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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,
This is my third year BK, I believe that I am in a little bit of a Dilemma.
I overwintered two hives anticipating that once again I wouldn't have any Spring Survivors, but I do.
Both Hives seemed to have made it. There are a few hundred bees coming back to the two hives every afternoon.
I haven't done an inspection yet, I am not sure on what to look for.
From what I have read, I should clean the bottom screens of dead bees, and then manipulate the supers.
My two hives are both made up of mediums only. One hive is three mediums, the other is four.
Last but not least. I have paid for three new packages of bees, and am due to pick them up in a couple of weeks.
( I have a 3rd empty hive ready )
Also; The bees that survived are Italians. My three new incoming bee packages are Russians.
Thanks
 

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It sounds like you have two hives that survived the winter,:thumbsup: 3 packages coming soon, and only one set of empty equipment.

Looks like time to buy or make 2 more sets of equipment. :)
 

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I would inspect asap. Determine if your hives are queen rite and have a viable cluster. You may need to combine a queenless have with one of your packages. Then determine if you want more hives. If you can't handle more sell the extras on craigslist.
 

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Before you buy more equipment, make sure the activity you're seeing belongs to bees living in the hive, not opportunistic robbers stopping by every afternoon to salvage a deadout.

If you don't want to open the hive to see, you could go there in the evening and give the hives a sharp rap. If you hear a correspondiing roar, then you've got resident bees.

I can also recognize the smell of brood from the outside, perhaps you can, too?

Assuming you do have two survivors, congratulations! And now you'll have a five-hive beeyard, so you're going to have a bee-busy summer.

Enj..
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks,
I checked them coming in last night, most if not all look immature.
My platform will hold five hives, though, it will bring each hive within only a couple inches of each other from side to side.
Would this be to close?
Thanks again,
 

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Not too close. might only be a problem if you are using telescoping outer covers. If the bees are out flying you can do an inspection. Get the survivor hives into just the necessary equipment, one or two mediums. You can then use the surplus to hive your new packages, one medium each. That should buy some time for purchasing and assembling more equipment. I am sure you already know that three mediums is equal to two deeps and should be big enough for a thriving hive before needing supers (more mediums) when the flow is on. Good luck, this is not a bad problem to have.
 

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If the bees are resident survivors they will be in the brood build-up mode and you will see many of them bringing in lots of pollen, robbers don't bring their lunch. If you do inspect, try to pull out frames from the center where they usually have the brood, if you're lucky the first frame may have brood and you can close the hive without too much disturbance.
Good luck and congrats on your bees surviving.
 

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Before you buy more equipment, make sure the activity you're seeing belongs to bees living in the hive, not opportunistic robbers stopping by every afternoon to salvage a deadout.

Very Good Point. I went in with 2 came out with 1. Thought I had come out with 2 from a very similar explanation. However upon inspection, I forund that the big hive had perished with a full broodbox of honey above them. My smaller hive was robbing it to survive. they went thru half of the honey. With noone to defend, the act of robbing can seem quite naturally like the normal activity of a live hive I have learned. Good luck this year.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, I looked at my inventory and I have plenty of frames, foundations, and suppers. I just need tops & bases etc.
I'll probably purchase a couple of complete kits, cheaper.
Yes, this is new to me, and just when I thought I was getting accustomed to things.
My only education has been this forum and the book beekeeping for Dummy's. :)
Last fall I had left them with all of their storage, as, I still had honey left from the previous season.
This reminds me. The Honey that I have from the previous season is jarred and stored by the case, in a dark closet, around a constant 68 degrees.
The honey has seemed to have thickened up to a paste\sugary consistency?
It taste exc, though it comes out of the Jar like Peanut Butter.
Is this normal? I did not feed my bees sugar at all the previous season.
 

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Yes it is normal for the honey to thicken due to crystallization, each type of honey does so at a different rate, a few like tupelo never crystalizes.
 

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If you don't like the 'thickened' consistency, warming it up will generally re-liquefy it. A hot water bath is one way to do that. A less conventional alternative is to put it in a closed automobile for a few hours (at least in some parts of the country).

Or just leave it alone and call it 'candied honey' and eat it with a spoon. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I finally did my inspection this past weekend. Not only do I have some bees, I have an extremely large colony in both hives.
When I pulled my top covers, they were full along the top, they even ate through most of my over wintering foam insulation inside the winter supper.
Top supper, full of bees on top, every single frame, both sides covered. This was the same for my remaining two med supers tops of the frames with all frames being covered on both sides of all of the frames, not to mention the hundreds of bees flying around.
Extremely friendly, I didn't suit up other than gloves, some landed on me, no stings. ( I would assume my Queens are alive, if they are not aggressive correct )
What I did was manipulate the top supper, and put it on the bottom, and left the middle where it was. ( I did this with both hives ) Then, added a queen extruder to each hive, then added fresh medium suppers atop of both hives.
Cleaned out the bottom screened bases of dead bees, opened up their lower entrance to the Med width cut out.
What I did notice when inspecting the Hives, was on top of two of the frames in one hive, was what looked like a large larvae, inside an open propolis. The resident looked tan, maggot sized.
Along with one or two dead gold & black furry Caterpillars.
From the looks of the Colony, I have better than three pounds of bees in each hive.
The bees are also bringing in pollen, and, the suppers that I relocated to the bottom of the hive felt a little heavy, maybe two-three frames had last seasons honey in each.
I have three new hives on the way, for my new three bee packages arriving at the end of the month.
Any suggestions from this point on?
Thank you!
 

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Time to give them more room or your have to hive a couple of swarms too! Get extra supers of foundation ready and hope for the best on finding queen cells.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I should put another medium on each? That would be two empty med suppers on top of each hive for a total of five suppers - yes?
 

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Ditch the queen excluders. The bees will likely treat the excluder as the top of the hive and ignore the bare foundation you have up there. You can leave them in if you have drawn comb above them, though.

Add only one box of undrawn foundation at a time, otherwise you might get a couple frames in each box drawn and the rest left empty. Once they have made good progress on drawing and filling that box, add another one underneath. This time of year with a hive full of bees and the spring flow on, you may be adding a box a week. Check often, you only need lift the inner cover to see what they are doing, you don't need to pull the frames. You can lift off the boxes to check for queen cells on the bottoms of the frames, you don't have to pull them unless you feel a need to see each frame for some specific reason. Queen cells on the bottoms of the frames indicates swarming.

With drawn comb, which you should have next year, you can put on all the boxes you think the bees will fill as soon as it warms up, they will stuff it full on the spring flow.

Peter
 
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