Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, I just caught my first swarm. I wanted bees for a while but never bit the bullet. Then last week I saw a hive fight off the side the road. I went home built a hive box and caught them. It took me a few days to get the frames built and a few more for some gear to come in the mail. Today I finally got out there they had a 3"x6" piece of comb built on the long side of the hive. I scraped it off and attached it to the top bar of one of the frames. When I left there were a lot of upset bees but a handful were tending to the comb(which is full of eggs).
At dusk I went back to check and wasn't surprised they completely abandoned the comb and where clustered back on the side wall.

My first question is how to get them off the side wall. I thought about stapling a zip lock bag or paper or someone over that spot. But not sure if that will do the trick.

My next question is about the comb that I attached the to frame. Tonights low is 65. Will the eggs die?

Weather they die or not should I leave the comb there for a place for them to start building off of? My concern is if they if they ignore it for too long will it turn into a pest problem?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,661 Posts
I'd say they're clustering on the wall because that's the warmest spot in an otherwise cold hive. Right now I'd be more concerned about getting some feed into those bees rather than be too concerned about where their combs are. So - leave that comb 'as is', but place it as near to the wall as possible if you can. Otherwise leave them to decide for themselves what they want to do. When the weather warms up a little - say in a month - that's the time to start sorting the combs out.

You don't say how big your hive box is - right now it needs to be as small as possible - say 3 frames in size. You can always give them more room later. You've seen eggs, so there's a Queen in there - that's great - what's important right now is to help them survive until such time as they can fend for themselves, as right now they're probably 'running on empty'.

Suggest an inverted jar feeder - simply some form of preserve jar with a metal top which MUST (normally) be airtight.
Pierce the top with 3 or 4 tiny holes (from the outside inwards) using a fine nail or similar, so that the rough edges of the holes are inside the jar. Fill with sugar syrup (pound to a pound-and-a-half in a pint of water) and place the jar over a hole in the hive top (inner cover ?), near to where the bees are if there's a choice. You may need to drip a few drops onto the bees (maybe) if they are a bit slow to catch on.

Feed them, keep them alive, let them 'do their own thing' for now - you can engage 'beekeeper-mode' when they are more established. And keep us posted as to progress. Don't worry if those eggs are lost - they'll soon lay some more.

Almost forgot - welcome aboard - and welcome to the world of beekeeping. Be warned - it's addictive. :)
LJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
In addition to what little_john said, 65F is not too cold and the larvae in sealed comb will survive. The eggs may not survive if the bees are not tending them. I imagine the bees started building comb on the side wall because no frames were present. That is what they would do in a hollow tree. They will keep going to that spot on the wall until they figure out there are other structures to build on.
And like the man said, feed them. If you currently don't have a way to feed them in the hive put a bucket with 1:1 sugar solution in it near the hive. Put some straw, hay, or dead grass on top of the sugar solution to give the bees something to land on without drowning. The 1:1 sugar syrup will stimulate them to build comb. After they are established you can remove any odd comb in a month or so.
Since your low temp is 65F I'll bet there are some trees flowering nearby to provide nectar and pollen. The bees should build up pretty quick with the sugar and nectar/pollen available.
If you have access from a friend or bee club member, now would be a great time to give them a couple of oxalic acid vapor treatments a week apart to kill any mites present. As small as the hive is, a one gram treatment should be sufficient. It will not hurt the bees and will help check the mite build-up that happens in the next few months.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks both of y'all. I have been feeding them sugar water on all the days that it got a little chilly /Rainey but I forgot to say where I am. I'm in south Louisiana about 60 miles from the gulf. March is hit or miss with "cold" weather but We've got clover and black berries, trees, and all sorts of weeds blooming. The plants are growing but we have some heavy rain coming that'll slow the bees down.

The hive is small, I'd say about the size of a cantaloupe or 4 fist. My box is a standard brood box,.too big. I'll make a plywood divider rather than build a new box and try to move them.

When it does come time to sort out the comb what's the best way to go about it?

Thanks for the welcome. I'm happy to be here. My great grandfather had 27 hives and my dad helped him a lot growing up so I've been learning everything I can from what he remembers and YouTube. I got one swarm trap up yesterday and going to be trying to get another two up this weekend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,661 Posts
Thanks both of y'all. I have been feeding them sugar water on all the days that it got a little chilly /Rainey but I forgot to say where I am. I'm in south Louisiana about 60 miles from the gulf. March is hit or miss with "cold" weather but We've got clover and black berries, trees, and all sorts of weeds blooming. The plants are growing but we have some heavy rain coming that'll slow the bees down.
Hard for me to relate to that :) Very few plants in bloom in this neck of the woods. You're already on the ball with feeding - sorry if my post 'talked-down to you' - I had no way of knowing where you were situated or what your background was.

The hive is small, I'd say about the size of a cantaloupe or 4 fist. My box is a standard brood box,.too big. I'll make a plywood divider rather than build a new box and try to move them.
When it does come time to sort out the comb what's the best way to go about it?
Agreed, a divider is the answer. I also use dummy frames to reduce a hive volume - both methods do the same job.
Sorting out comb ? Pretty-much as you're already done - there are several ways of getting them attached: loops of fishing line, rubber bands, some people use clips.
In general terms, the fewer times a hive is opened - especially in the early days - the better. However, as you're going to be installing a divider anyway, it might be educational if, on the same visit, you were to gently move a few of those bees clustering on the wall to one side, and see if you can make out what they're up to there.
There are several reasons why bees cluster - one is to keep warm; another results from insecurity when outside of the hive; and a third is to raise the temperature of a particular area in order to enable comb-building to take place there.
It would be interesting to know if they're re-building a comb in the old position.

Thanks for the welcome. I'm happy to be here. My great grandfather had 27 hives and my dad helped him a lot growing up so I've been learning everything I can from what he remembers and YouTube. I got one swarm trap up yesterday and going to be trying to get another two up this weekend.
What a background. :)
FWIW - next time you come to do something similar, you'll no doubt have some drawn comb available - which will make all the difference, as a small swarm will have much less to do in order to get 'up and running'.
'best,
LJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You didn't talk down to me. I understood where you were coming from and imagined you were further north.

I did investigate and does appear they started building comb in the wall of the frame closest that corner. but it was hard to tell.

Its a background but I don't have any personal experience. Just the stories and the things my dad remembers. He's forgotten a lot but helps me with what he can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
427 Posts
On YouTube see 628dirtrooster and Jeff Horchoff (St. Joseph Abbey). They are S. Louisiana boys with a lot of info about local methods. Join a bee club and go to Bee School. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top