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Rescue

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> URGENT Help needed now!
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evdama
House Bee


Joined: 12 Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Location: Herefordshire

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:04 pm    Post subject: Rescue Reply with quote

Hello all
I have taken on a colony in peril and need advice.
I really intended to spend the winter and early spring researching to be in a good position to start later, but the colony and its hive as one are being disposed of by next week(early February)
I have basic protection/equipment and I have at least seen inside a hive before.
Previous occupations have proven I can cope well with adverse situation,my concern is for the bees and my overall lack of know how.

My initial concerns

1 Transport. I have to go and retrieve them.
It will be a 1/2 hr journey back to the new site.
Could I just tape up the entrance(conventional hive with two boxes) and a vented board under the roof then strap the lot together.
Maybe duct tape the boxes together for the trip.
Lift it wholesale into the back of the van,old blanket over the top then tie it down to the vans load retainer buckles.
I can possibly borrow a trailer but its forecast very cold and drizzly and the road journey would be very rough -the van has soft suspension and a solid bulkhead behind the passenger cabin.

2 I believe they are making their first flights already if this is the case will they adapt and re-map to their new location?

3 health -there is no comb in the upper box -so food reserves are surely low-Perhaps against ethics of Natural BK should I temporarily give them some fondant.I have seen advertised natural ingredient ones with vitamins for early foragers.
I dont even know yet if there is a queen present..

4 I realise this is going to be a sharp learning curve but I am determined to do my best -is there any other constructive first advice you could offer.
If success is forthcoming I would ease them into Natural methods but for now I would be grateful for knowledge from any sector.

Thanks
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flybry
Foraging Bee


Joined: 21 Nov 2010
Posts: 127
Location: UK Worcestershire Malvern

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You seem to have most of the bases covered. I would just say the trailer is likely to be too rough a ride. Also it might be an idea not to have the heating on in your van so as not to make them active for no good reason.

When in there new location they will know straight away and re orientate themselves. So know need to worry.

As for fondant, I've never had to use it but it might be a good idea in your case.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1808
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi and welcome.

I mostly agree with flybry.

The only thing I would say is, if that top box is empty of both honey and bees (important to be sure) then it is best removed or filled with some insulation. An empty box above the cluster can cause them die of the cold at this time of year because heat rises from the cluster into the void above, constantly drawing heat from them. If it has a mesh floor then there is no need for a travelling screen and at this time of year even with a solid flor, they would probably be fine with no real ventilation. You can block the entrance with some folded up cardboard and a bit of duct tape over it to keep it in place. It would probably be best to place it on top of something soft like an old duvet or horse rug or carpet off cut, just to reduce vibration in transit. The colder and quieter and smoother you can keep their journey the better.
I would also probably err on the side of caution as regards reorientation to their new location by placing an evergreen branch across the entrance after you remove the entrance block, just to trigger them to take notice. At this time of year when they fly out to forage for water and cleansing flights, it is not warm enough to sustain them for long so they sometimes head out without taking much notice that things have changed, especially if you place the hive with the same orientation to the sun, so a branch with evergreen foliage just makes them take note that things have changed. They do not fly far at this time of year but if they have difficulty finding their way back, they will usually die of the cold before doing so and since they will not be brooding much if at all yet, there will be no new bees to replace any that die, so the cluster can dwindle. There is no real hardship or drawback in placing a branch across the entrance to trigger reorientation in my opinion and everything to be gained.
They will also benefit from a shallow source of water close to the hive. A large saucer or bowl with pebbles and moss in it will be appreciated so that they can access the water without drowning and rainwater is preferable to tap water.
Good luck with the move. I hope they thrive in their new home with you.

I started out beekeeping 20 years ago with no ambition to be a beekeeper, no knowledge, no preparation and no hive, just a swarm that settled on a branch of my plum tree one cold wet June. I still have the colony that originated from that swarm and they have taught me much and populated many, many other hives with swarms that they have produced.
Don't worry that you are unprepared and don't panic. You are giving these bees a chance and even if they don't make it, another swarm will almost certainly come along in a few months to repopulate the hive.
We are here to support you in any way we can, so please feel free to ask if you are unsure of anything. We may not always be in agreement but we will be happy to give you advice and options.

Very best wishes

Barbara
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1808
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS.
If the top box is definitely empty and you decide to remove it. Probably best to do that a few days prior to the actual move in case you disturb the cluster by removing it.
A ratchet strap around the hive will help stop the lid/floor/broodbox from breaking apart, although the propolis will probably hold it even without a strap. I like to sit the hive in the middle of an old bed sheet and draw the edges up around the hive and gather them on top and use a large cable tie around the gathered edges to seal the hive inside the sheet. That way, if you do have to break sharply or are involved in an accident the bees are still likely contained within the sheet.
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evdama
House Bee


Joined: 12 Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Location: Herefordshire

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:03 pm    Post subject: Rescue Reply with quote

Thanks both. I am very grateful.

I was considering how to constuct an over complicated water system -there is a brook 100 yards from the site but that might be too far given the conditions -Pebbly water -how simple...

I replied earlier but the message hasnt posted
Unfortunatley I have no access until the day of the move so I cant tell if they will even be still alive or block the entrance.I dont know how the hive is set up regarding flooring.
I have not got any smoke-if there is any activity should I give a puff just before i block it up?
Today I put some holes around the base of an old tin can and lit some hay in it-I got 30 seconds of thick white smoke -what do you think?


Im in a quandry over the next steps.
Partly I want to just drop in some food and a quilt and leave them alone until spring
But its all the what-ifs that swirl around-cold weather inspection,possible ailments,possibly no queen,brexit never ending etc
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1808
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would not smoke them as it may encourage the cluster to break and bees to come out. Is the current owner able to block them in the night before with a bit of cardboard? If the day of transport is a cold one, you will have no problems. If the temperature is set to be warmer, get there as early as you can to block them in. At this time of year they do not usually fly until the sun gets onto the hive and the air temperature rises to 10C or above.

Once you get them moved and set up on your apiary site (hopefully your garden), then you can decide if you want to feed them..... you can assess if this is necessary by the weight of the hive. If it is very heavy, then I would not bother. If you can lift it relatively easily, then I would put a block or sheet of fondant over the hole in the crown board, place some insulation over that and leave them to it. If they are queenless or diseased, there is nothing you can do about it now and opening them up and looking will be more likely to kill them. Far better that they die by their own hand than by yours, (and I speak from experience here).... more bees die from good intent by a well meaning beekeeper than do from being left to their own devices, so just leave them to it for now. Opening them at this time of year is likely to do them more harm than good. Even if it looks like there is no sign of life, do not be tempted to inspect. Just wait patiently and watch for a warmer sunny day and hopefully you will see them come out to play. I know that will be incredibly difficult because it is intriguing to know what is going on in there but try to restrain yourself.

Best wishes

Barbara
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evdama
House Bee


Joined: 12 Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Location: Herefordshire

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:38 pm    Post subject: Rescue Reply with quote

Thanks -I will let you know how it went.
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evdama
House Bee


Joined: 12 Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Location: Herefordshire

PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:36 pm    Post subject: Rescue Reply with quote

Everything went exactly to plan-no mishaps.
Zero activity (did'nt really need to block the entrance) but there's no surprises there.
If they're dead or end up dying I've gained a fair amount of quite reasonable equipment for my efforts.
The hive is now in place and Ill wait till spring and see what happens.
I'll let you know.
Big thanks for the advice it was made good use of.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1808
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really pleased to read that it all went very smoothly and to plan. If we get a sunny day when the temperature gets up to 9-10C in the afternoon, keep an eye out for activity. If you are working through the day, it may help to place a board under the entrance.... Just a piece of cardboard held down with bricks will do. That way, even if you can't be there to see them flying, you will see that they have been performing undertaker duties by bringing out the dead. It can be a bit scary to see many dead bodies below the entrance but it is all part of a healthy colony's activity.
As you say, if they are no longer alive, you still have the benefit of a hive and comb for a new colony to re-inhabit this spring.
Was there much weight to the hive that would indicate stores?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1808
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All 10 of my hives are flying in the sunshine this afternoon. If you get a chance to check yours, you will hopefully see some activity.
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evdama
House Bee


Joined: 12 Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Location: Herefordshire

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:25 pm    Post subject: Rescue Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara
Well,the hive components had been fixed together in a thousand places with a staple gun-it did the job but I bet the occupants were not happy during the process.....

The day of the move had the previous days snow frozen hard which made things even more entertaining.
The whole hive was feather light and zero activity.
The previous custodian wasn't sure if there was any food left.

Like you say, at least I've now got some spare kit to play around with.
All dressed up and nowhere to go.


However I went up to the site on Sunday and there was a dead bee hanging out of the mouse guard.
I went in for a closer look and a live one shot out past me!

I know I promised not to peek but I thought this warranted a check-it has been 8-11 degrees so far this week.

There was some rudimentary insulation and a block of supermarket icing.
There was an inspection window in the crownboard and a lot of movement underneath it.
Shut the lid quick as I had no veil-well you don't when they're supposed to be all dead.

So Monday I went and bought a small slab of Dulcofact and cut a better piece of insulation (added a couple of small vents in it)
I forgot my whites so I had to very quickly swap the fondants,and the insulations and pop the lid back on.
They let me off this time.

I went up again today and quickly checked the fondant -they howled as I removed it and I got bumped by a few but they settled down within seconds once the lid was back on.
They had ignored the Tesco icing but they've started to tuck into the posh stuff-I reckon around 70g in two days.Comparing prices it was actually cheaper too.

I ate my sandwiches alongside the hive,which didn't bother any of us and I found it an absolute joy.

I made a few observations while munching...

The entrance today was like Heathrow in August -arrivals and departures every few seconds.
The guards come out through the mouse-guard for the sentry duty.
There's one or two tiny orange splats appeared on the board which get cleaned up fairly quickly-I hope that's normal 'cleansing'?
Most incoming flights have bulging pollen bags- white, orange or beige.
One of these landed on the roof and appeared to be hyperventilating.
Assuming that's not another disease, then they are foraging already?-apart from snowdrops, a few crocusses and some hazel catkins there's not much around.
The bees returning with 'normal' back legs were often in pairs or loose numbers.

Its a shame the forum cant post images, as I got a close up of one of the flyers.
I've googled the variety and narrowed it down to Italian or maybe Buckfast -either way she's a real looker!

Like an insecure new parent,once again I'd appreciate your advice.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1808
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely delighted to read that they are alive and actively foraging, despite their lack of stores (since you say the hive was very lightweight). You probably caught them just in time to prevent starvation.
The pollen being taken in suggests they are starting to rear brood so again that is great news and indicates that they are queenright. You will need to ensure that they don't run out of fondant for the next month at least as brood rearing really eats into their stores much faster than overwintering bees, and if as you say they are light coloured bees (Buckfast or Italian) they have a tendency to try to build up fast and early which means they can get caught out by a bad weather spells in late winter or early spring and starve because they can't get out to forage. Dark bees are usually much slower to build up having evolved to cope with the vagaries of the British weather.

Ivy honey can cause a bit of dysentery which usually exhibits as a dirty mustard yellow soiling on the front of the hive. It is very different to the brown streaks of Nosema which has a sour, acrid smell. With ivy honey, they normally make it just outside the hive before releasing it, whereas with Nosema the inside of the hive also gets badly soiled. Normal cleansing occurs away from the hive..... my cars and washing hung on the line usually bears testament to that ! Rolling Eyes
If the soiling you saw is the result of Ivy honey and I think that is most likely, then it will clear itself up and no need to worry. It may also be that the "orange splats" you saw were lost pollen sacks which can occur as they crawl through the mouse guard, especially if the landing board is wet as the pollen absobs the moisture and goes to mush. Without photos it would be difficult to say for sure what you saw, but likely nothing to worry about.

The incoming bee that appeared to be "hyperventilating" is quite normal. Foraging is exertive and at this time of year they are not as fit, so it takes more out of them.
The 3 plants you mention are the staple forage for most bees at this time of year. There will be a little gorse no doubt in flower too and possibly some winter jasmine and perhaps flowering cherry..... there was a cherry in bloom in someone's garden in the village here over Christmas which I had never noticed before and it is in a prominent place that I walk past every day and a very mature tree. If you google "pollen chart" you will find links to colour charts which are a bit like pain charts in DIY shops and will indicate which colour pollen comes from which flower. Some are surprisingly different than you would expect.... for instance snowdrop is red. Some of the charts can be modified by clicking different options to narrow it down to what is flowering at a particular time of year.

Many bees will be foraging for water, so they are likely the ones that appear to be coming back empty legged. The fondant requires lots of water for them to dilute it down to digest it. Did you make a water station for them and if so have they been using it? I often find that they like a pot of compost that is water logged to obtain fluids but make sure it is not treated with any chemicals if you try that.

Images can be uploaded to a hosting site and shared via a link but the cost implications of enabling the embedding of photos directly onto the site are why it is not possible to download photos direct.

Best wishes

Barbara
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evdama
House Bee


Joined: 12 Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Location: Herefordshire

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:26 pm    Post subject: Rescue Reply with quote

Thanks for the reassurance and advice.
There would have been lots of ivy in their previous location so I hope it was that alone.
I had put a bowl of gravel and water near the hive entrance but I'm not sure they are using it.
There is also a brook 50 metres away.
I've seen a picture of a big plastic tray filled with stones and gravel which replaced the usual brick on the hive roof-might be worth a try.
Before this all came along ,I had set aside this corner as a "wild" bit anyway,with a mini wildflower meadow and a micro-wetland further on down in a natural hollow.
If they can hang on for another 18 months there will be 20 metres of new hawthorn hedging coming into its first blossom.They will soon have access to cherry, pear,apple, cider-apple and crabapple flowering too.

Fondant consumption aside,Im leaving them alone for now,but Id like to be a step ahead if I needed to act.
If they are building brood fast,then I'm guessing a single box might not be enough and they would want to swarm sooner?
I have an additional National deep box ready to go-will that be ok
Im not really interested in honey, just getting them strong and healthy for next winter so do I have to put a super on for their own storage?
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1808
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you have provided them with a location which has everything they need.
That second brood box will not be needed for another month or so. Hopefully by then, the weather will be warm enough for an inspection.... I won't open a hive unless it is comfortable to be out in a T shirt, usually 16-17C on a nice still sunny day. I would transfer one of the centre combs from the original box into the centre of the new box with the rest of the prepped frames either side of it and then put the new box under the old box, so that you are encouraging them to grow down into it. I would wait until April before adding the super.

Try not to get sucked into the conventional ideology that swarming is a bad thing. It is only bad if you want to harvest the maximum amount of honey from the colony. Swarming has benefits and it is a natural healthy process like giving birth. Most of my hives produce at least 2 swarms a year (some manage 4) and still happily overwinter without any feeding. If you are not keeping them for honey production it may actually be better to keep them in a smaller volume hive like a single brood box plus super so that they swarm earlier in Spring as that gives them more of the summer to recover and build back up again for winter. My smaller volume hives seem to be the happiest ones that do best, so don't feel that you have to push them to grow big by giving them lots of boxes.... the main reason for large colonies is that they produce more honey.
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evdama
House Bee


Joined: 12 Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Location: Herefordshire

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:07 pm    Post subject: Rescue Reply with quote

Swarming, as I was thinking ,was when the hive is always left empty - I WAS sucked in by the conventional .
That's the problem I'm finding ,without real life mentor you end up watching you tube videos which are invariably authored by commercial outfits.
If they all did leave I'd wish them well but it would be sad.
The brood and a half layout makes perfect sense as with the kit I have inherited, it would mean I would have another two complete hives ready to go,plus one to repair and complete.
Next year.....
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1808
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swarming is the colony's way of reproducing. It is the natural means by which the super organism that is the hive, propagates. Swarms are the way new colonies naturally come into existence. It also means that your colony will have a young queen each year. Occasionally the parent colony will be left queenless but this is often because a well meaning beekeeper has interfered in the process at some stage and thwarted the bees' plans. Yes occasionally colonies will die out but that is part of life. Everything dies sooner or later, but I have a colony that is 20 years old and has probably produced at least 20 swarms in that time...... the first 8-10 years I was also blinkered into thinking that conventional beekeeping was the only option and did my utmost to prevent swarming. Since discovering a more bee-centric approach and allowing my bees to swarm at will, it is less frustrating for me(and no doubt them), I can delight in the experience of witnessing them swarm, I get to help new beekeepers get started by giving away those swarms which also helps my bees propagate their genes more effectively and I no longer have problems with Varroa mites...... but the drawback is that I don't get much honey, which doesn't really bother me.

If the comb in your hive is very old, I do think that it would be a good idea to cycle out some of it and growing them down into a second brood box this year may be a good idea. I would urge you to use starter strips of foundation in your frames rather than full sheets of foundation, so that your bees can build cells to a size that suits them and alternating old combs in between new frames with starter strips should keep them straight. I would not do that before early April though when there is a nectar flow.
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evdama
House Bee


Joined: 12 Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Location: Herefordshire

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:48 pm    Post subject: Rescue Reply with quote

IYour approach sounds pretty much like what I have in mind.
With regard to old comb ,I inherited around 30 frames of drawn comb.
Im reading some comments saying it can be reused and others that I should not.
I have quarantined it in the freezer for now.
I identified one with waxmoth larva silk,and another two that look crushed(or munched)
I blowtorched these.
There is one that is beautifully drawn but uniformly grey .There are no occupied cells - I was thinking the worst in case it was foulbrood.
I know there is natural blackening but none of the others are so uniformly coloured.
There is a light mould on the rest.
I've been told it is a valuable resource but I really worry as I have no idea where it's come from.
Start afresh?

As it happens I have been looking at making foundationless frames and almost simultaneously my wife was having a kitchen clearout and asked if I could make use of half a pack of bamboo skewers...
Have you any knowledge of success with these?
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1808
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the comb is empty then it should be fine. Just make sure you know the difference between brood comb and honey comb or drone comb which has larger cells. Putting honey comb or drone brood comb in the middle of a brood nest would not be helpful.
Foul brood combs would usually be pretty obvious with diseased cell contents. I have occasionally used mouldy comb and the bees have cleaned it up fine.
I have used bamboo skewers as comb guides on top bars and they work OK but not perfect.... there can be some deviation off the line. If you use them in frames between existing combs then that will certainly help keep the new combs straight.
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evdama
House Bee


Joined: 12 Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Location: Herefordshire

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:38 pm    Post subject: Rescue Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara- beekeeping by proxy is another string in your bow!

I've looked again at the spare waxware-its become obvious it was a brood and a half with a honey super,so I can use as appropriate.
I might have a go at honey one day in the distant future.
The previous occupants were producing around 10% drone comb and two queen cells.
When the time comes ,Ill introduce some starter-strip frames and a skewer-only variant.
Its a shame the current undrawn foundation is prewired or I'd have cut that up .

I had breakfast at the site this morning while watching the hive.There was absolutley no activity until 07:59 and then the doors opened.
A corpse was dragged out through the mousegaurd and the foragers filled out.
The undertaker was fussing around with the carcass for some time???
It was only a degree warmer than last Wednesday but the level of activity was noticably higher.
I had to cut some hazel branches away from a power line and it seemed a waste of pollen so I cut the ends sharp and pushed it into the ground in the hedge behind the hive.They must have smelled the catkins because there was frantic activity for a while-I thought there was a robbery going on.
I waited untill after lunch to check the fondant level.
They've had around 1/4 of the one kilo slab and are looking up at me through the plastic wrapper.
When I add the additional brood space I keep feeding until they have installed themselves fully,then stop?
Ive seen big trays of syrup added to the stack-is that just for commercial honey producers?
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Barbara
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Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pleased you are able to look at the comb you have and see the difference.

Yes undertakers can be very fussy about how and where they dump a corpse. Some will insist upon flying quite some distance before dropping them and as you can imagine, flying whilst carrying your own body weight is not easy so it takes a bit of manipulating to get it right before they set off.

As regards feeding and giving them that other brood box, I would wait until the dandelions are blooming and the weather is spring like. If you were going to continue to feed them, some 1:1 sugar:water syrup would be the stuff to use at that time, but that just builds them up quicker than they would naturally. The dandelions are one of the first main nectar flows, but sometimes there is oil seed rape that will supply all the forage they need to fuel them to build comb and raise brood. I prefer to let them grow in harmony with the available forage and conditions rather than push them by feeding syrup which is inferior in nutrients but will encourage them to grow faster than natural conditions might support.... so you can make them dependent on feeding.
The fondant you are currently feeding is also inferior to honey but there will be no natural nectar available yet, so it is a needs must to get them through winter.

Just to clarify, there are 4 main types of food for bees.
Pollen patties which provide protein to encourage them to rear brood.
1:1 light syrup which is fed in spring or early summer to help them to build comb quickly.... they do not need to diluted it with water like fondant or thicker syrup, so it is an immediate energy boost.
2:1 thick syrup which is fed late summer/autumn for bees to store for winter like honey.
Fondant which is a winter feed to prevent bees that are low on honey stores from starving.

I have never used fondant or pollen patties myself, I have not used light syrup for more than 10 years but I very occasionally use thick syrup if I have a small late swarm that hasn't laid down enough honey stores for winter by September and I have only ever fed a hive a few jam jars full of it. 99%+of the time my bees are very self sufficient.
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evdama
House Bee


Joined: 12 Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Location: Herefordshire

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:18 pm    Post subject: Rescue Reply with quote



Im hoping this image has displayed
https://i.postimg.cc/kGddxfYr/IMG-20190227-115558386.jpg

It was a T-shirt day today and I would have loved to take a look inside but I limited my interference to a fondant level check.
They've chomped through around a third of the fondant an are very active outside too.
Ive topped up the water,not sure if its evaporated or is been consumed but around half a pint has gone

Further ahead,
How wide do you cut starter strips and can I use a prewired wired sheet instead of buying plain ones ( not using the best scissors of course).
By the shape and construction of the hive its certainly a home-brewed affair and the boxes will have room for perhaps only 8 or 9 frames.
Im thinking to swap out two of the old combs at first then a couple more in a few months afterwards- what do you think?
The two new frames either side of the most central existing one?
Also I should keep the orientation of the frames as-is ?
Its currently in line with the entrance
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Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast



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