Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I'm new to beekeeping and just put my first hive together in WV (introduced myself over in the Welcome Forum).

When I opened my hive for the first look on Monday my new nuc of Buckfast bees they had gone through at least 12 quarts of 1:1 syrup. I had 13 quarts in the top feeder. One side was completely dry and the other had just enough that the float wasn't on the bottom.

My frames were 1 and 10, undeveloped wax foundation. 2,3 and 9 were nearly full of uncapped liquid. Frame 3 in particular was heavy with bees and liquid. The remaining 5 frames were more developed with brood, pollen and honey then they had been when pulled from the nuc.

Is 12 or more quarts of syrup a "normal" amount for a hive to go through when it is cold (most days were in the 50s and down to 30-40s at night) and they can't get out much? It's also been very rainy here.

I put 10 more quarts of syrup on the hive during that inspection. Should I have waited?

I realize there are a number of variables to get "normal" when asking questions, but 13 quarts of syrup seemed like a lot in a week. Just looking for insight from those of you with experience.

Thanks
 

·
Registered
5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
Joined
·
2,522 Posts
Hello,

I'm new to beekeeping and just put my first hive together in WV (introduced myself over in the Welcome Forum).

When I opened my hive for the first look on Monday my new nuc of Buckfast bees they had gone through at least 12 quarts of 1:1 syrup. I had 13 quarts in the top feeder. One side was completely dry and the other had just enough that the float wasn't on the bottom.

My frames were 1 and 10, undeveloped wax foundation. 2,3 and 9 were nearly full of uncapped liquid. Frame 3 in particular was heavy with bees and liquid. The remaining 5 frames were more developed with brood, pollen and honey then they had been when pulled from the nuc.

Is 12 or more quarts of syrup a "normal" amount for a hive to go through when it is cold (most days were in the 50s and down to 30-40s at night) and they can't get out much? It's also been very rainy here.

I put 10 more quarts of syrup on the hive during that inspection. Should I have waited?

I realize there are a number of variables to get "normal" when asking questions, but 13 quarts of syrup seemed like a lot in a week. Just looking for insight from those of you with experience.

Thanks
well frame 2,3, and 9 have the syrup, how much more do you think they will need? as well the 5 frames from the NUC may have been "filled" with Syrup.

so 10 more quarts should fill 2,3, and 9 and likely 1 and 10, so where will the queen have to lay? Were you going to add more space? A hive full of Syrup in the spring will not allow the bees to use those cells for brood or nectar all year.
IMO 2 quarts a week till the bloom in your area happens is likely sufficient, for a 5 frame NUC, Kindly add your location, it helps when advising.

GG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry GG, I didn't finish setting up my profile last night when I joined. It's there now. In WV, zone 6a.

Your statement about the 10 quarts of syrup filling the rest of the hive body makes complete sense. I wasn't sure if they ate on this while they couldn't go out due to weather. We are still mostly upper 40s to low 50s during the day and in the 30s at night for the next week.

We've had autumn olive bloom already. Dog woods are currently blooming although I know they don't do anything for the bees. The fruit trees in my yard bloomed before the bees arrived.

I am currently in the first hive body, but had planned to add another one as soon as I needed it. I figured that might be this week or next week.

Your advice brings up some additional questions. Should I take out frames 1 and 10 if they are now full and move them into the new hive body, then put new foundation frames in the original hive body? You mentioned all these syrup frames not being used all year, how do I fix that? Will they eat off of this come next winter or during the summer dearth? Should I move more into the new hive body?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
Joined
·
2,522 Posts
with the dog woods and the Autumn olive you should be fine for the day to day needs, the extra store would be for the bad weather causing a couple days of no flying.

how do i fix that is to quit feeding, some of it they will eat but as more comes in they prefer nectar.
do not add space till this cold snap is over.

think about fall..... for winter you would want the top box almost full, so add the next brood box on top. move 2 frames of "syrup" filled up over the top of the brood nest, with one empty in between, like full in 4 and 6 new frame in 5, right over the 5 frame NUC which you want to keep togather.

so for your above example take 2 and 3 from the bottom and use them to start the top. the other 8 in the top are new, the spot where you took 2, and 3 , slide frame 1 over against the nest, unless it is more than 1/2 full. if more than 1/2, put it up in 7 or 8 in the top, less than 1/2 against the brood nest.

so basically take the stored frames away from ONE side, add new, place the full up top over the bees, with a space inbetween for an empty. They should start the frames next to the nest, if we are not feeding these should get brood, and minimum stores. Simultaneously, they will start the frame in between the upper honey frames. Then in 10 days of so go in and move the full frames from the other side like 9 and 10, up into 2 and 9 in the top add empty next to the brood nest on the other side. they should them build out that way.
So in the end you move a large amount of full up to the top and provide room for the brood nest to expand.
So when you do the second manipulation, also add a super, 15 ish days from now. Some time NUCs can really explode with bees as they come with brood.

they will use the stores this winter. A NUC is not likely to need 22 quarts of Syrup, IMO 10 -15 get stored as capped Syrup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
GG,
Thanks. I will move those extra frames per your recommendations. And I'll remove the feeder when I put the next hive body on the beginning of next week.

My overall goal is to do an early split of this hive and potentially forgo a honey harvest in order to have two hives prior to winter setting in. Should I still add the super in 2 weeks?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,178 Posts
Your detailed inspections early in the colonies development OFTEN results in the death of the queen, either from novice frame handling or the bees themselves blaming the still stranger queen for all the disruption. Be careful. When you see eggs and brood, you know you have a queen, quit looking for her. When you see bees on the outside frames drawing comb or them full, quit feeding, put on a super or put on a second hive body and move a drawn frame up and keep feeding until that box is full them put on supers. There will be time enough to be scientist in the fall when the bees can stand more scrutiny.
 

·
Registered
5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
Joined
·
2,522 Posts
GG,
Thanks. I will move those extra frames per your recommendations. And I'll remove the feeder when I put the next hive body on the beginning of next week.

My overall goal is to do an early split of this hive and potentially forgo a honey harvest in order to have two hives prior to winter setting in. Should I still add the super in 2 weeks?
if you plan to forgo the honey then no do not add a super.
when you have about 18-20 frames of bees and comb filled or with brood, but started, then either do your split or add the 3rd deep, depending on your queen availability. So if you order a queen then the split is dependant on when the queen arrives. If they get short of space pre arrival then just add the 3rd box, placing 1 and 10 from the second up into the center to get them up and working it.
When you split do not just do box split. Some what do a Vertical split, equalize the brood then surround it with stores then split the "syrup" frames so they are somewhat the same with bees brood and stores. You will need to find the queen so you know what side gets the new queen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Vance, my goal is to simply spot the queen or eggs and move on. I recognize my lack of experience could kill the queen so I'm trying to make each check as quick as possible, but balance that with learning to handle the frames without crushing bees.
From what I read in Beekeeping from Dummies and what I saw recommended on line, I am only doing a weekly inspection. Do you feel this is too frequent?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Your vertical split sounds like the way to go. There is a local bee store here and I'm hoping to drag the owner out to help me when I do the actual split. I'll hold off on the super to get the two hive bodies built up and have a 3rd body on standby if needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,135 Posts
Your bees drew three frames in a week? don't stop the train. I'd rather pull uncapped frames and freeze them then add another body at 50/ 30 degrees unless your nuc was some stuffed and with ready to hatch brood frames. It is the drawn frames you will need to make a split this year. (Well bees and a queen too) When wax slows down it is not an automatic restart.

As long as they keep giving her room to lay by drawing comb your good. The problem is you will probably miss seeing that they are not keeping ahead of your syrup.

If you put a body over an inner cover and move syrup frames up there they probably will just move it back down but you will have empty drawn frames above and new drawn frames down below.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Salty (prior Navy?)

They were definitely industrious over that first week.
We are supposed to be back up at 70 the end of next week. This cold moved in about a week ago and hasn't let up, 28 and snow tonight. But prior to that we were consistently high 50s and 60s with scattered 70 degree days.

I spoke with our bee store owner this afternoon. He was leaning towards me adding a hive body when I go back in Wednesday (not really warm enough until then). From Wednesday on we are consistently 70s as far out as the weather guesser are willing to predict? Having the extra hive body at that point should be fine moving forward.

You lost me here: "As long as they keep giving her room to lay by drawing comb your good. The problem is you will probably miss seeing that they are not keeping ahead of your syrup."

What am I watching for?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,135 Posts
No former digger/ fish farmer. More a matter of referring to the local climate.

Lost you here. The faster you can feed them that they can take care of is the perfect curve. You were most likely feeding too fast but the only way to be sure is to look closely at the brood comb. That has it's own risk as stated above. Hence you will probably feed faster then they take care of it and you lose brood or the queen. Many have caused a swarm in a new nuc or package. That is all I was saying.

What you are watching is the outer frames, still being drawn but not full. You can look at the outer frames without uncovering the entire body, just slide the inner cover over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ah, got it.

Based on what I've heard here about honey locking the queen, a swarm was my primary concern.

I was hoping to get in and remedy that, but with the weather, it is no doubt safer to wait. That said, they were out in 48 degrees and 15mph winds yesterday.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top