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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

It's so awesome to see an entire forum dedicated to beekeeping, and overflowing with wise beekeepers willing to help those new beekeepers just starting on their venture into such a wonderful world. So thank you all ahead of time for all your help! :)

Now I must say that I am in quite the bit of a pickle. I'm a new beekeeper who is located in Virginia. I had my package of bees arrive on May 12th(They didn't arrive earlier because all other package ship dates were gone) and I immediately put them into the hive that evening. The hive that they are in right now is on a 2 foot pedestal and consists of two deep hive bodies with ten frames in each. On top of that is the hive top feeder with about 2 gallons of invert sugar syrup. I just check the feeder this evening; there were absolutely no bees in the feeder. The level of the syrup has not changed at all either!

I have been making quite a few observations regarding the weather and hive activity. The weather lately has been dreary, with clouds and rain at some point every day (as opposed to clear blue skies when I put the bees in). Whenever its not raining during the day ,however, there is an absolute flurry of bees outside the hive. I have seen some bees foraging, and the water I set out hasn't been touched. There have been 10 or 15 bees crawling on the outside of the hive.

To sum it up, I have a newly hived package of bees in a hive made of two deep hive bodies and a hive top feeder, and the bees haven't touched the feed at all. What am I doing wrong and what should I do to fix it? Sorry if I seem all over the place right now, it's been a rather stressful week. :pinch:
 

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Take away one empty deep and start them off in a single deep box with ten frames and the feeder. You are giving them too much space to rattle around in. Plus, then they'll be closer to the syrup.
Take off the top deep and put to one side. If any bees are on its frames, remove each frame and with a firm downward move, shake the bees down into the bottom box which has 10 frames too- the box you are keeping there, on the bottom board. One you are done you'll have one deep with 10 frames off to the side and no bees in it, which you store somewhere until needed. Don't add the second deep back on top until they have drawn comb on at least 7 or 8 frames of the first box.
 

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I 2nd Omie...and they may not take your syrup either...especially if their is nectar available.....are they flying at all?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
They are flying like crazy! I watched them flying around the hive and orientating themselves. How urgent is it to remove the 2nd deep though? The weather is cloudy with a 60% chance of rain all day tomorrow, but Saturday the weather looks better.
 

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If you find a time to do it, the bees will be happy to have the syrup.


2 gallons of invert sugar syrup.
If you went to the trouble of acid-inverting syrup it isn't recommended. Plain sugar syrup is best. Invertase isn't going to be helpful either.
 

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I agree with taking away the 2nd deep. I would also dump the feeder, give it a rinse and place it back on the hive. Late afternoon I would give them a quart of warm 1:1. Don't let it go empty, though no need to place it on by the gallon either. Just add to as needed.
 

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as they said, no big hurry, just take it off when the rain stops....and get them on straight 1:1 syrup....They will get going i am sure!
 

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just return the favor when you are no longer the new beek..LOL....and have fun....
 

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Take away the second deep until 80% of the first is built out and they are working. Keep feeding.

I packaged 20 hives this season and mine are drinking 5 gallons of syrup a day. I thought that more hives was better but, 25lbs a day of sugar is getting expensive. They better give me some honey this year. :)
 

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One other point. When you take off the top deep and if it has drawn comb, just move those frames to the bottom deep, bees and all, and put them up against the drawn comb already there. There should be frames that have no drawn comb in the bottom deep you can take out to make room. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well luckily the rain didn't come today so I did all prescribed procedures you all suggested! Now it's just one hive body and a quart of sugar syrup in the hive top feeder. Now it's just a waiting game to see what happens! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well I checked this evening and although there is a lot of activity in the feeder itself I didn't see any bees feeding on the syrup! The level of the syrup hasn't changed either! Is there a good enough flow or something?
 

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Yeah...your are right on. Take the feeder off, they don't want it right now.....LOL....They are doing what they do best...foraging
 

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Please correct me if I am wrong, but am I understanding that you hived this package 2 days ago? On foundation? If so I wouldn't expect to see them take much syrup yet.They would only be taking what they are eating,(which they might get from foraging, normal bee behavior) If you installed on foundation 2 days ago they don't have anyplace to store it,and have no brood to feed, thus the requirements are not great. Their main requirement is their own nourishment, and to produce wax. I guess what I am saying is don't be alarmed that they aren't taking the feed. As their requirements go up as the hive progresses the next question is, "How can they eat this much?" Been there done that. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Whoops! I actually hived the bees on the 10th, but I understand where you are coming from! I just hope I can do everything possible to give them the best chances for success until then!
 

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Still, that is only 4 days. One the hardest things ,for me anyway, was to learn that things happen inside a hive in bee time, not me time. Make sense? You should see things like comb starting to be drawn, queen starting to get bigger, eggs, uncapped brood, then capped brood.
They will only raise as much brood as they can take care of. The population of the hive increases, so they are able to take care of more brood so they raise more. Then their needs increase. As far as getting them to progress, you'll do just fine. You are making the effort,and you are learning.
 
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