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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Disaster and Devastation - Now What?

Over the weekend, I checked all of my hives. I've been feeding the two smaller swarm hives. This is one of them: Hyron2. Here's what the bees looked like between the frames on Saturday morning. I have been putting a ziploc baggie on this hive about every five days. I went out of town on vacation, so these bees haven't had new food for 7 days when I checked them on Saturday. The baggie was empty but the bees were hanging out.

Here's how the front porch looked on Saturday.

However, on Sunday while my daughter and I were eating dinner around 6:30 PM, there were scads of bees on the front porch, all on top of one another, and I couldn't tell if the hive were being robbed or if they were doing late orientation flying. On the ground were a number of yellow jackets in battle with the bees.

Still, the hive has been building up well, and the crowd on the front porch didn't alarm me. This is my only hive without a slatted rack, so I did think as I watched on Sunday that I needed to install a slatted rack so that they wouldn't need to make such a large beard.

The thought of robbery kept coming back to me and I observed several bees carrying out larvae. I wish I had intervened and put on the robber screen, but I didn't. Tonight when I got home, the hive was empty. I opened it up and there were only a handful of bees in the hive. I assume the hive had been robbed yesterday and without stores, had absconded.

As I sat grading papers, my little dog came dashing into the house just covered with bees - there were at least 60 on him. I grabbed him with a towel, carried him to the shower, put him in and turned the water on full force. Most of the bees left and either drowned or flew into the ceiling lights. He wasn't stung too much and made it through the crisis, but I wondered how in the world he had gathered so many bees at once. He had gone out to bark at the neighbor's dogs on the other side of my hurricane fence.

I thought for a while about it and then turned on the outside lights (it was 9:30 PM) and went out to find a huge swarm clinging to the fence between the two yards, right where Henry likes to bark. He had disrupted this swarm of bees. Putting two and two together, I think these are the bees who absconded - robbed and discouraged, they didn't know what else to do. I opened their old hive to find pollen but not any stores other than that and no brood.

I put a SBB, a slatted rack, and a hive box with a top right beside the swarm and smeared the landing with swarm lure that I had made. Tomorrow I don't have to be at work until 10 AM so I'll try to collect my bees and put them back in a box with food. I poured every bit of sugar in the house (4 cups) into a pot and added water to make 2:1 syrup. I can also add a couple of frames of honey from hives with a surplus and maybe these bees will be OK.

And maybe I'll get up and find that they left at the crack of dawn. We'll see.

This is the hive I've been contemplating combining with Hyron to make one healthy hive. I so regret that I haven't already done it. It's moments like this that make me feel like a Bee-Haver rather than a Bee-Keeper.

Taken with a flash at 10 PM. There are just as many on the other side of the fence.
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  1. I m worry your bee,there are many harmfull insect,prabably not strong hive pillaging by another bees and yellow jackets

  2. Were you able to recover this swarm?

    No doubt it's too late in the season to be able to hive them. I'd have tried dumping them into another hive, maybe into an empty hive body separated by a sheet of newspaper from the brood chamber of the other hive. But I'm no expert...

    Best of luck and let us know how it went!

    Tracy Kingsley in New Rochelle NY

  3. Anonymous10:39 PM

    You are a wonderful "Beekeeper". Many things happen with the bees and sometimes it is hard to remember everything that needs to be done. You well know my many adventures with the hives.

    Good Luck and don't worry


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