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Discussion Starter #1
So I went to refill my hive top feeders on my new (this year) hives. While doing so, I noticed one of my hives had a lot more bees in the top area than normal, and they seemed angry as I refilled the syrup in there. One of them did indeed kiss me. Since I had to refill a few more, I went and got my suit on to complete the job.

Is this normal? My understanding was that refilling the hive feeders was usually a pretty safe event. Perhaps the fact there was a few hundred bees there caused them to be more upset? It's possible that I could have crushed some bees while refilling, and thus they decided to react that way, or course! I'm sure that a few bees decided to enter the two dimensional world after climbing on the edge as I put the cover back on after I finished filling the feeders...
 

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They tend to get a bit more territorial as they you start into a dearth. crushing bees never helped anyone though.......LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks. Yes, I did it mid-day, and the temperature was sunny and warm. Normal activity at each of the hive entrances. Perhaps they were hungry and didn't like me dousing them all in sugar syrup. Whatever the reason, I'll be wearing full suit the next time! ;)
 

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Are you experiencing a dearth there in VA? Is that why you are feeding them? Are they taking the syrup?

The bees told you what to do. I either prepare to be stung, as a warning that my presence isn't appreciated, or I let the bees tell me how much to suit up. I always, 99% of the time that is, use a smoker. Then I don a veil, or half suit, then half suit and gloves. And so on, depending on weather conditions, what I'm planning on doing to the hives and what the bees tell me is appropriate.

Which is what you did. You thought that you could get away w/out a smoker and protection and the bees told you otherwise. And you listened. Good of you.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
They definately appear to be taking the syrup! As to whether there's a dearth, I don't know. I see lots of activity to/from my new hives, and things are happening inside (bee creatures being made, honey being capped, pollen being made, nasty sticky goopy propolis being deposited), so things are happening. But it's possible my location and what is available in the couple of miles around me isn't great. Time will tell. They are not filling up the frames too quickly, but things are active! As time goes on I'll probably be more understanding of what is occurring and how to address it. Right now, sugar syrup seems to be wanted/needed. My little veruca salts are just telling me they wanted the syrup faster than I gave it I suppose!
 

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Interesting. They are foraging, which to me says nectar flow, but they are also taking the syrup. Are these new hives that have foundation being drawn into comb?

When do you plan on cutting off the feeding? Are you planning on harvesting any honey from these hives?

I don't think that they were telling you that they wanted it faster or sooner than you gave it to them. They aren't cattle after all. I think that there are just alot of bees in your hives and they were where you could see them. And maybe they were acting as gaurds do.

What if you took your feeders off now. Would they have enuf coming from the environment to do what they need to do?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, totally new hives. They are still building out comb. I was planning on stopping the sugar when they stopped taking it, which I hope will occur soon, since they should be out and about, and I'd like to get them going.

I don't believe they'll build enough comb this year to make honey for me unless something amazing happens in late summer, but time will tell on that! I'm hoping they will get close to finishing drawing out the remaining frames so I can put another one on soon!

Cheers!
 

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Well, it sounds like you are doing the right thing by feeding them until they stop taking the feed. That's what I usually tell people when they are starting new equipment.

Leesburg. Is that in the foot hills of the Blue Ridge? I'm just wondering what should be producing nectar at this time where you are.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not too close to the BR mountains - we're about a half hour from Dulles Airport, nearer to Purcellville. Probably a bit warmer than the BR area. Clover is out strong now, and dandelions. Not an abundance of stuff going on now, but flowers are out.
 

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My feeding story involved a nuc. I had a frame feeder in it and needed to fill it. By the time I got the syrup made it was late in the evening so I decided to fill the feeder in the morning before leaving for work.

So the next morning I head out with the syrup. Since I was dressed for work I didn't use smoke or put any protection on. I had the wise idea that I could just slide the migratory type lid over until the opening in the frame feeder was visible, fill the feeder, slide the lid back and head off to work.

So I kneel down and when I get the lid slid over EXACTLY one bee space a bee flies the 3" and stings me on the inside of the wrist. It happened so fast at first I didn't realize what happened. Then they start piling out the one bee space opening.

This is just a nuc. They are supposed to be pretty docile but I suppose that I was in there the night before since I new that they needed feed. This was one of my lessons that bees don't read books and just because they were nice last week doesn't mean they will be today.

So I agree, they can be pretty inconsiderate of all of your work to make their lives easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yup, sounds like they are the same evil brood from my box... ;)

Well, I'm not taking chances anymore - from now on I'll smoke 'em each time. They'll be like George Castanza in a daycare getting away from my firey wrath...
 

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Yea, I got stung my very first day a few weeks ago, along with my friend who decided he didn't need gloves. I don't know how those half naked guys on YouTube do it! Now I go out to the hives with full body suits and tape anywhere a bee could get at me lol. No I don't really care how cranky they get because they can't really do anything about it hehe. I've had half a dozen sting my leather gloves and I can't help but feel sorry for the valiant little buggers who died in vain trying to keep me away.
 

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Try a piece of window screen stapled over the top of your top feeder. You can open the top and pour syrup through the screen without the risk of being surprised by their poor attitude, crushing any stragglers, or setting your yard on fire from the smoker. When they mess up the screen so badly that you want to clean it up, you just replace it. A 4x8 sheet of vinyl screening costs about $3 and that's enough screen for a whole lot of years.
 

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Try a piece of window screen stapled over the top of your top feeder. You can open the top and pour syrup through the screen without the risk of being surprised by their poor attitude, crushing any stragglers, or setting your yard on fire from the smoker. When they mess up the screen so badly that you want to clean it up, you just replace it. A 4x8 sheet of vinyl screening costs about $3 and that's enough screen for a whole lot of years.
Great idea thanks....I've been refilling my feeders without a veil, gloves or anything for the past month (new packaged bees/foundationless) without incident...then bam...opened a hive yesterday to feed the girls and got tagged just below my eyebrow. I'm off to the hardware store this morning to get some screen.
 

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Kathy,
Get the cheep vinyl stuff not the metal. You don't need it to be really strong. I suspect you could also use some type of nylon mesh material like the kind they use to make veils with. But I'm more comfortable in a hardware store then a fabric shop.
 

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Above the screened top feeder I put an empty shallow/medium box into which I have drilled 4 one inch holes that I also screen. This allows a lot of top ventilation which, in addition to my screened bottom boards help the hive in 95 degree Indiana summer weather with it's associated 102% humidity. I think this is helpful especially when adding large amounts of syrup to the hive. The humidity needs to vent somehow.
 
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