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new swarm won't settle in

1303 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  HappyBeeing
Hello all. I'm a newbee who was lucky enough to acquire a nice swarm last week and install it in a top bar. Newly built, no comb or brood to help them settle in. Top entrance, < Michael Bush>, they stayed for two days, then absconded. I wandered up and down the neighborhood street feeling lost and lonely and finally caught them in the garden and replaced them in the hive, along with a queen excluder from a langstroth to keep her in, placed on the top of the trough. Six days now, and there is a cluster under the excluder, but they won't move over to the bars. What's up with that??? Btw, after three days I did put an old plastic sheet of foundation with brood comb in the bottom of the hive for the homey feel, a dab of lemongrass oil and made some new bars (8) with foundation strips for comb guides. I cobbled together a feeder from a pickle jar inverted and I plan to keep it full. One local beekeeper suggested putting a cover over the excluder screen for darkness and warmth. I do have a roof over everything. A piece of board will cover the screen. I want so bad to keep and nourish these girls. Any answers or suggestions would be appreciated.
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Your set up is hard to impossible to understand; which is why I think no one has responded.
You need no comb or brood to start a cluster in a top bar....but if you did you'd attach some wax-not plastic-to a bar hanging off the center of a bar at your broodnest end 2 or 3 bars in. The queen needs to start her own brood with the new comb the workers build.
An excluder should only cover your entrance;not be "beside" bars so I don't get it What you are doing. Your technique sounds mixed up.
Nothing At All should be Inside the hive as an alternative to them clustering on bars.The entire top is only closed bars,period. If you have a slot entrance at the bottom of one end(these are less than 1/2 inch and partially blocked in a new hive for a smallish slot door) , that could have a cut piece of excluder placed over it on the Outside. If you have holes for their doorways then an excluder could be a little cut piece over the holes. Gererally top bar beeks don't use queen excluders at all though.
Is your entrance an open bar at the top or something? That isn't done. It's too big of a door. The door is in the side or bottom of the hive Body. There should be no foundation of any sort on the bottom... !!!! or in a top bar hive at all-as they would build on the bottom and ignore the bars for a useless mess later. I think they are confused! I sure am!!! LOL LOL

It sounds like you have morphed lang and top bar techniques in a way that doesn't make them happy or work at all. You must have a lang mentor giving you lang techniques that don't work with top bar hives At All. STUDY how top bar hives are made and work and see how bees work within them. A jar feeder should be Behind a false wall inside the hive,sitting on the bottom,with a small access opening (bees Blocked from clustering on the jar itsself) OR jar feeder entry(in base) slid into a front bottom slot entrance on one side Outside the hive body. Syrup gives the workers wax making energy to get started so the queen can lay. All bars on the top are closed and in place with no light or gaps, don't even Ventilate with a top bar off.

I think if you clean up all that confusion and give them a Real top bar hive set up they'll stay. I'm saying these things in all kindness,not trying to "beat up" your efforts but it just seems like you haven't studied top bar hives. BEST WISHES! If you fix things up there's no reason to lose your "new kids"! I sure would feel "lonely" if mine left too. Since you hunted them down you have all the motivation and love you need, but you need to get the techniques in order in a crash course for Top Bar Hives only! I hope someone here with more experience than me can clarify what I said too....this is only my second year but I studied top bars for 2 years before I ever started. Read Michael Bush and Cristy Hemenways sites online and look at their hive plans,etc. HB

PS-AFTER all this I realize I should have said "If your mentor has Lang hives,give up the top bar idea for now and get your bees settled in a lang so you will have the appropriate help you need to keep them happy and healthy while you learn all about them. After you've learned the dynamics of how top bars work;then start your top bar."
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