Need assurance from Iddee and Tecumseh!

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Tia, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Iddee and Tecumseh, you'll recall that you had given me that great idea to put robber screens on my hives to give the colonies a feeling of security and perhaps to obviate and future attacks on my chickens. I've been waiting for the perfect day to put the robber screens on. . .one where all the bees go to bed inside and no one sleeps on the porch. Well, of course in 90 degree temps, this ain't happening, so this morning at 5:30 am, before the girls were flying, I decided to smoke them back into their hives and put the robber screens on. 4 were easy since all the girls were inside already, but my two big hives had bees on the porch shoulder to shoulder and one of the hives even had them hanging off! I smoked them both good, but gently because I didn't want them to fall off! Then I left them to walk into their hives. They were most cooperative but for about 10 or 15. I finally accomplished getting the screens on all 6 of them and then proceeded to remove the West beetle traps to open up the SBB for more ventilation.

    It's been a hot day, but now, instead of just the large hives having bees outside, every hive has girls just piled up on the outside of the screen! Feeling almost like a newbee, I'm worrying they don't remember how to get back in, but what I've been taught tells me they would have oriented to the new entrance/exit, know exactly where to go and just don't want to because it's so hot out! My plan is to wait until tomorrow morning and check status and if they're still piled up as bad as they are now, remove the robber screens.

    I hate to do that; I like the theory that they feel safer with a robber screen. Please let me have your input as to what you think is going on.

    By the way, chickens and bees have gotten along just fine since the "conflagration." But I'll still feel more comfortable with the robber screens. Please let me know if I screwed up somewhere.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Check your hives internally. If they have open space, everything is fine. Take a week's vacation and relax.

    If the hives are full, add a box, then take that week off.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    first most definitely what Iddee said plus...

    yes when you somewhat change the entry the field bees will be confused for a day or so. the same thing occurs when you put on one of those front door pollen traps... generally you do this with the door/pollen stripper up. you would think this new porch with the wide open front door wouldn't be so confusing but it almost always is... typically it takes a day a day for them to readjust.

    I am not totally certain of your set up??? but almost always here ventilation at the top of the stack is more important than at the bottom.
     
  4. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Leave the screens on... they'll be a little crazy for a while, but they'll still do just fine with them. Mine still return to the original entrance then walk up and around the robber screen.
     
  5. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Leave the screens on... they'll be a little crazy for a while, but they'll still do just fine with them. Mine still return to the original entrance then walk up and around the robber screen.
     
  6. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Thanks, guys. I feel better. I just got home from a meeting (10 pm) and there's still a lot of bees at the front porch. Can't tell if they're inside or outside, however. Checked them about 2 weeks ago and they all had an empty box on top, but guess I'll have to peek inside tomorrow before it gets to the 90's and see if they need more space. Just wish it wasn't so hot. Hate putting a veil on in this weather!
     
  7. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Let me clarify my statement, "Can't tell if they're inside or outside, however." It's dark, they're fenced in and in my heels and dress didn't want to go into the run to investigate further. I'll check again at first light.
     
  8. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Don't worry that they're outside, I have about a good hundred or two bees on the outside of my screen right now.
     
  9. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Much better this morning. Funny thing is that one of the hives that had nobody on the outside now has the most! They all seem pretty content though; no frenzied buzzing or anything like yesterday afternoon! The chickens are avoiding them, though. . .been under the coop all day. Of course that might be due to the 94 degree temps! Sorry, I know I should, but it's too hot to "go in." I imagine it's about time for another super on all of them, but it's gonna have to wait a couple of days when I can do it early in the day, and, hopefully, the day will be cooler!
     
  10. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Okay, here's the deal. Even though we're supposed to break records today, after watching the girls just cover the outsides of their hives, I decided I had to take Iddee's advice ("Check your hives internally. If they have open space, everything is fine. Take a week's vacation and relax. If the hives are full, add a box, then take that week off". I love that advice! So at 7:30 this morning, I went in and in brief, here's what I found:
    Two are booming. I pulled a super of capped honey from each and replaced their full supers with empty ones. I usually leave them on and harvest all of them at the same time, but David installed the roof of the enclosure too low, and I didn't have enough room to do that. I need to fix that roof. It's very uncomfortable working the hives stooped over! Anyway, two are status quo; I see no growth but they're strong and handling the SHB which I also saw! The final two are kaput. Very few bees and no queens that I saw. Capped brood and that's about it. I reduced both of them to a brood box only and will probably combine them with the "status quo" hives when it cools down (hopefully Mon or Tues of next week).

    The honey boxes that I took off are on triangle bee escapes in the garden shed which I've darkened by putting black plastic over the windows. I've left the door open a crack so the escaping bees will follow the light. I don't think it'll get rid of a lot of them, but it's a start. Tomorrow I'll get my vac out, blow them out of the boxes and harvest what's in there.

    So let me know what I've done wrong and what you would do differently. I value your input!
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    First, get that honey in the freezer, if it isn't already too late. The SHB will have a heyday.

    Then, I would combine the two kaput hives with each other and add a frame of brood from the two strongest, being sure one contained eggs. That would save one hive and relieve congestion in the two strong ones.
     
  12. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Yeah, I guess I can combine those two and find a frame of eggs for them. I know that's probably the right way to go; I'm just lazy and a combine is easier. Your advice will probably shame me into following your recommendation, though. Thanks, Iddee

    As for the honey supers, there's still bees in them! Last I heard, there is a 24-hr "safe zone" before you have to worry about SHB doing damage! I was planning on harvesting first thing tomorrow morning. Do you mean to tell me that from now on when I take supers off I either have to harvest then and there or they have to go through the 24-hr freeze before I harvest? If that's the case, I won't be harvesting anymore! That precise timing thing is exactly what's keeping me from raising queens! I have too much going on in my life and can't expect to be available at precise times.

    Also, I think I need to put the West traps back on even though it cuts off some ventilation. That's no problem since they just slide in there and I don't disturb the bees at all. I just have to get more oil!
     
  13. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    No, there isn't any precise timing involved. When you remove a super, put it in the freezer. Then take it out sometime after 24 hours. It can be 3 days or 3 years. Put it in a large plastic garbage bag and tape it shut tightly. Store it anywhere at room temp. When you have enough supers and have time to do it, extract. You can wait until winter if you want.
     
  14. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    So basically what you're saying is that with the advent of SHB, my triangle escapes are worthless? Up until now I've put the supers to be extracted between two triangle escape boards, let them sit overnight so all the remaining bees would leave and return to their hives, and I'd extract the next day. Now, it sounds like as soon as I take the supers off, I have to get absolutely all the bees out of those boxes and take them directly to the freezer. That's what you're saying, right?
     
  15. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    That's what I do. I have not heard of the 24 hour safety net you spoke of. It may well be fine that way. It's just something I don't have knowledge of.
     
  16. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    if you plan to take off the supers and hold to extract later and you even think you have a modest problem with shb then you need to freeze first.

    if you plan to take off the super and immediately extract and then place the empties back onto the hive then freezing is not essential.

    any frames (honey or no) with even the hint of shb problem (I ain't talkin' one or two adults here) should be frozen for 24 hours.
     
  17. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Jeesh, I hate these little bugs.
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    oh don't hate them Tia. it is kind of like coming to tolerate Henry Kissinger... it's a detente thingee.
     
  19. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Iddee, you can always make me smile! (But I still hate these little bugs)