Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy!

I am new to beekeeping and received my first package of bees (3# italians, italian queen) about 3 weeks ago. I checked on the hive after the first week and the queen had eaten her way out of her box and everything is looking good. I checked the hive again 2 days ago and the right most (looking from the front) 4 frames are busy with activity and look about what I expect from pictures I have seen. The top of each worked frame has open mostly uncapped honey and the middle section of the worked frames have white-ish capped cells that I assume are brood. Around the bottom and the sides are darker yellow capped cells that I assume are pollen.

The beginning instructions I was following for introducing the package bees and queen suggested 2 deep supers with the intro queen box lodged in the bottom of the top super near the middle of the frames. That seemed to work well. On my first visit into the hive after a week I spotted the blue-dotted queen! on only the second frame I looked at.

The odd thing to me is that the bottom super seems to be hardly worked at all and the top super is untouched on one half of the frames (the left half has no sign of any work and has hardly any bee activity). From what I have read, I expected the bottom super to have more of the action and the frames to be worked more from the middle out vice one side. For example, I would say that the right most frame on the top super definitely has the most worked cells and once you get to the middle there is a big drop off.

Does this make sense and is just "another" typical start for a hive, or is this signaling some kind of issue? Other items that may be relevant... I am using plastic foundation on the frames and have been feeding the bees daily with a mason-jar style feeder stuck in the entrance of the hive. The bees consume a whole quart of 2 parts water/1 part sugar solution each day without fail. If it matters (which is what my thinking has started towards) the feeder has been on the right side of the hive - where the action is on the top super. The hive is fairly level and no one side seems to get more sun/shade than the other.

Another thing that may be of interest is that I received these bees late for hot east-central Georgia. It has been in the 90s every day pretty much since the bees arrived.

Any ideas on this asymmetric development?

Thanks,
Luke
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,373 Posts
Pollen, rarely, if ever is capped. On new comb, the slightly darker cappings are usually brood, the more flattish and nearly white cappings are likely honey.

The symmetry, or lack thereof is not unusual or in need of correction, if you are feeding them plenty or if there is a good honeyflow, they will fill more of the space available to them as they need it.

Entrance feeders are often notorious for feeding bees other than the hive they are intended for --> they inspire other hives to rob from them. Other types of feeders are more reliable at feeding the hive the feed is intended for. If you have two supers and the bees are only living in one half of one super, it sounds like you have too many supers at the present time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,239 Posts
luke, you are facing an EXTREMELY steep learning curve to keep these bees alive. join the local bee club, see when you can get into some classes, go to the library and check out a couple books on basic beekeeping. what you can do now is reduce your bees to only one box, add an entrance reducer to help them defend themselves, and start feeding.
good luck,mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,532 Posts
The beginning instructions I was following for introducing the package bees and queen suggested 2 deep supers with the intro queen box lodged in the bottom of the top super near the middle of the frames.
A package started on foundation should be placed in 1 deep super. When they have most the frames drawn then add the second box.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Agree with the above. Also the mix at this time should be 1 to 1 sugar to water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I appreciate the comments so far.

I am making the best of the resources I have and am enjoying the process. I plan on trying to contact a local club but it is not close to my house and the meeting times have not been when I could attend.

I was following the package installation instructions from "The Backyard Beekeeper" which seems to be a fairly popular intro to the subject. It recommends 2 supers for a package bee installation. Also, I have read in different places different suggestions for ratios of sugar/water. It seemed to me the medium consensus ratio of 1 to 2 sugar to water. I will try the 1 to 1 if that is what people think. What is the rational? pros/cons of different ratios?

Now I am a little worried that the capped cells I found are honey and not brood. I will check them again in a few days (even though I didn't want to inspect them so soon). I will pay closer attention to both the color and the concavity.

At this point if I follow the opinion of removing one of the supers - is there any advice/pitfalls to look out for in removing a super at this point? (other that the obvious potential of losing the queen).

I will plan on removing the bottom super that has nearly no frames that have been worked at all. Do I leave it for a few hours sitting outside the hive and wait for any bees on those frames to go back to the hive?

Thanks for all the helpful advice,
Luke
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
If your bottom box doesn't have any comb being drawn in it there probably won't be very many bees in it, and they will just be passing through to the other box - and they will mostly be field bees and maybe a few drones so if you set it in front of the reconfigured hive they will go right in. If you can prop it up so that they can crawl in without flying they will probably do so while you watch. You could also shake them into the other box once it is setting on the bottom board. Your queen is almost certainly going to be on the comb that is already drawn. Probably.

You probably want to give them plenty of room so they don't swarm, but new packages aren't too likely to swarm anyway, and will do better if they don't have a lot of extra hive volume to take care of. So don't get in to much of a hurry to give them that second box back until they have just about filled the first one up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,144 Posts
Yes, You need to take the box off that has the least amount of drawn comb. Then wait alittle bit and relax!! I found out that if you try to look for the eggs your very first time you wont see anything but they are there! I found it much easier giving it an extra few more days that wont hurt nothing at all cause then you will get into the larva stage and thats alot easier to visually see. Plus feed 1:1 sugar/water now, get you a double jar feeder for the top inner cover and use an empty super to cover the jars, then the lid! This way here you wont have to feed everyday with just one jar! They will want more and more as time goes on! Eventually you will want a 4 jar feeder! 2:1 sugar/water is for fall feeding!....good luck!

Front feeders sometime causes robbing! Sometimes you get away with it and sometimes you dont. With a new package or a weak colony feeding in the front is asking for trouble! That my opinion!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Also if there are a few drawn comb in the deep you are taking off, just move them next to the other drawn comb in the deep that you are leaving. With all the drawn comb in the one supper you won't have many bees left to encourage to leave an empty super.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
If any of the frames in the bottom box have any drawn comb on them, you could swap those frames with any unworked frames in the upper box (taking the bees and all). You don't want the energy they spent drawing the comb to go to waste. If there's no comb, there won't be more than a couple of bees.

Also, I fed 1:1 while I was feeding. My understanding is that is basically the constitution of nectar this time of year.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top