Would this be okay to try?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Mama Beek, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    We will have to take a trip to Missouri to see my Mom sometime pretty soon. She has been diagnosed with cancer and it doesn't look good for her at all. I'm kind of concerned about leaving the bees without enough empty room so would it be okay to put plenty of empty supers on them before we leave, how many would you put on, and should I maybe put some feed on as well just in case there are any more freezes?

    I know there are too many variables to get real accurate right now...I'm just trying to think a little bit about how to handle being gone at the beginning of our spring.
     
  2. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Supering now would, in my opinion, be a mistake. Even if you are gone for two months, I can't imagine that they would have swarmed on you by the time you get back. They may have swarm cells made, but you can use them to make more hives, if they do.

    I'm sorry to hear about your Mother. A friend to a number of us on beekeepingforums and beesource just recently lost his wife to cancer. It can be heartbreaking. Spend what time you can w/ her. It will be a blessing to the both of you.

    Bees have survived for millions of years w/out us. Yours will be okay.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    my initial feeling follows along with mark's advice. having said that, iddee is the closest smartest beekeeper you have for advice so I would always defer to him on such matters.

    just my two denaro....
     
  4. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Thanks y'all. We plan on spending as much time as we can with Mom, but the fact that we live so far away makes it a little bit complicated.

    Y'all know we'll be calling and pestering Iddee with a zillion and ten questions before we go......I'm just kinda thinking about it all at this point. Some of the decisions might be a little easier to make when we know more about when we're leaving and when we'll be back. The kids have worked so hard to get these hives through the winter and to try and keep them healthy that I sure don't want to mess it up for them now.
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    With the info you have at this time, do as above. When you know departure date, ask again. As spring moves forward, the answer may change.
    An inspection regarding how many frames of space each has and how many bees each has at the time of departure will influence the answer greatly also.
     
  6. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Thanks Iddee. I'm hoping that we get a chance to do a good inspection of each hive before time to go, that all by itself will go a long way to helping us know better what to do. I stink at sitting and waiting though, so I find myself running different scenarios through my head....if nothing else it makes a great distraction from the not as pleasant realities going on.
     
  7. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Well, after a 5 week absence the we finally got home and had a chance to peek at the bees. Before we left we did a super quick inspection and tried to make sure each hive had plenty of space but not too much and was queen right etc....

    hive #1 appears to have swarmed, but still has approximately 3-4 frames of bees and some stores. We saw no sign of a queen at all and will check again next week to see what we have.

    hive #2 is just bursting at the seams! They have an good queen from Wayne's bees and had a full super of honey waiting to be capped and were totally out of room otherwise so we gave them another super. We debated on whether to split that hive or not but decided not to in an effort to keep that hive as strong as possible.

    hive #3 was extremely weak looking when we left. We thought that maybe they had swarmed because we saw a very young looking queen and a queen cell that was capped and not too many bees....maybe a scant two or three frames. Now, this hive is flourishing! The queen is rapidly filling as much space as she can find with baby bees, and they are storing honey in every space they can make room for. We took out the burr comb (tons of it) and gave them another box. We're hoping this hive will get really strong before winter this year.

    Hive #4 was looking okay when we left, but not as strong as hives #1 & #2. The queen was laying in a great pattern though so we just made sure they had enough room. Now they have a great population built up and are storing honey so we gave them another box too.

    So all of my worrying over leaving the bees was only a little bit necessary..... okay, not necesary but y'all know how it is when you're a Mama. Worrying is kind of like breathing, if your doing right most things are working okay! I do wish we had been able to prevent the swarm or whatever it was that reduced hive #1 to such a tiny size, those were some of the prettiest bees I've ever seen. Other than that though the bees did fine without us.
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You could always take just one frame of brood from the strongest hive and give it to the weak one. It would open the strong one a little, while boosting the weak one.
     
  9. rast

    rast New Member

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    and then swap places between the two hives.
     
  10. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions! I think if there are still bees in there we may give that a go. The biggest issue was that we saw no sign of a queen, so I was a bit afraid to invest in the hive just yet. There are still a few going in and out as of today though, so maybe there is hope yet.