Hi all, just installed a 3-lb box of italian bees in my top bar hive, but they abandoned the hive (I assume) on account of the bottom being fully screened and too breezy, perhaps. Anyhow, not to give up, I covered the bottom and filled two quart jars w/syrup, put in a follower board to give them about 2 1/2 ft. of room, lemon oil/peppermint oil etc… and hope I can attract a swarm. After a week I had a lot of activity at the entrance holes (3/4 in. in dia.) and they are using about a quart of syrup a day, but nobody is sticking around, anything else I can do? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
Sorry about your loss. Was there any cover on the screened bottom during install of your package, or was it wide open? If wide open, this is almost certainly the cause. Don’t open screened bottoms until the colony is well-established. If you are hoping for a swarm to move in, they generally won’t if there’s syrup in there attracting robbers. Imagine moving into a new house while it’s getting robbed – it’s not going to happen! I’d remove the syrup and leave only a couple drops of lemongrass oil and possibly some wax. This should dramatically improve your chances.
Thanks, Matt, I’ll give it a shot, yes the screened bottom was mostly open, lesson learned, hope to catch a swarm, if not, next spring will be better!
Hi, Dbager and Matt,
I installed a swarm from my brothers hives a couple of weeks ago and left the screened bottom closed. However, i did notice this morning that there was some condensation of the viewing window and inside the hive. I opened the bottom about 4 inches to give them a little more ventilation. do you think that this will be ok or is it likely to get the girls on the move to another home.
I wouldn’t worry about the condensation myself. Most hives have condensation, but without windows, you can’t see it. If they’ve been in there a couple weeks you’re fine opening the bottom. They usually abscond within a day or two of install if the screened bottom is wide open. If they’ve got combs built they are far less likely to abscond.
good to hear the words of comfort.