Author Topic: Bad Beekeeper confession  (Read 551 times)

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Offline WantToBeeLady

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Bad Beekeeper confession
« on: June 30, 2019, 04:09:50 pm »
Ok, so I'll try to make this story short as I can.  I installed two hives end of April, almost May.  I always put the queen in the box between the frames, then shake (not too hard) the new girls into the box.  Then I place a pollen patty and a feeder jar right on top, put a empty box on top and seal it up.  No problem right?  So things looked normal the first few times I checked, first a few days after install, then one week, then 10 days.  Things were coming right along.  Then I started having some health issues that required a prolonged hospital stay.  In the meantime, we switched the feeders to outside the box so my husband could feed them.   I asked him to check the feeder bottles and then check for activity at the entrance ways.   We were going to do a Beekeeping 101 so my husband would know the basics, but that never happened.  However he is so calm around the bees and they actually land on him just to check him out.  So he isn't scared of what could possibly happen.

So fast forward, I get out of the hospital, took me a few days to be able to walk back to our hives.  The first hive I opened, things were normal and the girls are busy.  The second hive is another story, when you look at the hive from the outside there is so much activity at the entrance, a good sign I thought.  I took the outer lid off, then tried to pry the inner lid off, but wow it's really heavy.  At first I thought they just sealed it up and I did have a good break on their glue.  Then when I could lift the lid.... it looks like the bees abandon the frames and instead have formed a huge honey combed hive on the top of the inner lid.  The only reason the lid was so heavy is because there were two perfectly made rows hanging off the lid and they are loaded with honey. 

Now what do I do?  I didn't take the inner lid off completely for fear of some of their perfect creation might break off.  No need to make everyone mad when they are so proud of themselves.  This is my fourth year beekeeping and every time I think I know what I am doing..I find out I don't know anything. 

I know this is a long convoluted story, but I wanted you all to understand how things became so messed up.

Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Offline neillsayers

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Re: Bad Beekeeper confession
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2019, 04:36:44 pm »
Wanttobee,

Sorry about your hospital trip. I hope you are fully recovered.

As for the bees, you gotta get in there. Did you leave some frames out of the box? If not, there shouldn't be room for them to build all the way down in the box from the inner cover. They may have attached to the top of frames, but that is simply a matter of cutting it out. When I get pieces of comb with nectar or honey like that I put it on top the hive cover and let them rob it out.

Keep us posted.
 :)
Neill Sayers
Herbhome Bees
USDA Zone 7a
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Bad Beekeeper confession
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2019, 04:42:37 pm »
Glad you are feeling better!
We need some more info. Do you have 10 frames in the hive that got creative?  You need 10 frames in a 10 frame brood box, 8 frames in an 8 frame box.  Is the comb just a couple of inches long or is it the depth of the other frames?  You say the burr comb contains honey.  I would go ahead and remove that with my hive tool.  If they have filled up 7-8 of those frames with comb, it's time to put the second brood box on top. 
The glue is propolis and beekeepers do have to pry lids and frames in order to work the hive.   The bees use it to seal off their domain to keep unwanted predators and pathogens out.  The academics are rethinking propolis and find that it is part of the picture of a healthy hive. Until recently, breeders used to breed bees that didn't produce as much propolis.
Lots of activity at the entrance can be a good sign in some cases.  It can also be a sign of robbing.  Feeders outside the hive, like a Boardman feeder, can promote robbing. I am not saying that is what is going on.  I am not sure from your description.
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Bad Beekeeper confession
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2019, 05:34:30 pm »
Wanttobee,

Sorry about your hospital trip. I hope you are fully recovered.

As for the bees, you gotta get in there. Did you leave some frames out of the box? If not, there shouldn't be room for them to build all the way down in the box from the inner cover. They may have attached to the top of frames, but that is simply a matter of cutting it out. When I get pieces of comb with nectar or honey like that I put it on top the hive cover and let them rob it out.

Keep us posted.
 :)

You can also rubber band the comb into a frame, if you've got a place to put the frames.  I have started using four large rubber bands running from corner to corner, two to a side.  This isn't a guarantee that they won't make wonky comb out of it, but at least they don't have to rebuild the entire comb.






Never argue with drunks or crazy people
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Offline WantToBeeLady

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Re: Bad Beekeeper confession
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2019, 05:52:14 pm »
Hello Everyone.  Thank you so much for you suggestions.  I was working with a ten frame brood box.  Half of those frames were built out already and the rest were new frames.  The mess was much worse than I thought it was.  They had at least seven rows of honeycomb, most were 6 or 7 inch square like sections. There was so much honey mixed in with the capped brood.  It was hard to see what was really going on there as it wasn't spread out on a frame. I had some frames all set to go with rubber bands as was suggested, but when I saw what a mess I had I knew I had to go another route.  Most sections of honeycomb were pretty large, so I gently sandwiched them in between new frames or ones that were built out already.  So I used 5 frames in the brood box leaving room for the new sections in between.  There were so many extra pieces of honeycomb that I ended up putting another brood box on top and sandwiched the rest.  I don't know if this will work or not but I couldn't figure out any other way to give the bees a clue as to where they are supposed to be conducting their business. 

Ideally I know that if I leave those sections sandwiched like that they may just latch on the frames next to them and start building a blob of honey comb filling up the space I left between the frames.  So what do you think about me getting empty frames to surround those sections with?  Whatever I end up doing is going to be a mess, but I had to try something.

Thanks again for your advice.