not prepared / first cut-out, what can increase my chances?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Pinellas Park, FL
    Posts
    5

    Default not prepared / first cut-out, what can increase my chances?

    History: Been interested in beekeeping for years, countless hours of videos and some reading. A friend purchased a property from the county that had hives that have been untouched for 6 years, 1 being active. Decided it was time to start acquiring equipment. Found somebody getting out of the hobby and bought all of her gear. A bunch of deeps, shallows, a few nucs, suits, frames, tools, honey processing stuff, etc.... I have not inspected the 6 year untouched hive yet but may do so shortly.

    Being green I am sure there are many things I have done wrong and will do wrong. Open to criticism as long as its not a flame war. I follow the local beekeeping groups here and will be at the next monthly meeting since stumbling into this. Anything I have watched or read has all been about swarms that have not settled down, or cutouts that are considerable, but nothing that could apply to this situation.

    Location: Central Florida (Tampa Bay) (what is winter?)

    Sunday: I received a call from a friend (who I just finished installing a new air conditioner in the same house) with dead bees around their porch light. A swarm set up shop on the roof overhang and at the time of discovery the comb + bees were the size of a cantaloupe. Not many bees at all, maybe a thousand or 2? Captured the queen (adrenaline made me go for a drone first) and harvested 3 of the 4 combs. Cumulative it was enough comb to fill half a deep frame. In my lack of planning and the fact that this was my first attempt at anything bees, they werent put in the same frame. I couldnt hang the comb so everything was upside down. I knew that I needed to save as much as I could in order for this colony to have a chance. A few dozen cells of pollen (surface area of a playing card??) and no brood. no capped anything. Nuc placed on the ladder I was working on and came back an hour after sunset to close up and move them.

    I did not move this colony to the land my friend purchased and is fine with bees because A) it was half a mile away and B) I dont know the health of the hive thats there. I moved this colony to my house. Left the queen in the queen catcher clip overnight and most of the following day so they wouldnt bugger off. Monday is when I released the queen from her jail and threw some frames with foundations in. They have attached the combs more securely than gravity at this point. Gave them a front feeder with 1:1

    Today (Tuesday) rolls around and against my intuition I opened them up. (curiosity killed the.... bees?) Queen is still there, consolidated everything to 1 frame, and they have started to build on one of the foundations. I didnt want a problem with sideways comb or hanging from the lid so we currently sit with 1 unbuilt frame with rubber banded cut-out, and 4 empties with foundation. They are definitely filling comb with nectar. I did see 1 bee going for the sugar water (maybe 5 minutes after last smoke, unsure if that means anything) but no level change there. A few hours prior during the day traffic in and out was consistent and good from what I can tell based on the amount of bees here.

    Since from what ive been reading its pretty late for a swarm so the chances for this colony are slim? Or is that mainly for northern areas where it actually gets cold? We might be lucky to get below 55 in the winter. Looking for opinions on what the next steps would be. Im assuming moving to a 10 frame would be ill-advised until they start to fill out the open frames. Also the spot that i picked is not the best, but with construction going on and dogs, I didnt have time to prepare my area where I wanted to put them so they are on the side of my house. Unfortunately they are near my condensing unit, which I already see theres some bees that got chopped up. The entrance is facing away from the unit and I intend on moving the colony. Its going to be interesting to inch the colony to it's final place after things settle down.

    Is this colony going to have to play catch up in order to bulk up a bit? From what Ive read the queen should be fine without starting to lay in the time frame for everything thats gone on. Should I consider pulling a frame of brood from that other colony I have and havent inspected? After I inspect it of course. The only thing I know about it is I did a quick once over with my suit (no smoke) and set the empty hives aside for destruction. I pulled the top and was greeted by some angry bees but I was able to see that there were 10 frames. Im sure their anger was attributed to no smoke. I intend on seeing if I can get an experienced beekeeper to come with me for a proper inspection. Or if I am not going that route, should I continue to supplement with sugar water and/or pollen substitute?

    My gut says that this colony wont survive, but I want to correct anything im doing wrong and give them the best chance.

    And here is what we started with and ended with:
    IMG_5603.jpg

    IMG_5629.jpg

    IMG_5645.jpg

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    589

    Default Re: not prepared / first cut-out, what can increase my chances?

    A few thoughts,

    Did you flip the comb usidown when you rubber banded it into the frames? It sort of looks like this, and that will not work because the bees build it at an angle to keep the honey in. If it is upsidown I would flip over one chunk and leave the others alone. The bees will eventually fix it all.

    With your weather in FL you may be able to make it thru the winter if you keep feeding. They may not be taking syrup right now because they have found a better source of food. If you have it I would also throw a piece of pollen patty in the box for the bees to eat. If you put in an entire pollen patty it will probably attract other bugs (beetles and ants) but if you put in a 1-2" square piece you can judge if the bees are interested/eating it and keep adding small pieces as they consume it.

    It sounds like you are off to a good start otherwise.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,916

    Default Re: not prepared / first cut-out, what can increase my chances?

    Sounds like quite the adventure. Do as elmer says and you should be fine. Tampa just does not get all that cold and there is almost always something blooming. Bees have it good.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Wise county,Texas
    Posts
    289

    Default Re: not prepared / first cut-out, what can increase my chances?

    I'm with Elmer on changing the comb orientation, I'd pull the frame and use wood glue and the rubber bands to set them correct, queen may not want to lay in cells like that. May do two on one frame, when that is dry, tackle the one the bees are on.

    I'd also heavily monitor that feeder, if found by a large hive, wouldn't take much to over run that hive. Good luck .
    “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic”

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Pinellas Park, FL
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: not prepared / first cut-out, what can increase my chances?

    Ok that all sounds good, thanks. I havent had a chance to do anything as of yet, not getting home until 10pm lately. I have been able to take some night peeks (just peeks, no smoke or anything to disturb them) and the current status is they are taking the sugar water, They are starting to build out the foundation immediately opposite the comb they are working (not enough to be of any use.) The upside down comb seems to be getting pretty thin from them eating away at it where the rubber bands are, but nothing added. Its farther from the main comb they are working and they are never on it whenever I look. Tomorrow I will invert it to its correct orientation and place it above (closer) to their main operations which I think would help them out better than just inverting it alone. Its about the right size to fit above and be wedged enough for them to secure it themselves.

    So in an effort to not destroy the comb because of thick gloves, I guess some people use nitrile gloves? So far from comparing these to lots of videos these are very docile so I dont think I should have a problem. I know sooner or later Ill end up getting stung but I guess the school of thought would be to get the techniques down to not get stung.

    Ill throw a partial patty in and see if they are receptive.

    For bees and neighboring hives, Ive watched around my house since I moved in 5 years ago. Out of the lots of different types of wasps, I have literally only seen 1 honeybee. ONE. Ive made it a point to look for and watch anything around here for the last 2 years. Even though I know there are colonys in range (impossible not to be) I am thinking the chances of this one being overrun is slim.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default

    I would do as little as possible with this new hive beside feed as much as they will take and treat for mites. Any weird comb can get sorted out in the spring. I have only been in Tampa Bay one season but have captured so many swarms and done enough cutouts over the last year to know that there are booming hives everywhere. There are also many dinky and sometimes queenless little hives intermixed.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Pinellas Park, FL
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: not prepared / first cut-out, what can increase my chances?

    Ok, everything is going well (as much as I can judge) and they seemed to love the fact that I uprighted the comb and expanded that considerably into the rest of the comb. dimensions worked out where I could just wedge it on top of another and they were quick to secure it to the top rail of the frame. They are drawing the adjacent foundation frames as well and now that the comb is roughly centered theres no more wacky cross comb to deal with.

    As for patties, I originally didnt think they were receptive to the bee pro patty. I couldnt put it on top of the frames due to clearance on this nuc, Made a spacer and also corrected the ant issue with some moats, made some patties from ultra bee powdered sub, placed that next to the bee pro (now on top of the frames), and it seems they are chewing away at both so I left both.

    Still, these bees are very docile. Now that Ive inspected the other hive on a different property which was given to me which those I know are going to be a handful. Thats for another thread though.

    What I find weird, which I didnt get any pictures of, and Im not going to make a deal of it quite yet because I dont have the experience to know what I am looking at, there seemed to be some partially capped brood. Cant remember if its where there was capped, or if they were in the process of capping, or if a problem was detected and they were ripping the capping off, i dont know. Ill probably end up checking up on everything and be prepared to take some pictures if I notice anything odd if weather and timing cooperates. If it seems like something is up ill be back.

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