I've wanted bees for some time, or more accurately, wanted to provide habitat for honey bees. However due to weighing the cost of a few hives or feeding the kids opted to just think about it. Recently (4th of July weekend) a friend of mine gave me an old Langstroth hive, two boxes, 10 frames, a top board, base and top. I set it up to see if it would catch a swarm. This sparked my interest even more so I started reading and came across the Warre' hive, took my basic wood working skills and built two of them and stuck them out in the yard.
Last week there were bees all over the neighborhood, the neighbors were freaking out. One actually told me the bees would kill us :lpf:.... That night I found that the swarm that was spotted in my neighbors tree moved into the old Lang hive.
long story short, they were building in the top box (frames were on the bottom with top board in between) because the box was so old they found a way in when I thought it was closed up tight. I tried to mend the box and get them to move into the bottom box and that didn't work so I took the hive apart and put them into one of the new Warre' hives. Within a few hours there were all in the hive and when I checked yesterday they seem to be working away.
It seems like some people are working so hard and not having good luck, I'm not doing anything and they just moved in.
I had quite a few people tell me they would die out over the winter because they started late, I'm not overly concerned because I didn't pay for them and didn't expect to have any until next season anyway BUT I want to try to keep them alive over the winter if possible.....any advice?
Feed them 1:1 sugar:water and keep it on until first frost. Hopefully they can build enough comb and store enough to make it. I'm not familiar with warre hives, but putting a top of dry sugar through the winter can save hives that are shy on stores.
Beekeeping is local. I figure you get lots of snow in your area? You might want to look at providing a top entrance. I don't know anything about "wrapping" hives for the winter but some northern beeks wrap their hives to help them make it through the cold. The best thing is like Ray and rwlaw said...feed them up. Take care, though, that they don't pack the comb with syrup. The queen needs room to lay in so that she can build up a good population to overwinter.
Several options on feeding...mason jars, in-hive feeders, hive-top feeders, baggies, etc.,. I use mason jars inverted over the escape hole in my inner cover...over this I place another box and the top cover. "Boardman" feeders (an inverted jar that slips into the front entrance of the hive) are usually frowned upon due to contributing to robbing problems (robbing can decimate a colony).
I had a friend at work call me last June, swarm in his front tree. I retrieved it, my first swarm and it was tiny, baseball sized. When I hived it, it could not cover two frames. I gave it a couple of frames of brood and by fall they had 8 good frames of bees and stores. I was still sure they would never make it. They are a strong hive this year, lots of honey. The moral of the story id you can never tell. Yes feed them as described above. How large a swarm, i.e. how many frames covered? Good luck with them.
I'm a newbee, so I haven't overwintered yet, but I think what you did was awesome!
If you can, find out from some local beeks what your fall flow is going to be like. Here, a swarm caught this late would absolutely have to be fed continuously until winter and likely need supplemental candy for winter, as we apparently don't have a fall flow of any size. They can also help you figure out how much stores they need to overwinter, so you don't under or over feed.
If you can't attend a meeting (for a variety of reasons, I can't attend any local meetings myself) I found a ton of information out there that is rather applicable to my area via google. You might find the same. I have also found that if I send an e-mail to local beeks, they are always happy to talk local bees
Again, too cool! And how funny about the neighbors
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