Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got 4 hives this year that made it through the winter. Had 5, one died out, bought 3 new packages, 2 hives swarmed but I was able to catch 2 swarms so now I have 9 hives in total. Of the 4 old hives (2 10 frame deeps), I put on a QE, then a 3/4" x 3/4" spacer with a 3/8" x 1" groove (Imrie spacer?) and a super of drawn comb super and a super of empty foundation as I didn't have enough drawn comb from last year to put on 2 boxes of drawn comb on each hive. I don't think the honey flow has started here yet; probably about 2 weeks off maybe. Zone 7b, Eastern Shore, MD.

A) How do I get the bees to start using the top entrance? I was going to wait until night, block off the entrance and get them to find their way out the top entrance and after a day or two, open up the bottom entrance again. So far, I only see about 20-50 bees guarding the top entrance above the QE. These hive a jam packed with bees and brood; I've also rotated the brood nest as well.

B) For the supers, should I just split up the drawn comb I have between the hives that I don't think have swarmed and put on empty foundation on the hives that I know swarmed or should I leave them they way I have them, one box drawn comb, one box empty foundation?

C) Should I use one or two of the caught swarm hives to build more super comb and then combine them at the end of the year for a strong hive next year.

I want about 10 hives in total and I see that doing splits and other swarm control methods, one can have a LOT of hive quickly!!!

POST NOTE:

One hive I know swarmed, it was the only hive in that location and the swarm was ~60' from the hive...the bee inspector also noted it would swarm when he inspected. The second hive I actually SAW swarm. The day I got my 3 packages and went to hive them, I entered the bee yard just as a massive amount of bees were hovering in front of one hive...they went to a tree about 40' away and I was able to get a box and catch them. I hived them in a box that I had put in the drawn brood frames from the dead hive. They are building up FAST.

Thanks to all!
Dale
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>A) How do I get the bees to start using the top entrance?

I would open the top and reduce the bottom to 3/8" wide. After a few days, close off the bottom (at night makes sense) on a night that is sure to be above 50 F for the slow ones... close off a screened bottom if you have one...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,540 Posts
I have conventional Langs with bottom entrances. Two out of three are adaptable to both bottom (primary) and top (winter and occasional-use during busy times) entrance.

One simply won't use the bottom entrance, at any season, no matter how congested the top entrance is. I can have a roiling mass of backed-up pollen foragers agitating to get in the 1.25" dia. upper entrance and a wide-open bottom entrance that gets no traffic, except the odd mortuary bee hauling a corpse out.

It has been this way for almost a year now. (I'm planning to split this colony this summer and will be interested to see if the daughter-queened hive has the same, inflexible, attachment to top entrances.)

So apparently some bees have a pretty fixed idea of where a proper front door is in relation to their interior lay-out.

Enj.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
Move them a mile or so away just like you were making splits, then they will orient to the top entrance - after 2-3 weeks move them back.

I just made that up but it sounds possible. I've tried to get them to change entrance locations before too and they can be very resistant to it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
310 Posts
>A) How do I get the bees to start using the top entrance?

I would open the top and reduce the bottom to 3/8" wide. After a few days, close off the bottom (at night makes sense) on a night that is sure to be above 50 F for the slow ones... close off a screened bottom if you have one...
I agree with Michael. Close off the bottom. Once bees have oriented to aspot they dont change unless they have too. Thats why when you remove a reducer they continue to use the same spot even though the entire entrance is open, until new bees emerge.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top