not keep the brood cool enough and they died from excess heat. Are they free flying? Can they get water? Pollen? There are other things that could kill brood as well. But apparently one of them happened...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    morgan,georgia,usa
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    Thank you sir, It has been hot and humid here in s Georgia. while the bees are at farmers market they are under a shade tent with the entrance closed. there is screen on bottom and 1/8" holes along top, and along the top edge of the Plexiglas. While the are at home they are on front porch and free flying. I will move them back into a standard hive today, and make ventilation holes larger along top. There is a 1.5 gallon frame feeder in the bottom, and it has about 1 gallon of 1:1, sugar : water. and there is pollen in one of the three frames in the bottom. Should I replace the sugar mixed water with regular water in the feeder?I believe from your advice that the heat management is causing my problem.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    They need water to cool the hive. I would make sure they have some capped honey and feed them water instead of syrup. Or both if you have the means or can easily make the means. But yes, I would replace the syrup with water if you have to choose.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    morgan,georgia,usa
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    Thank you
    I will replace with water.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    981

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    I read this with interest. The club obs hive fits that description. It just spent several days at the county fair, and was brought back to rotate out the bees. Prior experience tells us that being in an obs hive is stressful and keeping bees on display for more than a couple of days is a problem.

    I took my brand new obs hive over to the fellow maintaining the club hive last night so he could swap out obs hives with less fuss. He said there was a half inch deep layer of dead bees on the bottom of the club hive after 2 days at the fair.

    He noted the frame feeder in mine, said he will put water in it instead of syrup because that's what they really need for that short a period (there will be stores in their frames). Mine has a SBB under the nuc ... he will leave that open.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    When we have ours at the fair, we make sure they have capped honey, we give them pollen and we let them free fly just before dark every night. We also add a bit of water through the same screen we add he pollen. They are there for 11 days and they do very well.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    981

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    Maybe letting them fly free in the evening is making the difference? They have not been letting that happen with our obs hive. Think they're dying waiting for a chance for a cleansing flight?

    We're hoping adding our hive will allow more frequent swaps, while having bees at the display continuously.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    >Maybe letting them fly free in the evening is making the difference?

    Yes, free flying is essential.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    981

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Maybe letting them fly free in the evening is making the difference?

    Yes, free flying is essential.
    The last day of the fair was today, and we had the job of closing up the display. Our little obs hive was the one on display, with another fellow's bees in it. Poor things had been out there since Wednesday, and he was working today so would not be home to accept the bees until tomorrow.

    Regarding the original post, ours were pulling out some larvae last night and today as well. They seemed to be uncapping quite a few. The queen was a nervous wreck most of the time but did seem to be laying on occasion. We had temps in the 40's overnight and it is really possible the frame in the observation tower got chilled.

    Feeling sorry for them, I brought them home and put them on our second floor porch, out of the sun. My wife was mixing some 5:3 for our bees, so I put about a cup of that in a sports bottle and rigged a couple of shallow trays with rinsed gravel in them, to see if I could feed them. I squirted a little syrup in the trays, and kept the rest on hand to replenish the trays.

    I opened the hatch expecting to have bees fly out and out staggered this sorry lot acting strangely. They all started hopping and staggering due south, like zombies smelling brain. They seemed to be trying to fly but could only get about 4 inches downrange per hop. Brown droplets started appearing on the deck. A few bees dropped dead before getting very far. Bees reached the edge and dropped over. With my keen insights and great experience, I thought, "This ain't right."

    I watched a few going over the edge, then noticed we had a few flying. Some of the bees going over the edge were managing to get airborne. Then I managed to see one of them against the yellow siding of the next house over, as it ... uh ... cleansed. Quite an impressive squirt, in fact, and then took to the air as if nothing had been wrong.

    I sat out there watching from 4 ft away, no veil, filling the feeders occasionally, as they recovered. Probably a hundred didn't make it, but it appears most did.

    Within an hour we had normal orientation flights, and they were enjoying the jury-rigged feeders. They used most of the syrup in the squirt bottle. At present they are settling in for the night, I gather greatly relieved.

    I will recommend we either find a way to let them fly each evening, or swap out between the club hive and our hive daily.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,336

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    We would take them out at sunset (when it's still light) and close them up after dark (an hour later) and bring them back inside.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    morgan,georgia,usa
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    I have been shutting them up in morning to transport to farmers market, which is only Sat. from 9 a - 2p. The bees have been free flying all week except for sat. when they only fly from about 3 till dark. i think water was the key. I moved them into a nuc and plan to open up air holes and just use water from now on. The honey in the corners of the hive are being used also. but they are storing other nectars in open cells. thanks to all.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    981

    Default Re: new observation hive problems?

    Spooky followup ... about a dozen bees never went back in the hive when I closed it up Saturday night. I'd waited to after 10 PM, nice and dark. Well, tough luck girls. The hatch was closed and the hive taken inside and down to the garage.

    The following morning, those bees were, as expected, mournfully buzzing around where the hive had been.

    Now the spooky part. I looked out on the porch tonight, saw a couple of dead bees, so I went out to check. One live bee was on the deck with several dead. "Well," thought I, "that's the end of them." I turned around to open the door and got stung on my knuckle. I looked down at the door, and the rest of the bees were hanging out on the door or frame. I'm wondering if they finally decided to wait there so they could follow their hive into the house. I must have hit the one trying to figure out how to work the doorknob.

    Scary smart, those bees.

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