Bees staying home
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
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    79

    Default Bees staying home

    I went down to my bee yard with about 13 hives. Itís warm about 85 with possibility of rain. Normally on a warm day the bees would be out flying. It not today as in every hive hive that are staying home. Could this be due to the heat?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
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    157

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    Dearth?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    1,371

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    Not due to heat, because it would make them fly, ventilate hive, etc. Possibility of rain, barometric pressure? Something doesnít read right
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    No dearth but we have experienced storms almost everyday. Small chance today. I will check in a couple of hours and report back.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Nacogdoches, TX, USA
    Posts
    132

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Plannerwgp View Post
    No dearth but we have experienced storms almost everyday.
    Maybe they are not finding the nectar due to the recent rains you mention. Seems like it takes a day or two after a good rain to get the flow back in gear.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    Today as he sun goes in and out and there is a possibility of a storm they are flying better. I think it has to do with their ability to sense rain and the barometric pressure. Over all I am expecting very poor honey production due to weather and other issues.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,072

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    In my experience, they fly a lot less when they sense incoming rain. I do get a kick out of the scramble to get home when they "miss" the forecast and a quick shower hits them. The cloud of bees lining up to get out of the rain is pretty awesome.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    I noticed on another link in the Forum that many beekeepers are experiencing very poor conditions this year due to the weather. The bee have taken a hit as well. I have lost hives that made it the a cold winter and even many of the local nucs I purchased are doing poorly. I have some new queens coming and they are too late for honey production but hopefully I can strengthen some hives for the fall and winter. I think the bees forecast weather better than the meteorologists.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    reidville, sc
    Posts
    124

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    Quote Originally Posted by Plannerwgp View Post
    I noticed on another link in the Forum that many beekeepers are experiencing very poor conditions this year due to the weather. The bee have taken a hit as well. I have lost hives that made it the a cold winter and even many of the local nucs I purchased are doing poorly. I have some new queens coming and they are too late for honey production but hopefully I can strengthen some hives for the fall and winter. I think the bees forecast weather better than the meteorologists.
    Here in upstate south Carolina we are in a dearth. I just inspected hives as I noticed as you did, that they were not very active.
    At inspection the colonies were healthy. There's just nothing to forage right now.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    Went thru several hives today and it looks like some of my better ones have swarmed. Low bee counts and many swarm cells. I have never had so many hives swarm before and also other just progressing very slowly due to weather. Nothing in the supers is capped and I believe that is due to the moisture form continuous rain.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,048

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    Bees can see farther into the ultraviolet range than we can. They have UV receptors on their head that let them see where the sun is even on a cloudy day for navigation. It also gives them the ability to make very accurate short term weather forecasts. There may have been some atmospheric conditions that confused them.

    Put out some swarm traps if you haven't already and try and keep some of those swarms for yourself.
    Zone 5B

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Buffalo, Ky.
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    Lots of rain this season, poor honey production, rain washes nectar out of the flower, flowers do not like producing more nectar, as a result, no nectar flow. Waiting for goldenrod.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    After rather careful inspection of a number of hives. I determined they had swarmed. There were still numerous swarm cell in each hive and a lot of brood on many frames. After several daysI went back and it appears that the swarm cells have diminished or opened. Most of the brood has hatched. So unless a virgin queen returns chichis questionable I have at least 5-6 hives that are queen less with still a reasonable number of bees. I am taking a chance and placing a new queen on theses hives and perhaps a virgin queen if there or returning will have to work it out. I didn't think a split would work and this also may not work.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    409

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    If you place a queen in a hive that has a virgin, the bees will kill the "interloper".

    I would suggest making a nuc for each queen, with 3 frames, where you can shake the bees off and be sure there is not a virgin coming with the combs. YOu need to add bees too, don't get me wrong, and you need to feed those new queens' nucs really well, with pollen too - so it is some work. There won't be foragers for those queens.

    But... this means the queens will emerge in a new-queen friendly colony.

    Heck, you could combine the swarmed colonies, so you have 3 instead of 6. Then place 3 nucs for the new queens where there are foragers, less work!

    No equipment for 6 (or 3) temporary nucs? Well, look up "queen bank" - put those queens (still in their cage, but no risk of being let out) they will be taken care of until the virgins either come back... or don't. You'll want to wait a week from 7/11 to check for virgins back or not.

    Good luck... I do not keep swarmy stock, and I am suspicious of daughters of swarmy stock. seems like it just gets worse with successive generations.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Clinton, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    Quote Originally Posted by trishbookworm View Post
    it just gets worse with successive generations.
    fixed it for ya

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    Trish
    I agree with your recommendation. This has been a horrible year hear in terms of weather and the bees are all doing poorly. I have never had so much swarming and a couple of other worker layers. When I need bees I ususlly purchase local NUC and have had reasonable experiences. This year I think I purchased about 15 NUCs and about half are still functioning effectively. I normally sell my honey through a store and donate the $ for breast cancer. So I am interested in honey primarily but this year our production will be the lowest in 10 years, and I dont want to perpetuate this stock. Early on I could have split some of my hives but I didnt want any more.

    Thanks for the recommendation.
    Last edited by Plannerwgp; 07-11-2019 at 03:16 PM.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Clinton, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    Quote Originally Posted by Plannerwgp View Post
    Trish
    I agree with your recommendation. This has been a horrible year hear in terms of weather and the bees are all doing poorly. I hav enever had so much swarming and a couple of other worker layers. When I need bees I ususlly purchase local NUC and have had reasonable lexperiences. This year I think I purchased about 1-15 NUCs aand about half ar estill fu=nctiining effectively. I normally sell my honey through a store and donate the $ for breast cancer. So I am interested in honey primarily but this year our production will be the lowest in 10 years, and I dont want to perpetuate this stock. Early on I could havesplit some of my hives but I didnt want any more.

    Thanks for the recommendation.
    Been rough for sure. One of the trickiest my family has seen in many decades

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,077

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    The weather has been rather strange this year. Texas has actually been better the last 2 years, we've had rain so had flow. In years with low flow and dearth, I pick the best queen of 2 hives to keep, off the bad queen and put her workers on top of a newspaper combine. However I am dealing with mature queens. I like the 3 nuc idea, less work, fewer hives to feed this winter
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    Have done a final check and had about 3-5 hives swarm. I took3 of them and determined they had swarmed at least twice. There were low populations, some limited capped brood from previous queen and some frames of nectar. There numerous swarm cells about 5 or more per hive were all open and darkish in color. Given my eyes I would never be able to see a virgin queen and so no evidence of eggs or larva.Instead of waiting for a new queen to return I placed new queens that I purchased into each hive. About 7 days later, I saw no results other than of course the queens had been released. Now about 14 days later, I see evidence of limited new capped brood, and some larva, but I can not see queens even though they were marked. At this time I am using a single deep with an excluder. I know it is too late for honey but I would like see if I can strengthen them to survive the fall and winter. I, of course, could have done the same thing with splits but I was too late . I would appreciate any advice on how to strengthen them and hopefully survive the fall and winter.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,077

    Default Re: Bees staying home

    feed, feed and feed unless you have a flow. Still you may have to combine hives going into winter. I live in Texas so that is the best I've got for your climate, hopefully someone else will reply
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

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