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Discussion Starter #21
So, although I've mostly likely been directly responsible for their delayed comb building.... Will they be able to survive long enough for a brood cycle? And should I install more feeders above the top bars if I have room?
 

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With captured swarms, it's impossible to know where they come from and where they've been, and what they've been exposed to during that time. If the same thing is happening to two different colonies in the same hive, it makes me wonder if there is something about the hive, what it's made from, and if there is any kind of finish on the inside contributing to this behavior. It could also be something going on in your environment, neighbors using insecticides and so forth. What equipment did you use to capture them? Could it be contaminated in any way? Just brainstorming ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
I used a carboard box, but what that box went through is a mystery quite frainkly. Also, a concern I had was if I let the hive box "air out" long enough after I sealed it with an oil based treatment (12 days after final coat). Also, I DID realize that I used a paint brush to apply the wax, but the brush hasn't been used for YEARS.... then again, maybe that did something??? also, if there was an environmental issue the bees wouldn't have liked, would they have just absconded due to the smell? At least with the second swarm, they did not just start dying off right away like the first... but, then again, that was 7 days later, so if there was some chemical gas-off happening at that point, I can see how it would have made a difference 7 days later.
 

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So, although I've mostly likely been directly responsible for their delayed comb building.... Will they be able to survive long enough for a brood cycle? And should I install more feeders above the top bars if I have room?
Hopefully, yes - only time will tell. If the weather warms some, and it might, that will help increase chances of success.

I think additional feeders would be good. The bees can then take more, faster, and the increased mass of feed will help to keep it warmer, longer. And, check tomorrow morning, to see how they're taking the syrup, and refresh with warm syrup.

Good luck, and welcome to beekeeping.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Thanks for the help!

Also, should I remove the feeders and close up the hive at night to better insulate them? I don't know how I feel about leaving the top cracked open when it cools down. As of 6:00 this evening, they've stopped taking the syrup.
 

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If it isn't raining, you could cover it over with a rag or a towel or two - be sure to fasten it down so it doesn't get blown off. Or you could remove it all, then replace it in the morning, with freshly warmed syrup.
 

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How cold is it getting at night? Bees can get through some really frigid temps just fine in their cluster. Now if there's a chimney effect being caused by having the top open, then you should close it up. Bees don't like drafty hives.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Last night got down to 40, but it rained a bit. usually, we're in the low 50s. Pretty sure it will get drafty considering the entrance location and the split top. I'll feel better if I gently nudge the bees down between the bars and close it up. PLus, I'll need to remove the syrup anyway to warm it up. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Okay--- 48 hours after syrup feeding... Still no comb, and now ants have discovered the delicious delicacy. I am at ends meet here... I'm pulling my hair out with stress, and I just feel like I'm failing the bees. . . For some dumb reason this is really depressing me to no end.
 

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Okay--- 48 hours after syrup feeding... Still no comb, and now ants have discovered the delicious delicacy. I am at ends meet here... I'm pulling my hair out with stress, and I just feel like I'm failing the bees. . . For some dumb reason this is really depressing me to no end.
I've had both carpenter ants and fire ants discover the hive. I chanced using Amdro b/c fire ants are just plain mean. I do know how you're feeling -- I feel the same about having allowed cross-combing to get this far, though I realize you'd prefer to be dealing with that problem. I don't know that 48 hours is that long. My bees were emptying a 14 oz jar of syrup a day, and it was a few days of eating before I spotted any comb through the window. It was at least a week before I was sure they were foraging, and I just spotted pollen baskets on returning bees a couple of days ago. If it's been cold and rainy, perhaps the bees are just staying warm? Jurgen Tautz and Thomas Seeley both write a lot about the amount of food energy it takes for bees to stay warm...Tautz has even identified a new kind of worker, the heater bee, whose job appears to be solely using body energy to heat the empty cells in the brood nest in order to keep larvae/pupae warm. Those bees need so much food that a second worker has the job of solely bringing honey and nectar droplets to feed the heater bees. I think Tautz wrote that this can happen as often as every 30 minutes. Since building comb is also energy consuming, and there is not brood to keep warm, maybe the bees are just huddling until all the environmental pieces they need are working together long enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I feel the same about having allowed cross-combing to get this far, though I realize you'd prefer to be dealing with that problem.
yeah, Much rather have cross-combing than NO comb... My bees are on Day 11 of just staying there, clumped up... although I've witnessed them taking the sugar syrup, they haven't even emptied one jar yet. . . or even 1/2 emptied for that matter... I HAVE seen more and more starting to exit the hive throughout the evening when I'm home from work.

The only "good" news is that we had our "Santa Ana" winds kick up last night which will automatically give us 80+ degree temperatures, so maybe the extra warmth will be good for them. here in Ventura, CA it's always "good weather" and it hardly rains here. I'm just worried that at this point, they are going to start dying off due to their relatively short lives and then even if the DO start building, they'll all be dead before new workers hatch :-(
 

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yeah, Much rather have cross-combing than NO comb... My bees are on Day 11 of just staying there, clumped up... although I've witnessed them taking the sugar syrup, they haven't even emptied one jar yet. . . or even 1/2 emptied for that matter... I HAVE seen more and more starting to exit the hive throughout the evening when I'm home from work.

The only "good" news is that we had our "Santa Ana" winds kick up last night which will automatically give us 80+ degree temperatures, so maybe the extra warmth will be good for them. here in Ventura, CA it's always "good weather" and it hardly rains here. I'm just worried that at this point, they are going to start dying off due to their relatively short lives and then even if the DO start building, they'll all be dead before new workers hatch :-(
I installed a package on April 5th. Through a period of about six days and finally a lengthy thread on here with the help of many... we determined the hive to be queenless. On April 16th we installed the replacement queen in the afternoon. She was hanged from a top bar with a decent amount of candy to be chewed through. The following morning it was sunny and my brother noticed that the bees were bringing in pollen (this is something they did not do at all before hanging the queen). We went back in four days later and the bees had started two combs, they were not visible from the observation window at all. When we pulled one out we saw the queen, some stored pollen, and eggs. The weather has been rough here in eastern Iowa, still dropping down to 35 at night. We had a heating pad on the syrup to keep it in the temperatures at which they can take it. We removed it about a week ago... and put it back on tonight. The lows will be dropping into the 30s the next four nights and highs MAYBE in the mid-50s.

Our bees are at a crucial time. I sneaked a peak at them today as they should be capping brood. I saw several capped cells. There were several larva very near being ready to be capped. My calculations put emergence day of the first brood to be May 8th or 9th. Possibly as early as May 6th or 7th depending on when the queen was actually released and started laying. That's 34-35 days since the package was installed. The hive still has a good number of bees, but their numbers are noticeably lower at this point. I don't even know if it's possible for them to make it at this point. But my only hope is that it's not uncommon for a new queen to take two weeks to start laying, and theoretically those hives and still survive.

How are you looking for comb? I'm not kidding when I say you can't see it from the window. Do you see any pollen coming in?
 

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Discussion Starter #35
No screened bottom. And I know there is no comb because I checked the bars after 8 days went by and there was no visible comb. I'm wondering at this point there is no queen..... which is what I thought about the first colony I lost but I ended up seeing her as one of the few left.... ants again today, too.

No pollen either....
 

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No screened bottom. And I know there is no comb because I checked the bars after 8 days went by and there was no visible comb. I'm wondering at this point there is no queen..... which is what I thought about the first colony I lost but I ended up seeing her as one of the few left.... ants again today, too.

No pollen either....
How positive are you that you saw her? Is there any way you could cage a queen that your beekeeping buddy has to see how they react? Michael Palmer has a great video showing how a queenless hive reacts to a queen. YouTube "palmer queenless" and it should come up.

Otherwise this link should work:
 

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Discussion Starter #37
I'm only positive I saw the queen from my 1st colony.. And they weren't doing ANYTHING for the 11 days it took them to all die off. I looked for the queen on my current colony, but out of 9,000-10,000 bees, I didn't see her when I examined the bars.... but I know that doesn't mean she's not there. I don't think I can get a queen from my buddy or anyone else around here for that matter, and I definitely don't want to buy one (I prefer to keep my bees feral from this area).
 

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How many bees do you actually have in the hive? How big is the cluster?
It could be that you have a small cluster which means it will be alot harder for them to make any decent inroads in drawing comb
 

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I'm only positive I saw the queen from my 1st colony.. And they weren't doing ANYTHING for the 11 days it took them to all die off. I looked for the queen on my current colony, but out of 9,000-10,000 bees, I didn't see her when I examined the bars.... but I know that doesn't mean she's not there. I don't think I can get a queen from my buddy or anyone else around here for that matter, and I definitely don't want to buy one (I prefer to keep my bees feral from this area).
How are those local ferals doing so far? :) Obviously you are in an area where you can get swarms. Maybe you can catch some more they'll take. My comment regarding the queen was simply to see how they react to her.
 
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