Keep feeding both till they stop taking feed. On the outside edge of their work, place a drawn frame on each side. Do not disturb the new comb or frame it's drawn on.
1) The whole feeding thing confuses me. People say that honey stores made while bees have sugar water is not good (ie it is pretty must just sugar water). But last year they really never did stop eating sugar water. If I put it out for them, they would consume it. Even when lots of things were blooming. Now you say keep feeding until they won't take it.....I am not sure they will ever not take it. If not, it seems like all they honey they store the whole season will be mostly sugar water. ????? Are you pretty sure they should stop taking it if I put it out?
2) when you say for me to put a drawn frame on the outside edge of their work, I don't understand. Are you saying I should look and see which frames they have drawn some comb on, and then put a previously drawn frame on the outside edge of the frames they have drawn on? Are you saying, for example, that if they have drawn comb on the middle 4 frames that I should put a drawn frame on the 3rd frame in and on the 8th frame over (ie adjacent to the 4 they have drawn)?
3) Are you saying doing what I just described is worth opening the hive again as long as I don't disturb the frames they have drawn comb on, or should I follow your earlier advice to stay out of the hive for a week or more?
sorry for the ongoing questions. I hope and believe others are reading this thread and benefiting from it. Thanks.
The bees will stop taking feed as soon as a honey flow starts, real nectar. Sugar water will mostly be used for wax or feeding larva, not stored. Remember 1/1 ratio in spring syrup. If your bees are working the middle 2 frames put a frame of drawn comb on either side of the work site. Yes this is important to them, open the box and install the drawn comb. Should take less than a minute. After placing the drawn comb, put out the do not disturb sign. Keep out 2 weeks, no fooling!!
Bees absolutely BLOW MY MIND. They are so amazing. I considered not trying again this year but I'm so glad I did. If anyone else out there is on the fence and considering getting into bee keeping- DO IT! A few days ago I took Phil's advice (again) and got into my hive for the last time for a while to rearrange my frames. Well, the hive that I put my package in had a frame missing because I left it out so I could have a space for the little box with the queen in it. The next-to-last time I opened my hive to check on whether the queen got out ok, all looked normal and queen wasn't out but was close. just 2 days later I opened the hive as directed. Queen was out. But what blew my mind and his me singing the praises of bee keeping and how amazing they are is that in 2 short days, the bees had built an entire "frame" of their own to make up for the missing one. It was attached to the roof of the hive and hung all the way to the bottom of the box. It was shaped almost exactly like all the other comb that was built on frames. This thing was double sided and -at a glance, looked like other frames with comb. It even had been filled about 1/2 way with honey (well, sugar water I guess). very cool!
Meanwhile, @Chikn, I promise to stay completely out of my hive now for a few weeks. haha
Right now yellow sweet clover is blooming in Kansas and that is the major honey flow plant in Kansas. The honey made in this flow is water white which is the best grade.
Its funny you mention clover. When I got into beekeeping I thought I'd have a great relationship with them because I have a hundred fruit trees and very large garden with all kinds of blooming things that I want pollinated and that I thought would provide them food. But surprisingly, the bees very rarely work my garden or my fruit trees. But where do I find them? Right out in my dang yard working all the wild clover that gets tall enough to bloom. ha. I've even mowed around some of my clover patches just for the bees. (obviously I'm not using 2, 4-D on my yard!). Its just funny how bees pass on all those beautiful blooms and go for the plain old wild clover!
Never saw a swarm of honeybees in my life before today. They were in an arborvitae windbreak at the back of my orchard. Figured they were mine, but when we opened the hive it was filled with bees.
My father in law who was a beek for years said 90% chance they were mine and the colony grew and ran out of room that fast. We only got them 4 weeks ago.
I wish I'd have had another brood box handy to start a new hive with them. My wife and daughter opted to recombine the two groups of bees and after recapturing the swarm did so, added a couple more empty supers, and, on my FIL's advice, put a newspaper between the two groups of bees in case they were totally new bees. That way, they can get used to each others smell, and will chew through the paper in about a day.
I have a feeling whether they are our bees or not they will likely swarm again soon. I should probably get another brood box and everything else needed to take advantage and set up another hive.
WOW!!!! SO COOL! The swarm I had and others I have seen photos of are always round...yours looks long. I look forward to hearing if they stick around with your other bees. I've kept an extra hive for 2 years "just in case" but alas...they end up in your yard and not mine. ha. keep us posted.
BTW, the other reason I've kept a brood box and a few supers is not only in case I have a hive show up like you did, but because one advantage of my job is that almost every year someone calls City Hall/911 (yes, people call 911 for all kinds of ridiculous stuff) to report that "I have a giant ball of bees in my yard and I don't know what to do". So I thought I'd be prepared. We got such a call pretty much every year up until I got into bees! haha. Wouldn't you know it!
I put two swarms together like that once with paper between and it worked, made a very strong colony
Did you kill one of the queens, or, let them fight it out? My wife said sometimes 2 queens can coexist in the same hive if they're related? I have no idea. . .
I just left them alone, I suspect that one queen eventually took control of the entire hive
So far the combined bees seem to be getting along, the newspaper trick seems to have worked. In case they swarm again I put this setup next to where they swarmed last time.
Its just a 5 frame nuc with drawn comb and a medium super on top. I figure this way if they swarm again, I at least have a shot they go in there rather than somewhere I can't reach or find them. If they do go in there I'll run out and buy a new hive then just transfer the frames.
I'd like to hear some of the opinions of those here with bee keeping experience on the use of queen excluders. Good or bad? Why? When's a good time to use or not use? I took for granted that all beek's used them. After our swarming incident my Father in law said not to use one, my wife and daughter strongly disagreed telling me he was "old school" and didn't know what he was talking about.
I've been doing some reading and find that many beek's are in fact against them even calling them "honey excluder's" feeling that they discourage worker bee's from building comb and storing honey above them. From what I've read I'm leaning toward not using one. Our situation is, the winters are so long and so severe up here that even the pro's lose two thirds of their hives each winter, so our intent is to take all the honey in the fall and start over with a new nuc each year. In that case, even if the queen has done some egg laying in some of the honey frames, by late fall there should be no brood anymore, so honey harvest shouldn't be a problem, right? @Auburn, @Chikn, @Derby42, @clarkinks, @Mickster, @Slicko, @MuddyMess_8a, and of course anyone else with experience, I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on excluders, @thecityman, I know you don't have the experience of these other guys, still, I'd love to hear your thoughts and observations so far on this subject as well. . .
Mike I used excluders with 65 hives very effectively. If I started back beekeeping I would use them again. My uncertainty is with our significant difference in weather/temps. What worked for me might not work in your location. My honey average was about 60 pounds per hive over four years. I overwintered my hives and rotated supers as needed above the excluders with almost no swarming. My only hesitation with nuc's is being able to get the colony size large enough to take advantage of nectar gathering when it is available. Your weather might not allow overwintering. Bill
Mike, all I can say is Bravo and that great minds think alike! It hasn't been 2 weeks since I approached my local mentor and ask him this EXACT same question after I, too, started noticing the controversy on different BK web sites. You are exactly right...there are a lot of people who don't like them at all. In fact, I will tell you that when the TN state BK inspector came here, he said he didn't like to use them himself- which I thought was a fairly noteworthy opinion worth listening to. But he left some room for discussion, saying he know other people swear by them it it is open for debate.
As for me personally, I've always used them.because my local advisor uses them and suggested I do the same. And BTW, you have probably read this also, but some people have sort of a mixed approach. They say to put them on at certain times of the year and take them off other time. But I can't remember for the life of me when those folks suggest putting them on or off!
Hope that helps a little, but as you said, I'm about as far from experienced as anyone can be! But it sure is fun!
What say you, @Chikn ?
It's a loaded question but I prefer not to use an excluder. I figure the queen lays eggs based on how good of queen she is. I had a queen once that laid eggs in 4 large boxes. With her I did not use an excluder and her hive made 10 gallons of honey every year for 3 years until the bees replaced her.
Yours is an age old question and there doesn't seem to be a correct answer to it.
My response to it is obviously going to be flavoured by my personal experience, it is also going to be modified by the fact that I live in Australia, in suburban Brisbane in the subtropics, so my climate is vastly different from yours.
Firstly I have no experience with keeping bees in climates that have very cold winters, but I understand that action has to be taken to ensure that colonies have the chance to survive the extreme cold. What you are thinking about is to remove all honey including the stores the colony has put away for winter. That way you guarantee their demise by starvation. Replacing the colony with a nuc in the spring means that to make it economically viable your sale of the addition honey extracted has to exceed the cost of the replacement nuc. You would probably have to buy nucs from warmer climates to get them when you want them I would rather have local queens hardened to local conditions and make the effort to get them through winter. If swarming is a problem then do an artificial swarm by splitting the colony at an appropriate time. If you do what you suggest then I don't think it matters if you use a QE or not.
I use a QE to keep the queen from the honey supers. I have never had the workers refusing to use the stickies or to build new comb. If the colony is strong and with a flow on they will fill a deep with brood and use the supers for honey storage. I can imagine that where you have short seasons it would be imperative that the colony is built up quickly to catch the early flows and using double deeps as the brood chamber should help in achieving the hive strength to take advantage of the flow. I live in the suburbs and my hives rely on diverse local vegetation that blooms at different times throughout the year so the girls fly every day and the only concession I make for the colder weather is to leave sufficient stores should there be a dearth. I have both 10 and 8 frame deeps for the brood box and 8 frame shallow supers. The main problem is the 8 frame deeps get a little crowded so I put a shallow on the brood box and the QE over that. I split both hives in spring and sell them as 5 frame nucs.
I hope this helps.
I don't use queen excluders either though I'm not a commercial beekeeping operation. I harvest one or two frames at a time and just cut out brood if my queens get frisky and lay in one of my honey supers. The only time I use one is when I combine hives and introduce swarms to a new hive location. That said, I could see some benefit to using one if I was a commercial operation. But I only have 5 hives so I let my queens go wherever they want.
I agree Mike, that would be best, problem is, all the local sellers of hives, nuc's, etc. overwinter their hives in Texas far to the south of Minnesota. They bring them up in late April and then divide and sell them. If I had the room my best move would be to divide my hive when the population explodes in late May and try to breed my own queens.
Taking all the honey in the fall leaving the bee's to starve is a hard thing to do. If I actually do it, it will make me sick to my stomach. Thing is, if I do it that way I can probably get 40-60lbs of honey. Whereas, if I try to overwinter them I can take no honey the first year. Thereafter, it may take years to hit that 40-60lb. mark if ever.
After seeing how fast the population exploded this year in late May, next year I'm going to be ready to go with a second hive and divide them, then take all the honey from one and try to overwinter the other.
On another note I'm pretty sure my bees swarmed again in the last couple days, I am seeing a dramatic reduction in the numbers going in and out and around the front entrance. We opened it up yesterday to take a look and it looks like there is a lot of bees inside, but it looked a lot like that 2 weeks ago inside the hive when they swarmed then. My wife doesn't think they swarmed, but it was a nice day and by far the least activity I've seen since we got them. Hopefully my new queen is a good one. . .
City, I don't understand how you think it's fun to dress up in a bee suit on a 95 degree day, breathe smokey air and have the Jahaddi bees in your hive try to commit suicide on your fingers and face!
Yeah! Fresh bees, queens, and hives w/o varroa, hive beetles, and wasted stores and mite treatments add up to a big savings in time and money. Fresh queens are much less likely to swarm, 80%, and a swarmed colony won't make honey! Not an opinion.
In central Minn. you need 120# of honey to get bees through the winter, at $2.00/ lb. whsle plus treatments, plus wrapping them, plus worry, if you take the honey and store the equipment inside, what an incredible savings in time and effort. Don't get soft about the bees, they hate you and will do anything to kill you! You can spend the winter sitting around the fire drinking and singing the Gophers' fight song every time they beat the Hawkeyes!!
Talk to the beeks that go south every winter and get a queen and 2 frames of brood for every colony you want to start. Pay their price so they are happy to see you. Guess I will have to explain how to build nucs.
Queen excluders are called honey excluders by beehavers that don't know how to use them. Like any other tool, used properly, an excluder will save you time in the honey house, you won't have to work around patches of drone brood or get brood juice in your honey or be surprised by a bunch of workers wondering if your face is their lost queen, you won't worry where the queen is when you harvest and you don't have to search through honey supers if you need to find the queen. It's also a great tool when splitting colonies or pulling brood. You can't do comb honey without one.
To use a queen excluder, I'm assuming you are keeping your bees in single deeps and supering on those, I am also assuming you can speak and understand beek, you'll need a colony with at least 7 full frames of bees and brood in a single. Place a metal rimmed QE on the colony, exposed wires down. Place one wet, empty, super on the hive on top of the excluder. replace your lid. If you are having a good honey flow, check back in 4-5 days. The workers can't refuse a good, wet, super, and will make every effort to get in it. Don't put more than two supers on at a time, keeping them crowded, just a bit, will get them to fill the supers efficiently. On ten frame supers with drawn comb, use 9 frames so you get fat, heavily filled, supers. Harvest in mid August.
If you are not beekeeping in singles, you should think about it, your honey harvest will go up, less weight to handle too. You do have to know your bees better especially swarm indicators.
Mike, you do know what this bit did? City is going to ask 4000 questions!! I know it Kevin!