Bee Keeping here I come!


Yes those are wood roaches aka cockroaches and they do hang out on the top lid of a hive because it’s protected and free food aka honey is close by. Wood ants will also attack your hives here which make termites seem tame. If you see them in the area rub axil grease on the concrete blocks the hive sits on.


Several things;
Derby, I’m glad you didn’t overwinter your aggressive colony, it just continues bad genetics.
NB, Really, really reconsider topbar hives. Bees hate growing sideways, they always want to grow up and down. Where are you planning on storing honey flows? Bees resist sideways growth and if the honey is to the side or below the brood nest it will be as it doesn’t exist. I kept bees for years and inspected 10,000’s of colonies for the state of Iowa and would like to see you bee successful at beekeeping.
Clark, Your right, City’s getting his colonies robbed out.
Efb was never the big issue for me because it was so easy to deal with, Terramycin powders/mixes, Afb on the other hand, infects the wood, comb, everything in the colony and is easily spread between colonies by drone exchanges. Early on, if I saw afb, confirmed by shrunken cappings and the brood stringiness test, I’d douse them in lighter fluid, bees and all, and burn them on the stand. Afb colonies never had a honey issue because they were too weak to gather excess.
City, Take your bee brush and sweep as many dead bees off your comb as possible. Dump the dead bees away from your colony site. Take your bee boxes into a beetight place to store till you packages arrive. Please don’t count on swarms to repopulate your colonies, 2 reasons, uncontrolled genetics and there may not be any swarms for you to catch.
For beginners; Find a reliable, experienced mentor, seriously, you need some one to help you, join beekeeping clubs and attend the meetings, take beekeeping classes, watch beekeeping vids from reliable sources, the money and time you spend now will be repaid 100x over in honey and lack of frustration.


I can see requeening a hive when necessary. If he ever plans to graduate to 5 hives that’s a lot of packages at $150 each. No doubt I completely agree the packages are often superior genetics.


A ‘reliable source’, Dr Keith Delaplane, U of Georgia.


Yes, it was probably best. I just had a few hives and frequently would check them without any protection. I used to smoke and I would light a cigarette before I took the top off and just handle them gently, but those darn bees I put in that top bar hive would not allow that. A few guards would come out after you and they weren’t kidding. You could close it up and walk slowly away and they would follow 50 or 60 yards.


That’s good advice, Chkn


Kevin thought you might like this, here’s a couple pics from my first time, low tech honey collection. Scoop comb wax and all into strainer inside funnel

Used tennis ball canisters to hold funnel just above jars.
End result (22 of those)


By the way, I have to admit, in my greed I did not take Slicko’s advice to only harvest the capped honey. I filled one 3 lb jar with uncapped honey but after a couple days it started to ferment and smelled like wine. Bad idea. My wife is using that stuff on the soil around her tomato plants


I absolutely love those photos! Nice to see I’m not the only one who sort of waded into the bee keeping pool instead of jumping in with both feet! That is remarkably similar to the setup I used last year to collect my honey. It was very cheap and simple and worked out fine for me. Once my strainers were down to just wax, I even used my (clean) hands and just picked up the remaining wax and squeezed it into balls, and was surprised it how much more honey I was able to wring out.

Thanks, Mike. Some days I feel so overwhelmed with bees that I want to give up, then I see folks like you who also started out slowly with a learning curve and I feel better!


Tessie5: thanks for the note about your hive. I plan to bore the entrances at one end and the cluster will be able to move from the brood combs (largely empty as winter begins) to the others, working their way back. Putting the entrance in the center seems counter-intuitive, for the reason you give.
This will be my debut year keeping bees - if all goes well.

Four gallons! Last year was a good year, wasn’t it? Fifty miles takes in a lot of territory - Ritzville to 4th of July Pass, Colfax to Colville. Where are you?


Priest River ID Since the sun is shining I went out and tapped on the hive. It sounded like they were buzzing so I’m hopeful they survived. If it would warm up some more they could be out on the pussy willow, its starting to bloom. And the crocus are poking up, they work on them a lot.

Update from this morning: it warmed up enough the bees are out flying. So I know for sure they are alive.


I’m as confused as ever, but overall happy I think. I posted a few weeks ago that my hive was mostly empty execept for maybe 100 dead bees that looked frozen to one comb- but they were dead for sure. I also reported that about a week after that, I had a lot of bees flying in and out of my hive on a warm day.

Well, since then, I opened the hive again about 10 days ago and there were no bees except those same dead one. Hive was empty, comb was empty. Just like the first time I looked. Then today I go out (its about 60 degrees and sunny here today) and guess what? Bees are back! They are flying all around my hive in pretty big numbers and going in and out. My old comb is still in there so I’m not sure if they are building comb, but I didn’t see any uncapped or capped stores.

Its too early for a swarm, I think. ANd these bees were in huge numbers-ie completely covering frames or anything the way they do when a queen is there. I know nothing about any of this but wonder if they are just on a robbing run- but there is nothing to rob.

Oh well…I guess having lots of bees flying in and around my hive is better than not having any anywhere. Its just strange how they keep showing up, then leaving for a week or two, then coming back, then repeating. Oh well. natures mystery I guess unless anyone can explain this? THanks


Assuming all your bees were gone a few weeks ago these bees are from other colonies looking for honey to rob.


THey were definitely gone before…I looked really hard the last time. Are these robbers more likely to swarm or otherwise make a home in my otherwise empty hive?


You might have a swarm decide to locate in your hive later when the beehives get crowded but it is far to early now. Waiting on a swarm to locate in your hive is not a method I would prefer. Dividing double brood chambers is an easy method if done at the correct time and under good conditions. They will even raise their new queen.


If you look closely at the bees going into the hive they most likely won’t have any pollen attached to their legs. They are looking for easy honey instead of storing pollen and raising new brood. Assuming the hive is empty of honey some bees will come around and check for awhile.


This is a great visual of what your talking about from

Thieves don’t carry sacks of groceries in your house nor as you said do thieving bees carry in pollen to the hive. A pollen carrying bee is not a thief. This picture shows a bee with full pollen sacks.


You are kind, thank you.
One consideration that has come to my attention recently is that bees in the wild locate their colony by an arrangement of horizontal and vertical lines - branches and tree trunks, don’t you suppose? Drift, in which bees end up entering the wrong hive because they look identical and are often painted in single color, can be reduced or eliminated by ensuring the front of the hive looks different from the next at both a distance and close to the entrance.

With that in mind, I think it worth trying to place the entrances at opposite ends of the hives, and calligraphy a line or two close to the entrance. One line worth preserving:

Time is honey. Bernd Heinrich (I cannot find note, so am unsure about his first name: Berndt?)

Another of my own making:

God bless the Fruit of the Bloom!

You are free to use the phrase if you like.


Wow this is a long thread. Has anyone spoken about how they manage swarming where neighbors are concerned? That is my main concern with venturing into beekeeping since you cant confine your bees to your property when they decide to swarm.


New queens every year and no more than 3 full frames of capped brood April 1. You won’t be able to stop all swarming but new queens stop about 80% and keeping them brood lean till mid April will almost stop swarming.