know nothing - had a wild hive moved to a box, troubles

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by briligg, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. briligg

    briligg New Member

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    hi all, glad to be here the first time.

    we had a wild hive on our property moved to a hive box here in mexico the other day. we don't know anything about beekeeping, but we wanted to save the hive, instead of destroy it, and just take it from there. and the honey! it was excellent, about 8 litres of it. That got us enthused.

    the hive split in two 2 days later. we managed to get the swarm into another box, but it was a box in bad shape, the beekeeper we used didn't have anything else to hand (he is just a small-scale keeper). the next day the new division had swarmed again, and again we got them back in a hive box, this time a new one we had gotten, that was 2 boxes put together, because we are interested in trying the 'natural' beekeeping method we've read about.

    but the bees swarmed again today. we can put them back in the box, but something clearly seems to be wrong. we provided them with honey to attract them, and they started building a bit of comb, but now they are back in the tree.

    what should we do? we really appreciate any and all help. we realize we're just winging it. my husband has been reading up, but in spanish. i don't even know the vocabulary.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Put them back in the box and screen them in for 2 days. Do not block the entrance with solid wood. They cannot circulate the air and stay cool if you do. Use screen only, so they can cool the hive. After 2 days, open an entrance just large enough for 2 or 3 bees to go in and out.
    This will give you an 80% chance of them staying. That's about the best you can do without a queen excluder.
    If you have a queen excluder, you can put it between the box and the bottom, but I'm guessing you don't have.

    PS. Welcome to the forum.
     

  3. briligg

    briligg New Member

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    thanks, that sounds like a good plan.

    there is a city about an hour from here where we can buy supplies. so far, we've just bought the bare minimum of stuff. as we learn more, we'll figure out what we need.
     
  4. briligg

    briligg New Member

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    should we put some honey in the box before we screen it up?
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    It doesn't take much to get started. Most things can be made or substituted.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    in the comb, if you have it. Otherwise, 1/2 liter sugar mixed with 1/2 liter water works best.
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Allyooper, can you post a pic of your jar feeder setup here?
     
  8. briligg

    briligg New Member

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    we have lots of honey. we kept 4 litres for ourselves, we can spare some. We've seen commercial jar feeder pix, but in these first few days we've just put an ounce or two of honey out in whatever shallow container was available, to help support the bees, one near each hive.

    In the comb? we have leftover empty comb from the old hive, but the new box doesn't have much foundation.
     
  9. briligg

    briligg New Member

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    from looking around a bit, i take it we can set up a temporary feeder with an empty wide jar and a saucer with a rim. there is plenty of room to do that in the bottom hive box - my husband bought two hive boxes and joined them together based on reading at oscar perone's blog. Don't know if you know his stuff, it's just what we found and my husband likes the sound of it. At any rate, we can put a half-litre of honey in the bottom box. That's the right amount, is it?
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The bees are bad about drowning in liquid honey. Sugar water is better if you don't have comb honey. A few small holes in the top of a jar will do.

    Look at the photo in post #7 in this thread.

    viewtopic.php?f=36&t=2275
     
  11. briligg

    briligg New Member

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    Hmm - that looks good, but as we only have the 2-in-1 box, i think we'll need to put the feeder on the bottom of the hive. I don't think there is a spare cover. I'll check that with my husband tonight. At any rate, we'll figure out something that gives the bees access without risking them getting all sticky or drowning or fighting. I've googled bee feeder jars and will review the design options. I'll try to check in with what we come up with, to see if it's okay.

    (We've noticed they've been fighting some while feeding on the honey we've left out. Old hive versus new hive? Have they gotten really hungry? There's over-ripe pears scattered on the ground around the property for them to eat - we have a lot of fruit trees - and foragers have been arriving at the hives with lots of pollen. Why fight?)

    Or wait - am i understanding the jar design? I figured it has some small holes punched in the lid, just enough so some honey gathers there. Otherwise, i don't understand how the bees reach the honey - or the syrup, in this case.
    We'd probably choose to thin some honey rather than use syrup.
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Yes, 3 or 4 small holes in the lid. Less then 1/16 in. "1 or 1.5 mm"
    Thinned honey will do fine.

    There will be pollen year round. It's the nectar they are fighting over.
     
  13. briligg

    briligg New Member

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    feeding jar project aborted - the bees have left. When my husband got back to the lot from lunch, they were gone.

    The initial hive group seems happy enough. Apparently they do have some combs of honey and some empty combs. So, for the time being, hubby plans to give them some extra space by adding a super on top, and then some time later modifying the main hive area by making it taller - he'll have to figure out how to add it on one night as quickly and painlessly as possible.

    He is quite enamoured of the 'natural' beekeeping approach. I've been reading about syrups, and am becoming quite uncertain. I'll go look for discussions of syrups here - I've come across what seem to be very different opinions on a 'natural' site and a 'scientific' site.
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Remember, bees die in natural settings. Humans try to give them a better chance. Although it is good to go as natural as is feasible, you don't want to lose them because you wouldn't use things that are readily available to save them.

    Sorry they left. Maybe you will get another one next year.

    PS. Working bees at night is a bad idea. They are much friendlier in the middle of the day when the older ones aren't home.
     
  15. briligg

    briligg New Member

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    really? We shouldn't work with the bees at night? You see, this is the thing - i don't know where hubby got this bit of information, but he thinks the bees are less energetic at night, sleeping, more or less. He's been gathering the information he can find in Spanish, websites, videos, he found a forum today. This is an example of how some of the things they say there are completely different.

    Could there be a difference because we are in Mexico? For instance, we are in the highlands - the temperature drops a lot at night, it's easily 20 to 30 degrees cooler than the daytime, any day of the year. And these bees were taken from a hive they built themselves amongst a bunch of plywood flats we had stored on our lot - could they be a different variety than American beekeepers are accustomed to? Could they be crossed with Africanized bees?

    I easily found more information today in English than my husband has found all week in Spanish. I don't know how things went when they went to the beekeeping supply store, but there was no feeding jar with the boxes he bought, and they didn't suggest a smoker. The learning process is turning out to be more complicated in our situation. And beekeepers around here are really cagey about 'secrets' too. The small beekeeper who helped us move the colony to the hive box advised us to put it where the sun is strongest, and only relented because my husband insisted they be kept near the spot they had chosen themselves.
     
  16. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    [​IMG]
    These pickle jars are free from the local pizza joint just for the asking and a thank you. They make great feeders with only a couple small problems. Storage where they don't get broke, and a deep hive body to place around them while on the hive.

    I also say to place the bees in the bright sunshine. A swarm takes up residence where it finds a suitable sight. It may not be the ideal place but is better than hanging from a tree limb out in the wind rain and here cold of the winter. In fact I don't think such a colony would live thru the winter here.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    :mrgreen: Al
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Bees are all at home at night. The foragers, that are flying to the fields during the day, are the meanest. The house bees are much friendlier.

    At night, they crawl more than fly, and get all over you without you knowing it. They are also attracted to light, so if you use a light, use one with a red lens.

    DEFINITELY get a smoker. It is 100% necessary. The feeding jar can be made at home.

    If it is above 50 f. they are flying well. If below 50 F., you will chill and damage the young bees.

    The small hive beetle loves shade, hates sun. That is why he told you to put it in as much sun as possible. The more sun, the less trouble from SHB.

    Yes, anywhere in Mexico, they can be crossed with Africanized. You will just have to judge their temperament and treat them accordingly.
     
  18. briligg

    briligg New Member

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    Somewhere i'm sure i read advice to put them in the shade of a tree. Can't remember where though. Not that i don't take your words for it, but i need to sort out how my different sources of information compare.

    i'm trying to attach a photo of the wild hive before we moved it, but i just can't seem to upload anything right now - our service gets overloaded. maybe tomorrow.
     
  19. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The SHB has only been here for 10 or 15 years. Yes, for a hundred years before that, it was recommended to put them in the shade.
     
  20. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    That was afternoon shade. The thought was early sunshine to wake the bees to forage and warm the hive from the night chill.
    Today is as Iddee says.
    all my bees in the bright sun are much nicer in the afternoon than the ones in the shade too. Inspections are easier in the sun than the shade also as you can see the eggs in the bottom of the cells with out a mini mag lite or carrying the frames into the sun.

    :mrgreen: Al