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Hi, I'm new to the forum. A bit of information, I'm a 6 year expat in China from the USA, Michigan. We just moved into a beautiful monster compound that had been used previously as storage. While doing a grounds sweep, I found, tucked into a stand of bamboo, an old neglected single hive box. Inspection showed a huge amount of activity at the entrance, climate control was in full swing! My wife ordered me a bee suit and when it finally came I couldn't wait to do an inspection, (little did I know at the time, that the bees were stingless!). Suited up and knife in hand, I pulled off the cover and proceeded to pry off the inner cover. With the amount of difficulty I was having, I knew there had to be a problem of some sort. When I finally got a corner lifted and began to pull/pry it up, I peeked under, there was comb attached to nearly all the under surface of the cover! No return. I lifted the cover off and quickly yelled for my wife to bring out a cookie sheet to lay it down on. Inspecting the inner hive, I found only 2 frames in the box, one full of brood, the other capped honey. cleaning out the torn empty and full combs, I had bought a new super box to add to the stack, so I put a queen separator on then the new box and frames. We ordered replacement frames for the brood box and when they come in I want to add them to the original box. There is the history so far. Questions, did this action harm the hive? We are nearing our winter months and I don't want them to starve. Do I leave the brood box alone until spring and then add the new frames, or now? It's still in the high 80's here and the bees are still gathering from the fall flowers. Do I feed?
 

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Sounds like quite an adventure.

Yes, your actions harmed the hive. As they were surviving quite well on their own, and who knows how long, they probably didn't need any help.

My main concern is with it being this late in the season, the bees will not draw out new comb. It takes an amazing amount of energy to draw wax so bees tend to stop mid to late summer - applying resources elsewhere. As such, the empty super you added will most likely go ignored, only giving the bees more space to manage.

If at all possible, I'd leave it alone until spring. Tearing things apart and giving them extra work to do will only weaken them.

If you insist on framing up everything that was under the lid, treat it like a cut out. Use empty frames and rubber bands to move the comb over to the frames and put them back in the hive - mirroring the order it was originally in.

Sometimes the best thing we can do for our hive, is to do nothing at all.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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He is in China.
 

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Which also brings up the questions:

Are these Apis Cerana, or mellifera?
 

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Wow, cool.

I know next to nothing about keeping stingless bees, but I'm pretty sure they need much less space than honey bees. If they're in a 10-frame Langstroth deep box, that's probably all the space they'll ever need. And obviously a standard queen excluder will do neither any harm nor any good -- all castes will be small enough to pass through it easily.

What part of China? Far south I'd guess, because I sort of thought stingless bees were only common in areas that basically don't have a winter. I saw a colony in Thailand one time, burrowed into the side of a log cabin. I would guess their whole interior space was a liter or less -- nowhere near enough to ride out a long cold winter.

stingless.jpg

Presumably they can be open fed sugar syrup, but I really don't know.
 

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Two 8-frame Langstroth hives
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In Australia we have a few Tetragonula stingless bee species on the east coast and are sometimes kept in hives. They are kept in much smaller hives with a lot more insulation. They don’t like disturbance at all. Being stingless and less aggressive they cannot protect themselves like European honey bees, so they have to be protected from predators like ants etc.

They also do not produce much honey and often use all their reserves over winter, but their honey is said to be Devine.
 

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How severe is winter where you are? If it doesn't drop much below 50, you can still do plenty of work on the hive.

Just need to find what species of bee you have. Most stingless bees do not live on the same combs as European Honeybees. That you talked about the frames and combs just had me wondering what you are dealing with, a photo or two would be helpful.
 

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Jay,

I've lived in Asia for 15 years and worked in China. Are you down near Hainan Tau (island) ? I don't know anything about stingless bees but I do about honeybees.
Keep us posted on your new adventure.

Cheers,
Steve
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