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ocpsteve 

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Hello Everyone,

This is my first post here, so apologies if this is the wrong place.

I am a first time bee keeper as well.

Last Sat 22 May, I purchased two packages of bees from Mike Roberts of Easy Bee Products in Gloucester.

These consist of a blue plastic box with 3.5 lbs of bees, a mated queen in a cage & a bottle of syrup.

Later on on about 8:30pm I shook these packages of bees into two hives in my garden One a modified dadant & the other a langstroth variant from modern beekeeping (polystyrene).

Both hives have brood bodies full of foundation wax & an empty super ontop containing feeders of syrup.

Checking on Monday both hives were very active.

At the same time I removed the feeders and empty super.

Unfortunately the bees had created a lot of large comb on the roof of the MD hive and as a result of lifting the roof a clump of bees dropped onto the floor.
(Same thing happen with the other hive, but not so many bees fell on the floor)

Since then this small clump of bees has climbed onto the side of the MD hive and grown in size every day. They stay out all night even when in rained hard.

Bees fly in & out of the MD Hive, some even land on the cluster after foraging and then then fly into the hive after (but not many).

Does anyone know quite what is going on?

I'm wondering if I dropped the queen on the floor and this is why the cluster is on the outside of the hive.

Any tips or help would be wonderful.

Here's a link to some pictures I've taken of the cluster:

http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/ocpsteve/BeeClusterMay2010?feat=directlink

Many Thanks
Steve
BTW: The queens in both hives were released from there cages by the Monday inspection.
 

VEG 

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Brush them into a box and tip them into the hive there looks to be a fair amount of bees there so the queen could be with them.
 

m100 

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Unfortunately the bees had created a lot of large comb on the roof of the MD hive and as a result of lifting the roof a clump of bees dropped onto the floor. (Same thing happen with the other hive, but not so many bees fell on the floor)

Since then this small clump of bees has climbed onto the side of the MD hive and grown in size every day. They stay out all night even when in rained hard.
Do you have anything between the top bars of the frames and the roof like a wooden crown board or a sheet of plastic or cloth?

Why did you stop feeding, do you think there is sufficient nectar for them locally?

How many frames are fitted and are there any spaces?

Are the frames fitted tightly against each other?

How many frames did the bees cover when you put them in the hive?

Are there any bees still in the hive?

What do the combs look like?

Do you know what to look for during a hive inspection?
 

ocpsteve 

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>> Why did you stop feeding, do you think there is sufficient nectar for them locally?
Sorry I forgot to mention I switch to using 2 litre entrance feeders on both hives. (Probably a poor idea but I thought it would disturb the bees less)

>>> Do you have anything between the top bars of the frames and the roof like a wooden crown board or a sheet of plastic or cloth?

There is now, but when the empty super was on with the feeder there was not.
The bees create pear drop shaped comb in space of the empty super attached to the roof.
Now there is no super & a crown board in place.
I would guess if I had a crown board on top of the super they'd of attached the comb to that instead of the roof.

>> How many frames are fitted and are there any spaces?
There are 11 deep MD Hoffman self spacing frames fitted in the brood body. The brood body is full with no missing frames.

>> Are the frames fitted tightly against each other?
I suppose they are but I thought the hoffman frames were suppose to maintain the correct space.


>>Are there any bees still in the hive?
I'm not sure, I see the odd be go in & out. I did not really want to dis-rupt them too much since the advise from Mike Roberts of Easy Bee Products (http://****************************/index.php?cPath=38) was to leave them alone after hiving them for 10-20 days.

>>What do the combs look like?
The combs on Monday attached to the roof were pair shaped & full of nector (very heavy).


>> Do you know what to look for during a hive inspection?
In theory yes I've read some books and been on the bbka into to beekeeping course.
The inspection I mentioned that I did on Monday was just lifting the roof removing the feeder & empty queen cage. Not a proper frame inspection.

Do you think it worth the risk of brushing the bee cluster into a box and shaking them into the hive again? (as recomended by Veg)

If I do I suppose I'll have to remove a few frames to make a big enough space to pour them into.

Thanks for all the info so far.

Steve
 

VEG 

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If you dont brush them in they will either die in the rain or leave. The only risk is leaving them outside the hive. Dont remove any frames to put them into the hive just tip them onto the top bars they will make their own way into the brood box.
 
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ocpsteve 

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Thanks Veg.

You've convinced me I'll do it a bit later when I get home.

I suppose I should smoke the hive & remove a few frames to pour them into.

Do think I should spray the cluster with sugar water first .... I think I read something about that in a book once, possibly to do with calming swarms down.

Thanks for your advise that's great.

Steve
 

m100 

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Entrance feeders can lead to robbing by other bees and by wasps, reduced entrance blocks to two bees wide will help if you had a rapid feeder on the crownboard.

Almost certainly the wild comb will have been full of syrup, not nectar, drawing that comb was all wasted energy for the bees.

You have to understand the concept of bee space, the bees will fill any void working from the top before they will even consider drawing foundation.

When feeding you put the crownboard over the brood box and put the feeder on the crown board. The super accommodates the feeder, is inaccessible to bees and simply holds up the roof. You can refill these feeders late evening, dressed in shirt sleeves, without disturbing the bees.

As Veg says, jJust brush them in, you've half a frames worth of bees, what is strange is that they are very isolated from the entrance. You'd get bearding out the front above the entrance if the hive was heaving and they were in danger of overheating the combs /brood / queen, but a cluster on the side shows a reluctance to occupy the hive. Have you treated the hive with a wood preserver?

But you really need the support of a local association or a local beekeeper. You can't realistically do this properly using a course/books/ forums/virtual learning.

P.S. Register with Beebase and then you'll be able to get free advice and an inspection from your local bee inspector.

https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/public/register.cfm
 

ocpsteve 

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Thanks everyone for your advice.

Finally managed to convince the cluster to stay in the hive although it took few attempts.

Firstly I took the floor off & and off placed the hive on the stand at an angle, in the hope the cluster would just climb into the brood body by itself.
This worked with the top part of the cluster but the bottom part remained outside all night.

So this morning I place the brood body on the ground to behind the stand and took the roof off and just shook the remaining part of the cluster into the top of the hive.
I then re-assembled everything.

There must have been smaller number of bees from this cluster that did not quite make it into the hive as they started to form up again.

So repeated the previous step & just kept brushing off the odd few bees that kept trying to form up again on the outside where the main cluster used to be.

So far there no sign of the cluster forming up again so I'm hopeful this has done the trick.

I did notice there were far more bees in the brood box then in the cluster all over a couple of frames only on the far right hand side as you face the front of the hive.

So this I think is a good sign.

I further took your advice and talked to a couple of beekeepers in my local BBKA associations. They pretty much gave the same advice as you chaps with some minor variations.

The problem I think was caused by first mistake my letting the bees in an empy super to feed & make comb. Then dropping some of them on the floor when taking the lid off.

Still I'll not be making that mistake again.

Many thanks for all you help, as I was completely at a loss at what to do ... and the books etc were not really very helpful with this particular problem.

Thanks again
Steve
 

VEG 

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No problem thats what we are all here for to help each other out. :cheers2:
 

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