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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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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beekeeper Error and the Walk Away Split

When I set up the walk-away split (three frames of brood and eggs, two frames of honey and pollen), I truly walked away, but I kept worrying. Did I put enough bees in the nuc? Would they be able to sustain themselves and build a queen cell?

I worried so much that on Wednesday, I decided to feed them. I'm not feeding my other hives. They all have stores of honey left over from winter and don't need anything from me. So I put a Boardman feeder on the nuc, planning to remove it on Friday, add the second medium box (empty) to the nuc, and put in a baggie feeder.

Today I cam home to robbing and bees flying frantically all around the nuc. There are shards of wax on the ground, indicating that the bees have been shredding the caps on the honey frames in the nuc.



And even when I moved the bottle from the Boardman, the bees clung to it for several hours afterward.


At the end of the day, great destruction took place. My beekeeper error was being lazy and putting on a Boardman feeder instead of making the effort to set up the baggie. I've posted on Beemaster to see if I can redeem myself in some way. I'll let you know.
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9 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about this. I have read that if there are several hives one need to feed them all, or none at all otherwise robbing will take place. Hope you can salvage something. Good luck.

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  2. Selling Boardman feeders should be outlawed, as they are too small to be of any use, and, as you found, are too close to the entrance.

    Part of the problem may have been your ad-hoc entrance reducer. It seems to have left too large an opening. You want a small nuc to have a very small opening, which would be easier to defend for a small number of guards.

    So, to summarize feeders:

    1-gallon Baggies - Good
    5-gallon Hive-top Feeder - Far Better, Maybe Best
    Frame Feeders - Good Way To Drown Bees
    "Division-Board" Feeders - Same as Frame-Feeders

    But your nuc may survive the trauma, assuming that you now feed it properly, and keep the entrance reduced to one that they can defend.

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  3. It's a poor excuse for an entrance reducer, I'll grant you that. I took off the Boardman on Thursday and put in the real nuc entrance reducer and things seem better. If we have any sun, I'll replace one of the honey frames with a better one on Saturday or Sunday.

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  4. Looking forward to good news about the nuc!

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  5. thats sad... but their is another way to skin the cat.. i used the strategy it on my nucs..and their were no robbing... i'll post a pics of how its done on my blog soonest.... (beesunlimited.blogspot.com)

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  6. I am so glad to have found your blog. I have been trying to get bees to succeed at my place in Missouri for several years, mostly unsuccessful, but this year 1 hive has made it through the winter, 1 did not. The bees that are here have cleaned all the honey from the unsuccessful hive, so are off to a good start with lots of honey. I am grateful for your accounting of your experiences and will be checking here daily probably from now on.

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  7. Hi Robyn, Thanks for your kind words. To save your checking daily, I do post about 2 times a week to this blog, but you can subscribe to it by clicking on the RSS feed button at the top of the page. Good luck with your bees. Linda T

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