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Beekeeping: Psyco Bees, Help!

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jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

May 28, 2007
9:34 PM

Post #3545990

We are really new to keeping bees, I got my husband a set up for Christmas and we installed the bees about a month ago. They have been foraging well and filled the bottom levels with brood.Yesterday, we removed the feeder and added the second level. Today, while I was working in the garden I heard a strange humming sound and looked over by the hive. I think every single bee was outside flying around madly. Nothing had disturbed the hive and they never went very far (it's not like I wanted to investigate very closely...) This went on for about 40 miniuts or so and then they all went back in. A couple hours later, I looked up and they were all out again. Now, they are not.

What in the world are they doing? Could they have made a new queen and it's a mating flight? I haven't seen any grouped anywhere, just flying about in a cloud. Thankfully they aren't acting agressivly or I would be out of there, but I'm not going to go knock on their door to find out.

I'd appreciate it if anyone can tell me what they are doing as I can't find it in the book. (Oh my gosh, can I sound any more like a greenhorn?)
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

May 28, 2007
9:48 PM

Post #3546026

I just went out to check the bees. They have swarmed and are all in a ball on the apple tree. Now what? I hope there is somebody out there right now who canhelp me. Can I put them back in the hive or do I need annother hive? Emergency!!
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

May 29, 2007
12:14 AM

Post #3546465

Ok, no emergency any more. We used the internetnet, divided the hive boxes, made new parts, dumped the bees and everybody seems happy. Now I just have to get some new frames and boxes and wait for the new queen to come out for her mating flight. I hope I get to see it. the whole swarm thing was facinating and we feel a little bit more experienced now. Good thing as now we will have two hives instead of one. (I think I prefered one.)
jio1
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7a)

May 29, 2007
3:17 PM

Post #3548675

Wow! I'm exhausted from all the excitement! I would not have known what to tell you but this is fascinating -- keep us posted on your progress please, jo
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

May 29, 2007
11:58 PM

Post #3550365

We fed the new hive tonight. It has almost twice as many bees as the other one. I guess they would need more bees as they are starting with no brood for replacements. I need to make a new feeder for the old hive and then we will check for the queen cells tomorrow. They were already trying to make new comb on the inside cover so I hope our new frames and supers come quickly. We ordered the one piece plastic frames this time. Has anyone else used them? We will build our own supers and brood boxes and thought the plastics would be the fastest to fill them. I did make sure I got the wax coated ones. Sitting there coating the others with beeswax was a pain in the neck. (well actually fingers)

I'm also wondering if the bees completely deplete the honey reserves before they swarm. That's why I want to make sure I put out a feeder for them tomorrow.

We're learning much faster than we expected to.
jio1
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7a)

May 30, 2007
3:09 PM

Post #3552572

This is so interesting -- you make me feel as if I'm there with you! And blessing on you for keeping bees, they need all the help they can get! Keep us posted! jo
summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

June 1, 2007
2:11 PM

Post #3561141

jyl, i'm shocked that they swarmed so quickly, so i would just have told you that they were simply hot.

and been wrong!

so glad you captured the swarm. they certainly are something to see!
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

June 1, 2007
3:12 PM

Post #3561470

Everybody seems happy outthere now. The new hive is about 1/4 filled with brood already. I have been feeding both hives, but today noticed lots of bees foraging around the yard. We ordered new plastic frames from Mann Lake that come already coated with beeswax. They smelled so good when I opened the box! Last night my husband built the new brood boxes and supers, so tonight we will add on to the old hive as we think this was the reason they swarmed. In a week a couple of weeks we will add to the new hive. I am still not sure on the timing of this. If I add it too soon, will it make a diffrence? And how do I know when to stop feeding them? Since I'm not sure if the swarming had to do with running out of room or because I stopped feeding them, I don't want to go through that again.
summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

June 1, 2007
3:34 PM

Post #3561552

I never fed mine, even from the beginning, Jyl.
You need a large, comprehensive beekeeping book if you don't have one. The diagrams help immensely.
jjpm74
Stratford, CT
(Zone 6b)

June 1, 2007
8:10 PM

Post #3562784

Usually bees will not gather pollen so close to their hive. If the bees are foraging in your own yard, they are probably scouring the area for any water they can find.

Given how prolific your hives probably are, I wouldn't bother feeding them anymore. Maybe you could just add some water to the feeder or set out a good local water supply for them.

It's not unusual for hives to swarm this time of the year. I have a hive that has swarmed twice already this year and swarmed once last year which means there are now three healthy feral hives out there somewhere. This year must be a great pollen year for them. What's great about that particular hive is that they are very resistant to mites. We didn't medicate them at all this past year and experimented with the confectioner sugar method. The result is a healthy hive with very few mites.
summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

June 1, 2007
8:14 PM

Post #3562798

are you sure, jj? i have just one hive but they're foraging all over the place here, especially with the clover blooming in my woefully uncut grass.
jjpm74
Stratford, CT
(Zone 6b)

June 1, 2007
9:03 PM

Post #3562946

I have tons of honeybees foraging for pollen in the clovers that are currently all over my "lawn" (I use the term lawn liberally here because about 75% of it is made up of clover and dandelions, LOL), but I doubt they are my bees. Possibly a few of them are, but most are bringing in a yellow pollen right now which I don't think comes from white clover. Everything I've read on the subject suggests that honeybees do not gather pollen that's in the immediate vicinity of their hive, but I could be misinterpreting what that means given that I've never sat down and observed any of my own bees gathering pollen.
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

June 1, 2007
11:01 PM

Post #3563275

The clover isn't in bloom here yet, that's why we were told to feed them. It stays cold up here longer. They have lots of water as we have artesian water in the yard and there is a big mill pond and creek less than an acre away. With all the activity I saw around the hives today, I think that they must be foraging and there was about a thousand of bees in the white locust trees about 200 feet from the hive. These may not be mine as we have had healthy populations of wild bees in the past here. We have been going by how much pollen we actually see on the bees at the hive, but maybe with all the food I've been giving them, they just didn't feel the need to go out to eat. They do seem to have full pollen sacks tonight.
We do have two bee books. One is Beekeeping for dummies,( I don't think they realised how dumb we could be.)
jjpm74
Stratford, CT
(Zone 6b)

June 1, 2007
11:21 PM

Post #3563341

Do you have "The Queen and I" by Ed Weiss? It's a great beginner book for beekeepers.
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

June 2, 2007
12:59 AM

Post #3563699

I'll have to look for that one.
LC2sgarden
Bolivar, TN
(Zone 7a)

June 2, 2007
4:13 AM

Post #3564516

I find it interesting to read that honey bees won’t forage for pollen close to the hive. Why wouldn’t they. It has been my experience that bees will not travel any father than necessary to gather what they want. A large portion of the bees working the locust blossoms you mentioned could very well be form your hives. I doubt if you will see the bees bringing in much pollen from this tree. Their primary purpose will be to gather nectar to convert to honey. The adult bee does not eat pollen. The only use the hive has for pollen is to feed the larva. The adult bee only eats honey. If there is a heavy nectar flow, the bees will not take the sugar solution (I’m assuming you are feeding a sugar solution) you are providing them.

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Other Beekeeping Threads you might be interested in:

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