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Author Topic: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.  (Read 15983 times)

Offline Acebird

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2023, 08:40:08 am »

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.

Oh no where did this idea come from?  You are making things harder.  You don't need to lift the box over your head to see.  Just tip it over on it's side before you loosen frames.  The bees won't mind at all.  Scrape the bottom clean.  Never force frames on top of each other.  That is when you can crush a queen and other bees.
Deeps that are full of honey are enormously heavy.  I would have suggested a medium on top unless you are a strapping young boy.  But not until you clean up the messed up comb.  If you don't want to deal with it now then spring is the only other time I would suggest.  Get rid of the clear sheet it does nothing for you or them.
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Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #41 on: April 28, 2023, 09:49:44 am »
Thanks Acebird. Wish I knew that before I put it on top. I had no idea it was going to sit up. I had no idea the comb was below the frames.
I did hear a bit crunching of bees. I sure hope the queen wasn?t one of them. My brain just thought if it sits on the base, it will sit on another box ok. I wasn?t expecting it to crunch bees and sit up half an inch. As I pondered what to do, it settled onto the other box just from the shear weight by itself. I didn?t have to force or push.

Will do exactly as you said next week when I open it again. Will put it on its side, why didn?t I think of that? Not like the frames are going to fall out of the box. And scrape bottoms.

Ace bird I put this box on top of an empty box. The idea being they draw out new frames and the queen leaves this messy box and I trap her in the new box when she is laying. Then the messy box will become a honey super if she can?t get to it. Once brood all gone, let them fill it with honey. Then I can chop all cross comb out etc when plenty food around. I?m not going to try remove frames until I have queen in the lower box. I had a good look at frame 4 today. It?s a lot worse than it appears in the video. It?s badly crossed deep down. I really can?t do much until they move headquarters into the new box I put on today.

Here?s how they looked after I put the box under them today

https://youtube.com/shorts/5saAkELoj3Q?feature=share

I have no idea what to look for but I?m seeing pollen still coming in. Hopefully they will be able to draw out the new frames before winter.

Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #42 on: April 28, 2023, 10:37:05 am »
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.


Acebird

Had no idea going slow with a wire could work safely and effectively  in such a messed up box until your last post. I will definitely keep that advice for  when it comes time to separate that messed up box.  Thank you for your advice. Much appreciated.

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.


Can?t find the research paper but I definitely read a very good university research paper that came to same conclusion, it was very scientific and very well done. Easy to read. Aimed at beekeepers.

Thanks for your input Michael

Thanks to everyone who makes the time and effort to post. I am very grateful.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #43 on: April 28, 2023, 01:38:56 pm »
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.
Good for you!  That is awesome!  :happy:  The best way to work bees is without gloves if you are comfortable doing so.  I use nitrile gloves, since I get really bad sting reactions, but with the nitrile I can still feel the bees.

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.

https://bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
I really should have mentioned this, good thing you went with the starter strips, Guitarman.  :oops:  When I build my frames, I nail in the wedges in sideways so there is a thin strip of wood hanging down to encourage them to start drawing there.  I wasn't thinking about the fact that your frames probably aren't set up like that.  Thanks, Michael.  :embarassed:

Oh no where did this idea come from? You are making things harder.  You don't need to lift the box over your head to see.  Just tip it over on it's side before you loosen frames.  The bees won't mind at all.  Scrape the bottom clean.  Never force frames on top of each other.  That is when you can crush a queen and other bees.
Deeps that are full of honey are enormously heavy.  I would have suggested a medium on top unless you are a strapping young boy.  But not until you clean up the messed up comb.  If you don't want to deal with it now then spring is the only other time I would suggest.  Get rid of the clear sheet it does nothing for you or them.
Ace, we've been talking about him undersupering a box for like half a page. 

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.


Acebird

Had no idea going slow with a wire could work safely and effectively  in such a messed up box until your last post. I will definitely keep that advice for  when it comes time to separate that messed up box.  Thank you for your advice. Much appreciated.
   
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?

Next time you go in the hive, clean off any comb on the bottom of the frames in the top box, by tipping the box sideways, as Ace suggested.  Also scrape off any comb that is attached to the mesh of the bottom board, if you haven't already.  Remember, comb leads to comb.  The fact that they redrew the comb on your inner cover is actually a good sign to me, since that means they are in a drawing mood, which is what we want.  Basically, this undersupering thing is just buying you some time.  Anytime you feel comfortable trying to cut out and separate the top box, I think you can do it, based on what Les said about your flows anyway.  But that's a huge, messy, complicated, challenging, and long task to do when you aren't familiar with working with bees yet.  Some people would be comfortable just diving into a task like that (I know Phillip/Ben Framed got his first bees by doing a cutout), but I know I personally wouldn't be comfortable with that.  What I guess I'm trying to say is, there is no pressure (as long as I'm understanding your seasonal timing correctly) to do it now or not do it now.  Hopefully managing their drawing in the bottom box will give you some reps at inspecting and moving comb around.  If they get that bottom box drawn, and one day you see the queen laying eggs down there, then perfect, slap that queen excluder on there, give it another couple weeks for the brood in the top to hatch, and then you can remove the top box.  Or, if you get tired of lifting that heavy top box, and you think you are ready to give the cut-out a go, then do it.  It's entirely up to you.

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.

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. 

There are lots of different ways to help control beetles.  I don't have too much trouble with them where I live, as long as a hive is strong and healthy.  I have some of those over-the-frame plastic beetle traps, which I use occasionally if I have a bad infestation.  I also use generic Swiffer sheets (I assume you have Swiffer mops in Australia or something similar) as beetle traps, as their feet get tangled in the sheets and trap them.  You do catch some bees sometimes too with those, but I feel if you are catching more beetles than bees, it's worth it.  I just cut the sheets into quarters, and place one or two in between the corners of two boxes to secure them.  I've never used lime before, so I can't really comment on it either way.   
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #44 on: April 28, 2023, 05:00:59 pm »
In my area SHB can devastate even a 'healthy strong hive' in a short amount of time.

Phillip
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2023, 09:12:37 am »

Ace bird I put this box on top of an empty box. The idea being they draw out new frames and the queen leaves this messy box and I trap her in the new box when she is laying.

https://youtube.com/shorts/5saAkELoj3Q?feature=share

Sure but it creates a ton of work which I oppose immensely.  Put the new box on top and trap her in that box in the spring when she goes up into it, assuming a long dearth in the winter.  Or put the empty box on the bottom board and shake all the bees into it after you have cut them all loose and fixed them.  Don't get me wrong this is work too but you do it once.
If you make a screened bottom board the landing board goes under the box so you can easily put a stick in and get it out for adjusting the entrance size.  You can go 3 inches under.  It is the busiest part of the hive so they will keep it clean.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #46 on: April 30, 2023, 09:16:54 am »

Ace, we've been talking about him undersupering a box for like half a page. 

I couldn't find the first entry.  Regardless, I would never do it.
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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2023, 09:53:03 am »
Ace,
If you under super, the queen will move down into it as soon as the bees build comb. Bees naturally build down and they will have her lay the eggs in the bottom section and back fill the top comb with honey. Once the brood is in the bottom box he can start removing the top box and cut out the honey comb. If he puts the new box on top the queen will not move up because the bees will make it a honey super. Putting the box on top would probably work in NEW York after a good cold winter but not in Florida  nor where Guitarman lives.
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Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #48 on: May 07, 2023, 01:05:07 am »
Hi everyone

I lifted off my box and inspected the under super. Not what I was hoping for.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #49 on: May 07, 2023, 01:11:46 am »
What did you find on the frames where the bees were congratulated?

Phillip 
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14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #50 on: May 07, 2023, 01:16:04 am »
First picture is the messed up box. A view from below. Doesn?t look as bad as from the top.

The second picture is showing how they are again taking the foundation off the frame in the under super. This end frame had a full sheet of the suspect foundation. The others just have a strip of quality foundation.

The third showing the under super. They have been building comb down onto the top of the frames.

Will attach a few more pics.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2023, 01:21:49 am »
Based on those pictures, it looks to me like they haven't even fully drawn out the original box, which means they likely won't start on the bottom one yet.  I agree that from the bottom, that cross comb doesn't look nearly as bad, and that white wax is very newly drawn and would be easy to cut through.  It's your call, but if I were you, I'd probably take a stab at separating the frames where there aren't many bees and the wax is new and white.   
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Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #52 on: May 07, 2023, 01:39:20 am »
I agree. Looks like they still have room. Maybe I should remove the under super over winter and try and cut out a few end frames. I definitely can?t separate the two frames  that are full bees. The queen is in there I?m certain. But those end ones don?t look too bad from under. They look worse from up top.

Here?s a link to the video if it helps.

https://youtu.be/37e0AhFV-jY

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #53 on: May 07, 2023, 01:51:53 am »
If there is not a good flow going on, they won't do much in the way of forward progress. If you wish for the bees to build up yet your flow is over, you will need to feed both pollen substitute as well as a nectar substitute. Location dictates timing for every aspect of the hive and our ability to be of aid to our bees. I know nothing of you location snd seasons, weather etc. You need a mentor, or at least good advice from a 'successful beekeeper', or 'successful beekeepers' 'in your area'.

I was hoping to see what the frames with the bees in abundance looked like. Is there eggs, larvae etc. What about honey and pollen? How many frames of each and how many bees covering these?

Here in my location the flow is booming and the hives are booming as a result. Wax is being drawn, the queens are laying, nectar as well as pollen is being collected abundantly and brood is thriving. 

Phillip
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14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #54 on: May 07, 2023, 01:05:33 pm »
If there is not a good flow going on, they won't do much in the way of forward progress. If you wish for the bees to build up yet your flow is over, you will need to feed both pollen substitute as well as a nectar substitute. Location dictates timing for every aspect of the hive and our ability to be of aid to our bees. I know nothing of you location snd seasons, weather etc. You need a mentor, or at least good advice from a 'successful beekeeper', or 'successful beekeepers' 'in your area'.

I was hoping to see what the frames with the bees in abundance looked like. Is there eggs, larvae etc. What about honey and pollen? How many frames of each and how many bees covering these?

Here in my location the flow is booming and the hives are booming as a result. Wax is being drawn, the queens are laying, nectar as well as pollen is being collected abundantly and brood is thriving. 

Phillip
This is really the cornerstone of the whole issue.  As I said, that white wax is new, but without knowing how much longer they are likely to be drawing, it's difficult to say how long it would take them to either draw out the top box and start on the bottom one, or how long it would take them to fix the comb if you decide to cut it out and straighten it.  If a strong nectar flow is expected, it will could only take them a couple of weeks to draw those boxes out, but if no flow is expected, they won't draw at all.  As Phillip says, if you could get some local advice on how much longer a flow is expected, and if you are likely to have nectar coming in all winter, it would be very helpful.   
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #55 on: May 08, 2023, 08:40:51 am »
Based on those pictures, it looks to me like they haven't even fully drawn out the original box, which means they likely won't start on the bottom one yet.  I agree that from the bottom, that cross comb doesn't look nearly as bad, and that white wax is very newly drawn and would be easy to cut through.  It's your call, but if I were you, I'd probably take a stab at separating the frames where there aren't many bees and the wax is new and white.   
Precisely.  Being a new beekeeper I think he has no idea what a full box of bees looks like.  He is intimidated by 10,000 bees in a hive because he hasn't experienced 80,000 bees in a hive.  Get that empty box out from under that hive and let the bees build up and fill the first box.  Add boxes on top as you need them.  It is not required that you fix the cross comb now but don't let it get any worse.
I just saw the video.  When you tip the box over on its side tip it so the frames are vertical not horizontal.  Tip it over on the inverted cover so when you shave the bottom the bees will fall on the cover.  If the queen was on the bottom (not likely but can happen) you won't lose her.
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Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #56 on: May 14, 2023, 03:07:16 am »
Thanks Acebird. I was thinking exactly that. I noticed the frames being crushed and honey pouring out and thought next time put the box on it?s side so frames vertical and they are then supported by the timber, not the honeycomb. Good observation Ace.

I opened them today for there weekly inspection. They went absolutely crazy. My placid hive wanted to kill me today. They were everywhere attacking me. Yes I had smoke. They have never been like this. Have no idea why. Got stung on the chin through the mesh and one managed to get through my new proper bee gloves. There were lots of stingers left in my leather gloves. They were absolutely nuts and the smoke wasn?t settling them. 

I made the decision to not do any separation of frames today and put the top box back onto the under super ASAP. The bees were not cooperating.

The under super had a large cluster of bees that were very unhappy with me lifting the top box off. Last week the under super was barren. This week it looked like they had moved in, but no comb on the frame with cluster of bees. I didn?t check any others. They were far too aggressive. But it looked like no comb being built but a lot of bees congregating on the new frames

I?m thankful I was wearing my new bee suit and gloves for the first time. But I wonder if it had a smell or something they didn?t  like. They were so aggressive I was taken by surprise. Could it be the weather was overcast and it had been raining earlier in the day.

I think I?m on top SHB. I haven?t seen one in a week now. I check daily just by lifting the lid and squishing any hiding on top of the frames in the gap between clear cover.  The clear cover has been great for that. First few days I squished about 20 and haven?t seen one since.

If my one box scared me today. I hate to imagine an 80 000 strong bee hive being angry.

Thanks for your input guys. My confidence is growing and I bought lemongrass oil today. I need to build some nuc boxes over winter and be prepared if they  swarm given I can?t separate the frames. Regardless I should have a nuc box on standby.







Offline The15thMember

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #57 on: May 14, 2023, 03:12:53 pm »
Thanks Acebird. I was thinking exactly that. I noticed the frames being crushed and honey pouring out and thought next time put the box on it?s side so frames vertical and they are then supported by the timber, not the honeycomb. Good observation Ace.

I opened them today for there weekly inspection. They went absolutely crazy. My placid hive wanted to kill me today. They were everywhere attacking me. Yes I had smoke. They have never been like this. Have no idea why. Got stung on the chin through the mesh and one managed to get through my new proper bee gloves. There were lots of stingers left in my leather gloves. They were absolutely nuts and the smoke wasn?t settling them. 

I made the decision to not do any separation of frames today and put the top box back onto the under super ASAP. The bees were not cooperating.

The under super had a large cluster of bees that were very unhappy with me lifting the top box off. Last week the under super was barren. This week it looked like they had moved in, but no comb on the frame with cluster of bees. I didn?t check any others. They were far too aggressive. But it looked like no comb being built but a lot of bees congregating on the new frames

I?m thankful I was wearing my new bee suit and gloves for the first time. But I wonder if it had a smell or something they didn?t  like. They were so aggressive I was taken by surprise. Could it be the weather was overcast and it had been raining earlier in the day.

I think I?m on top SHB. I haven?t seen one in a week now. I check daily just by lifting the lid and squishing any hiding on top of the frames in the gap between clear cover.  The clear cover has been great for that. First few days I squished about 20 and haven?t seen one since.

If my one box scared me today. I hate to imagine an 80 000 strong bee hive being angry.

Thanks for your input guys. My confidence is growing and I bought lemongrass oil today. I need to build some nuc boxes over winter and be prepared if they  swarm given I can?t separate the frames. Regardless I should have a nuc box on standby.
Sorry to hear that, Guitarman.  I've got a big mean hive right now, and it's not fun.  It's quite unnerving the first time you have to deal with bees who aren't cooperating, but it's going to happen sometimes.  The new suit could be a part of it.  When I got a new suit last year, even my nicest bees were a little suspicious about me for a week or two, just until the suit started to smell like smoke and propoplis and honey and me.  You also mentioned that you were using your new gloves.  Are those gloves thick, and is it difficult to feel the bees?  If you are accidentally crushing more bees, they will be more irritated, since crushed bees released alarm pheromone that alerts the other bees to danger.  The other thing I noticed that you mentioned is there were bees just sitting clustered in the bottom box.  Those bees are probably foragers that aren't out working for some reason.  You mentioned the weather was a bit rainy, so it could just be that, or it could be that your flow is shutting down, and there aren't any more forage flowers blooming at the moment.  When those idle foragers are sitting at home with nothing to do, they are bored and irritable, and can be easily triggered by guard bees who are bothered by an intruder.  Busy bees are happy bees. 
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Offline Guitarman

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #58 on: May 14, 2023, 07:56:25 pm »
Thanks for that 15th.

Makes perfect sense that the bees clustering were forager bees hanging around with nothing to do. When the sun comes out, flowers I?m guessing open up and the bees go to work. When it?s overcast the hive is always much less active I?ve noticed. So that would explain why they  were there and maybe why they were so angry at me. Also why I see a lot of videos saying best time to open is when they are busy in the middle of the day. You probably don?t want a lot of forager bees in the hive when you crack it open.

The gloves are probably goat skin leather. Not great for feeling. I would normally take them off if the bees are placid and work without them.  I don?t think I crushed any opening them up. They had a target drawn on me as soon as I lifted the top box off. Before I could place it on the lid, they were buzzing me.

I notice the varroa mite outbreak has moved closer to Sydney and is now affecting the northern suburbs. If it moves another 30kms south this hive will no longer be a problem. It will be destroyed. Will have to hang my new suit and tools up for a few years before i can have bees again. And I was just starting to enjoy the challenge of beekeeping. Really hoping they can contain and get on top of the outbreak.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Help I?m in trouble with my hive.
« Reply #59 on: May 15, 2023, 12:02:37 am »
I notice the varroa mite outbreak has moved closer to Sydney and is now affecting the northern suburbs. If it moves another 30kms south this hive will no longer be a problem. It will be destroyed. Will have to hang my new suit and tools up for a few years before i can have bees again. And I was just starting to enjoy the challenge of beekeeping. Really hoping they can contain and get on top of the outbreak.
Oh, that's awful.  I hope that doesn't happen, Guitarman.  :sad:
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