Should I feed or put on shallows?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by BeccaE, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. BeccaE

    BeccaE New Member

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    Hey y'all. I'm new here & a new beek. This is my second season. I went to my hive this past weekend to observe activity & was amazed at the amount of pollen my girls were bringing home. The previous weekend we still had freezing weather & then jumped to the 60s. I thought my husband was going to inspect the hive , but he didn't so we're going to inspect this coming weekend.
    My questions (depends on what the inside looks like):
    1- If they're already bringing back that much pollen is there a need to supplement their feeding?
    2- Should I feed anyway & give them a chance to build up their supply again?
    3- If they are looking good, healthy active queen, good supply... Would it be ok to go ahead & put my queen excluder on & start on my supply?

    Thanks for any help!

    -Becca
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    for me it is helpful to have some very general idea of location.... nothing exact just some general reference to location < location and season are two thing that can make any question go in any number of directions.

    1) LIKELY NO since what could you possible make up that would be better than fresh real pollen??? < as you post seem to suggest an internal inspection for pollen stores might lead you to feed a bit of pollen like product but certainly adding a patty when they have plenty accomplishes nothing.

    2) Supplemental feeding ahead of the season is likely the best and cheapest thing you can do to enhance a honey crop < this statement likely applies to a wide variety of landscapes. Also you want to pretty much maintain a certain level of food in the pantry to maintain 'the girls' moral.

    3) queen excluder I am never in any hurry to place on a hive. depending on whether I have foundation or comb in the super I may even put off adding an excluder to much later. as a general rule I would never add a queen excluder until the possibility of cold weather has passed.

    and good luck in your second year....
     

  3. BeccaE

    BeccaE New Member

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    Thanks:) I'm pretty sure (hopeful) that the weather has broken; at least nothing lower than 40 soon. I'm in mid-Missouri southwest of St. Louis.
    I'm really anxious for this season. Hopefully my pregnant belly will fit in the bee suit or I'll be stuck supervising! I have carniola bees so last year I gave them a lot of time to establish theirselves. So I have. 1 more question:
    I put a queen excluder last year with a shallow, but they only got as far as building some really pretty comb... Most of the frames drawn in. When I took it off for the winter I saved it. Can I reuse their old comb? Put those same drawn frames back in the hive? Will they accept it or should I start from scratch?
     
  4. DMLinton

    DMLinton New Member

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    Drawn comb is considered a valuable resource as the less comb to be built, the more energy the bees have for putting into other matters - like making honey. So, yes, by all means, use the comb from last year.

    I am new to bees too.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    what Mr Linton said...

    the old guys often referred to their comb as THE CAPITAL of their business. They didn't mind loosing a hive here or there but they were extremely protective of their comb. Drawn comb (relative to say foundation) simply gives you a large head start on whatever does happen this year.
     
  6. BeccaE

    BeccaE New Member

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    I was hoping to hear that! That's where my instincts were going. But does that mean I could potentially loose a hive and replace bees into the old colony's foundation?

    Thanks again y'all! I really am happy to have found this forum. =D
     
  7. DMLinton

    DMLinton New Member

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    That is correct as long as you know why the colony died. You do not want to re-use diseased comb.
     
  8. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    Are you still thinking the weather has broke.:grin: I'm near Springfield and its nasty here today. Should be better tomorrow though.

    Mine started bringing in pollen last week. At this time I feed some thin sugar water mixed no thicker than 50/50 to jump start brood rearing.

    Were still quite awhile from necter so I wouldent worry about honey supers yet. They do need a lot of space for brood and if they get too crowded they'll swarm.

    Id certainly leave the excluder off for awhile. And after that I'd just leave it off. The queen won't go any higher than she needs too. Mine rarely get above the second deep.

    They go thru a lot of feed once they start spring buildup and now is when they'll starve unless they have a lot of supply's.
    ​woody roberts
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    wolfer is close to you and his advice certainly has more weight than my own. I do use excluders but how and when you use these can be extremely important. if you are new to all this and most especially if this is your first spring time with bees do pay attention to what Wolfer speaks to when it come to spring time conversion of honey into brood. What one day may look like excessive honey left on a hive, two weeks down the road looks like lots and lots of brood and nothing in the pantry. one thing that is constant in the bee keeping world yesterday and today is a lot of hive can starve within one or two weeks of the first major flow simply because they have converted all of the pantry into baby bees.
     
  10. BeccaE

    BeccaE New Member

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    Not even funny, Wolfer! This weather yesterday has me shaking my old man hand... And I'm not even a man or old lol

    But great advice. We opened it up Saturday & fed them. Hopefully that extra space in there didn't do any harm to them staying warm yesterday. What a surprise! When we opened them the weather channel didn't show it getting as cold as it did. But I did see brood & that made me happy!

    I will be patient! I only have two supers on there..... Should I add a third? I had considered splitting my hive, but was leaning toward next spring to do that.
     
  11. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    What's your hive configuration now? How many boxes and what size?

    The weather looks a little better today.
     
  12. LizzeB

    LizzeB New Member

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    great conversation, guys. Wolfer sounds like he's been around the block a little with the bees and changing spring weather. Becca, You're doing great having wintered a hive! I would suggest, though, that you get a little bit more reading and confidence on the growth of a hive. Joining a local bee club is great for this. Clubs are discussing what stage their bees are at right now. Many clubs are free to attend, and some offer library use for their contributing members. Always remember that you'd be an asset to a local club!
    A hive grows from small cluster each spring. The cluster is high at the end of winter. When spring finally hits, the cluster will drop down considerably to begin the whole growing and storing season over. Understanding that a healthy bee colony run on a timeline:
    1. a goal of reproducing to generate foragers for their colony
    2. Drones and queen cells are started to reproduce their existence, this happens around the same time as honey flow begins.
    3. THEN after numbers are sufficient, early to mid summer, they begin to prep for winter (honey production) to feed this mother colony through the winter.
    This is no time for supers, as Wolfer is try to stress that your colony may grow much larger and occupy any additional boxes you put on with brood this time of year. So, the boxes you have (hopefully two deeps) are the proper configuration. Keep feeding syrup as you are. The syrup or nectar stimulate wax production if needed, and feeds their brood when the weather won't allow them to fly. ALWAYS OFFER A SMALL SUPPLY OF FRESH SYRUP, UNTIL HONEY PRODUCTION BEGINS. Don't mix too much syrup at a time. Keep it fresh, and continuous, not excessive.
    Sirens sound in your head if if the two deeps appear to be 'boiling with bees' (occupying 7-9 frames), you may actually need to run a split for a new colony. Be sure to check for swarm cells at that point, drone comb may be the tattle-tail, too. But you should be a few weeks away from having that issue.
    Finally, after you can see a certain brood pattern with a beginning of a light-colored honey rainbow at the top of the brood pattern (maybe a little uncapped), you can then think of adding supers for honey production. You really shouldn't be at that state until sometime in May-June. I only add one super at a time, unless I put a single sheet of news paper in between each super on a multiple stack. This causes bees to fill each super before moving onto the next. Also, get a good understanding of the difference between dry queen cups and actual started queens.
    Have Fun!!!! I'm in Michigan, and wish we had the weather and pollen that you guys have had! Soon, I hope.
     
  13. BeccaE

    BeccaE New Member

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    Thanks Lizze! Well.... Awful, awful news. I mentioned that I had opened them up, saw brood, & fed them. They were looking amazing. They died that week when that unexpected cold hit :( Super bummed & pretty depressing walking out to my hive. We were late ordering bees from our favorite bee supplier so we're bee less this season. I really loved my girls. It was so relaxing being out there with them.
     
  14. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    Becca
    im sorry to hear about your bees. March is the most dangerous month here. It warms up, they start raising brood then run out of food.Or just as common and probably what happened to yours is they start raising brood, it turns cold and they won't leave the brood to cluster.

    There are two things I see you need to do here. 1-take care of your drawn comb. 2- find out why your bees died. I've learned a lot more about keeping bees from the hives that died than from the hives that lived. I can assure you I've had several hives die.

    I won't start building nucs until the blackberries bloom. I should have a few to sell. I'll run an ad on Craigslist but I haven't yet.
    my bees are Russian/ ferel mutts, mostly mutt. Treatment free.
    I'm about 3 hrs from St Louis. I could meet part way.
    ​Congrats on the baby. When are you due to foal?
     
  15. BeccaE

    BeccaE New Member

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    Foal? Nah, I kid around here! Mid-June.
    We would love to put 2 on reserve if possible. Depending on when they're available I might just send my husband, but hopefully it'll be a time I can go too. I'm sure I could come up with some questions to pick your brain with.
    You're in the Springfield, right? (Going off memory...yikes). We're just outside Lebanon so it's not far. Unless it's my due week I'll be there:)
    My hive was Carniola. I loved them, they were so gentle. I never wore gloves & never had an issue. In fact, I was too big for my suit when we fed them so my husband suited up & I tossed on an extra vail with my sweat shirt. He was sooo funny, "give them more smoke, they're getting angry" lol He use to land survey & has bad experiences from stinging creatures! What's your typical temperament?
    One last thing, our foundation went bad quick. What can I of differently next time? That's the top super with all the brood, I haven't checked the lower. Could it possibly be savable?
    Ok, I lied, ONE more thing... If I don't have any foundation (other than foundation starters) will the bees I get be able to catch up for the coming winter on time?
    Thanks is much for your help & advice. I really do appreciate it! You & Beekeeping for Dummies has been great ;) no , really , that book was awesome for getting started.
     
  16. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    Becca
    What size frames are you using. I build my nucs on deeps but can build on mediums if need be.
    Temperament? These are the only bees I've ever had so I can't compare. Young, small hives are pretty gentle. Old two deep hives with lots of honey in the fall, well they can be another matter. I go prepared to do battle.
    I rarely use smoke but I always wear a veil and gloves. Their often not needed but someday you'll wish you had them.

    Since these are surviver mutts I'd guess their temperament at somewhat testy.

    Can you be more specific on the condition of your comb. If it's been slimed by hive beetles the bees won't hardly use it. Wax moth damage they can clean up to a certain extant. Mold and dead bees are no problem at all.

    If left unattended stuff will be in it pretty quick. But to answer one of your questions I start hives in August every year that build up enough to survive the winter.

    Beekeeping for dummies was the first book I bought. It was extremely helpful. Like many beekeepers I've somewhat developed my own style. You could say I've grown some pretty strong opinions on some matters while still open minded on others. I have a system that works for me, may not work for everyone.

    I'm an electrician and have worked in Lebanon several times. Takes me about 1-1/2 hrs.
    I posted a thread over on world wide beekeeping titled Lessons learned from hives lost. It explains some of my thoughts on keeping bees today. I post under my name over there. Woody Roberts
    Every where else I post as Wolfer. Long story.

    ​If your set on carnis if you can find a queen I can provide you with some bees.
     
  17. BeccaE

    BeccaE New Member

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    Hi Wolfer. We have two 10 frame deeps. It's mold & dead bees. So we'd love to get two nucs from you, that way we can split the deeps we have into two hives. Here's my email address. Shoot me an email so we can meet up when you have them. I'll even toss in some fresh eggs when I buy them! Oldgreensweater@yahoo.com