What a day!

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by gearhead, Jun 22, 2004.

  1. gearhead

    gearhead Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    We began the spring with a wine barrel that was housing a honey bee colony.
    On May 11th we installed a screen cone going from a hole in the top of the barrel to a hole in the bottom board and got most of our bees to move in to a super with drawn comb. We used a purched queen to help establish the new hive.

    Yesterday we moved the hive to its permanent location. We blocked the enterance for the move then removed the block when it was in place on its stand.

    We did an inspection the day before and found some queen cells and some med. and large larva. We were planning on poss. removing the queen cells after the move, but alas, we found a swarm back in the shed that housed the barrel this afternoon, when we checked the origional hive we found that the numbers appear to have dropped conciderably. And since we have extremely little experience it is hard to tell for sure, but it seems that there were too many bees in the swarm to have come from our hive and to still have as many left as there were.

    We have hived the swarm and left the hive in the shed for the stragglers to find and join them.

    We origionaly used a super and about two weeks later added a hive body with plain foundation. Now it's about 5 weeks later and the girls had done nothing to that execept for a bit of propolis to glue the two together, no drawing on the foundation. The drawn comb has some uncapped honey, larva, and one frame has about and inch and a half of capped honey, and as I said earlier some queen cells.

    Am I expecting too much to think that the super should have been pretty full and that they should have been further along on the new foundation?

    And the next question is how long will the bees left in the barrel survive with out being able to get out to get water? Since they are under roof I don't see how it is possible for them to be getting any. We looked for another enterance today and could not find one. But there are still quite a few bees alive in there.

    Sorry for the long post! ANY input is appreciated!
     
  2. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    428
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    North Salem, NY
    are you feeding the new hives plenty of 1:1 sugar syrup? this will entice the bees to draw out comb faster.

    how long will the barrel bees live? this to me is a question with many what if's. if there is any condensation in the hive, the bees will have plenty of water to last until their honey or pollen stores run out. why don't you try putting a hive body of drawn comb, with inner and outer cover, on top of the barrel (with a spacer to allow the cone to stay where it is, and then, with your hive tool, drum the barrel once every second, until the bees move up into the hive body of drawn comb. then graft some of the queen cells from your other hive so the bees can raise a queen. once you are convinced you have drummed the bees out of the barrel, let the hive body sit till nightfall and then move it onto a bottom board on a stand in your apiary, and plug the entrance loosely with grass. this way the bees will re-orient to where they are, and hopefully not go back to where the barrel is. then smoke the barrel up good, just in case ;) and harvest any honey, and put out any pollen stores for the bees to rob. salvage the wax my melting and then straining, and make yourself a few candles for all of your efforts :)

    good luck,

    justgojumpit
     

  3. gearhead

    gearhead Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    We have already tried to get as many of the bees to move up as possible, but that could be an option, but we were not really wanting three hives. And we do not know anyone who is looking for one either.

    It has been 6 weeks as of today that we coned the barrel to begin with. Hopefully it won't be much longer before we can get into it, as we will be needing get the comb and honey out of the barrel before the temps start getting too high. We do want to save the barrel as it was my husband's grandfather's wine barrel and he enjoyed the wine so much he had to have the barrel. :)

    To clairify- we are not sure that the swarm was our's. Our local "bee buddie" said that he had gotten a call to go get a swarm the day before, so they are swarming in our area right now. When we went in yesterday it was still early afternoon and there could have been many of the girls out foraging.
     
  4. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    428
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    North Salem, NY
    gearhead, where are you from? i would love another hive!
    location is key, though. I am about an hour north of New York City.

    now that i think of it, the bees still in the barrel are most likely young, younger than foraging age, anyway. as they mature, they leave the hive to go forage, and then can't get back in. however, with a laying queen in there, it could take a while until all resources are used up. i would recommend smoking the heck out of this barrel, and then opening it up without shaking it up too much. you could transfer the comb inside into lang frames (cut the comb to fit a frame, and then wrap rubber bands around the whole frame, with the comb inside. the bees will make attachments, and then you can remove the rubber band. the bees in your hives would appreciate the extra brood, honey, and pollen too, and you would not have to wait for them to draw out more comb. this would put your hive ahead of its current position. waiting for these bees to die might not be the best option. I wish i could have such a project to work on ;)

    enjoy your bees, yourself, and your dilemna. this is what makes beekeeping a joy!

    justgojumpit
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,841
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    Are the queen cells on the bottoms of the frames, or in the middle of the frames?

    If they are in the middle of the frames, they are likely trying to replace the queen, not trying to swarm. Or, so I have heard.
     
  6. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,841
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    Oh, yes. Young bees are less agressive, so now would be a good time to open the barrel and simply move the combs out, unless that would ding up the barrel too much for your liking. Just a thought.
     
  7. gearhead

    gearhead Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    First I forgot to answer that we are feeding sugar syrup.

    I am in Central Missouri.

    The queen cells are in the middle of the frames.

    While we know that we will have to open the barrel to clean it we really don't want to do it with a bunch of angry bees. We'd like to be able to go slow and do as little damage to the barrel as poss. and since we don't know anything about assembling and dissassembling wine barrels having time to be careful is essential.

    I would love to be able to get in there while there is still comb with eggs and brood though.
     
  8. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    428
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    North Salem, NY
    i think now is the time to open up that wine barrel. study its construction on the outside, and see what tools you will need to open it up. then get your smoker, bee suit, and tools and get to work! a sharp knife in a pot of HOT water will help you melt through the comb as you cut it, so it won't stick to your knife. once it starts sticking, reheat the knife in the hot water. let us know how it goes!
     
  9. rwjedi

    rwjedi Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri (or is it Misery)
    Boy I'd love to take those extra bees off your hands. I would just have to come up with another hive. :) I'm in Sullivan Where are you?
     
  10. gearhead

    gearhead Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    I'm very near Sedalia (home of the Missouri State Fair), which is an hour West of Jeff City.