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Author Topic: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.  (Read 15985 times)

Offline Acebird

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2023, 09:39:08 am »
Sorry for the delay. I have 9 frames in the 10 frame box. The temp nuc I made when I originally caught them, they cross combed 2 frames cause I left a large gap. So I put those 2 in the 10 frame box and another 7 frames.
Foundation in the 7 empty frames?  I think if there was only two frames of bees I would have carefully separated them with a piano wire.  Not fond of the color black for hive boxes.
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Offline Lesgold

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2023, 05:50:22 pm »
Hi Guitarman,

You have a good climate and mild winters in your area. My in-laws live in Sylvania so I know the area well. The flowering tree is possibly a bloodwood and they should be finishing up soon. There should be plenty of garden flowers to keep the bees ticking over during the winter. A lighter colour would be preferable for your hive. Darker colours attract more heat and can create issues during the hot days of summer. I did a test many years ago on empty boxes of different colours. The really dark boxes were 5 degrees hotter on the inside on a warm summer day. If the liquid in the bottom of the hive is sticky, it could be a beetle problem. If it?s just water, it could be condensation or rain that has blown into the hive. Make sure that the entrance to the hive faces north and that the back of the hive is slightly higher than the front. I assume that you have a fair cover of bees on all frames if the outside frames is partially built out. Clean up the outside frames first and see how you go. Things happen a bit easier as you gain confidence in working the bees.

Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2023, 10:25:31 pm »
I did find one larvae but I thought it came from somewhere else cause it was too large, about an inch long. After seeing that photo it definitely looked like that.  Might get in there today, it?s a lovely sunny day and there very active. Might take a video of inside if it is at all possible and upload it to YouTube. Going to be hard to video with the head gear on. Will try and separate one or 2 outer frames as Les said. I think it?s a good start.  I?m now a little worried about the hive beetle.


Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2023, 10:53:22 pm »
Yes the colour isn?t ideal but I was in a hurry to get them into a proper box as they had been in a foam fruit box too long. By the time I bought everything and assembled it I just grabbed some leftover exterior house paint I had. Unfortunately all the light colours were interior paints. The dark green was the only exterior paint. Im sure to find some lighter paint that someone is tossing out and I will paint them again. There was only a couple days in the summer I saw them out front fanning the entrance.

Acebird, yes the initial 2 frames in the nuc were cross combed. When I first opened the nuc , I thought about grabbing an old guitar string and a car battery and slicing straight down then realised the queen is in there somewhere and that would be a bad idea.

So I put it into the ten frame box along with 7 others cause I couldn?t fit the tenth. All frames tightly wired with foundation. I watched a few vids and got that part down ok. The problem is I bought cheap foundation off the internet. I think it has a lot soy wax. The bees tear it up, throw it out front and crumble it into the tray at the bottom. They hate it. Won?t build on it. That?s what created this mess.they then build from scratch. Problem is they been going cross ways. And now I have all 9 frames fused very heavily with a very active full young queen hive. 
 
Once again thanks so much for everyone?s input.

Les I?m hoping to learn by helping someone with bees when there doing maintenance. I?m more than happy to help anyone who could do with extra set hands when tending to their bees. I?m sure I will find someone with hives who could do with some free help. 

Will try to get some pics and video when I open up the hive.

Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2023, 03:14:06 am »
I took a video and uploaded it to YouTube. Here?s the link.

https://youtu.be/t1EONgdoEXw

I hope this helps. Really difficult to film in between the frames.

Appreciate any feedback.


Online The15thMember

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2023, 11:30:53 am »
I took a video and uploaded it to YouTube. Here?s the link.

https://youtu.be/t1EONgdoEXw

I hope this helps. Really difficult to film in between the frames.

Appreciate any feedback.
Good video, I could see almost all of what you were pointing out.  I would guess, based on what I could see, that the frame on the right side that you were thinking about trying to cut free probably doesn't have brood, only honey, just based on the look of the wax and the typical arrangement of a nest (brood toward the center, stores toward the edges; although I have seen plenty of colonies not abide by this "rule").  But the bees that had their heads in the cells, that I could see at least, didn't look to be feeding brood to me, just either eating or working the honey.  I agree that the colony seemed very happy and calm, and that they could probably take another box IF you have another flow coming, which I don't know if you do.

My question about the liquid on the bottom board is the same as Les's: does it feel sticky, slimy, or just wet?  If it's sticky, it's honey; if it's slimy, it's honey beetles have ruined; if just wet, then it's just water, but, as Les mentioned, you may need to change the tilt or direction of the hive, check the top for leaks, and/or increase their ventilation (if it's condensation as opposed to rain getting in).

Also, just a friendly reminder, all worker bees are female, so SHE was stinging your wrist.  :wink:

I have an idea, and I'm not sure if it's a good one, since I've never had a hive this cross-combed, so I've never done this on this scale, and I'm not familiar with your seasonal rhythms of brood-rearing and flows.  But given your completely understandable trepidation about trying to separate all this comb, I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better to try and manipulate the hive to get this box to be only honey.  Then you could remove the whole box, harvest the honey, and then the crazy comb would be out of the hive forever.  I have done this with several connected frames that had brood on them, which I wanted to separate, but was worried about the queen and didn't want to waste the brood.  But I think the most frames I've ever had connected was four. 

Everyone, do you think Guitarman could undersuper/nadir another box (place another box under this one), with at least some quality foundation, inspecting it regularly to be sure it's drawn properly and correcting any misdrawing early so it doesn't get out of hand.  Just continue to ignore this box as the hive grows, and when adding boxes, always leave this cross-connected one on the top.  I'd would imagine at some point in the seasonal colony cycle, the bees will have moved the brood nest down, leaving the cross-combed box as the super, which can then be harvested.  Is that a viable option?
     
« Last Edit: April 26, 2023, 11:52:15 am by The15thMember »
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Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2023, 03:04:24 pm »
Reagan,
That is a viable option but it depends on how much flow he will have before winter fully sets in. If it is a good flow and he has about six weeks, yes. That?s about two brood cycles.
If you add a deep super below this box they will probably move down into it and move honey if they don?t have a flow.
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Offline Lesgold

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2023, 06:50:20 pm »
With the outbreak of Varroa in Australia, NSW DPI requires alcohol wash tests to be performed every 16 weeks. This is going to be a pressing issue for you. Jump onto their website and have a look at how this is performed. It will mean that a brood frame will need to be removed from the hive to undertake that task. Ask your neighbour for advice. He may also be able to show you in how it is done. He may also have some idea in relation to adding a super at this time of year. If there is a lack of nectar coming in, the bees will ignore the new frames and won?t draw comb. Reagan?s idea of eventually moving this box above a queen excluder and then harvesting the honey by cutting out the comb has merit.

Online The15thMember

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2023, 07:13:45 pm »
Just to clarify, so we're all on the same page here, would this hive be expected to shut down over the winter season or not?  If so, how long is that dormant season in this region? 
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Online Michael Bush

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2023, 06:40:06 am »
I spent some time in NSW and talked to a lot of beekeepers.  The flow never shuts down.  They make a crop, summer and winter.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2023, 08:29:30 am »
I took a video and uploaded it to YouTube. Here?s the link.
The best frame to pull is the forth.  Slowly wedge 1,2,3 together and pull out the forth.  Once that is out you will have room to get the others out.  Put the frames in a new box.  As you can see it is most important to keep the frames touching one another.
If you were to use a guitar string do not heat it just pull it through slowly from top to bottom.
I suspect you put too many foundation frames in at once and they tore up the outside ones that they weren't using at the time.
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Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2023, 11:33:53 am »
Thank you so much everyone for your advice. Really appreciate it. Can?t thank you all enough. 

So It looks like I will put an under super on tomorrow and then monitor it weekly.  That might be best way to figure out if they have enough flow or not from the progress.

Ace bird. I just watched the video. So much easier than suiting up to have another look.  Your very observant.  The 4th frame indeed does look like the best chance without too much damage but I?m worried about slicing the queen with a wire when I do remaining frames.  I like the idea of getting them to move downstairs before I run a wire to separate.  When that time comes the 4 th frame  great place to start.

The liquid in tray is watery, not slimy.  The box has no ventilation. It may be condensation. We have had a bit rain lately and humidity that goes with it.





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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2023, 12:34:43 pm »
So It looks like I will put an under super on tomorrow and then monitor it weekly.  That might be best way to figure out if they have enough flow or not from the progress.

Ace bird. I just watched the video. So much easier than suiting up to have another look.  Your very observant.  The 4th frame indeed does look like the best chance without too much damage but I?m worried about slicing the queen with a wire when I do remaining frames.  I like the idea of getting them to move downstairs before I run a wire to separate.  When that time comes the 4 th frame  great place to start.
As far as setting up this new box goes, I'm not sure if you have acquired any better quality foundation or not.  Just so you know your options, foundation is not required (I personally have never used foundation), but if you would like to use some, you may want to get something different than what they tore out before.  Either way, whether you decide to use foundation or not, it can be difficult to get the bees to draw straight in a box without any drawn comb, since the bees use preexisting comb to gauge the correct distance apart to build the next comb.  This is why it's so important to keep the frames tight together; the frames are designed to be 1 "bee space" apart, so that the bees center the combs on the frames.  I agree you should check the bottom box once a week, and if anything isn't drawn correctly, cut it out and rubber band it in place.  Once you have a few decently straight frames, the rest of the box should follow pretty easily.  Whenever they get a few frames drawn, place an undrawn frame in between two drawn ones (i.e. drawn, undrawn, drawn, undrawn, etc.).  We call this arrangement checkerboarding, and an entirely checkerboarded box will usually be drawn straight every time, whether you are using foundation or not.

The liquid in tray is watery, not slimy.  The box has no ventilation. It may be condensation. We have had a bit rain lately and humidity that goes with it.
   
If this hive has an entrance reducer in their entrance, you could remove it to help give them more air flow.  Since you have a clear plastic inner cover, you don't have a lot of options for top ventilation without getting a different kind of inner cover, short of simply propping the lid up slightly.  I'm having trouble understanding your bottom board from the video.  Is that the insert we are looking at?  Is your bottom board screened or is it solid?  If it's screened you can remove the insert and that should really help.   
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Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2023, 09:08:06 pm »
Yes I have bought better quality foundation but only 7 sheets. I was thinking splitting some and putting half sheets as I saw in a video somewhere alternating with full sheets. I love the idea of no foundation. Hearing that you do it successfully is very tempting to me. But I will make sure I don?t get into the same mess again. Once is enough.

My bottom board is screened. I have pictures attached of my exact bottom board.

It?s a beautiful sunny warm autumn morning here in Sydney today. Tomorrow Is forecast 4 days very heavy rain. Should I still put the box under today or better to wait till this forecast heavy rain passes?

Thanks 15thmember appreciate your input.

« Last Edit: April 27, 2023, 09:20:59 pm by Robo »

Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2023, 09:14:34 pm »
The foundation light coloured is the good ones. Pure bees wax.
The box of yellow ones (from China) I bought very cheap. Mixture  bees wax and soy wax. One of the sellers was Australian and said he uses them in his own hives and they are fantastic and work well. I beg to differ but I?m inexperienced and maybe bees will tear up good quality foundation too.

Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2023, 09:45:01 pm »
Here?s the pictures. Thank you moderators for fixing up my error.

Online The15thMember

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2023, 12:08:06 am »
Thanks 15thmember appreciate your input.
You're welcome, it's my pleasure!  :happy:

My bottom board is screened. I have pictures attached of my exact bottom board.
Oh, I understand.  Then I'd recommend just removing the insert to give them some more air flow. 

Yes I have bought better quality foundation but only 7 sheets. I was thinking splitting some and putting half sheets as I saw in a video somewhere alternating with full sheets. I love the idea of no foundation. Hearing that you do it successfully is very tempting to me. But I will make sure I don?t get into the same mess again. Once is enough.
I have no experience with foundation, so I'm not sure if it's a better idea to alternate full sheets, or cut them in half horizontally and use them as starter strips essentially.  You could also just go for none.  Like I said, when I got my first package, I installed them on completely blank frames.  I did have to do some cutting and pasting for a few weeks, but you may have to do that anyway with foundation, so it's your call.  Just be sure you don't let it go longer than a week checking on them, so you don't end up with another mess. 

It?s a beautiful sunny warm autumn morning here in Sydney today. Tomorrow Is forecast 4 days very heavy rain. Should I still put the box under today or better to wait till this forecast heavy rain passes?

If it's a nice day today, I say go for it!  :smile:  Bees can be a little cranky if rain is imminent, but 24 hours ahead is too far in the future to bother them.  They'll probably just be busy and enjoying the sunshine.  I'm off to bed now, but I can't wait to hear how it goes!  :happy:   
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Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2023, 07:13:21 am »
Okay, thanks 15thmember.

Put a starter strip on frames. A piece foundation about inch and quarter or 32mm. Just enough to get over the wire and melted it in. Watched a video.  Pizza cutter works brilliantly on foundation. So made the ten frames up and off I went.

When I lifted the lid I saw about a dozen hive beetles under the clear cover go scurrying down into the comb. A first for me. Probably never noticed them when I opened before.

They had already built comb again on the top of the frames under the clear clover. I was surprised given I had only cleared it off the day I posted the video.

I then had the joy of breaking the bond between the box and the base for the first time since I put them in. It was quite difficult but my years in building industry certainly helped. What didn?t help was the comb was fused to the mesh in the bottom and the box wouldn?t lift off the base even though I had run a tool all the way around and levered the box on all sides. It also weighed a tonne. I essentially had to put my foot on the base and lift and push with my foot to separate the box from the base.  Only after I lifted it off I saw the comb I had torn off the mesh base and realised why it was so difficult.

So I put the empty box on the base and the  full one on top. It sat up about half inch cause there was obviously comb below the frames. It eventually compressed and sat flush on the new box. I probably need to scrape the underside of the frames next time I lift off. It can?t be good pressing down on the lower frames. I then realised I have to lift this heavy thing off every week to inspect the bottom frames to make sure they are behaving.  I was shocked how heavy it was.

I had honey in the tray this time. I think from tearing the comb off the mesh base. There was no way I could hold that box above my head and have a look at the underside but next week I might see if I can put in on a few blocks and film the underside. See what it looks like from the underside. And scrape the underside.

The hive beetles are worrying me even though the hive appears healthy. I feel I need to be doing something to keep them manageable. I will watch some videos and learn what I can tonight but I feel the urgency to get some hydrated lime in the tray to start with. 

I?ve attached a pic of my new hive and I took a short video showing them at the entrance. The video was to show you what the workers are  bringing home and how active they still are when suns out in Autumn. Will put the link up as soon as I upload it.

Next step is going to be placing the  queen excluder when I have the queen confirmed in the bottom box.  If all goes to plan. Is that correct?

Side note. When I was packing up after closing up the box. I picked up my gloves with my tools. And realised I had unconsciously taken off my gloves at some stage and was working with bare hands. Like the pros in the bee videos.
 In the building industry I?m always losing my gloves cause you take them off when they hinder you. I?ve done exactly that whilst working on the bees without realising it. Never got stung.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2023, 07:34:52 am »
IMO it's best to let the bees handle the ventilation.  Giving them too much makes more work for them and may even overwhelm them.  If you do foundationless it's best to use some kind of guide.  A wooden strip, a bevel, something that makes an edge down the middle of the bottom of the top bar.

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Offline Acebird

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2023, 08:13:11 am »
The 4th frame indeed does look like the best chance without too much damage but I?m worried about slicing the queen with a wire when I do remaining frames.
Slowly... you don't want to kill any bees, that will set them off.  The queen and her attendants will get out of the way.  After you get the wire through on each end of the frame cover the top of the hive with a cloth or matt.  If you are working on a frame straightening out comb keep the hive covered so it stays dark.  Plan on moving all the frames.  Leave the mess in the old box while you transfer the frames to a new box.  Maintain order of the frames.
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