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Neville

Strange behaviour - bees clustering outside hive over night

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918362612_2019-09-1812_21_42.thumb.jpg.f161f52a2dfc4d5c7eb2cc0a9fc6c62f.jpg

 

Mate came over to help with the lifting and we did a split and relocated the bottom box to the summer setting.

This hive had three full depth boxes. It was chocker with bees in all boxes, probably a total of three frames of brood, not much stores, and queen had just started laying a frame in the top box??

No queen cells, not even a play cup.  Heaps of drone brood and lots of drones about.

I think the queen may have just pulled the spring trigger a little early a month or so back.

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12 minutes ago, Neville said:

918362612_2019-09-1812_21_42.thumb.jpg.f161f52a2dfc4d5c7eb2cc0a9fc6c62f.jpg

 

Mate came over to help with the lifting and we did a split and relocated the bottom box to the summer setting.

This hive had three full depth boxes. It was chocker with bees in all boxes, probably a total of three frames of brood, not much stores, and queen had just started laying a frame in the top box??

No queen cells, not even a play cup.  Heaps of drone brood and lots of drones about.

I think the queen may have just pulled the spring trigger a little early a month or so back.

Well done 😊

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44 minutes ago, Neville said:

918362612_2019-09-1812_21_42.thumb.jpg.f161f52a2dfc4d5c7eb2cc0a9fc6c62f.jpg

 

Mate came over to help with the lifting and we did a split and relocated the bottom box to the summer setting.

This hive had three full depth boxes. It was chocker with bees in all boxes, probably a total of three frames of brood, not much stores, and queen had just started laying a frame in the top box??

No queen cells, not even a play cup.  Heaps of drone brood and lots of drones about.

I think the queen may have just pulled the spring trigger a little early a month or so back.

The summer setting is the hive right at the front covering the coloured plastic on the base .

Over time the plastic slots in the base stretch and soften and the bees can get down between them but they can not get back up that way .

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Cheers for that @kaihoka

The photo was taken before we did the split and shifted the box forward

Just checked the hive and all is back to normal 🙂

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I am slowly changing all my hives over to permanently restricted entrances with a roughly 2 inch wide entrance on either side of the floor. This allows for through ventilation. It helps to cut down on wasp damage and also reduces robbing and comparative tests on multiple hives has shown no difference in honey production. It has always been considered a good idea to give hives bigger entrances in summer but surprisingly I can't see any evidence that this is the case. Over the years I have also occasionally forgotten to take out  a wasp block and mine leave a gap of about two bees wide on either side of the floor. These hives are pretty noticeable when you come to take of the honey because there are masses of bees trying to get in through a tiny hole and yet they always seem to be just as full as everything else. I am not advocating that everybody rush out and try this . Try a few and see if it works for you. All my floors are solid.

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By either side you mean the centre of the entrance is blocked leaving 50mm at both extremities open ? Or small entrances front and back ?

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26 minutes ago, john berry said:

I am slowly changing all my hives over to permanently restricted entrances with a roughly 2 inch wide entrance on either side of the floor. This allows for through ventilation. It helps to cut down on wasp damage and also reduces robbing and comparative tests on multiple hives has shown no difference in honey production. It has always been considered a good idea to give hives bigger entrances in summer but surprisingly I can't see any evidence that this is the case. Over the years I have also occasionally forgotten to take out  a wasp block and mine leave a gap of about two bees wide on either side of the floor. These hives are pretty noticeable when you come to take of the honey because there are masses of bees trying to get in through a tiny hole and yet they always seem to be just as full as everything else. I am not advocating that everybody rush out and try this . Try a few and see if it works for you. All my floors are solid.

I have done similar  as you @john berry 3 or 4 years ago . They are around 60  mm wide all year round , in the centre , apart from the Hive Dr bases. All mine are ventilated 

Edited by M4tt

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I went for a gap on either side because the hives natural ventilation is in one side and out the other. I'm not a fan of ventilated floors though to be honest I only have two. I have a friend who has some of each and she really doesn't like them either. On the other hand I know people who think they are fantastic. Certainly trials done a few years ago proved they made no statistical difference to varoa numbers.

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2 minutes ago, john berry said:

I went for a gap on either side because the hives natural ventilation is in one side and out the other. I'm not a fan of ventilated floors though to be honest I only have two. I have a friend who has some of each and she really doesn't like them either. On the other hand I know people who think they are fantastic. Certainly trials done a few years ago proved they made no statistical difference to varoa numbers.

 

@john berry, I have come to like them (despite the mass of plastic) because them seem to reduce moisture in my very damp Auckland climate.

 

This may be unrelated to the base and may just be a perception thing or somehow related to some hives just making more moisture. Do you have a view on this aspect of ventilated bases?

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If you're worried about internal moisture why don't you have a play with quilts as per the traditional warre hive ?

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The only way to find the answer on ventilated floors would be to do 50\50 trials in many different climate zones over a number of years and I suspect what you would find is that it really didn't make that much difference either way. I could be wrong of course and it might even turn out that in some areas such as those with high humidity they were of great benefit. I can't help thinking though that what let's high humidity out of a hive also lets high humidity straight back in. The bottom line is bees will live in just about anything, we just need to be careful we don't let our personal preferences cost us a lot of money for no real benefit.As for quilts or any other installation on top of hives I have ply top board is now but for most of my beekeeping life we used tin top boards which must have almost no  insulating properties and yet the hives were fine.

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Most of our hives have the entrance reducer in all year round ...... squeezed down to a 50mm entrance ..... bees seem happy enough.

Small front door does'nt seem to worry those swarms you find in ceilings and walls ..... tiny little drill hole entrance and 80,000 critters snug as bugs behind.

Perhaps some days we worry too much !

 

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I had something similar with my one hive. They came through winter well, have a lot of brood in two 3/4depth boxes ( I can no longer lift full depth) and some drone brood in a third upper box of capped honey. Then I noticed what looked like pre swarming behaviour. A lot of bees under the HD base and many hanging on the outside in the sun. I inadvertently solved the problem by not setting the bottom box squarely on the cleats of the HD base after inspection. Just one leg raised a little. It took a day and a half for them to go back to 'normal' behaviour using the extra entry space. I had also swapped the two main brood boxes up and down and added a 4th box as a super. Now finger crossed all that brood doesn't hatch before the cold windy, wet weather disappears. Before my mistake they showed a  bit of interest in a bait hive I put nearby but no longer seem interested with better access to the original hive.

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I have a few Hives with small permanent entrances.

Some on opposite side of one end and others at opposite corners.
Hives dont seem to be any different to the rest

Edited by Philbee
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This is a helpful bunch of info, as one of my hives is bearding today in the rain and cold.  I will remove the entrance reducer completely then  I suppose they will sort themselves out in a few days.  

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