Newbie........and so confused!

Local question related to beekeeping in the Piedmont Triad area asked and answered here!

Moderators: Wally, Jacobs

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Slmoore
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Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Slmoore » Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:44 pm

I installed a package on March 26. The queen was released when I checked four days later. There was comb drawn, honey and a lot of activity at the entrance. I can't find the answers to these questions on the forum?
1. When do I change the entrance reducer? It's on the smallest entrance now (8 days).
2. I did see a post about removing the mite board? It is in my hive.....do I remove it? Leave it?
3. I haven't seen the Queen yet, but am checking again today .......its 61 degrees this afternoon but a little breezy......OK to check all the frames?

I do see a bunch of dead bees at the entrance to the feeder box........not in the syrup, but at the entrance from the hive.....I assume that's normal?
Any help would be appreciated!

Wally
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Wally » Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:13 pm

Change the entrance reducer sometime after 3 weeks, when you see them waiting to get in. They should have ample room to enter without waiting for another to get out of the way. The first 3 weeks, there will be no new bees, so no reason to remove it.

Remove the mite board and have it in only while doing a 3day mite check. Keep it out at all other times.

Never look for the queen unless you plan to remove her or some bees. Just look for eggs and small larva. That tells you all is well You can check it today, but it is forecast to be 75 tomorrow, so it would be even better then.

Welcome to the forum. We are here to help, so ask away.

Jacobs
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Jacobs » Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:11 pm

Welcome to the forum. It is normal to see some dead bees. Every day, bees are aging out and your population is going down--until about 21 days after the queen starts laying and new worker brood emerges. The hive is getting a little weaker each day until the new brood begins replacing the older bees. That is the main reason for keeping the entrance reducer on the smallest opening at least for the 3 weeks Wally was advising.

ski
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by ski » Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:47 pm

What kind of feeder do you have?
Just some thoughts.

Slmoore
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Slmoore » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:08 pm

ski wrote:What kind of feeder do you have?
I have a top feeder. I have been checking it regularly and it's not gone below 1/2 full.

Thanks so much for the input.

ski
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by ski » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:41 am

I also like the hive top feeders and you need to keep feeding them, but keep an eye on the amount of comb available for the queen to lay eggs in. You don't want the worker bees to fill all of the open cells up with syrup and not have any place for the queen to lay eggs.

Sounds like you are off to a good start, keep asking questions.
Just some thoughts.

Slmoore
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Slmoore » Tue May 03, 2016 2:59 pm

ski wrote:I also like the hive top feeders and you need to keep feeding them, but keep an eye on the amount of comb available for the queen to lay eggs in. You don't want the worker bees to fill all of the open cells up with syrup and not have any place for the queen to lay eggs.

Sounds like you are off to a good start, keep asking questions.

Does that mean that I stop feeding them syrup?.....

Another question, before I put the second super on, they built some cone (4 to 5 inches wide) in the feeder box entrance.......they seem to be sort of excited about it.......do I remove that? It's comb with syrup......

ski
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by ski » Tue May 03, 2016 3:24 pm

Should you stop feeding them?
Depends.
You are putting a second super on so the first super is drawn and filled ?
If you have a full super I would stop feeding them.

To give us a better idea of what is going on can you provide some info, doesn’t have to be exact just some round numbers.
How much drawn comb is there? Brood chamber and honey supers.
How much is filled with nectar and or syrup?
How much is being used for brood, (eggs, larvae, capped brood).

Yes I would remove the comb that is in the feeder entrance.

Also can you add your basic location like north south east west of a town?

Maybe a visit from another beekeeper that is somewhat near by may be helpful.
Just some thoughts.

Slmoore
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Slmoore » Fri May 06, 2016 10:17 am

Yes, the first super was about 80% full. There was comb, honey/syrup.....but that was about two weeks ago.

I would really appreciate someone coming over to take a look. The number of bees has increased a LOT......I am getting a lot of activity around the hive about 4pm everyday....lot of flying loops.........and chaotic activity that seems to settle down about 45 minutes later.....

I seem to be getting conflicting advice on checking the frames.........so I would really appreciate some other looks before I add the queen excluder and the next super.

I am in Jamestown......a block or two from the Jamestown Methodist Church on Main St. Near Friends on Guilford Road.....

Thanks, I am retired and available anytime.

Jacobs
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Jacobs » Fri May 06, 2016 10:39 am

The afternoon activity sounds like orientation flights. Some of the younger workers that were in your original package are now reaching the age at which they begin foraging. The worker brood that emerges from your queen's eggs will begin foraging at about 3 weeks old. Before they begin that work, they walk up the front of the hive, jump off and fly in greater and greater circles to orient themselves to where they live.

I am reasonably close to you and would be happy to come out and go through your bees with you once the weather improves a bit. My cell is (336) 740-1703. You can give me a call or use the private message feature on the forum to give me the address where the bees are kept. We can try and fix a time as the weather situation clarifies for early next week.

Slmoore
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Slmoore » Sun May 08, 2016 5:20 pm

That would be fantastic. I am available all week......I just checked the second super and it's getting built out pretty quickly......I do see a lot of larva......and I added beetle traps (should have done that earlier...but forgot) and I have stopped feeding syrup.

Could you let me know a time that is good for you. I am retired and am at home all the time......mostly.

I live in Jamestown, off of Guilford Road....in Forestdale East. 104 Wyndwood Drive. I can give you easy directions.

What day and time would be good for you?
Thanks so much,

Jacobs
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Jacobs » Sun May 08, 2016 11:33 pm

How does Tuesday morning at 10:00am work for you?

Slmoore
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Slmoore » Mon May 09, 2016 11:57 am

Perfect. I will PM my telephone number to you in case you need directions!

Slmoore
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Slmoore » Thu May 12, 2016 4:33 pm

All seems to be going great in the backyard! There are a LOT of bees doing orientation flights......a lot drinking water......and I assume all is ok.

My question is how will I know if I should start feeding again? If I look at the third super and _________ (fill in the blank) then I should/should not feed syrup again?

LOL.......

Wally
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Wally » Thu May 12, 2016 6:26 pm

One or both of you two need to tell us what happened at 10:00 Tuesday morning. We are waiting un.......patiently.

Jacobs
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Jacobs » Thu May 12, 2016 7:50 pm

Tuesday morning went fine. The hive had 2 8 frame medium supers. All frames were drawn out with nice white wax. Several of the frames in the 2nd super had capped brood in a solid pattern and we saw eggs and larvae of various ages. Bees were on all 8 frames. We did not hunt for the queen--we didn't need to. We added the 3rd super and I told Slmoore to have a 4th ready and that she would probably need more than that. Her bee population was going to really increase in the next 10 days or so.

I showed her the scorched knuckle method of smoker lighting and some basics of hive manipulation. It was good to see a really healthy hive with a queen that was doing a great job. I did tell her to come on the forum and ask/see what others were saying about the flow--that if it stayed strong and the bees continued to draw out frames, she could hold off feeding for now.

Slmoore
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Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:56 am

Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Slmoore » Mon May 16, 2016 7:15 am

I learned a bunch of bee stuff in that hour-plus. It seems to really be going great out there! I am checking again tomorrow on the third super...

I have decided that the scorch knuckle method of lighting the smoker just doesn't work for me.....I thought that I might use a long handled BIC lighter instead.......just an observation Mr. Jacobs!

BUT, the most exciting thing was the bees measuring the empty space when the frames were out. That is the coolest thing that I have seen bees do! If Mr. Jacobs hadn't pointed it out, I would have thought it was something very strange.....

Thanks again Mr. Jacobs! It was so very helpful!!

Slmoore
Newbee
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Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:56 am

Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Slmoore » Tue May 31, 2016 7:22 am

Mr. Jacobs, I have added the fourth super......it was VERY crowded in #3........so many bees and they seem pretty happy! I am watching bee-TV every afternoon for about two hours....

The 3# super was full of comb...and a lot of honey....a zillion or more bees.

The #4 super was just in time.......

Question: At this rate (4 supers since March26) how many should I expect to add by the end of the "season"? I thought I would purchase them in one trip!!!

Or, at what point should I consider adding another hive?.....I really don't have much room.....Rob, you have seen my space.....what do you think?

Thanks again for your help!

Jacobs
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Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Jacobs » Tue May 31, 2016 10:52 am

My bees are showing signs that the flow is slowing, so that getting comb drawn without feeding is going to be more of an iffy proposition. I would think 2 more supers and frames would do unless you have one of those queens that never shuts down brood rearing, but that is only a guess. If someone else has another opinion about how much equipment would be reasonable to get, please jump in.

My hives at the house are about a foot apart, so you should be able to fit another in fairly easily where you are.

If you want to split your hive, you need to decide whether to have the split attempt to make a queen or if you want to buy and introduce one. Drones are still around in good numbers, so it would be reasonable to try and let the bees make a daughter queen of the one you have. Drone numbers really start dropping toward the end of June/beginning of July. You can still get queens mated, but there is more risk of getting a queen well mated when drone numbers drop off. If you decided to split the hive, let me know. I would be happy to help. If you go the split route, you are going to need more stuff--hive set up and supers/frames to make sure that both hives have the room they need.

Slmoore
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Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:56 am

Re: Newbie........and so confused!

Post by Slmoore » Tue May 31, 2016 10:58 am

Sounds good (but complicated)!! I may just use this year as a learning year! I'll keep adding supers until things start to slow down?

I guess this is a good problem to have? And a hobby that I can see is going to get out of control!!! LOL......

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