Mike and Judy Hanley; Our installation went very well and quick. We had an energetic queen and that install went well. We've been watching them all day and wow what fascination. They are working already by carrying the dead bees off. What fun!
Don got home around 5 pm last night with our two packages of bees and I had to teach a class at 6, so our installation was quick and dirty. However, our queens seemed healthy and most of the bees went right into the hive. The ones we couldn't shake out went in on their own when we put the container near the entrance.This morning, there were just a few dead bees in the entrance and, once it warmed up a bit, we were able to observe scouting flights most of the day.Woo Hoo!
Other than hiving six of the five packages I ordered (sorry, Phyllis!), all well smoothly. I replenished two feeder jars that emptied today.Oh - don't miss the sugar sale at Red Apple - 5lbs. for $1.99.And - please return the packages sometime. We can give you a cash refund or put the deposit towards a gas contribution to Craig for driving 400 miles to get our bees. Thanks, Craig!
Hello from Carlton! Many thanks to both Dave and Craig for delivering bees from the West side to checking on our hiving progress. :-) The past two years, we introduced the packages as we were entombed in beekeeping "armor". We also did bang and dump method of removing the bees from their cages. This year we simply wore veils and, following removal and placement of the queen, placed the box on its' side on top of the brood box frames, within a second large box which had the frames removed. All went well. (yay!) 12 hours later we removed all but the bottom brood box and the top feeder. Our bees were very healthy, with no more than 4 or 5 dead in the bottom of the box. The queens were in wonderful shape. I always worry that they will escape between the removal of the cork and introduction of the marshmallow, but Shep has steady hands and we manage the transition smoothly. Yesterday the bees were quite busy and we are headed out now to see if the queens are out of their cages.
Everything looks good. I had an easier time with the bees yesterday than I'm currently having trying to get the comment box to work! Hives seemed very quiet this morning with little activity around the entrance... probably because of 38F temp and cloud cover. Fuel consumption is about 1/2 a qrt. on each hive.
We checked our two hives this morning. The queens are out and we saw one but not the other. No unusual activity so we know the 'missing' queen is there.We have three frames of honey from last year in each box plus a large capacity top feeder so we can't really tell how much they are eating. They do look quite busy.We lost both hives over the winter. Both hives had plenty of honey left over so they didn't starve. There were dead bees all through both hives and there was no disease. Cause unknown.This time we repositioned the hives to face E-SE and have followed Craig's idea of drilling a 1" hole in the front of each box for better ventilation and removal of humidity. We'll see how that goes.
It was getting late last night so we decided to hive the bees this morning. The first hive went without a hitch. The queen cage went in fine and I shook the bees out of the box onto the hive and then placed the box on a ramp into the entrance. Now, about 2 hours later most are in the hive and I’m getting ready to take the spacers out from under the top and put it down tight on top of the brood box. The other hive is a different story. I now see why you and Craig use bare hands for this operation. I took the queen box out and she was lively inside her cage. I pried out the cork and as I did so, even with my finger ready to go over the hole, she got half her body out. I had those bulky gloves on and didn’t want to squish her so I tried to gently push her back into the cage with a finger from my other hand. I probably could have done it with bare hands, but the gloves were so clumsy, or at least I was, that she wiggled out and flew down towards the hive. I lost track of her so I don’t know if she went in the hive. I proceeded to put the bees into the hive the same way I did with the first one.Now, an hour later about 90% of the bees are in the hive, but they are very agitated with a lot of them still flying around the hive. There are about 100 bees ‘dripping’ down the front from the top, but it’s stable, not growing or shrinking, and there are about another 100 or so bees on the outside of the bee cage which is in front of the entrance on a ramp. I’m watching to see what happens and would appreciate any advice you have. Marilyn already told me that for now I should just observe and see if they swarm. I’m wondering if one of the two groups of bees outside the hive are around the queen. If I go look and see that she’s there, should I try to pick her up and put her in the hive or let her be? If I should pick her up, what are some techniques, if any, for doing that so she won’t fly away again?
The first hive that went well continued to be active with a fair ammount of bees flying around the hive. About half the bottle was gone by night fall. The other hive, with queen issues, had a lot of bees outside clinging to the side of the hive. After 4 hours it looked like most of them were back in the bee cage. I'd left it on a ramp so the bees remaining in it might march into the hive. Hoping of course, that the queen actually made it into the hive. With all the bees on the cage I decided that perhaps she was there so I took the top off the hive and dumped all of the bees out of the cage into the hive and then removed the cage (thinking that her pheromones might also still be in the cage). This time the bees stayed in the hive. now I must wait awhile to see if the queen is actually there. Dave gave me some great advice when I asked what to do if the queen is gone. He said, just look in the other hive and when eggs from that queen show up take that frame to the 'queenless' hive where some of the eggs will be converted to queens. The drama continues.
Craig and I talked on the phone, and offer this advice: Wait for warmer weather before checking inside the hives. This cold wind could harm the eggs and tiny brood. Just make sure to keep the hive well supplied with sugar water.
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