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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Installed my very first package(Italian) on Wednesday evening at 70 degrees. Went very well. Gave the hive a light tap at midnight and it exploded with buzzing. Next morning,50 degrees and raining. Tap and nothing. Friday,50 and rain......tap and nothing. Friday night,drilled a small hole in the hive an inserted a meat thermometer....58 degrees and quiet. Pulled out the boardman feeder and could see some bees on the bottom of the frames and they were real lethargic. Saturday and it warmed up to 70 degrees and the hive came alive with activity. Workers were very busy dragging out the dead from shipping. Did not find any that were foraging,but they did drain the boardman. Also has a top feeder. Hive temperature stayed at around 95 degrees all day. For the next five days it will be very cool.Lows in the low 40's and highs in the upper 50's. Will the cool temps cause these new bees to stay clustered and not feed? They are on foundation only....no comb. I don't want to open the hive and add any stress till it warms up and stays warm next weekend. I'm sure the queen cage won't bother much in that time period and I know the queen is out because when I removed the cork.....there was no candy! All I could do was to hang it on the frame and immediately pour the package on her and close up the hive. Today(Sunday morning) the hive was at 72 degrees. Should I worry?
 

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looks normal but i think you need to put a high powered electric fence around your hive - not for bears but for you!!!!!!

haha

but really you should refrain from bothering them for the first 3-4 days and them thats just to check that the queen is out of the cage and remove the cage - then leave them alone for 7-10 days and them start poking at them

reason is that too much desturbance and they might leave -

think of the hive as your hive --- you move in and getting settled and them the roof opens and they take out your walls - them put it back and leave then tap on your house at night - then take the roof off again the very next day ...... after a week of this you might be thinking of moving out also !!!!!

but just watch for a few more days and let the bees be bees
 

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A top feeder and a boardman feeder both? Remove the boardman, they promote robbing and ants and congestion. The hive entrance is for coming and going, not feeding with all the problems it can cause with security, traffic flow and dispatch. The top feeder is inside the hive where it can be accessed and protected by the bees, where the only traffic will be feeding traffic in a protected environment inside the hive.
 

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First - stop messing with them. They will (almost certainly) be fine. Wait at least one week before checking on a newly installed package, no matter what the weather is.

Second - definitely STOP drilling holes in your boxes - bees don't heat the box anyway, just the cluster.

Third - go with just one feeder. They won't access the boardman anymore than they will the hivetop if it is cold. You are just inviting robbing with the boardman feeder anyway.

Finally - STOP tapping them all the time. All you are going to do is condition them (over time) to have more aggressive responses to disturbance.

You can't do anything for them right now anyway - it will either get too cold and they won't make it or (more likely), they will cluster until it is warm and you will see them flying. Then you know that they are alive. Bees are a lot tougher than you would think.

It is harder to kill a hive with neglect than it is to kill one by constantly fussing with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Robbing is not a problem.... as it's the only hive in 25 miles. Ants are not a problem either.But yeah,the boardman will go away as soon as it's empty. By the time they empty the top feeder, there should be plenty of bloom for them to forage on......and it will go away too,till next Winter. The thermometer is permanent.It stays. It ain't going to hurt nothing and it is easy to see what the temp is with out disturbing the colony, regardless of whether the info is useful. The 6"probe plugs the 1/8 hole I drilled.
I doubt the bees even know I did it. Tapping? One very light/slight tap a day, in three days is probably way less bother than the constant wind gusts and rain they are getting ...........but I will stop,now that I know what's going on.
 

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If the thermometer extends into the hive, they will likely cover it with propolis and/or wax. I don't know how well a meat thermometer reads in that condition.

Skunks lightly tap hives at night and can turn a hive plain mean in less than a week of light tapping. Besides, if it is so light as to NOT disturb them - what good does it do anyway?

You can't possibly know that there are no hives within 25 miles of you - feral hives occur just about everywhere, and this time of year, wild bees are hungry bees.

Nothing personal - just sharing my experiences.
 

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you asked for advice and got it and now you arent taking that advice....sit back and listen to what these guys say...i do
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My initial tap was about like a nickel standing on edge and falling over.........and that was my 'witness mark ' for activity. The following single taps in two days did not yield the buzz and that's when I became concerned, since they were on foundation and not comb. If the probe gets covered with propolis and wax(and I'm sure it will) it will read the temperature of the propolis and wax...which is also the air temperature in that area. Actually kind of interesting to take a reading every day with out disturbing them.
 

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i can tell you one thing from just reading your replys to our help........ come next year you will be a BOXKEEPER and not a BEEKEEPER

so practice up zippy -- you'll need it come next year when those empty boxes need a good tappin


think about why you have 2 ears and one mouth ----- twice the listening and half the yackin
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I already am a BOXKEEPER! Had two hives as simple lawn ornaments. Thought last year I might actually try getting a package, but everybody around said I would fail. Even my friend that has been keeping bees for 60 years(knows my area).Aphid spray,systemic soy beans,crop dusting, mosquito fogging(live at the edge of town and am with in range of the fog)........ I am surrounded by that! I ordered bees last January when I though my neighbor was going to plant permanent alfalfa...and has since changed his mind and is not doing that this year. Nobody has seen a honey bee in this area for years. The butterfly's are near gone too. There are only hives along the river and an apple orchard up North. The last feral swarm I saw was in the late 80's. I have been on the look out for local bees ever since....nothing. All the local farmers that have tried the last several years have also failed......simply because of pesticides. We are in soy bean/corn country. My only chance was the alfalfa field and the "no spray" vineyard next to it...thinking with that,they may survive......regardless of my obsessive,compulsive, 24/7,terrorizing bashing of my hive with a 5 pound sledge and hammer drill.
 

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These folks:

Central Iowa Beekeepers Assoc.
Contact: Arvin Foell
30930 530th Ave.
Kelley, IA 50134
Home Phone: (515) 597-3060
Cell Phone: (515) 450-9494
[email protected]

are headquartered only about 60 miles away from you. You should probably get in touch with them (if you haven't already). I am sure that they know a few strategies for overcoming the challenges specific to your area that can help you be successful.
 

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I've got 3/4" holes drilled in the front face of my boxes, the bees seem to really like them. Gives them another entrance and a vent hole for helping keep things dry inside. A 1/8" hole with a thermometer installed can't really be so invasive to the honeybees do ya really think? I think it's a good show of scientific investigation for a curious mind of one that has been taught to question and investigate.

I tap on my boxes lightly on occasion to see if I can hear that nice hum of a beehive with my ear pasted to the side of the box. Is a good sign when you can not otherwise open the hive to take a peak for any reason. I would imagine a skunk does a little more than just a light tap to get the girls to come out to investigate the disturbance.

We were all new beeks once and some of us still are, I know I'm still learning new things each day and hope most everyone else is also. So now we have a newbeek in asking questions and gets berated so much is now in defense of actions. Sounds pretty sad to me.

Best luck to you Ziptab you're doing fine. Hope you're bees do find something besides pesticides for dinner each night. Check into that beeclub also, will be a good source for resources and information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks RayMarler! ..you understand it. I won't have to say"you no read good":D:D
I'm a new guy here,not a new guy to bee keeping. But I am a "new guy" to package bees. We had bees on the farm when I was a kid. Was never around any new packages installed in new barren hives(foundation only). Back then,the bees didn't have the problems they have today and the top hive was simply harvested in the fall for cut comb,leaving the rest for them to winter over on. I was simply concerned about my bees being starved with no full comb to cluster/feed on in the crappy continuous weather . In reality,I should have got a couple of full combs for the new package.I didn't even think about the weather turning sour on me for the new package, as it has been fair weather for several weeks and plenty of local flowers/dandelions/bloom available for forage. I had actually planned on the thermometer thing,just forgot to drill, the hole before the install...............so I marked my mini drill to 3/4 inch, and quietly plunged a 1/8 inch hole in the the hive where the queen cage had the frames separated. I knew I wouldn't drill into any bees nor hurt any of them by slowly pushing in the probe. I'm betting a bunch of you guys do the same thing out of curiosity of what the temperature variances are in the hive throughout the year. Would be a neat chart of outside temp/inside temp....again,not that it would mean anything........but if you had 15 hives and one was colder than the others.....wouldn't that tell you something might be wrong with that particular colony?I also have a wireless motion detector that alerts me to critters,night and day. I have previously dispatched skunks in the dark of night with 100% success.If a critter is snooping around my hive and I'm around...it may vary well be his last meal. If the bees stay out of the soy beans,I might be OK. I have no control of that and can only hope. The farmers will let me know when they spray,but I also can't control the 21 day residual effect of the spray. The hive will probably be opened for the first time after a couple of good warm days(next week). Being a common sense and logic guy,if the top cover is stuck,I can surely rent a compressor and jack hammer to get that sucker opened. Should I get a veil for that operation? I move slow and evenly and have never got stung,just worried that the compressor exhaust fumes might madden them :D:D
If they fail,I will go at it again next year with hopefully an alfalfa field next to me...if not,I will park the hive 20 miles away on the farm,in the back timbered area that goes for miles.
 

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NDnewbeek is giving good advice....believe me, I know it's difficult "not knowing"...especially if you're a hands-on, controlling type person...but EHBs are not pets that need your doting care...they are wild animals/insects and any unnecessary manipulation will only make them irritated and come to resent you.....which we both know is not what you want....so take that advice. Now, a solution to help you....what I do to satify my, "hive time/bee addiction", is help other beeks that have lots of hives and often very little time to do the minimum inspections they'd like to...they welcome free help from new beeks that are good listeners, not tellers, and can take directions well....And I welcome getting lots of bee time and working established hives...cause they have exactly what I like....LOTS and LOTS of bees!!!! And the experienced beeks love watching us fumble around and get abused by their bees....it's amusing for them...so it's a "win-win!"

And as a bonus, I'm gettin' stung now and then to build my tolerance of venom and calm my fears of going bare-handed all the time....and a good sting or two definitely chills me out for a while....LOL.
 

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you guys are funny...tapping the hive you get a better reaction if you kick the hive..lol you know bees buzz all the time even in winter.you can hear them no matter the temp without tapping..in winter with 4' snow on the ground no tapping place ear on side of box and listen...then kick the hive.
 

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If you want to listen to the hive, a stethoscope may not be a bad toy to have around. I'm new and can't offer any advice about what bees do and don't like.
 

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From what I have read you don't need help. You already know everything. How old are you 15-16? This is the way my 3 boys were at that age.
Sincerely, good luck, YOUR GONNA NEED IT.
 

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By way of (real time) example:

Last week I installed a 2lb package in a medium long hive that I built. No drawn comb - frames with foundation and foundation guides only. Put 2 quarts of 1:1 syrup on them and left.

Between then and now, we have had nighttime temps below freezing, rain and daytime temps in the 40's and low 50's. The hive was silent the whole time. Peeking through the top entrance revealed only two bees on the top bars that had the appearance of being deceased.

There was no movement, no sound - the entire hive had the feel of a tomb. I know that it has been too cold for them to access the syrup effectively, I know that they don't have any stores - they must be dead, right?

Today was the first sunny day in a week - at 8:30am the temp was 50F and calm - so I thought, might as well clean out the hive. I popped the top and there they were, chained up, alive and drawing wax. The queen was out (although I didn't spend any time looking for her - too cold). Maybe only a dozen dead on the bottom.

They are tougher than you think. One of the hardest parts about beekeeping is just letting the bees be bees and accepting that 95% of the time, they don't need you to do anything for them. REALLY good beekeepers know when the 5% happens and know what to do when it does. I am DEFINITELY not there yet!

Good luck

Mike
 
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