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slow building hive - HELP

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  • James A. Ward
    Greetings! My package of bees have been in their hive for about 3 - 4 weeks. The bees had been in the hive for about 10 days when I had to go out of town
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 1, 2004
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      Greetings!
       
      My package of bees have been in their hive for about 3 - 4 weeks.  The bees had been in the hive for about 10 days when I had to go out of town suddenly.  Now that I am back, I was amazed... instead of my bees being very crowded and in need of another hive body, there seems to be minimal progress.  They have plenty of capped brood and some uncapped brood and eggs.  They have some capped honey/sugar food cells and pollen.  But this takes up only about 4 1/2 - 5 frames.  My hive came with the plastic frames that had been coated with bees wax.  A friend was making sure they had 1:1 sugar water solution with Honey B Healthy in it.
       
      My question is why is there not more advancement?  I have been watching them for the last few days and they are coming in and out , bringing in pollen... like they should be.  Is it possible that they don't like the plastic frames/foundation?  I was told it had been rainy and cool for a good portion of the time I was gone, which likely is also probably a large factor.
       
      What can I do to get them built up??
       
      Thanks,
      Jim
       
       
    • Scot Mc Pherson
      ... Sounds like everything is fine to me. ... Yes generally teh bees don t like it so much, and it could be contributing to their not building so much comb.
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 1, 2004
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        On Tuesday 01 June 2004 08:33 am, James A. Ward wrote:
        > Greetings!
        >
        > My package of bees have been in their hive for about 3 - 4 weeks.

        > My question is why is there not more advancement?

        Sounds like everything is fine to me.

        > Is it possible that they don't like the plastic frames/foundation?

        Yes generally teh bees don't like it so much, and it could be contributing to
        their not building so much comb. Bottom line though is they don't build comb
        unless they need it.

        > I was told it had been rainy and cool for a
        > good portion of the time I was gone, which likely is also probably a large
        > factor.

        It's possible, but again I think your bees are doing fine. I am betting the
        package wasn't very large or there were lots of dead bees in the package. The
        bees will build comb as large as the foundation is first and won't go any
        larger until some bees are borne to make the cluster of bees larger, then
        after to 1st brood cycle or so they will start to build more comb as they
        need it for larger brood coverage or for honey storage.

        > What can I do to get them built up??

        After 4 weeks its generally safe to stop feeding them. Watch them, if they are
        putting away stores and you haven't been feeding them for a week then you
        know they don't need to be fed any more. If the honey stores get less and
        less, then you should resume feeding.

        --
        Scot Mc Pherson <scot@...>
        Sarasota, Florida, USA
        http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/
        ICQ: 342949 AIM: ScotLFS MSN: behomet@...
      • James A. Ward
        Scot, I do have some regular wood frames with wired foundation. Would there be any advantage to taking out the plastic and replacing it with the regular
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 1, 2004
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          Scot,
           
          I do have some regular wood frames with wired foundation.  Would there be any advantage to taking out the plastic and replacing it with the regular frames?  Of course, only the ones with no signs of any work.
           
          Peace,
          Jim
           
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Tuesday, June 01, 2004 9:23 AM
          Subject: Re: [beekeeping] slow building hive - HELP


          > Is it possible that they don't like the plastic frames/foundation?

          Yes generally teh bees don't like it so much, and it could be contributing to
          their not building so much comb. Bottom line though is they don't build comb
          unless they need it.

          --
          Scot Mc Pherson <scot@...>
          Sarasota, Florida, USA
          http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/
          ICQ: 342949  AIM: ScotLFS MSN: behomet@...
        • Nick Emeric
          I have to agree with scott, for 3 to 4 weeks they are about right. it is true that sometimes they do not like plastic foundation. I use wax coated plastic
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 1, 2004
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            I have to agree with scott, for 3 to 4 weeks they are about right. it is true that sometimes they do not like plastic foundation. I use wax coated plastic foundation but, I will spray it down with sugar syrup before I put it in and they clean it up and accept it right away. but, they still need bigger numbers to be able to draw it all out.
            Hang in there, you'll see a big boom in the population and production of comb and storage real soon.
             
            Nick in NJ

            Scot Mc Pherson <scot@...> wrote:
            On Tuesday 01 June 2004 08:33 am, James A. Ward wrote:
            > Greetings!
            >
            > My package of bees have been in their hive for about 3 - 4 weeks.

            > My question is why is there not more advancement?

            Sounds like everything is fine to me.

            > Is it possible that they don't like the plastic frames/foundation?

            Yes generally teh bees don't like it so much, and it could be contributing to
            their not building so much comb. Bottom line though is they don't build comb
            unless they need it.

            > I was told it had been rainy and cool for a
            > good portion of the time I was gone, which likely is also probably a large
            > factor.

            It's possible, but again I think your bees are doing fine. I am betting the
            package wasn't very large or there were lots of dead bees in the package. The
            bees will build comb as large as the foundation is first and won't go any
            larger until some bees are borne to make the cluster of bees larger, then
            after to 1st brood cycle or so they will start to build more comb as they
            need it for larger brood coverage or for honey storage.

            > What can I do to get them built up??

            After 4 weeks its generally safe to stop feeding them. Watch them, if they are
            putting away stores and you haven't been feeding them for a week then you
            know they don't need to be fed any more. If the honey stores get less and
            less, then you should resume feeding.

            --
            Scot Mc Pherson <scot@...>
            Sarasota, Florida, USA
            http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/
            ICQ: 342949  AIM: ScotLFS MSN: behomet@...



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          • Scot Mc Pherson
            ... If you want my truly honest opinion I would not use foundation at all. I don t, not even starter strips. Take your plain wooden frames and take out the
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 1, 2004
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              On Tuesday 01 June 2004 09:29 am, James A. Ward wrote:
              > Scot,
              >
              > I do have some regular wood frames with wired foundation. Would there be
              > any advantage to taking out the plastic and replacing it with the regular
              > frames? Of course, only the ones with no signs of any work.

              If you want my truly honest opinion I would not use foundation at all. I
              don't, not even starter strips. Take your plain wooden frames and take out
              the foundation. Place one frame between your two best fully drawn combs, they
              will fill the empty frame exactly as they are supposed to, because that is
              precisely how much room need to do it.

              --
              Scot Mc Pherson <scot@...>
              Sarasota, Florida, USA
              http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/
              ICQ: 342949 AIM: ScotLFS MSN: behomet@...
            • Mike
              Jim Ward wrote: My package of bees have been in their hive for about 3 - 4 weeks. ....... My question is why is there not more advancement? Jim, Look at the
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 1, 2004
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                Jim Ward wrote:
                My package of bees have been in their hive for about 3 - 4 weeks. .......
                My question is why is there not more advancement?

                Jim,
                     Look at the math.  The package of bees you got was a combination of field bees and newly emerged bees, i.e. nurse and comb maintenance bees.  If you happened to get more field bees than interior hive bees then your work force will deplete more rapidly than if you had a stronger force of hive bees.  (Hive bees graduate into field bees as they get older.)  Anyway, even if you queen starts laying immediately upon release from her queen cage (two to three days), it's going to be twenty-one days before you get any new bees emerging to augment the package bees you started with.  During that whole time, the hive population is slowly declining.  That means fewer bees to cover the brood that the queen has laid.  Like the other guys said, things are probably going at a fairly normal rate.  As the hive population starts reviving with the addition of the newly emerged bees, the greater the area of brood that can be taken care of and the more you queen will lay.  It won't be a straight line growth pattern but an exponential curve growth pattern.  If you had had the resources of an already established hive, you could have added a frame of newly emerging bees a couple of times and then you really would have seen a growth explosion.
                     When should you stop feeding sugar syrup?  I would keep feeding as long as they take it until you have all of the frames in the brood chamber filled out.  Remember, the bees will be reluctant to complete the two outer frames, so when they have the two next to the outer frames almost completely filled out, swap them with the outer frames and the bees will go ahead and complete the drawing out all ten frames.
                     Good luck with your bees.

                MIKE
              • Scot Mc Pherson
                ... I don t quite agree with this, I would feed them as long as they are using it and not storing it away and finally capping it. This means you are feeding
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 1, 2004
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                  On Tuesday 01 June 2004 10:45 pm, Mike wrote:
                  > When should you stop feeding sugar syrup?  I would keep feeding as long as
                  > they take it until you have all of the frames in the brood chamber filled
                  > out.

                  I don't quite agree with this, I would feed them as long as they are using it
                  and not storing it away and finally capping it. This means you are feeding
                  more than the NEED and they are able to store it for later which you really
                  don't want. Once they have started bring in honey on their own (look for
                  colored honey, not the water clear stuff which is most likely you sugar
                  syrup), I would stop feeding and let them gather their own food. Watch their
                  stores, if they are balanced they are getting what they need and will
                  continue to grow, if the stores are being depleted and each time you look in
                  the hive they have less and less honwy stores, then they can't find enough
                  nectar for one reason or another. If the stores are growing, even if slowly
                  then you should most certainly stop feeding for sure because nectar they have
                  gathered on their own is a much better food source than any syrup you can
                  feed them.

                  Bottom Line > They will continue to build comb as needed.

                  > Remember, the bees will be reluctant to complete the two outer
                  > frames, so when they have the two next to the outer frames almost
                  > completely filled out, swap them with the outer frames and the bees will go
                  > ahead and complete the drawing out all ten frames.

                  YOu can do this if you want, or you can use it as a little buffer. Most of us
                  use the 70-80% rule as knowing when to add another hive body or super. Well
                  having your two outside frames which the bees are less likely to build on a
                  lark gives you that buffer. When your outer frames are the last ones to be
                  drawn, add a super. So what if they remain undrawn, it only give the bees
                  some cluster space, and it give you the beekeeper a little buffer in times
                  when you can't get to your bees in time to (insert management item here, i.e.
                  swarm control, supering, etc etc). There are some people that even put
                  division boards in their hives purposefully so the bees CAN'T draw out the
                  end frames, but are able to use it for cluster space as needed.

                  --
                  Scot Mc Pherson <scot@...>
                  Sarasota, Florida, USA
                  http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/
                  ICQ: 342949 AIM: ScotLFS MSN: behomet@...
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