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just getting started

1455 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  dogsoldier13
last year i became interested in bees,i took a course at a local community college, i read all i could about bees,i went to a local beekeeper last spring and bought a hive,these are very strong bees with good hygenic behavior,then i bought a package from a well known apiary one state away,on inspection of the package bees in the fall,they were fine,lots of brood and honey,2 weeks later all were dead. i found 3 japanese hornets in the top of the hive and it was full of wax moths,the local bees i purchased were still strong,i am feeding the one hive i have left 1 to 1 sugar syrup in a 2.5 gallon pail,i always let the excess run out to create the vacuum that is needed to keep the syrup from drowning the bees,today i went to put more syrup on and found alot of mold in the hive and the bees seem agitated and nervous,they usually arent like that.should i change to just regular dry sugar?should i put these frames in a new dry brood chamber?it has rained here for a couple months now,always wet and soggy. these hives are in a sunny south faceing area.any good advice would be greatly appreciated :?:
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Welcome to the board.

I would give the hive more ventilation. If you have an entrance reducer on, open it up to allow more air in. Put popsicle sticks, or something about that thickness, under the inner lid, to allow the wet air to escape. The bees can then control the humidity and the mold should go away. If there are stores enough for the bees to survive, I would stop feeding until the mold is gone.

BTW, I am just north of you, in Randleman.
thanks for the welcome,there is honey in the super above the brood chamber,i will go pull the bucket out tomorrow,i do have entrance reducers on,i will remove that also and see if that helps,i have 2 empty brood chambers with supers, one is brand new.i plan on getting some more local bees in the spring,that seems to be the best way to go,the colony in this last hive is very strong,i have been feeding with super bee patties,should i stop this as well? thanks for the input.
Greetings DogSoldier and Bee Catcher,
DS - BC's point of ensuring ventilation is probably the first of two major considerations for your living hive. Depending on your hardware, this can be acheived in a couple different ways - an upper entrance notched into the inner cover, a hole in the front of the 2nd hive body, or even propping the outer cover up a little bit as stated. This is my preferred method as well. If it's a weaker hive, popscicle stick thickness is appropriate as it still limits the the vent area to something thinner than what a robber bee, hornet, etc. can fit through. If it's a stronger hive, I make it a little thicker with some small shims as pictured here:

My second point would be the feeding. I beleive you mentioned that you're already feeding 1to1. In my area this would not be a good thing at this time of year. I'm sure that your area is having different weather, and perhaps you can lean on Bee Catcher a little for local info on flows, pollen, etc. The mention of feeding sugar brings another point. If your live hive is still heavy and has a lot of honey and pollen in it, there's probably not as much need to feed. At this time of year unless it's warmer and drier, it's really hard for bees to deal with syrup. Many time if it's not warm eough, they may not even take it - it sits in the hive and creates problems...mold, ants, excess moisture, etc. In this situation, I think you may be further ahead switching to the proper fondant, or even feeding dry sugar as you mentioned. The dry sugar also helps to absorb excess moisture inthe hive, and any surplus can be taken off in the spring when it gets warm and chopped and reused to make syrup. Here's a picture of how to set it (MoutainCamp Method) up in an empty super over the top bars of the top brood box (with inner cover then over that box):

I guess one last point to consider would be what you're gonna do with that dead hive. If you have pests invading them but the comb isn't too badly damaged yet, consider throwing the box (or even frame by frame) in the freezer for a night or two each to kill the wax moth larvae, etc. Clean what's loose in terms of dead bees out, freeze the box or the frames, and then store it (sealed to keep furture wax moth from invading it.) You then have the option of adding good boxes to your live colony in the spring for them to clean and expand into. If you don't add them, you still have it available to give to a new package or nuc.

Just a few thoughts, hope these are helpful. Find local folks to lean on, and observe local flows, pollen being brought it, etc. Talk with others in your area about feeding needs. There are times that feeding can be bad, at least certain types of feeding methods. There are also times that bees will ignore the feed that you give them because of either temperatures or sometimes flows going on that you might not be aware of. If you are in the middle of a dearth in the summer, feeding may sometimes be necessary. If you are in the middle of the winter, feeding may be detrimental unless done in the proper method. A hive with adequate stores can probably make it on its own. Emergency feeding is not a bad thing if done correctly, and is better than the alternative of letting the hive die.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes. See if you can link up with some local help like Bee Catcher and talk with them about what's going on locally.Look at what works for others in your area and try to adapt the best points from that for your own use. Keep posting and keep us up to date.
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thank you for your time and input,im glad i joined the forum.i will keep you posted on the progress.its great to know friends and advice are just a click away. im hoping that i can get a handle on this problem.
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