To Bee Or Not To Bee (a Bee-odyssey)

Discussion in 'Environment' started by jjl, Feb 18, 2016.

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  1. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    We did an inspection, a few days before we moved our Bees. I had a top super with about 30 extra pounds of honey that needed removing. There was still plenty of Brood in the top super, so I left the box on and swapped out the heavy honey frames for fresh empty ones. I wasn't planning a harvest, I just needed to reduce the weight of the hive.
    The girls did NOT take kindly to my robbing and made a big stink about it for several hours, but they had no interest in feeding off of syrup.
    The bottom brood had massive stores of pollen, some brood, a little drone comb and tiny patches of honey,
    Second deep had good brood in the center, a little pollen and masses of honey, maybe 70 pounds of it.
    Top medium box held brood and honey.
     
  2. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    The reason you move your hive at night or before dawn is to assure that most of the colony is in the hive. There will be a few field Bees that might not make it back to the hive. This is an unhappy fact. But the life span of a summer forager is a short one and the stragglers at this stage of the season will likely expire in a day or so either way.
    Summer Bees literally work themselves to death.

    So After strapping the boxes together with about a hundred ratchet straps, Jim cut a piece of #5 hardware cloth to the size of the entrance. He also taped up the escape exit notch on the inner cover.
    When the sun fell and we saw no more Bees fly into the entrance, Jim stapled the hardware cloth into place. Three of us loaded the hive boxes as steady as we could, onto the pick-up bed. We strapped and loosely buffeted the boxes from the wind with moving blankets, careful to leave ventilation by facing the screened entrance to the cab of the truck instead of blanketing it.
    New England is full of hills, so we tried to take the least jarring route to my residence.

    *you want to keep a few days between deep inspection and moving. This way the girls get a chance to reglue the boxes together with propolis.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  3. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    We loaded the hive off of the truck to the newly designated spot.
    I was happy as hell to finally have my Bees with me.
    I could now look outside my window and see my girls to observe how they were doing.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  4. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    As usual, everyone has a different opinion on when you should release bees from the screened entrance. They looked pretty miserable to me, so I asked Jim to remove the staples and turn them loose.

    The result was breathtaking. Had I foreseen what would happen i would have had a camera.
    For several minutes, a tornadic cloud rose from the entrance.
    I had no idea I had that many bees.
    I watched, transfixed. I had no presence of mind to record this and I regret it.
     
  5. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    That day, our yard was filled with Bees orienting their new surroundings.
    We kept the cats inside, just in case.
     
  6. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    The next day I found about a dozen dead Bees at the entrance, the next day a few more.
    And my girls are not taking syrup despite the late season.
    All of the forums admonish the new Beeks to feed feed feed.
    But my girls have no interest.
    Every day I find a few more dead Bees at my entrance and it was starting to alarm me until I read this: Dead bees on the outside of the hive this time of year is usually a sign that everything is proceeding according to plan. If your cluster is active and has plenty of food, your colony is probably fine.
    http://honeybeesuite.com/dead-bees-all-over-the-place/
     
  7. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    Yesterday, when we inspected, the brood had mostly hatched out and there seemed to be fewer bees. But the foragers were still gone still and I think the colony shrinks itself a bit for the winter.
    But the food stores are tremendous.
    To be safe and so that the girls could stop working the third top super, I returned the full frames of honey to them.
    I also left a pollen patty to feed them on the top of the frames, but I doubt with all the stores they have that they will even touch the thing.
    We also pulled the hive back a foot. We will do this again next week so that the boxes will get maximum sunshine.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  8. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    For now, I hold my breath and hope that moving the hive did not impact the colony in a terminal way. Yesterday I did not see the queen but I saw larvae. If the Queen was not present, the workers would have built a queen cell around one or two of them so I have confidence.
    My biggest obstacle as a new Beek is that I have not observed a full season of tending these creatures, so every time they do something new, it worries me.
     
  9. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    This is hard to talk about.
    My Bees are being robbed.
    We are contending with it and hopefully have it controlled.
    It happened through my own stupidity, I am hoping they recover.
    At the moment, the hive is under a couple of wet sheets, and the entrance has been reduced to only permit one Bee to enter or exit at a time.
    Tomorrow we will continue with the wet sheet until the Robbers stop trying to attack, this will take two days of wet sheets I am told.
    I can't look inside until the robbers are gone and when the weather cooperates. For now, I pray for rain, as it will chase the last persistent robbers and keep them away.
    I will write more about the reasons this occurred when I have a little numbing distance from the event.
    Stay tuned.
    [​IMG]
    In case you worry about ventilation, we use a screen bottom board and have left a hole open for airflow.
    [​IMG] *note the red arrows
    We also changed the sheet, to get rid of fighting pheromones. In the back we have moved tomato plant in front of the vent hole, this will confuse bandit Bees.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  10. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    my bees have absconded
     
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