Bee Escape Not Working
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    SW CT
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    84

    Default Bee Escape Not Working

    So I am at least a few weeks later than usual getting one of my hives back down to 2 deeps for winter. The other hives with the porter style escapes left the supers within 1 day. This one hive will not leave the 2 supers, I have tried both the porter and triangle escapes and they will not leave the super. The hives were running a standard metal queen excluder, so the queen should be down in the deeps. I wanted to try and use the escapes to minimize my disruption of them in these crucial few weeks before winter. What I have done in the past was just brush them off the frames into the deeps. Could they be staying in there because there is not much pollen left out there in my area? Would putting an entrance feeder entice them to leave? Any advice would be helpful, otherwise on Saturday as soon as the rain stops I will brush them off, but they likely will not be happy about it.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    1,440

    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Take the top super off and set it aside.

    Put the inner cover with center hole opened on the two deeps.

    Add an empty super on top(could add duct tape around interior perimeter at top) and shake the frames into the super. Put on outer cover and leave for a couple of hours or come back next day. Bees will move down into two deeps.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    My own experience is that if the bees won't leave boxes in a queenright hive that are above a triangle escape board, when the weather is sufficiently cool at night, (which it surely has been in CT recently) it's because the queen has gotten herself up there.

    I know you had QE's on, but I've found queens sometimes wind up in unexpected places. Perhaps when you were taking apart the stack to extract the QE and install the escape board somehow she was on an unexpected surface and got transferred to the super.

    I'd get the escape board off (look it over carefully), and put the stack together, again, without a QE. Open up some carefully bee-screened ventilation on top (to deter robbing) so that the upper boxes are not the warmest place in the hive. Give it a couple of days, so that the mass of bees migrate downwards (taking Her Highness with them). Then re-install an escape board.

    The other explanation is that the hive is queenless. Are they buzzing like mad?

    Nancy

  5. #4
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    Mar 2015
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    SW CT
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    My own experience is that if the bees won't leave boxes in a queenright hive that are above a triangle escape board, when the weather is sufficiently cool at night, (which it surely has been in CT recently) it's because the queen has gotten herself up there.

    I know you had QE's on, but I've found queens sometimes wind up in unexpected places. Perhaps when you were taking apart the stack to extract the QE and install the escape board somehow she was on an unexpected surface and got transferred to the super.

    I'd get the escape board off (look it over carefully), and put the stack together, again, without a QE. Open up some carefully bee-screened ventilation on top (to deter robbing) so that the upper boxes are not the warmest place in the hive. Give it a couple of days, so that the mass of bees migrate downwards (taking Her Highness with them). Then re-install an escape board.

    The other explanation is that the hive is queenless. Are they buzzing like mad?

    Nancy
    I actually had the queen excluder still on with the porter style escape and took it off with the triangle, with the same results. The excluder was never removed since the supers have been on. There are bees in the supers and deeps.

    Not too much buzzing, only when I pulled off the inner cover while it was alittle cold the other morning. Would they normally requeen this late?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    I run upper entrances on my supers and I get a colony or two above the queen excluder every year.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Ya, you could’ve had a supercedure and the young Q could’ve gotten up there.
    Rod

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    SW CT
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    I run upper entrances on my supers and I get a colony or two above the queen excluder every year.
    Quote Originally Posted by rwlaw View Post
    Ya, you could’ve had a supercedure and the young Q could’ve gotten up there.
    I didn’t even consider the top entrance as their entry point. Makes complete sense.

    I guess next step is find the queen, gently get here in the deeps.

  9. #8
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    Oct 2014
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    Baldwin, Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    If there is brood in the upper boxes the nurse bees will NOT leave. It should be quite simple to see if there is brood present. If there is you are either going to nèd to sacrifice this brood or leave the hives alone for winter.

  10. #9
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    Jul 2013
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    Louisville, KY
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    Default

    If they won't leave sounds like queen may be up there. You'll also have more bees if they are actively processing nectar and they tend to not leave quickly but seems too cold for that.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    I run upper entrances on my supers and I get a colony or two above the queen excluder every year.
    What do you do in those circumstances?

  12. #11
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    Mar 2015
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsof View Post
    If there is brood in the upper boxes the nurse bees will NOT leave. It should be quite simple to see if there is brood present. If there is you are either going to nèd to sacrifice this brood or leave the hives alone for winter.
    What would be the issue with leaving the supers on? I have never done this. Also, would sacrificing the brood possibly be a huge hive setback going into the winter?

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Find the queen and put her under the excluder or shake all the bees down. Then leave the box on 3 weeks if you can so existing brood will hatch. May have to change excluders the one you are using may have a leak.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Find the queen and put her under the excluder or shake all the bees down. Then leave the box on 3 weeks if you can so existing brood will hatch. May have to change excluders the one you are using may have a leak.
    Should I have issues with moths in 3 weeks without bees in there? Also, regarding feeding. How would I implement a top feeder with that setup?

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Moths I would doubt if there's a lot of bees in there right now, bees will still have access to the area through the excluder. But top feeding, that will be a problem. If feeding cannot wait 3 weeks, then you may have to bite the bullet and remove the box now.

    To allow the brood to hatch it may be possible to temporarily put individual brood frames into the main hive, by temporarily removing some broodless frames from the bottom box. If it's a 2 box hive maybe seperated from the queen by an excluder with a view to taking the frames back out in 3 weeks.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  16. #15
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    Default

    So after all that. I went into the hive yesterday afternoon, and they moved down on their own. It took them 2 weeks and 2 different style bee escapes but they went. They left almost no honey, but I expected that. What could be the reason they finally decided to move, no food stores?

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Don't know without looking at it, but one other thing that can stop bees moving down is if the hives are too crowded. Some commercial guys lift the honey boxes and put a super of empty combs on the hive, escape board on that, and then the honey boxes, so the bees got room to go down, they are also a bit further from the queen and brood.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Bringing this post back from the dead. I took a look yesterday and I am having the same issue this year with the same hive. Tried both types of bee escapes, the standard plastic one that goes in the middle of an inner cover and the triangle one. I left it for a week on this hive and they wont move down. The hive had decent population but nothing crazy. Upper entrance was blocked. Also, I noticed this morning all the brown on the top cover and onto the super. It was not there late afternoon yesterday. Is this something to be worried about? Should I try adding an extracted super below the escape and excluder like oldtimer mentioned or just brush them down and get them annoyed for awhile? This hive has been more aggressive, than my other this year. Not ridiculously aggressive but almost everytime I went in they would "bonk" me in the veil.

    IMG_7634(1).jpg

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    drakesville, iowa
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    I know nothing, so consider that when you read what I would try.

    I would place an empty super between the brood boxes with a quart jar of 2:1 syrup on the top bars of the brood. Then on top of the empty super I would place the bee escape with the honey supers on top of this. With in 24 hours the bees should have moved down if there is no brood in the honey supers. They should think there is a nectar flow and move down unless you have an upper entrance to the honey supers.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Moths I would doubt if there's a lot of bees in there right now, bees will still have access to the area through the excluder. But top feeding, that will be a problem. If feeding cannot wait 3 weeks, then you may have to bite the bullet and remove the box now.

    To allow the brood to hatch it may be possible to temporarily put individual brood frames into the main hive, by temporarily removing some broodless frames from the bottom box. If it's a 2 box hive maybe seperated from the queen by an excluder with a view to taking the frames back out in 3 weeks.

    Went out this morning before work. Had a nice crisp morning in the high 40s, which the bees did not like very much. The bees still did not move down into the two deeps. In hindsight I should have just tried the escape and if it didn't work brush them down right away. Seemed like they ate up almost all their stores. Most importantly, I checked each and every frame before brushing it off and did not find a queen. Why would they remain in those supers without a queen?

  21. #20
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Bee Escape Not Working

    Asking the obvious, but did you place the triangle board with triangle down? No answer as to why they won't move unless your board was not orientated correctly. But I will say that it usually takes 2 days for most of mine to move down with a triangle escape. J

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