Bees disappeared

Discussion in 'Top Bar & other Alternative Hives' started by M88A1, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. M88A1

    M88A1 New Member

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    This spring I built a TBH and a Warre hive from plans that were on the internet. Placed them in the best area I could find. I wanted to start slowly so I orderd 1 hive and place the bees in the hive just like I have seen on a few different Utube videos. I went back to check it about 3 days later and noticed no bees flying anywhere near the entrance. I opened it up and it was EMPTY...

    Is this something that can happen, far and few inbetween I hope if it does. Or am I just unlucky to have this happen first time out the gate? Thanks for any advice you might have

    M88A1
     
  2. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

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    M88A1, Sorry to hear about your loss.

    You said you purchased a hive. Was the hive you purchased a package of bees with a queen in a cage? If so, was the queen released from the cage when all the bees were missing?

    Walt
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    From what I understand you built your hives and ordered/installed a package of bees, right?

    My question would be, what did you build your hives out of and did you apply any kind of paint or finish to the inside of the hive?

    Walt is also trying to narrow it down for you too, we need just a little more info please.

    To answer your question, yes sometimes they just up and leave for reasons unknown.
     
  4. M88A1

    M88A1 New Member

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    Thanks for the replies...

    I built the TBH hive out of reclaimed pine floor boards off a farm house porch. The Warre hive was all new plain pine board. I painted them both white outside and the inside was left untreated, but I did run the boards through a planer. I placed the bees in the TBH. The TBH is 4 feet long and 20 inches wide at the top and 16 inches deep. Ill take a couple pictures and see if I can post them up on here. I purchased a 3 pound package of bees with the queen in her own cage. The box looked just like the ones in all the videos I have seen on youtube. I took out the cork in the queen cage and replaced it with marshmello and hung her between 2 of the top bars. I also sprayed the inside of the hive with sugerwater and placed a small brick of Fondant inside. When I opened the hive after noticing nothing flying around it or no bees at the opening, the queen was in her cage and there still was a dozen or so bees inside the hive. I went back a four days later, to do my second check this time the queen was out of the cage and the hive had zero bees inside. Sorry I didnt include all this info the first time. I am new and going at bee keeping from reading and watching a few videos. I havent found any beekeeping clubs so to speak near me. I will definately be putting in anothewr order for bees this December. Thanks again

    Greg
     
  5. cacklewack

    cacklewack New Member

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    Did you happen to have a screened bottom board on the hive from which the bees absconded? If so, was the bottom open? There have been a lot of issues recently where bees have been deserting top bar hives with open screened bottom boards.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  6. Guba

    Guba New Member

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    The hives with screened bottoms, does anyone have any idea of the sizes of the screens to stay away from? Or is it just better to leave the screened bottom off altogether?
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Screen bottoms should be 1/8 inch hardware cloth. Pros and cons on using them abound both ways.
     
  8. M88A1

    M88A1 New Member

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    I made it with a screen bottom with about 3 inches of clearence to the wood bottom, the plans called it a clean out area.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Definitely IS a cleanout area. EVERY WEEK!! It is the perfect breeding and incubating area for SHB and wax moths, along with every other pest that gets into hives.
     
  10. Guba

    Guba New Member

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    So open screened bottoms aren't good? The screens don't keep out the pests?
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Any open space that the bees can't get to becomes a haven for pests. A screen or solid bottom works, but not both.
     
  12. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    That was my take on it as well, the way it was made with a solid bottom under a screened bottom doesn't sound like it would work too good. I tried a screened bottom for the first time on a cut out that I did earlier in the year. I was not able to get the queen but they raised one from their own brood and then took off like gang busters. Only thing I noticed with the screened bottom (and I have my hives sitting on 4 x 4 wood) is that the wax moths will try to build in the little bit of trash that falls through and lands on the 4 x 4. They do not grow to any size since there is nothing for them to eat and most don't even hatch out. I also like being able to look up into the hive with out disturbing them to see how many frames they are covering.
     
  13. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Sounds like I have a similar kind of stand, and I have the same problem under my hives. Wax moths seem to be attracted to the bits of debris that fall through the SBB and settle on the boards of the stand a couple inches lower. They've even burrowed into the pressure treated wood of the stand.

    At the risk of showing my ignorance of wax moths again, Does anyone think there's any fear that the larvae would make it up into the hive? Or perhaps develop to maturity down there, and later fly into the hives to start the cycle all over again?

    I'd love to somehow improve my set-up so that this doesn't happen in the first place. Any tips (other than switching to solid bottom boards)? I've thought ot painting the wooden parts of my stands, or even spraying them with BT (Certan). Frankly, I'm surprised this hasn't come up as a problem for most of the other people out there using some kind of wooden stand.

    -Dan
     
  14. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Mine will be off of the wood and onto steel pipe stands come spring time. I just got a trailer load of old rubber roofing that will be laid on the ground below them to keep the weeds down. It is also useful to see what the bees are throwing out the front of the hives and falling out of the screened bottom board. I was hoping that it also gets hot enough to kill any SHB larva that crawls out the front of the hive.

    From what I can see of the wax moth larva the never made it and died in their cocoon, they were very tiny, most were 1/2 the size of a pencil lead, maybe smaller. A squirt of BT every now and then might do the trick also.
     
  15. Barry Tolson

    Barry Tolson New Member

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    M88A1,
    I'm just north of you a ways in Indianapolis. I started a TBH a few years ago, but with a swarm. I usually take swarms after work and get them installed about sunset. When I started the TBH, I installed the swarm at sunset and they looked good the next morning. When I got home from work that evening...no bee's! They were clustered about 30 feet away on a fence. So..I retrieved them and installed them in the TBH again. This happened 2 more times before they stayed. Last time installing them, I moved to TBH to a new position a few feet away. Not sure if that effected anything, but they stayed. You just never know with bee's just what they are thinking.
    Did you get your TBH repopulated after that, or was that your one attempt?
    Barry
     
  16. fatbeeman

    fatbeeman New Member

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    sounds like 88 might have pulled the cork out too early by replacing with marshmallow not good idea.bees might eat thru too quick or just killed her. bees can go thru a marshmallow in less the hr or two. THB's not the best way to keep bees. hard to manipulate them and keep clean.
    Don
     
  17. Baxter

    Baxter New Member

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    fatbeeman, you may have put me on to my problem, I had a similar experience, but found my bees swarmed in a mass under the TBH, I manipulated the mass with a stick, until I located the queen, picked her up in a bare handfull, then dropped them back in the TBH. In retrospect, maybe I should have put the queen cage in there corked, left it for a couple days then took out the cork, maybe that extra time would make the hive more acclimated to it.

    I haven't been able to locate my queen since, they are building comb diagonally, across several bars. If I can re-queen it, I will try to cut the existing comb off, wire it to a single bar or even parts of it to several bars. I'm not speaking from experience or knowlege, this is my first attempt at keeping bees.
     
  18. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    I have a friend that built two TBH this spring and installed a swarm in one and a package in the other. He asked me to help him on his first inspection and was glad to do so as I'd never seen a TBH in action.

    We found all his combs were being built diagonal but left them that way until he found out what to do. He is a member of a TBH only forum somewhere and they instructed him to cut the comb and get it straight asap. After he cut and retied the comb he tried an idea he had. He took manila folders and cut them where they would slide over the bars and "force" the bees to build straight. But only in the hive where the package was installed.

    After a week, every bee in the hive he did that to left or at least was gone. The other hive seems OK.

    No idea why they left but he suspects the bees didn't like the intrusion of the paper folders.
     
  19. M88A1

    M88A1 New Member

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    I have replaced that hive with new bee's and I did it the exact same way and they stayed just fine. They are building some really nice combs. I also set up a Warre hive and they stayed also. The warre hive is a little more wacky as there combs seem to keep merging together. I pulled a couple empty bars out to spread them wider and they still merged, so I said ok, what the heck if thats how they want to build them I'll go with that. There not pretty but there getting bigger every inspection. What I dont know is the 1st year do you harvest the honey or just let them keep it all and harvest the second year? I have been told conflicting ideas on that. If I do harvest the first fall, how much combs do you leave in for them? Do you feed through winter with suger water and fondant? I'm going solo here on my own, dont really have anyone with experience that I know around here. But it was a really good feeling when I went out and checked on them and they were still there working away. Reading on the net is where I got the idea to replace the cork with marshmello as soon as I installed them. This spring I did the same but used home made fondant. My clean out area below the screen has debree in it. I know now to keep it cleaned out much sooner than I though. Thanks for all the tips and ideas
     
  20. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You go by the amount of stores they have. In NC, they need about 40 to 50 lbs. of honey to winter a large colony. Any more than 60 lb. can be removed and harvested. Any less than 30, feed, feed, feed. Indiana may need a bit more, I don't know.