Just getting started

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Pnetz, May 7, 2012.

  1. Pnetz

    Pnetz New Member

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    I am just getting started. I am starting out with two hives. They are both from packaged bees with mated queens. They have both only been in the hives for about two weeks and I am starting everything from new. Yesterday I was in both of the hives and noticed some cells with nectar and pollen in them but i did not notice any eggs. I also located the queen in both hives. At what point should I expect to see eggs? I was also told to feed them sugar water which I am doing but they are going through a crazy amount. I am feeding out of a bucket with a bunch of sticks that they can climb in and out on (a recommendation from a friend with bees) and seems to work well. Between the two hives they are going through about a gallon of sugar water a day. Is this a normal amount for them to be going through? Im not sure like I said I am new but seems like a awful lots for the amount of bees. Thanks in advance for your information.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    First, let me Welcome you to our friendly forum, you have landed in a bee friendly spot! :hi:Package bees when first installed on new equipment (foundation) will consume plenty of syrup in order to be able to draw out the comb they need for the queen to lay in, unless you have drawn comb. As well, eggs can be difficult to see for someone not used to what they are looking for. If you are not seeing eggs shortly, you should soon be able to spot larvae.
    Keep us informed! You have a wealth of information to tap into here. :mrgreen:
     

  3. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Welcome! Colonies can be so different from one location to another along with all the other variables which could speed up or slow down any of the processes. I hived 2 packages early April but there were a few weeks of very cold weather...so, it probably slowed them down. I did not see capped brood until the about the third/fourth week. My packaged bees barely touch their syrup but my captured swarms go through around a quart a day. A gallon does sound like a large amount but only from my experience...which is very little. I have only been doing this for a little over a month but have learned a ton from these folks here. Be sure to introduce yourself to all the other in the "Introductions" thread...I am sure they would like to meet ya...
     
  4. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Welcome Pnetz, to a great forum.

    If you are seeing pollen and nectar, your bees are probably fine. My guess though, if 2 packages are going through 1 gallon a day, you need to start feeding inside the hives. You are feeding other bees besides yours.
     
  5. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    I have a tight budget, so I started with only one hive. Installed my package on 3/31. I used a pickle jar feeder on the inner cover. I never see bees in my yard (not even my own except when coming & going) so I'm pretty sure it's only my bees eating. My bees went through 1 gallon every-other-day for the first three weeks, so your rate of consumption sounds reasonable. They have slowed down the last couple of weeks, but they are still taking about a quart per day. I have since switched to a wooden hive-top feeder. Easier to manage & refill.
     
  6. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    Oh, yeah... and it was about 10 days before I really noticed a good laying pattern.
     
  7. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    I had trouble spotting the eggs as well at first and found out there's a little trick to it. Hold the frame at eye level, tilt the frames just a little toward the sun and look for a small, small, little white worm looking thing. Angling the frame helped me see the eggs a little better.
    Good luck and welcome. Lots of friendly and helpful bee folks here.
     
  8. Pnetz

    Pnetz New Member

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    Thank you for the all the welcomes! And thank you for the info. I will keep you posted
     
  9. Papakeith

    Papakeith New Member

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    Pnetz,

    You and I are mirroring each other from different coasts. I'm feeding with a 2 quart container in an empty hive body, and I'm not seeing nearly the consumption you are. I got my packages on 4/28 and they have been through ~1.5 gallons each since then.
     
  10. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    WELCOME!!! as perry said package bees will consume plenty of syrup, and the eggs are very difficult to see, get your back to the sun and hold the frame up and you should see them.

    have a question about the gallon of syrup they are going through a day.....if you could describe the "bucket with a bunch of sticks that they can climb in and out of"......how are you feeding this to them, enclosed or open? either this container is leaking or as jim 314 said, you are feeding someone elses bees.....
    not sure if you meant a gallon each a day for both, or a gallon for both a day....(2 gallons),
    either way, a gallon of syrup a day for package bees hived 2 weeks ago even with foundation is as you described 'a crazy amount'.
    give us a little more info,
    and once again
    welcome!:grin:
     
  11. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Pnetz, Welcome to the forum.:hi:Hope you enjoy your stay with us and find it beneficial.
    Assuming that it is only your bees feeding on your syrup, be happpy about the quantity they are taking:
    1. It means that they are strong and healthy.
    2. It is being used by them to be able to build combs---fast.
    As to not seeing eggs (by the time you read this you may already have spotted them) I have a little story.
    Once I went mushroom hunting in a small forest near the house where I lived at the time. I spent well over an hour looking unsuccessfully for a specific species of mushroom I had read about in books and seen in pictures, but not in person. I was about ready to give up and go home empty handed when, in a small clearing I spotted one mushroom. As I picked that one, I looked around again and SAW hundreds of them all around me. They had not grown in the last second, I simply wasn't attuned to seeing them until I spotted the first. For supper that night, my wife and I feasted on an enormous, delicious mushroom omelet.
    Moral of the story: After you'll spot that first egg you'll never again have trouble seeing them. Relax, everything in your hives sounds good. Soon it'll be bursting with new bees. :grin:
     
  12. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    Welcome pnetz!

    Heh, my "first eggs" story is kinda like the mushroom story. I just *knew* that my new package queen was gone. I called a local mentor keeper, nearly crying, "I have no queen, I have no eggs!" He came down the next day, held them a different way in the light, and showed me about 200 eggs, I swear. Felt like an idiot, I tell ya!

    As for sugar...I kind of agree with efmesch. Those ladies are going to have themselves a full hive of drawn out frames in no time if they're taking that much sugar, and that's not a bad thing. The sooner they're done using up resources for building comb, the sooner those resources can go to making honey for their winter needs!
    In my very first hive, I remember filling up a quart jar of sugar water twice a day for a week straight, and thinking "Man, I'm not going to be able to afford this much sugar all the time!!" They eventually stopped taking the sugar water and I didn't have to declare bankruptcy, so it all worked out.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    They are both from packaged bees with mated queens.

    tecumseh:
    I would suggest that a package of bees is a bit like a new born child. you would not likely toss the newborn out unto the street and give it a sermon to 'go out and make a living or perish'...... now would ya'?

    you would also likely not complain if the young child took an extra serving of peas or carrots.

    the idea of feeding a package is to get some comb drawn quickly and the queen to laying as quickly as possible. after that you want to add just enough syrup to give the hive some insurance (a pantry of sorts) to get beyond any natural bumps in the road in the form of an on and off nectar flow. beyond this growth itself is somewhat encourage and based on what is known may have more to do with the health of a hive that anything else you have control over.
     
  14. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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  15. Pnetz

    Pnetz New Member

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    Riverbee, yes the bucket is open and I know it's not leaking so I am sure I am feeding other bees. And between the two hives I am going through about 3 gallons in 2 days. But from my little experience the hives do seem very healthy and and building out quite fast. But still souds like i should get some real feeders. I still haven't done my next hive inspection since my first post but again I will keep everyone posted. And again thank you everyone for the help!
     
  16. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Congrats on NOT opening your hive for inspection. IMHO, one of the problems encountered by new beeks is overexamining their hives. You gotta let them do their things without too much human interference. :thumbsup:
     
  17. Pnetz

    Pnetz New Member

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    So I just did my weekly inspection and holy smokes! Eggs and capped broad everywhere. Very nice relief. Had all stages, eggs, larvae and capped. So now my next question is when do I add supers? I was told when everything is drawn out except for 2-3 frames. And is drawn out meaning the whole frame is covered?
     
  18. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Your description of the hive's condition is encouraging--but not fully clear. So you've got a lot of bees, etc---but how many of your frames are built? Assuming that everything is normal, your brood should be concentrated toward the center of the hive and the unbuilt frames near the walls. Since everything sounds really good, you could move two (unbuilt or partially built?) outer frames toward the center of the hive (but not next to each other). This should speed up their getting built/completed and, if these two are the only unbuild frames, you could also place a super with all ats frames for building. If you've got three totally unbuilt frames, I would still move two to the center, but wait a few more days before putting on a whole new super for building.
     
  19. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    You don't want to put on honey supers if you are feeding the bees sugar syrup. You'll wind up with a bottled mix of honey and sugar syrup. Also, if it's honey supering time there in California, you probably shouldn't be setting out sugar syrup by the gallon out in the open- you are feeding everyone's bees within 4 miles of you in all directions, and your sugar syrup will wind up adulterating other people's honey too.
    So-
    1) if you want to keep feeding, choose a feeder that goes inside the hive you want to feed so you are not feeding all the bees in the neighborhood, and
    2) When and if you are going to put on a honey super (not meaning a second brood box, but a honey super intended for honey production) you need to stop feeding syrup- you want pure honey, made from flower nectar. A hive that is strong enough to produce a super of honey for you during a nectar flow is strong enough not to need supplemental feeding. :thumbsup:
     
  20. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    A better way of gauging is just look between the frames when you open the hive.
    If there are 3 or less openings between the frames that aren't full of bees, add a box.
    Also stop feeding.