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The bees are very very quiet


#1

I know, this is probably just a case of the new-bee jitters but…
I installed my new package in an ordinary 8-frame langstroth super just this weekend, and they seemed to be going gangbusters during the nice warm weather. Lots of bees coming and going around the entrance feeder, and in and out of the entrance (like planes lined up to land in sequence).

Then there was a storm with gusty winds and a fair amount of rain. It’s still quite damp out with occasional spots of rain, and sure the bees are unlikely to be going out much in this weather… but I’m concerned because I see no guard bees at the entrance and not much movement in the hive any more. One or two bees potter about the feeder every now and then, but otherwise nothing. I can’t see any bees when I look in.

Reassure me - is this just normal quietude for a brand-new new hive during wet weather?


#2

The guard bees don’t hang outside in bad weather, normally they are just inside the entrance.

You go and tap on the hive they will be out - don’t suggest you do it, you may get more than you bargained for.

They will be busy in the hive, making home and doing what they can in bad weather.

If they are new and you have frames to build up that is what they will be doing


#3

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#4

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#5

Thanks :smile: Yeah I could see a fair way inside and didn’t see many creeping about, but I guess if they were up on the combs I wouldn’t have seen them…


#6

I have an entrance feeder for them. I’ve been monitoring the levels - they’ve eaten through about half of it so far. I’ve been checking it multiple times a day. So they definitely have something to eat :slight_smile:


#7

I would expect a package to have come with food, usually a tin or something??


#9

Hi Taryn, everything sounds normal to me, the bees don’t like heavy rain, I’m sure they don’t like high winds either. If the bees are at the feeder pottering around, that’s great, they are taking it as they need it. I hope your weather fines up quickly for you & the bees, cheers. PS, now that your a beekeeper, things will change for you, you’ll notice trees flowering that you didn’t notice before.


#11

And today, there are bees again, so all is right with the world :smile:

yeah, just concerned, because I know the first few weeks are the most crucial and challenging to the new hive.


#12

Yeah, it came with a feeder can, but I wasn’t sure whether to keep it nearby or not, and it had dead bees in it which I figured was going to go bad pretty quickly. I left it there the first two days, and removed it that night.


#13

That would have given them some food to start building with


#14

We have had a bit of a cold snap in Sydney over the past week, all the bees are clustered inside so you don’t need to worry too much.


#15

I installed my box of bees on Tuesday and I will be checking the Queen has been released tomorrow. I have a sugar syrup feeder installed right next to the hive. The bees are slurping it up all day, even in the rain.


#16

I did check the queen and yes she had been released. I couldn’t actually see the queen but i didn’t want to disturb the bees too much. I had filled the hive with alternate complete foundation frames and starter strips. One of the starter strips had fallen into the hive so I removed it when I took out the queen cage. Michael Bush recommends using timber starter strips and that’s what I will do from now on.

The girls have chomped their way through 4kg of syrup in three and a half days. Is that good going for a box of bees? (Kilo and a half as I recall) They are foraging too, bringing back bags of bright yellow pollen but the sugary bee bar always has plenty of customers.


#17

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#18

Me too - I checked mine yesterday and the queen is out of her cage and I have partial comb on at least 3-4 frames. I didn’t want to disturb them too much, but I could see pollen starting to be laid down in one comb, and in another I saw eggs! squee! so she’s laying and happy.

My bees haven’t been drinking down the syrup as fast as yours - they went through about a kilo in the last week. I’ve replaced the feeder - only half full this time, but they seem to be doing fine on their own, so I probably won’t re-fill it after this.


#19

I looked for eggs but my eyes are not young enough. I was impressed by the amount of comb they are producing. They are drawing out two frames of foundation and have produced a pendant of comb on one of the starter strips The pendant was almost touching the bottom board of the frame.
I made up another lot of syrup today. This time I used raw sugar instead of the refined stuff. When I made up the first lot, I suspect I may have used a single kilo pack of sugar. Perhaps that’s why the girls went through it so fast. Instead of being 1:1 sugar to water it would have been 1:2.


#20

I think she would have been a mated queen but I’m not sure. I suspect I got a few small hive beetles in with the package. I’ve seen half a dozen of them already. The girls are herding them out of the front of the hive. I’ve managed to squash a few but putting my ungloved hand in front of the hive entrance is probably asking for a sting. I have some SHB traps. I probably should be using them.


#21

Hi SM, I’m guessing the beetle didn’t come with the package, but then again they could have. They are everywhere. It’s like the saying “build it & they will come”. The same thing with bees, get bees & the beetle will come. I don’t use any traps. My main strategy is to not let the bees build any large areas of drone comb in the brood. A few small areas of drone comb is fine, not the large areas. Good luck with your bees, cheers


#22

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