Brand New Bee Keeper Question

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Fred & Shelley's Bees, May 18, 2012.

  1. Fred & Shelley's Bees

    Fred & Shelley's Bees New Member

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    Hi,

    2 days ago we rescued/appropriated a swarm from my aunts chimney. They had been there for maybe 5 days. Considering we had maybe 24 hours to purchase a hive, build a bee vacuum out of our shop vac and google as much info as we possibly could I think it went relatively well. Only lost about 7 bees in the vacuum box. We are short of guessing about 2000 or so bees? We unfortunately were unable to vacuum up approx 200 bees due to the fact they were just too far down the chimney to reach, but are certain we got the queen....not that we've actually seen her yet but they seem to be all be staying in their new home and balling up around a certain point. This morning we removed the reducer at the bottom (we kept it completely closed for 36 hours) and we had this ball of about 60 or so bees that had not made it into the hive during the initial operation. Here is a photo: photo(1).JPG It was dark by the time we arrived home with them and a small bunch didn't want to exit the vacuum box. After a few attempts to brush them into the new hive they started getting cranky so we called it a night. We weren't sure if then those ones were just confused or maybe the queen hadn't made it into the hive. But this afternoon we opened the top (sort of....a bit more about that in a minute) and brushed most of them in and kind of "showed" a bunch more where the door was. I think we were successful because now it looks like this: photo.JPG I have no idea why that photo is sideways. Anyhoo.......here is our dilemma/problem:

    We only put frames in the bottom box, using the top box as a sort of funnel to get the bees down from the vacuum box. And as it was late and dark and the bees were getting grouchy we just put the lid on...All we collected several pieces of comb from the chimney. One was as large as a human lung, the other slightly smaller. We placed the smaller piece between 2 frames and the big one was so large we just kind of set it on top of the frames, thinking we could remove it a bit later when we placed the frames in the top box (were thinking of doing that this weekend)........but the bees seem to have made a huge ball hanging from the roof of the whole hive. They are coming and going from the bottom like they should........but do we somehow dislodge them from the roof and down into the bottom box and place the frames as soon as possible? Or leave them alone they will figure it out and we can safely remove the lid and place the frames? The lid is really heavy to lift as the moment as there are so many bees hanging from it.

    Sorry that was so long winded. Oh the boxes take 10 frames......we have 8 in with a frame feeder at the moment in the bottom. Thanks for any advice anyone can provide.
     
  2. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Welcome!

    You should get the all the frames in the box asap. Otherwise they will build comb how they want instead of following the frames like you want.

    Good luck! This is a very fun sport!
     

  3. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    sounds to me like the hive is small so you should reduce the hive to 1 box full of frames, and you should take a good look for the queen if you get a chance cause if she is not in there and they dont have eggs to make a new 1 the hive is not going to last very long, also welcome to the best bee forum out there, go to the welcome section when you get a chance and say howdy to every1
     
  4. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    Welcome to the forum Fred!

    I second Eddy, get frames in there asap. You will need to feed too if not already doing so...

    Good luck!
     
  5. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    To drop the bees into the lower box, literally lift the box (or inner cover) then tamp it firmly on top of the box you want the bees to fall into... Once done, smoke them a bit to confuse them, then add frames. DO THIS TODAY BTW!!! DO NOT WAIT!

    You can rubber band the comb you pulled from the chimney into foundationless frames. They will connect it top and bottom and chew through the rubber bands.

    Look up "honeybee cut-out" on YouTube or take a look at IDDEE's mug here:
    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/content/119-Log-Removal

    Don't worry about keeping the smaller stuff that they will have build in the open space of the upper box (less than 4" or so in size). A swarm is a wax producing machine, they will replace this quickly. They'd have several hanging combs in the open upper box within a week! YOU DON'T WANT TO LET THEM!
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Welcome Fred :hi:

    You have found a great place to get prompt answers to questions, and all done in a friendly manner.
    Also, I'm from Burnaby, used to keep bees out near Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows! :thumbsup:
    Have you joined any of the clubs out there, good way to meet other keeps in person.
     
  7. Fred & Shelley's Bees

    Fred & Shelley's Bees New Member

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    Thanks for all of the great advice. First just to clarify.....I'm actually Fred's wife posting for him. He's ridiculously computer challenged and so here I am asking the questions for him. I'm going to get him on here later this evening.....just excuse the spelling. Yes we are feeding! should the feeder be moved to the upper box when we put the frames in it? It's currently in the lower one. Or does it matter? Fairly confident we have the queen. When we vacuumed up the first batch of bees they quickly formed a large ball around a section of the vacuum box. There were so many bees we actually had to transfer them into one of the hive boxes then vacuum up the rest which pretty much filled the box again. Having said that we actually haven't seen her, and haven't really gone looking overly much at this point as we were hoping to just let them settle in a bit. The vacuum box Fred build turned out awesome. He actually stapled in a large piece of screen at the far end that worked as a safety net to prevent the bees from hitting the back of the box. The box is roughly the same size as the individual hive boxes but only about 2/3rds fits the bees. Here are a couple of photos. The small wooden box with the screened holes just acts as more air regulation but the bees stay on the other side of the screen. Bee Vacuum 1.JPG Bee Vacuum 2.JPG The lid slides on.

    Shelley (Fred's wife)
     
  8. Fred & Shelley's Bees

    Fred & Shelley's Bees New Member

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    Perry, We're in Surrey! Like Cedar Hills Surrey. So we put our hive on the roof of our house. So far the neighbors haven't complained.
     
  9. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hi Shelley (and Fred) :lol:

    Surrey, you're in luck! Surrey has probably the best club in the lower mainland! :thumbsup: If I'm not mistaken, Donny Carter is the club president, he was my mentor when I first got started!
    If you go, tell him Hi from Perry, I actually talked to him on the phone a couple of months ago (after many years).
     
  10. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I'm confused. If there was this much comb, they've been there more than 5 days. Right? :confused:
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Slowmodem, many times a swarm will take over a deadout.There can be any amount of comb there the first day.
     
  12. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I hadn't thought of that. Thanks! :)
     
  13. Fred & Shelley's Bees

    Fred & Shelley's Bees New Member

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    Thanks all. We got the bees off the inside of the lid and down into the lower box. Moved the feeder frame up and inserted the frames in the upper.

    As to that much comb....I'm inclined to believe it was all them!! When we pulled the lid off this evening they had made a piece nearly half that size. That is from Wednesday night to Friday evening! I'm clearly no bee expert, but that's fast I think?? We pried this new piece off and attached it to one of the frames. The piece that we had just set on top of the lower frames only had honey, which they had cleaned out by this evening, so we just removed it. I think they had lots to play with:grin: They were very relaxed about the whole procedure too......which was awesome because I was having all kinds of stress about bothering them too much. Also turns out the queen was down in the bottom working away with a large number of the other bees doing what bees do on the lower frames as well.

    Dear bee keeper who's bees swarmed and flew away to my aunts chimney: I'm so sorry for your loss. Your bees are kind of awesome!
     
  14. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Welcome Shelley and Fred! Looks like you've already been taken care of. This forum is good about that. I like your thank you note to the previous bee owners, ha! And, I am thinking since you're going to be the computer guru in the apiary venture, you should own some of the forum handle...maybe, "Shelley and Fred's Bees." :grin: