hive activity
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Thread: hive activity

  1. #1
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    Default hive activity

    I hived two packages of bees last weekend. One hive has lots of activity they are using the hive top feeder and I can see bees going in with pollen on their legs. the other hive has only a few bees going in or out they are not using the hive top feeder, I took the top box off with the feeder and could see a large number of bees around the queen cage I didnt want to bother them more yet so I closed it up. is it to early to check the queen or should i leave them alone till the weekend?
    do I need to worry?

    Thanks Tom

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: hive activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomdaun View Post
    I hived two packages of bees last weekend.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomdaun View Post
    I took the top box off with the feeder and could see a large number of bees around the queen cage I didnt want to bother them more yet so I closed it up. is it to early to check the queen or should i leave them alone till the weekend?
    do I need to worry?
    I think she should be out of the cage by now.

    Did your queen cage come with a cork or a piece of candy? If corked, did you remember to pull it and stick in a marshmallow or some sort of candy?
    I've heard of people forgetting to take the cork out.
    The question is what to do, and the answer, as always, is complicated by a muddle of reason, emotion, and doubt.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: hive activity

    If your queen isn't out yet, you can take a small nail or brad and poke a hole through the candy to loosen it up.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: hive activity

    everything I have read said not to bother them for a week. I wasn't sure if I should bother them yet. I did take the cork out and it had candy. was worried that one hive was so active and feeding and the other one was not

  6. #5
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    Default Re: hive activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomdaun View Post
    everything I have read said not to bother them for a week.
    I usually check for queen release in 2 or 3 days.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: hive activity

    X2.

    I've seen the "leave them alone for a week or two" comments. Most of the reliable literature suggests that the queen should be out in 3 days, and a sneak peek check at that time is advisable. Nothing good will come of leaving her confined for a week or more.

    Once her release is confirmed THEN leave them alone for a week or 10 days. At THAT point you should see eggs, larvae (open brood) & at least some capped brood. If so - leave them alone for another week or two, other than to check syrup if you are feeding.

    In my experience, splits or packages often build up at different paces. Keep an eye on them, but don't be overly concerned that they aren't developing at the same rate.

    Good luck!
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: hive activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Colobee View Post
    Most of the reliable literature suggests that the queen should be out in 3 days, and a sneak peek check at that time is advisable.
    OK.... why?

    This is an age old debate, most eloquently covered by Harry Vanderpool in his advice on installing queens that you can read in his post Successful Queen Introduction Tips
    Last edited by Agis Apiaries; 04-21-2016 at 11:31 AM.
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  9. #8
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    Default Re: hive activity

    Because the hive will usually have become accustomed to the new queen pheromones within three days, and the sooner she is out and starts laying, the sooner the split or package will reach full strength. This is also why some also advocate direct release.

    I find that most queens are released in the first day or two. If they aren't out in three, I release them.

    As you said this is an age old argument. When Harry says "The first thing that you need to know is that the advice and procedures in almost all of the books is VERY, VERY POOR!" I'd just have to say - I disagree. He is demeaning far too many experienced beekeeper at this point. I've been doing it "by the book" and seen 99+% queen acceptance over the years - laying worker hives or extremely aggressive hives being the less than 1% failures.

    Perhaps the most glaring "argument" is that almost every reasonable way works.
    Last edited by Colobee; 04-21-2016 at 11:42 AM.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: hive activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Colobee View Post
    Perhaps the most glaring "argument" is that almost every way works.
    Regrettably, that's not always true. We all too often read frustrated comments from new beekeepers who have read that they must go in after three days and release their queen, only to have her fly away in the process, leaving them queenless. As noted, 99.9% of the time, if they had ignored this "advice" and left her alone, their hive would now be doing fine.
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  11. #10
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    Default Re: hive activity

    I'd probably leave them alone until the weekend. IF they haven't already accepted the queen then getting in there now won't make them accept her any quicker. I doubt that she wasn't accepted though. So long as you know you pulled the cork (I left one in a few weeks ago and remembered just as I was getting into the truck), then leave it be. It's entirely possible that she is out and the cluster of bees around the queen cage is just because bees like to cluster around anything that smells like a queen. I often pull a queen cage and have to shake the bees off of it to see if the queen was released. And, it typically has a bee or two or three running in and out of it.

    As far as feeding and foraging it's important to remember that each colony is different. I usually have a few that take all the syrup in a short period of time while others take longer and the colonies are all side by side. Sometimes a colony gets less sunlight and the syrup stays cooler for a longer period of time. Prob not for you but I'm just saying.
    Last edited by Ravenseye; 04-22-2016 at 06:12 AM.
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  12. #11
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    Default Re: hive activity

    Agis -

    Do it Harry's way. IDC. As I said, I disagree. Everyone else, myself included, is wrong. The books are wrong, the beekeeping magazine articles are wrong, the folks who have been rearing queens for generations are wrong. Or maybe not...

    I've had better success rates, and haven't had a single queen fly away. It's obviously an "experience" thing, or maybe just dumb luck.

    You were right about the age old argument thing.
    Last edited by Colobee; 04-21-2016 at 12:59 PM.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: hive activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Colobee View Post
    It's obviously an "experience" thing...
    Exactly, that's what I'm trying to point out.

    Most of the folks on here asking for advice are new beekeepers without a lot of experience. While experienced beekeepers can probably do things a lot differently, such as knowing how to do a direct release without losing their queen, newer and inexperienced beekeepers may not be able to. With that in mind, a lot of the advice we give on here ought to be tailored to inexperienced beekeepers to help them be successful and gain the experience needed to do more challening things.

    Yes, I'll agree that, for experienced beekeepers, a lot of more complex things can be accomplished and advice to those folks can also be more complex. I'm not saying those ways and techniques are wrong. But, for newer folks, lets keep it a bit more simple and safe so they succeed.
    Working beeyards at 7700' elevation in Ponderosa pine forest.
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  14. #13
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    Default Re: hive activity

    I poke a small hole in the candy, and ~99% of the time the queen is out in a day or two. I know this because I position the candy hole of the cage right under the inner cover hole. The cage is laid on top of the frames - screen across the gap - not wedged in between. I can lift the outer cover & observe the candy end of the cage almost without notice.

    And here can follow the age old debate about how to position the cage.

    I don't think it's bad advice. & I don't think all the books & experts are wrong. As I mentioned before, it has been my observation that there are often many ways to do things "the right way" when it comes to beekeeping. There is seldom only one "right way".

    One thing I find "off-putting" about Harry's approach is when he infers/states that "All the books are wrong" and give "terrible advice". It's not terrible, nor wrong, just different from his way. The way I see it, and have experienced it, his way is probably no better than most. Maybe good, but not better.

    Do a poll if you care to (I don't) - it might be enlightening to see how many folks try, & succeed or fail, with the various approaches. What problems do they encounter, and perhaps what level of experience do they have? Without crunching the numbers, it seems to me that most folks report having had a fair amount of success doing it "by the book". A disproportionate number of posts seem to come from the relatively few who are having some kind of an issue. While many are happy to report their successes, I suspect that the silent majority may not be as inclined to jump in to say "Look, I did it by the book and it worked". Of course there are also likely some who don't care to report their failures.
    Last edited by Colobee; 04-21-2016 at 05:07 PM.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: hive activity

    Checked this evening the queens were out of the cages closed them back up and I'll leave them alone awhile

  16. #15
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    Default Re: hive activity

    I've got a similar question: I hived my very first package of bees Monday. Today (Thursday), I noticed that the hive was VERY quiet. Just a few bees flying around, and I'm not even sure they're my bees -- they could be over from the neighbors' hive robbing mine. Either way, it doesn't seem like there's been much of a dent made in the syrup (Boardman feeder, so it's easy for everyone to get to).

    Anyway. After reading some comments here, I decided to check to see if the queen had been released (and to see if the hive was full of dead bees). I took off the covers and saw a small clump of bees around the "handhold" on the inner cover, and then saw a fist-sized clump of bees on top of the frame near where the queen cage was hanging. They looked alive, but totally apathetic -- they certainly weren't interested in me.

    I took the cage out, and the candy and queen were gone, although the companion bees who'd been in the cage with her were dead.

    I didn't spend a lot of time with the top open as it was a cool and cloudy day, threatening rain. But in my brief look I didn't see a TON of dead bees on the hive bottom, maybe 20 or 30 ... but ... where are the rest of the bees?

    I also saw some white stuff in the center of the frame nearest the queen cage (the same frame the bees were clumped on top of). I apologize for being so stupid, but I don't know what I'm looking at! Is that wax? Do they work that fast?

    But mostly, I'm worried about the bees and hoping they're okay. Any perspective is appreciated -- like I said, I don't even know what I'm looking at, let alone what a normal hive should look like 4 days in.

    If I ever figure this stuff out I'm going to do a "First few days in the Life of Your Hive" photo essay - maybe in about 50 years?

  17. #16
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    Default Re: hive activity

    After installing the new package wait 3 days then check to see if queen has been released from the cage. Check the queen cage to make sure there is not a dead queen in it and make sure she has been released. If she is not in cage close up the hive and open back up in 1-1/2 weeks and check for cell building, eggs and bees bringing in pollen. Look for the queen if marked.
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  18. #17
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    Default Re: hive activity

    Four days in, you should be seeing about the same number of bees you dumped in from the package. That you're only seeing a small 'fist-sized' clump is worrisome. I'm wondering if they absconded, and you're looking at some foragers who came back to find that the main body of bees had left.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: hive activity

    Thank you! That's exactly what I'm fearing ... if by some stroke of divine luck I can get another package, would it be all right to put it into the hive? Again, thanks SO much for your insight!
    Last edited by kittyok; 04-22-2016 at 07:20 AM. Reason: Adding additional information

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