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Discussion Starter #1
Just a little background on my bee location:
Central/Southern Oregon, in the middle of a dozen alfalfa/grass fields that don't bloom a lot now but should have periods of plentiful bloom followed by a late season massive bloom of sage/rabbit brush that I know has worked well for other bee keepers. Blooms are basically late but potentially huge so I assume I'll need to feed them to get their numbers up in time for later blooms. Really cold winters with hot dry summers. I got a couple Carniolan/Russian hybrids which I hope/believe will be perfect for where I'm at.

Anyway:

I just picked up my 2 nucs today along with all of my gear for 2 hives, loaded it all in the back of my pickup and drove them 7 hours to their new home. It was getting late (6:30 ish) and was kind of chilly (50 degrees F) but I doubt tomorrow will be much warmer so I moved quickly to get them hived before dark. I had a friend come out and help me and we had everything set up in no time. I went with 10 frame deeps, fancy bottom boards with entrance reducers ready to go, and went with 2 gallon frame feeders (cap and ladder) so I set up the hives like this:

(F) (F) (E) (N) (N) (N) (N) (N) (E) (E)

Where F's are the feeder slots, E's are empty frames, and the N's are the Nuc frames that were transferred.

1.) Was this as good of a set up as anything for a 10 frame deep? All the 5 nuc frames are in the order they came in. I'm hoping 2 gallons of 1:1 sugar syrup per hive lasts me at least a little while.

I think most everything went ok but my biggest fear is for the safety of the queens. It was fairly cold when I was hiving them, but I wanted to get them out of their nucs asap and into their new homes because tomorrow isn't supposed to be any warmer (45-55 F). It looked like the bees that were brave enough to fly away from the nuc and greet their new keeper became lethargic and succumbed to the cold in only a few minutes. Also, in my clumsy new-beek rush, I smashed 10-25 bees per hive in various ways, and I'm afraid another 50-150 died per hive because they simply weren't lucky enough to make it into the hive with the rest of their sisters and died outside the hive. The nucs came in cardboard boxes that seemed to keep probably 100 bees in either side of the box between flaps of cardboard, and the bees didn't want to budge so I'm afraid that most of them won't make it in the hive. All in all, probably upwards of 250 bees from each nuc perished during the hiving.

2.) What are the odds that the queens survived the ordeal? If they were good little bees and stayed in the middle of the frames near the honey and brood then I'm almost certain they lived through the hiving. I moved the 5 frames as quickly as I could and didn't bother to look for the queens or inspect the frames much because I wanted to get them out of the cold and into the boxes asap. From what I could tell though the frames looked great and I saw a good deal of bees, capped brood and honey. If queens are "good-hivers" (for lack of a better term), and stay with the crowd on the frames, and don't tend to wander off or hide in the cardboard box, then I'll be less worried about them.

3.) Is there any way to tell just by looking at the hives if I walk by them tomorrow that they are in good condition? It sounds like I shouldn't break into them anytime in the next week or two so I'll plan a full inspection on a warmer day in 10-14 days. But if I have a dead queen I'd love to get a replacement on her way ASAP. :s

Also, while my friend was valiantly holding a top cover for me a bee crawled onto his uncovered hand and stung him, but he seemed to recover quickly. And I had a bee jacket, not a full suit, and had bees climbing up my shirt a couple times and was finally stung on my left hip near the end of the hiving. It didn't hurt as bad as I expected but it certainly gave me a desire to finish quickly. My patience for this evening bee-venture quickly died as soon as I noticed that a bee had climbed up my shirt, through my jacket and made it into my helmet and was buzzing by my eyebrow. Those jackets really seem a lot harder to get out of when you have a bee by your eye! I did a fair amount of damage getting that jacket off quickly but don't really mind because I'll be ordering a full-body suit no later than tomorrow evening.

4.) What is the best full bodied bee suit? My number one concern is not getting stung so I don't have to be nervous around my new pets. I know if you ask 5 bee keepers a question you'll get 6 answers but most questions tend to come a general consensus =)

Thanks! :p
 

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You cannot tell if the queen is good for two or three weeks. Hopefully it will warm enough to check then. Any suit that zips the veil to the suit will work better. If they can find an opening they will. Elastic, velcro, drawstrings or even tape at the cuffs will keep the girls from joining you from the inside of the suit. Take plenty of cool water if you suit up! As you gain experience and the weather gets hot enough, you will be down to a veil anyway. If you check out my workshops you will see several new beekeepers in shorts and t-shirts at americasbeekeeper 2010_Gallery
 

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Hi Oregon,
Queens are very hearty and in all likelyhood survived perfectly. However, since you got nucs, you got brood in all stages of development so, in the off chance the queen didn't survive, the hive will make a new queen. No worries.
If you had a winter where the temperature was 50 degrees, you'd be worried that they were too warm.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well I went out to the hives about half an hour ago to retrieve the cardboard nuc boxes and check on the hives briefly. All of the bees inside the cardboard boxes had frozen to death as I expected, so I shook them onto the ground and looked to see if the queens were among them. I also looked around the hives amongst the dead to see if I could find the queens and didn't see one anywhere thankfully. I put my ear near the hives and could hear them buzzing along quietly so I hope that's a good sign. Probably 3-5 bees were flying around each hive so I hope that was a good sign as well. I'll check in again in about a week and see how they look by then. We need some warmer weather around here so the bees can get out and fly!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
1 week update:

I went out to the hives today and did a full inspection and topped off their sugar water. When I walked up to the hives I noticed that one of the covers had blown off the hive and I feared for the worst, but after I got up to the hive it looked like they were going about their business as usual. It did look like that hive was a slightly behind the other hive though. I need to get something heavy on top of the hives in case we get more strong winds like we've had recently. I was shocked that the top could blow off though... they are relatively heavy after all.

We've had bad weather for most of the week since I hived the nucs. Today was by far the nicest day we've had in awhile around here.

In both hives I saw honey, brood and lots of nectar or water or sugar water... I wasn't sure what the glistening liquid was, but it was in most of the cells that didn't have capped brood or capped honey.

I also saw a couple bees in both hives with pollen around their legs which was very encouraging as well.

What I didn't see is what worried me. I didn't see any queen or eggs, but I did see some grubs. If I understand things correctly the bees will cap the brood at day 9... so if I check the bees on Thursday, or maybe Friday (day 11 or 12 since I hived the nucs), then there shouldn't be any uncapped brood remaining if the hives are queenless... so if I can't find any queen, eggs or uncapped brood, then I'm going to get new queens here asap.

I also got a new full body suit shipped from Dadant and feel a lot more confident when working the bees. A frame slipped when I was pulling it out and the bees were jolted off the frame and they seemed pretty upset as they flew at my face... I was definitely happy to be in a suit!

Here is a photo of a brood frame:



Are these supercedure cells? If so does that mean I'm queenless? The blob on the right just looks like they are starting to build out the foundation which was encouraging.



Beekeeping in the middle of fields:



If you know what the liquid is, please tell this complete nooby beekeeper hehe. I'm sure it's painfully obvious for most.

 

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"...what the liquid is..." its uncapped HONEY!!!
 

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You must be a glutton for punishment as it appears you put the second hive in a different location.
I think the strange comb drawing maybe something to do with the Russian background. I've found that Russians are not keen on plastic and tend to draw odd comb. After starting to use real wax they drew it normally starting from the top and covering the whole frame evenly.
 

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Congrads on the new hive, btw don't make a habit out of using the leg zippers on that model suit. I know of three that have got messed up. Just slip them over your shoes.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Mike: That's what I was hoping for, I just can't believe they've already found that much nectar! :p

Peter: The 2nd hive is about 30 feet away from the other one. I'm not sure why I placed them that far apart. I guess I didn't want them intermingling with each other but then I know many beekeepers keep their hives all lined up in rows touching each other.

Also that's interesting about the Russians building their hives out in weird ways. I didn't know that. They are wooden frames with wax-coated plastic inserts. Hopefully they eventually start drawing the frames out "normally".

Dunkel: Thank you for the tip on the leg zippers! I'll make sure and pull them over my shoes from now on :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
13 day update:

I also checked the hives yesterday because of a big wind storm and was horrified to see that both of the hives had their lids blown off of them. I quickly put the covers back on both boxes and put heavy rocks on top of them. Otherwise the bees seemed ok but I gave them 24 full hours before checking them again today.

I went out to the beehives today around noon and did a search for some sign of queens in the hives. I've been worried all week about whether or not they had queens in them. After dumping out and refilling the feeders, I went straight for brood comb, hoping to find eggs or brood. In both hives I found uncapped brood so I feel that it's safe to assume I have a laying queen in both hives. I'll check again in 10ish days and see how the progress is coming and perhaps add the 2nd deep.

I sat by the entrances of the hives and watched dozens of bees carrying pollen into the hives which was really encouraging. I was a bit disappointed that the bees hadn't built out more of their empty frames. They had barely even started on one side of an empty frame in both hives. I'm hoping they hurry up a bit so I can add the 2nd deep. I guess you can't rush nature though!

I must have put a frame a bit too far from one of the other frames because they started building this odd formation. I broke off the odd comb and took it home with me:



Most cells in this photo have uncapped brood in them:




Uncapped brood frame... I'm curious what that comb on the bottom of the frame is and whether or not I should break it off:



Wide open bee field, showing the distance between the 2 hives:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Day 24 update:

I just went out and added the 2nd hive body to my hives today. It's been pretty warm lately and I've seen the bees bringing in a steady stream of pollen. And in my last 2 hive inspections I've seen a good amount of uncapped and capped brood so my "queenless" worries have subsided. I'm afraid I may have added the 2nd deeps a bit too soon but they actually only have 2 frames of unworked foundation per hive, so according to what I've been reading, it was time to add the next deeps.

In both hives I've had to cut off a decent amount of out of place comb. Today I gave up in a couple areas and decided to just let them do what they want on a couple of the frames. Maybe I can just trust them? After all, they've been at this longer than I have... and honestly I don't really care what they do in that bottom deep as long as they are healthy, productive and happy. Oh! And in a 3 inch chunk of odd comb that I broke off of an inner cover, I discovered a TINY egg in each of the regular shaped cells. I was shocked at how small those eggs are! Way way smaller than I was suspecting. I only noticed them an hour later once I got the comb back to my house. No wonder people have such a hard time finding eggs. I think I'll stick to trying to find the brood! :D


I'm happy that:
~I am 99% certain I've had queens in both hives in the last 8 or fewer days.
~They are finding plenty of pollen and seem to be happy and healthy.
~The weather is getting nicer finally!

I'm worried that:
~They aren't drawing out the foundation as quickly as I would have expected. I had a 2 gallon frame feeder taking up 2 frames, 5 drawn out frames that came with my nucs, plus 3 normal deep frames (plastic with wax coating), and they've only drawn out maybe 1 of the extra frames in each hive, leaving 2 nearly untouched frames per hive.
~Perhaps I added the 2nd deep too quickly and they'll freeze to death now that they have twice the hive that will need heating. The next 3 nights call for near freezing temps at night.
~I moved the frame feeder to the top box, maybe I should have left it on the bottom?
~Both hives seem to like adding on to their hive where they "shouldn't". Perhaps I didn't have the spacing right for a couple of the frames. I broke all of this extra comb off where they were building it over a week ago, and when I checked the frame again today, they had built almost 3 times as much "double layer" comb. For better or worse, I just left it like it was today. This is the photo from last time as a reference:



If only the bees would just trust this 3 week old beek and build their hive like I want them to! ;)
 

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My russians seem to have this tendancy. I always scrape it off and let them clean it out and throw it in the scrap pot. Make sure you are pushing your frames very tightly together. It look as if they are throwing up comb. If you are not 80% drawn in the first deep, then you may have added it a bit quick. I would also put your empty undrawn frames between those that are drawn. THis will encourage them to draw it out right and evenly, and even then, sometimes they do not. I have to cut some out of a russian hive yesterday.....
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the note devdog! Someone else mentioned their Russians being odd, and possibly slow, comb builders. Maybe it's just one of their traits. I should probably go out to the hives and make sure I have all of the top frames shoved close together in case I didn't yesterday.
 

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Is the hive leveled from side to side? Doubt that would cause this unless it was drastically out but might help a little?

We tried plastic last year and gave up on it (but these were Italian). They seemed to just ignore it.

Also, when you asked what the liquid was... How do people know from a photo the difference between honey and syrup? In the photo previous there is a jug of syrup waiting to go into the hive. Just wondering.

Mike
 

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Could be honey made from syrup.
OREGONBEEk might want to consider changing to real wax foundation. Think he'll find that they'll accept that far better. Also drench both sides of the new undrawn frames with sugar syrup when adding and make sure the frames are tight together (frame ears touching) in the middle of the hive with gaps at each side of the hive.
 

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Bees cannot make sugar syrup into honey. Syrup can be stored by the bees (as syrup) in the cells. Real honey is made from flower nectar.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
MikeJ:
I believe the hive is level, or at least 98% level. I am worried about the plastic frames and would definitely go to wax if I could, but wax coated plastic was the only thing available to me. I'm just going to try and gut it out this year in hopes that in the long run I'll be happy I went with plastic.

I was also wondering if that liquid was really nectar, or if it was indeed just sugar syrup that they moved from the frame feeder into their cells. I'd definitely prefer if it was nectar! ;)

Peter:
I read that somewhere else that it was good to spray sugar water on the new plastic frames to encourage them to get to work on it so I did so on all of the empty frames I added, and in the new 10 frames I added per hive yesterday, I sprayed all but 2 of the new frames with sugar water and will try and see if they work better on the sprayed ones, or the ones that haven't been sprayed. I marked the ones that were sprayed so I can check in 2-3 weeks and see if there is any difference.

I also want to go back out to the hives soon and make sure I stuck the frames close together in the 2nd hive bodies.

Omie:
I didn't even think they would ever cap the sugar water, would they? Because don't they only cap the nectar when it's the perfect moisture content? And it seems like sugar water would never have the perfect properties that nectar/honey would, in order for it to be capped and later harvested. But it is true that they will store the sugar water in the cells won't they?
 

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They can make honey out of sugar water the same as they can make honey out of nectar - basically the same substance, but sugar water honey will have no distinctive flavouring about it and will be very light in coloration.
 

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You could go foundationless. I have kind of forced to do this, not being able to afford all the foundation needed to keep up.

I have found you can take apart the purchased frames rather easily. I forget exactly how I did it last year - I think I just whacked the top bar out a little then dove it back to expose enough staple to pull out. Turns out there is VERY little glue in those frames. Almost looked as if it is just squirted into the corners after they are assembled.

Wouldn't "honey" from syrup basically be sugar-water-bee-spit?

:)
Mike
 

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Look up the definition of honey- "a sweet, viscid fluid produced by bees from the nectar collected from flowers, and stored in nests or hives as food."

When beekeepers feed sugar syrup during honey production time, and the bees store it in cells in the honey supers, and then the beekeeper extracts that substance from the combs and tries to sell it as 'honey', well if the product is tested it will be rejected as being adulterated product, or in other words as being partly sugar syrup or corn syrup, not honey.
 
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