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Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Dakine, May 11, 2012.
Is it OK to work on my hive in the dark? Will I lose bees?
You won't lose their stingers, just the rest of their bodies.
I think one night will be all you want before deciding to go back on day shift.
and don't use a flashlight or a headlamp :lol:
Make sure to tape or tie your pants legs closed.
I'll second that suggestion!!!!! :doh:
Yeah, from experience I can say this is a definite thing to do.
OOPS!! It DON"T sound to good!
it's all good......:grin:
depending on what you would like to endure, at night, with a flashlight/headlamp, and not taping or tying your pants legs down.....
not to mention other parts of your clothing or head with no veil, not taped or tied down, or do not want 'stingers' in......
as iddee said, day shift will look pretty good......IF YOU CAN SEE THE NEXT MORNIN to look on that day shift.....:lol:
while many bees will fly at night, many more will crawl around fairly certian I would prefer the flying ones lol
I am told a red lense in the flashlight or head lamp helps... I think??? the idea here is the bees cannot see the red light.
working the bees at less that optimal situation is fraught with pointed lessons.
Everyone has to do it at least once OR you aint a real beekeeper :lol:
And you will only do it once I promise.......... Promise
Oh darn, I've not done it! I will go out some summer nights and take night-shot pictures of them bearding on the entrance board in the heat, but they don't seem to mind that so much.
WAIT! I kind of have, actually. When the bears first attacked my hives, my husband heard a commotion and we went out, it was about 3 in the morning and we were running around desperately trying to put the hive back together. At that first time, the bear only knocked one of the hives over and it wasn't so bad.
The next night, though, he just *tore* into one of our hives and knocked over the other. My husband and I didn't see that until the morning. I just fell down onto the ground amidst the pile of broken frames and pieces and cried. *sigh*
We got one hive moved that day, but had to wait until the next day to move the other. And again on a third night, the bear came back. So we're out there at 3 in the morning, again, picking up frames and pieces and then...well. The bear wasn't as gone as we thought he was. We heard rustling about 6 feet away, my husband shined the flashlight into the woods and there were glowing eyes and some growling...and I think my husband and I actually transported magically from our backyard to indoors, neither of us actually remember running...
So I've kind of worked hives at night!
In this season, I've hived both a package and a decent sized swarm at night. As for the package, I greatly prefer to install these at night. In comparison... ...well there simply is no comparison to my earlier efforts at the same!
I don't think the swarm would've been any different day or night... Both I've captured this season accepted the hive I offered without issue. (one at night, one first thing in the morning)
My three hives are a bit too crowded together at the moment so I intentionally started the process of transferring two colonies from 5 frame nucs to ten frame deeps at dusk, completing the process well after dark. The thought was that I wanted the entire field force to be in the hive so that they would reorient to their new accommodations quickly and not be as likely to drift.
It is true that very few bees fly at night. This does have advantages in certain tasks, however when opening an existing hive those that do happen to fly in the dark seem do seem to be a good bit more motivated to sting.
Actually I did it at least one night a week last August and September, when our daytime temps were over 100 for 70 days and too blistering to wear a suit, and when the robbers were attacking at dawn. If I needed to check on anything that involved opening the hive during the feral hive attacks, I had to do it when they had all gone home..
Tips: Wear boots with beesuit. Cowboy boots with pointed toes work just fine. I wear gloves. Especially after dark if I'm going to handle frames.
A small 2 LED keyring flashlight is better than a headlamp and much safer, doesn't seem to bother the bees.. A small solar led light near the hive bothers them much less than my fluorescent drop light, but I still used the drop light, 10 ft away, hung from a shepherd's hook 6 ft up, and let the gentle glow help out from a distance. Moonlight is a plus. No queen finding but, powdered sugar dusting, brood checking, cleaning and re-oiling sticky board, internal feeding station refills can be done in the dark.
Does this make me a real beekeeper?
If you intend to move bees for pollination, working them late night or early morning will be preferrable to keep from losing as many bees. Just remember all your forragers will be home and not forraging, which means they'll be free for guard duty, so you've got to take greater care at night and don't act like a bull in a China shop.
One of our local professional beekeepers says to use LED lights when working them at night, and I'm inclined to believe she knows what she's talking about. I would probably go a step further and use a red filter to make sure the light is in a wavelength that the bees can't see but you can see.
Iddee and Zulu are right. I did it once and once was enough!
Sure, why not? Just make sure that they are empty of bees before you start. :rolling:
But if that's the situation, why not just turn on the lights. :lol:
But seriously---it depends on just what kind of work you are talking about. If you want to move a hive, night time is best. But make sure the hive is closed so the bees can't get out while you are moving them. But don't suffocate them.
If you intend to open the hive and move or examine frames at night, forget it. The calmest bees go wild. Yes you'll lose bees, from stings, from falling off, from squashing, ....from just about anything you can imagine. :chased:
But working the hives toward night, while there is still some natural light, can sometimes be very good. I like to return extracted supers to the hives toward dusk. The bees don't come after the stacked open supers, the excitement of the bees stays inside the hive and robbing isn't a worry. I simply give a puff of smoke at the entrance, remove the roof and inside cover, plunk down the super and close it up. Before they realize what "hit them" it's over and they're busy climbing into the super and feasting on the wet cells. :clap:
I did it once last year.
Here is my advice:
Invite your worst enemy over to help you. Have them stand away from you and hold the flashlight for you.
I'll go with that on the flashlight. And headlamp: forget it. But to fill a feeder, dust with powdered sugar, or move the hive, night time is fine. And to add a super or return a wet super - as efmesch says - oh yes. Just nothing intrusive and I would certainly not recommend pulling frames after dark.
(moving a hive tonight I think, but I changed the bottom board in daylight Sunday)
as much as we have poked fun about this, all very, very true!...ef has put it succinctly and has a great post, it's about what you are doing dakine. many beeks here been there done that, and then some :grin: as you read, and cuz it's got to be tried! bees are not inactive at night, hive duties continue 24-7. i think there is something to be said about tec's earlier post about using a 'red' headlamp for moving hives at night. i will move hives at night, but i would not decide to dig around and examine frames, even with a red headlamp on. save that work for your 'day shift' :grin: