Three hives now... problems, what to do?

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cwinte 

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one of his hobby horses - but no real proof of this from all around the country, maybe it's just that he has bred poor performing queens.
and as an aside - don't ever believe that you have no varroa, not as you're in Kent anyway
At NHBS he seemed to be saying a number of people were experiencing this, not him alone, but this sort of thing probably has to be anecdotal short of some massive survey. I've no idea about his breeding.

Re V counts: for years I have always had verroa, up and down, sometimes only 1 or 2 a week drop. But just maybe the people who link V. missing with N ceranae may have a point. Likely V. get N.c too and it is possible they are hit harder... just a thought, but I'd say V. missing was my observation e.g. "regular consistent counts drop to zero in 3 hives at same time"; and I do regular and detailed base board observations and hi quality images logged.

We do need to admit evidence, maybe with a note of suspicion - which I have too. So I'd say V are around but maybe killed out just now in my hives??
 
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cwinte 

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One can buy decent used high microscopes for about £50, for low light use i have the clip in light source as well.
Budget (usedmicroscopes.co.uk)

I paid £25 for my SP13 a dozen years ago and is an ideal entry type scope, if you are a member of the LBKA they may have one.
A basic scope is worth having if one can get one for a reasonable figure.
Thanks, will look... A good mate's son does ex lab stuff too, mostly much more expensive devices I believe i.e. scanners, medical etc...
 

Kposner 

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I agree, but it's not just me - and the lockdown has created unusual impositions on many - my wife has been working right through from home on zoom etc and needs to use holiday or loose it. (Those who were furloughed can have their holiday too anytime over the next 2 years - go figure how she feels on that one!)
It’s a busy summer for all. I’m being expected to travel much more than I want to, as well. Lockdown gave everyone cabin fever and now everyone wants to make plans.
I’ve also been having similar problems. My biggest hive is possibly queenless (though I think at this point, they may have a new one who took her virgin flight a few days ago), and they made a big ole mess in there. Inspection is nearly impossible without tearing up the whole place, and they get VERY ANGRY when I go in and start uncapping a bunch of honey in the process of trying to clean it up and pull frames. It is SO disruptive to the hive. Then every time I “clean it up”, they “repair” it, turning it into a huge mess for me to clean up again. Once, they were angry at me for days. I couldn’t even walk out on my back deck without getting chased inside. Other beekeepers said, “you have to do it. You have to go in and inspect every frame every week!!” and the more I did it, the angrier they got. Now I’m listening to my bees and leaving them alone until they get their queen situation worked out, and I feel pretty good about that decision. They have plenty of room, and I’ve treated for everything I can treat for with essential oils...now I feel it’s time to trust the bees and let them do what they know they need to do. Maybe an unpopular decision, but that’s where we’re at on that hive. Do what you can before you leave, get a beekeeper friend to put eyes on your hive every now and then while you’re gone, and enjoy your vacation. ☀
 

Erichalfbee 

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If you leave your bees alone they swarm into your neighbours chimneys soffits and walls.
if you have brace comb and carnage inside your box then it really only takes one lengthy visit to sort it permanently, surely. Sort the bee space out, get a decent queen and beekeeping will become a pleasure again.
Unless of course you live miles from anywhere and your swarms, rather than becoming a nuisance simply perish.
 

Kposner 

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If you leave your bees alone they swarm into your neighbours chimneys soffits and walls.
if you have brace comb and carnage inside your box then it really only takes one lengthy visit to sort it permanently, surely. Sort the bee space out, get a decent queen and beekeeping will become a pleasure again.
Unless of course you live miles from anywhere and your swarms, rather than becoming a nuisance simply perish.
They have plenty of room, so hopefully no swarms for now, but I understand your point. I am also looking into putting swarm traps with lures in my trees. Unfortunately, I have spent several lengthy visits, sorting it out each time, and they still build a ton of crazy comb before I get back in there again. And thinking back, those bees came out of the nuc box with a bunch of crazy comb. Is it possible that I just received crazy-comb-building-bees?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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they made a big ole mess in there. Inspection is nearly impossible without tearing up the whole place, and they get VERY ANGRY when I go in and start uncapping a bunch of honey in the process of trying to clean it up and pull frames. It is SO disruptive to the hive. Then every time I “clean it up”, they “repair” it,
Sounds to me like you haven't got the frames put in snugly and have left them room to be creative with comb making
I’ve treated for everything I can treat for with essential oils..
Oh yeat - that will really do the trick :rolleyes:
I feel it’s time to trust the bees and let them do what they know they need to do. Maybe an unpopular decision, but that’s where we’re at on that hive. Do what you can before you leave, get a beekeeper friend to put eyes on your hive every now and then while you’re gone, and enjoy your vacation. ☀
Leave it alone beekeeping at its worst - just let someone else sort out the mess
 

Kposner 

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Sounds to me like you haven't got the frames put in snugly and have left them room to be creative with comb making

Oh yeat - that will really do the trick :rolleyes:

Leave it alone beekeeping at its worst - just let someone else sort out the mess
so it’s not just in the US where people are unnecessarily mean? Good to know. Guess it wasn’t all Trump’s fault. Thanks. Your kind words are really encouraging and helpful to me as a new beekeeper who’s just trying to do her best.
 

Erichalfbee 

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so it’s not just in the US where people are unnecessarily mean? Good to know. Guess it wasn’t all Trump’s fault. Thanks. Your kind words are really encouraging and helpful to me as a new beekeeper who’s just trying to do her best.
So you are a new beekeeper? You need to get some help with this.
If you were here in the U.K. there would be somebody here in the forum that would help you sort it out. People step up to help each other here.
Have you any beekeeping neighbours who might?
Because you got it wrong through inexperience doesn’t mean you are doomed to continue. Trying your best means getting that help.
 

hemo 

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Bees and frequent or long stays away simply don't go hand in hand, leaving a third party to deal with your bees is at best a half way house as they will have there own to deal with. Another beeks way of managing them may likely contrast totally from your own.
 

Kposner 

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So you are a new beekeeper? You need to get some help with this.
If you were here in the U.K. there wound be somebody here in the forum that would help you sort it out. People step up to help each other here.
Have you any beekeeping neighbours who might?
Because you got it wrong through inexperience doesn’t mean you are doomed to continue.
I have two local beekeeper friends who somewhat tried to help...one became quickly overwhelmed at the anger of my bees, and the other just wanted to lecture me on having the wrong frames (they keep breaking on me when I try to pull them out.) and not going in the hive enough, even though at that point I had been in there at least weekly, sometimes more. They are much more rough with their bees than I care to be with mine, and my bees did not like that. Like I said, I think that colony was queenless for a time and went through a period where they were protecting their new queen and did not want me in the hive until after she mated.
It’s possible that I didn’t have my frames in there snugly enough. I didn’t know at the beginning that they were supposed to be crammed together in the middle with extra space on the sides. I just knew there was more space in the box than the frames would fill, so I spaced them out evenly. I have since added frame feeders to the top brood boxes in both of my hives and fixed the spacing in the lower boxes, so they are nice and snug now. I’ll check during next inspection to see if that has helped the problem.
 

Kposner 

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Bees and frequent or long stays away simply don't go hand in hand, leaving a third party to deal with your bees is at best a half way house as they will have there own to deal with. Another beeks way of managing them may likely contrast totally from your own.
I agree...just sometimes, travel cannot be avoided....and especially this year...
I just meant for the other beekeeper to put eyes on the hive and make sure they’re not exhibiting swarming behavior. Not doing all the work. Of course, hive checks would be necessary before leaving and after returning.
 

hemo 

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so it’s not just in the US where people are unnecessarily mean? Good to know. Guess it wasn’t all Trump’s fault. Thanks. Your kind words are really encouraging and helpful to me as a new beekeeper who’s just trying to do her best.
It isn't down to being mean, more an honest reflection and opinion on what is seen posted. Different Geographic areas lead to differing techniques and mentoring available.
 

hemo 

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I agree...just sometimes, travel cannot be avoided....and especially this year...
I just meant for the other beekeeper to put eyes on the hive and make sure they’re not exhibiting swarming behavior. Not doing all the work. Of course, hive checks would be necessary before leaving and after returning.
Sounds like you are in N. America we can only go by what we see posted and try and wade through any facts posted.
 

Beegarden 

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I have two local beekeeper friends who somewhat tried to help...one became quickly overwhelmed at the anger of my bees, and the other just wanted to lecture me on having the wrong frames (they keep breaking on me when I try to pull them out.) and not going in the hive enough, even though at that point I had been in there at least weekly, sometimes more. They are much more rough with their bees than I care to be with mine, and my bees did not like that. Like I said, I think that colony was queenless for a time and went through a period where they were protecting their new queen and did not want me in the hive until after she mated.
It’s possible that I didn’t have my frames in there snugly enough. I didn’t know at the beginning that they were supposed to be crammed together in the middle with extra space on the sides. I just knew there was more space in the box than the frames would fill, so I spaced them out evenly. I have since added frame feeders to the top brood boxes in both of my hives and fixed the spacing in the lower boxes, so they are nice and snug now. I’ll check during next inspection to see if that has helped the problem.
Have you heard of dummy boards? Usually frames are pushed up together to one side, (with the bee space between each frame) and then a 'dummy board' fills (more or less) the gap at the other side. As not many bees roam around on this board, it can be removed easily on inspection, without rolling bees. My bees and I have had a strange Spring this year, but somehow things now seem to be running smoothly. If at first .......... Good luck.
 

ericbeaumont 

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so it’s not just in the US where people are unnecessarily mean
JBM's post was direct and to the point and may have seemed harsh to a new beekeeper, but from the information you gave it was a fair wake-up call.

I sense that you're out of your depth, may not have had training, are abdicating responsibility to other inexperienced beekeepers and have an unhelpful anthropomorphic response to your bees.

Bees do not get angry. They will fly more when disturbed but please do not rush to interpret the flapping of wings as anger. Your bees may be queenless, may be excessively defensive or your handling may be insensitive (or all three) but at the moment you're all at sea without a compass, let alone a paddle.

A ton of crazy comb suggests that your kit was assembled without correct beespace between frames and boxes and/or that the colony is short of space and filling every gap it can. I appreciate that you were unaware that frames must be pushed together tight, but to get to that point you must have had no training, not looked at a book or video or looked inside a beehive.

If you have a local beekeeping association I suggest you join and ask for help to assess colony status and temper, and perhaps to re-queen to give you a more pleasant intro. to beekeeping.

It's time to begin learning about managing bees. Work and travel affect us all in varying degrees, but responsibility to livestock is immutable.
 
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Kposner 

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Have you heard of dummy boards? Usually frames are pushed up together to one side, (with the bee space between each frame) and then a 'dummy board' fills (more or less) the gap at the other side. As not many bees roam around on this board, it can be removed easily on inspection, without rolling bees. My bees and I have had a strange Spring this year, but somehow things now seem to be running smoothly. If at first .......... Good luck.
I’m going to look into that. Thanks!!!! 😍
 

hemo 

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I’m going to look into that. Thanks!!!! 😍
Stay tuned to the forum, it is a good source of information if you haven't got help locally. Don't jump down the throat of posters in reply to your posts as in the main all are trying help or give advice.
British advice can be quite direct, honest and maybe curt but there is no bad malice intended.
 

cwinte 

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How old were the queens in hive 1 and 2?
Quite new, 12-22 months?, turnover and visibility of queens has been an issue for me for the last few seasons. I've relied on BIAS!
Hive 3 now has bees dying at the doorway at the rate of a large mugful per day
 

cwinte 

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I've given up hope for hive 2, would just like to do my best to stop a wipeout of the last one (hive 3).
I assume some robbing has/is causing the acceleration now.
If N.c is confirmed in that I'm unsure if thymolated syrup is the best/only plan, also what to do with the boxes and frames... Acetic fumigation?

If this is what N.c can do how do I help us get better informed? NBU, local inspector, BKAs??
Also, this is a bit of a disaster - can I claim on the insurance?
 

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