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Problems caused by me or no?


#1

trying to be brief but dumb question: had lots of activity in flow super few weeks ago… had several rainy days in a row about the time of the end of nectar flow in our area, discovered Robbing from other bees on our hive, made robbing screen, made entrance reducer to correct size but made it from screen instead of solid wood to “improve airflow/help with cooling in our hot weather”. Don’t have corflute board in place underneath, for same reason- increase airflow, help with cooling…
Here’s my mystery: now since I added the robbing screen, our bees got the robbing under control, but now we have an ever-present SBB pretty much covered with bees All The Time…rainy days, cool days, hot days, no real variation- and where we had lots of activity in the flow super with QE in place Before the rains/robbing/etc… now we have only a couple bees up there and the honey they had started to store is all gone.
Is there any connection between the mods I made, too much ventilation provided by not having corflute in place, and/ or screen hive reducer… is it just too hot/ humid inside for the bees to be up inside there and never go up? Like I say… they are completely calm underneath there, even if I get only a few inches away to have a close look and take pics, not agitated at all, not restless, and this has gone on for 2-3 weeks now.
Also, in the landing board area, bees are still coming and going on their nectar runs, have adapted to the robbing screen and the ER screen just fine, still bringing in pollen etc, just not as much as back in May of course. We’re in Pickens County South Carolina, closer to 1100 feet elevation so there’s a little sourwood up in our area they’re taking advantage of. Not a lot, but some.
Sorry- too long!
Should I put the Corflute in place, was thinking of doing the tablecloth trap idea I saw here anyway but I’d have to displace all those docile relaxed happy bees to do it!
Should I make the ER normal, or does it matter that I used screen to help ventilated?
Btw- we got our nuc end of April this year, they filled up two deep brood boxes to almost bursting before we added the Flow Super on top with QE, and our bees are russians if that matters in your answer.
No one here knows russians, no one here knows Flow Hive either, and I did take beginner class and still learning but admit to being a noob… And a little nervous about making sure our hive stays strong &healthy…i know the honey will come if the hive is healthy.
Help?? And thanks.


#2

Perhaps the girls are massing on the underside to reduce airflow. I’d put the corflute back in the lower slot and see what happens. Are there beekeepers in your area with traditional brood boxes, no bottom screens? I use the tablecloth trap with great success. I’ve never taken the corflute out even on our hottest days 42deg Celsius and they cope very well. Have you inspected the Flow super to ensure it is in good condition I.e. No SHB etc. I’m a newbie so these are just thoughts that first entered my mind. Hope it helps.


#3

I am just wondering if you have a problem with this. I had the same thing:

In that case, I would put the slider back in the upper slot. Do it VERY SLOWLY, you will hear a lot of protest. That should solve the problem.


#4

Thanks, @aussiemike Aussie… yes there are lots of other beeks in the area but look sideways at you if you mention you have a flowhive, as is common to anything different. Also no one here has my kind of bees, although very similar to Italians, mine are just hardier against varroa etc genetically.
So you use the Corflute even in high heat, id it generally dry heat there, or very humid like ours here in the southeast? I read here that the bees might manage creating airflow themselves with bottom in place, even though you’d think it would be cooler in there without the corflute in place, but idk. At any rate-
I’ve been told not to disturb/stress the hive during the dearth… and I’d have to slide out/ displace a few hundred bees to get the board in its slot now. I originally thought well, queen must’ve been out and around when I first put on the robbing screen, and didn’t know how to get back in at the moment, so she chilled underneath for a while. And I figured if so, she’d go inside… but this cannot be the queen underneath now. She may be just above the screen board and that’s why these bees are hanging out near her underneath… or maybe they’re slipping food back and forth thru the SBB itself(cheating!)
Thank you for answering, I’m really trying to get a feel for what I’m seeing and what to do about it.


#5

I think @JeffH has hot humid summers very similar to yours, and he uses solid bottom boards, which is like having the slider all the way in the top slot for the whole of the summer. The bees will be fine. Tom Seeley is a famous bee researcher, and he has found that bees prefer an entrance of 15cm square. That is about half the width of the Flow hive entrance. So if you give them that all year round, with the slider closing up the bottom, they will have an “Ideal Home”. :smile:


#6

Thank you @Dawn_SD, I read what you posted and you may be right … if they can smell the honey but can’t get to it that way they may be confused and just hanging out there… I would think that they world figure it out after three weeks but I can’t assume they’re all the same bees that started there 3 weeks ago either! :smiley:


#7

If you think about it, cool air is denser than hot air so it settles to the bottom of your hive. The bees work really hard to cool their hives in hot weather so why would you put an open screen on the bottom of their hive which lets all the cool air just drop out? They have to start all over again to cool.

Also, the bees see an open bottom board as a large entrance and try to use it without success BUT SHB surely can and do use this as a way to get past the guards.

As you can see I am not a fan of SBB and we get both hot and cold weather here.

Cheers
Rob.


#8

. @Rmcpb… what you said… This makes so much sense to me. Idk where I got the idea from to leave to corflute out.
*Would the population underneath explain the sudden lack of population upstairs in the super?


#9

If a heap of your bees are lost under the hive then it would explain the lack of bees inside :sunglasses:


#10

There are some solid comments by others now. I have humid and dry times in our summer. Probably not as humid as yours though. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble putting the corflute in, just move it in slowly an inch at a time. Give them a couple of minutes to adjust themselves then move in some more. I regularly get snide remarks from old timers too, but there are open minded keepers too.


#11

Don’t know why anyone worries about “traditional” v Flow Hive, they are both Langs with a different harvesting system. I would just not mention the “Flow” bit till I had a working relationship with anyone. End of remarks.

People are funny animals, my way is the only right way seems to be a lot of people’s motto. Sad really.


#12

Two things turn me off the screens. One was that some chalkbrood mummies got caught in the wire and the bees couldn’t get rid of them and the other thing was I saw a wax moth fly in the back of the hive above the corflute and presumably go into the hive as it didn’t reappear. The benefit I found for me was that I sometimes got an idea about what was going on in the hive by what debris had fallen onto the corflute, - for instance, things like wax moth poo and chalkbrood mummies.


#13

Having the screen WITH the corflute in place is not a problem, its having an open base I see as a problem. Like you said, bugs can use it as an entrance that the guards cannot handle.

As for the debris, that is great but I see it as a great SHB trap.

Cheers
Rob.