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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. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why Would a Hive Abscond?

This little survivor hive left its original home. Bees now are preparing for winter. Why would a hive leave everything behind and try to find a new home when there are no food sources in Atlanta right now and when their numbers are small?

Cindy Bee says that if the SHB (small hive beetle) has gotten into the hive and fermented the honey, then the bees have no supplies. Desperate, they don't know what else to do beyond abandon their home.

Jerry Wallace, a wonderful Atlanta beekeeper who is always willing to muse over things bee with me, says, "Healthy, well-fed robust hives minimize most beekeeping problems."

He also says:
1. The bees only need to have only as much room in the hive box as they can defend. This means having only the number of frames that the bees can cover. In Atlanta he leaves each hive with the brood box and one super filled with honey as winter approaches.
2. Hives are weakened when eager beekeepers rob the hive of all the honey supers and leave them with no stores for winter, planning to feed sugar syrup to make up for greed since "removing all the honey for harvest adds more stress"
3. A stressed hive offers more opportunity for the SHB to gain the upper hand

He also pointed out that a hive slimed by SHB is usually not worth saving but should be combined with another hive.

If I were to combine this rescued hive with another, I'd have to kill the queen. At the moment this queen has been quite brave, making two forays in an effort to find her bees a home. I am going to try to get this nuc up to par and overwinter the hive in the nuc.

Michael Bush does this on a regular basis and talks about it on his site.

2 comments:

  1. Annette10:09 PM

    Aren't you worried about robbing??

    I think the Brush Mt Nuc you are using came with an inner feeder. Why don't you use that feeder which would be more hidden. Also perhaps you should reduce the entrance to the smallest size until they build up more.

    Just my two cents Linda.

    Take care and keep it coming.

    Annette from Placerville California

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  2. Well, the nuc didn't come with an inner feeder, but this hive doesn't have anything for another hive to rob - I'm putting the boardman feeders inside a deep nuc box on top of the whole assembly tomorrow, so they should be safer from intruders. Right now the Boardman reduces the entrance but I'll put an entrance reducer on when I move it.
    Thanks, Annette, for your input

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