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Discussion Starter #1
I installed on my split hive a top feeder.

The bees are not using it at all and it is just filled inside with ants.

What’s the issue here?

If the bees were going nuts in the feeder I would keep using it.
 

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The feeder should only be on the hive when actually feeding sugar syrup. When the feeding ends, the feeder should be removed and stored off the hive.

Honey bees will abandon feeding on sugar syrup when ample nectar becomes available. Syrup attracts ants, and often they drown in the syrup. I don't know if this changes the taste of the syrup, but often the bees stop taking syrup full of ants or small hive beetles.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I’m trying to have the bees draw out new founfpdation.

Will cleaning the feeder help?

Worth a try.


I’ll only fill it half way not to waste any syrup.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I’m trying to have the bees draw out new foundation.

Will cleaning the feeder help?

Worth a try.


I’ll only fill it half way not to waste any syrup.
 

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Mine consume syrup regardless of a honey flow. The ants get their share but don't cause a problem. Dead ants in the feeder haven't caused any evident problem. My nuc feeders stay on year round.
What are you feeding them?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
1:1 sugar water

Just checked again after cleaning it.

It’s almost like there is bee repellent in there.

Not a soul consuming fresh sugar water.

I borrowed the feeder from a buddy.
 

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Not a soul consuming fresh sugar water.
It could be that you have such an awesome nectar flow on that the bees are turning their noses up at the sugar water.
Are they drawing new comb? That would be the test, in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
They are drawing, but very slowly.

I just split the hive Wednesday last week,with only one loaded brood frame, and honey frame.

The rest were new foundation frames.

Would a drop of lemongrass oil entice them?
 

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You're a first year beekeeper and have already split your first colony? Oh, my! So, a colony that was started recently now has to draw out two sets of combs before winter? That's a lot to ask. I suggest being patient and seeing what happens and be prepared to recombine later on if you don't get enough comb growth to support two hives through winter. The pace of comb building slows dramatically by midsummer.

Ants in the feeder won't matter. Feed smaller amounts so you can change it more frequently. Consider foam insulating tape (use the rubber kind, if you can find it at this time of year) on the top surface of the feeder where it meets the underside of the cover. If you want to try a feeding stimulant try a tiny amount of Honey B Healthy. Make sure to have a robber screen on before you try that, however.

Nancy
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My bees swarmed last Monday and I thought I removed all of the emergency cells, so I purchased a new queen. Either that or kill the hive.

I went in and found a bunch of emergency and supercedure cells capped and being attended to.

So I had a queen, so I split the hive.

One right now is queenless and working on the emerging queen, the other the new queen is busy at work laying eggs. Verified!

So I was hoping to get one colony drawn out, while the other one is working on requeening itself.

But the top feeder is weird that they are not even looking at it.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Do as Nancy suggests and use a very small amount of a feeding stimulant such as HBH, or simply add a few drops of anise extract which you can get in the spice aisle of the local grocery store. Robber screens are very important, when using any stimulant, even with a strong flow on. And, they are easy to make. Once the bees get used to using the feeder, you should be able to discontinue the use of the stimulant. Ants and the inevitable yellow jackets won't pose a problem for the bees. Just periodically rinse out the dead freeloaders and carry on.
 

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Can you do a pic of the hive with the feeder off, and the hive with the feeder on?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Oh Gawd, you're thinking he left the inner cover in place? Could be a problem if his feeders are like mine. Ok if it is a Rapid Feeder or similar.
 

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LOL, I'm giving him credit for being a bit smarter than that ha ha.

Reason i asked was that it's a new split and we don't know the feeder type, other than it's a top feeder. A pic of the hive, showing strength etc, plus a pic of the feeder, would give some of the information needed to enable proper answers to be given.

IE, from the description it sounds like the split is one brood comb and a honey comb. So, very low in bee numbers. After drift, they could be struggling just to cover the brood, never mind venturing into the feeder. But, I could have got that wrong, so a pic will help clarify and enable informed answers to be given that will solve the problem.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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That's a relief! I assumed so too but sometimes the instruction and directions for use are not clear. I figured you were willing to gently broach the subject. I like to be direct, in a round about way. :) If the stimulants don't work, the bees are getting what they want from somewhere.
 

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Ok, if you know your original hive swarmed (perhaps you saw it happen?) then you could have just reduced the number of queen cells down to, say, three, and let them get on with it. All of the cells they would be raising would be swarm cells and intended to be queens from the outset. So no issues with being late starters.

Having removed all of the always-fed-as-queen cells made in conjunction with a swarm, you forced the bees to make emergency cells, instead. Sometimes this results in poorer quality queens if the bees struggle to find perfectly young larvae to turn into queens. As a rule, I think bees are smart enough to pick the proper-aged cells, but if you delayed your culling long enough perhaps they wouldn't have still had enough good choices.

All of the cells you saw initially were swarm cells, none were supercedure cells. Bees don't do those two things simultaneously. Placement on the frame doesn't determine which is which, though it sometimes gives a general indication. In supercedure there are usually less then five, sometimes only a one or two. In swarms there are usually dozens and they may be anywhere, and everywhere, in the colony.

Don't worry, you likely haven'tmessed things up irretrievably, even if you unknowingly interfered with the bees' plans, post swarm. Swarm cells make great queens, as do supercedure cells. I even like emergency cells when there are good options for the bees to chose from. Normally you don't need to add a queen when a hive swarms. Bees are really good at their jobs, and they can survive all our efforts to help them.

But keep an eye on things. if you only have a frame or two of bees, then they belong in a nuc box or queen castle for the time being. You can also reduce a normal-sized box with follower boards and foam panels.

Nancy
 

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Just gonna take a bit for the split to grow into the syrup consumption you're expecting. Soon as that frame of brood emerges, it'll be on...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks everyone for the awesome advice.

There is pretty solid activity at the entrance, just not enough bees working inside.
 
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