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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wondering if someone can explain what happened to cause our bees to leave. We started with our first hive last year. Once we got a queen established (first one had died), things were going along fine. We got a hot spell in August and they disappeared. I attributed that to heat and that we didn't have the hive protected enough from the afternoon sun.

We decided to try again this year. Found a better spot, morning sun-afternoon dappled sunlight, and installed a new batch of bees 5 days ago. This morning I noticed lots of ants crawling up the side so my son put cinnamon over the top feeder to get rid of the ants. He can't quite remember if there was normal activity at the hive but when I checked about three hours later, the hive was empty. The queen had been released and everyone gone! What happened and should we try again or give up? ANY advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Kathy
 

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I've had hives up and leave because of ants. A new hive has no, or not much brood to help hold them in the hive. When a stressor, such as ants, then come along, they sometimes up and leave.
 

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1st piece of advice: Don't give up! Sorry to hear about your colony.
Sounds like placement was good. If you try again, why not go with 2 hives so you can have good comparisons? Also, if one of the hives absconds, you will have one left. It's probably too late for a package, do you have a local bee club? Maybe you can get a nuc from someone.
I'd had ants from day one, but not so severe. I used vaseline and put it all over the hive stand & where it meets the bottom board and stuck the cinnamon to it, also shook it liberally all over the (outside) hive area.
Good luck, the first couple of years are not the easiest. The bees are good teachers. This is only my third year, and things I've only read about have happened to me this year!!
 

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Kathy - Don't give up too soon. Sounds as if you may have gotten a run away package or two. Not uncommon at all actually. If the queen don't like the place, she'll pack her stuff and fly. You may want to make sure that you weren't giving them more room or too little room etc with your hive. A three pound package of bees normally only needs a single Deep for the first month. Giving them more room then that can sometimes give them the itch to leave. Some call it demoralization. Next the frames that was in the hive, are they just frames, frames with plastic foundation, wax foundation, no foundation, rite cell ? Some bees just don't like the plain plastic with wax over it. Next the fun of the ants. Yes ants can cause a problem, however i've had ants from the day i installed my packages with no problems. Are we talking massive groves of ants or just a few?

Now the cure: To keep your package in your hive from now on, here's what to do. Purchase a plastic or metal queen excluder and put it on the bottom board of your hive, then place your deep body on it, and install your bees as normal. Keep the excluder in place until the queen is released and laying in the hive with plenty of brood. Then remove it.

There are still packages to be found without too much problem in the south. Lots of NUC's floating around too if you would like to get a hive started that way.

Hope you have better luck of things the next go around..
 

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Keep on trying! Perhaps you have had all your bad luck at the start and will have clear sailing from here on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all so much for your helpful replies. We have decided to get another hive so we'll have two next year.

Does anyone know where we can purchase another package of bees for this year? I got these from Draper's but they're sold out now.

Thanks again. We'll keep trying (though my son was so upset yesterday, he wanted to burn the whole operation.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, I wondered about that. Last year we just had a little jar feeder and never had an ant problem. This year we started with a hive-top feeder. Makes sense that a gallon of sugar syrup would draw ants REAL fast.
 

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When installing package bees leaving the debri tray out will disallow queen pheromones to permeate the hive.It will greatly increase the chance of them absconding or drifting if you are installing more than one hive.If you use a screened bottom board properly it's a nice tool.If not used properly you'll constantly wonder why you're havig problens.I run both screened and solid,and have used them for over a decade,just a common problem I have experienced with screened.I found screened or solid both have positive and negatives haven't found one to outweigh the other.
 

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Where is Weakly Cty in TN? I can give you phone numbers of a couple people who you might try to get packages from this year if you would like. John Seaborn is west of Nashville 931-729-9229. Bobby Carter I think lives in Crossville 931-239 4000 sent word to our Wilson cty club that they were getting up an order from Wilbanks Bees for June. Try them.
 

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I've gotten queens from John over the years,excellent queens!You can pick packages up at his home.If it isn't right he'll make it right!John and Ruth are really nice people.Can't tell you about Bobby Carter haven't met him.John ships also.
 

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Weakly County is over Dresden way. Call John, he's not far away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have an Amish neighbor who told me the other day he has too many bees, and I think would be willing to give me some. Is it possible to move some frames from his to ours? It seems I heard this is possible, but not sure and don't really know how to go about it.

Thanks,
Kathy
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Where is Weakly Cty in TN? I can give you phone numbers of a couple people who you might try to get packages from this year if you would like. John Seaborn is west of Nashville 931-729-9229. Bobby Carter I think lives in Crossville 931-239 4000 sent word to our Wilson cty club that they were getting up an order from Wilbanks Bees for June. Try them.
Thank you. I will call them.
 

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I think Gardner Apiaries in GA is still shipping some packages. Gardner Apiaries, 510 Patterson Road, Baxley, GA 31513, Telephone: 912-367-9352. And I noticed BeeWeaver put two new dates they will be shipping packages on their website. May 19 & May 27.
 
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