The deep is in place with 3 frames of drawn comb. there is just a bit of capped brood in that comb because I could not find much of anything in my hive that did not have at least some brood. I also made up a med super of frames with foundation and set it on top. That is the best I can do for frames until my order of foundation arrives next week.
I will say that if you are worried about having the nerve to work with bees. Just try this trick once. You will know if you can handle it or not. Once the tunnel is closed off you are living in a huge swarm of bees. We stuck around long enough to know the bees had found the new entrance and where fanning the other home. I figure there will be some bees searching for the door for the rest of the day. we will go back later this afternoon to double check they are orienting to the new entrance.
We did manage to fine a couple of small holes during this searching for the door period. It is a real good time to locate any leaks in the wall. There was one hole in my caulk job that was allowing one bee in at a time. I closed all these up and the bees started finding the entrance fairly quickly after that. I saw no indication of any other openings but will keep checking.
I am hoping to add a frame of brood Sunday afternoon and we will know if we are going to get the queen by Monday afternoon. I am going to add the cone on Sunday as well. I would have put it on today but am worried that will be to much interference all at once. I will give them a couple of days to accept the trap as an extension of their hive. Hopefully this will not cause them to be as agitated when they are not able to return to the wall.
I suppose it is all up to luck and territorial queen now.
Daniel, you are thinking like a bee---good for you. You should meet with success (relatively) quickly. Not allowing the bees to return to the queen from the outset puts things on a time schedule---As the brood she has emerges and eventually is inadeuate to attend to any new brood, she'll stop laying in the inside frames and look to moving "outside" to be back with her family and doing what she does best.
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We went and looked at the trap yesterday afternoon. Three frames are covered in bees. Also looking at the empty cells we found eggs. We did not find the queen. It may be that she came out on Sunday and filled any cells she found and then went back. It may be that when I pulled these frames on Saturday I failed to see the eggs in them. I am known to do that but am more certain I didn't because I was very careful to examine the cells carefully. Still you don't know what you don't see. I was working without a veil in order to see the eggs and took a sting to my neck. had to put the veil on which made it impossible to see eggs after that. I do know that some eggs where still upright or leaning like they are only two days old at the very least. I know this afternoon there could not be an upright egg laid by our queen in those cells.
We installed the cone and hopefully the queen will make a repeat performance.
We also put 5 more med frames with foundation in the box. this makes a total of 8 frames for them to start working with. I am starting to think this may not be a huge colony.
I am also wondering if we should give them sugar water above the inner cover to help them draw comb on the foundation. I think things have dried up here for the moment.
Went back to take a quick peek yesterday about 5 P.M. or so. Seems the eggs are most likely from my queen and where present in the frames when we moved them. I am sure getting tired of my selective blindness to eggs. I need to find a sure fire way to see eggs. Without full sun over my shoulder I can't see them. I know this now because I watched them disappear when the sun went behind a cloud two days ago.
Anyway all the cells with eggs now appear to have royal jelly in the bottom of them. Good news is we already have foreign brood in the hive. Bad news is we will have to wait for the queen to abscond to capture her.
20 sheets of foundation are due to be delivered tomorrow and I am in a race to get the frames built for them. We will let the trap set until this weekend since yesterday shows they have plenty of room for now. No sign so far they intend to rear a queen. I will keep a close eye out for that over the next week though.
Oh one thing I did figure out while placing the box. Since it was close to the ground I was able to mount the base for it with steel concrete stakes. It worked very well and getting everything level is a breeze. I have seen tons of examples of people using 2X4s and what not to brace boxes in place. concrete form stakes come as long as 6 feet and are made to adjust where the form is nailed so it is level. If you feel you need a more sold footing you can always attach a 2X4 foot to the stake where it contacts the ground. Very strong as they are used to hold back hundreds of lbs of concrete when the forms are filled.
Queen Cells! I need suggestions on how to proceed.
Went and took a peek again yesterday. replaced the 5 med frames with deep frames with foundation. The original three frames are packed with bees. They are clustering at the bottom of the frames even. The hive had a low roar to it when we opened it and we found at least 4 queen cells in the making. We have at least a very strong 3 frame nuc going here. I figure 8 weeks for the queen to get a decent start and we should have that barely.
So any suggestions on a game plan form here are appreciated.
I THINK I got a queen from the Hogan trapout I did this year. I shook bees out into a nuc and gave them eggs and young open brood. In 21 days I had new eggs. I'm not going to say they couldn't have raised a new queen from the brood I gave them but 21 days is pushing it for her to emerge, mature, mate, and start laying a nearly perfect brood pattern.
Here is a bit more information.
I estimate the queen cells are in day 6 today so we are 10 days from emergence.
Our 50% first frost date is October 15th. it is common for us to have warm temperatures until October 30th. A gamble at best. I think we have a much better than 50 50 chance of warm weather past October 15th though.
Virgin Queen emerges August 27th
Queen has taken mating flights and is laying fertile eggs two weeks later on September 10th.
First cycle of brood has emerged three weeks later on October 1st.
Second cycle of brood emerges three weeks after that on October 22 exactly one week after our 50% first frost date.
October is our first frost but we seldom get sever cold well into December.
Now given that my bees will not read this. I have a bit of back up. I have a strong 10 frame Lang I was considering making a late split on but didn't. I can take frames of brood from that hive and add to a nuc started from one of these queens. I then only need to get here mated and can then boost her laying with eggs from her mother to get her through winter. With enough empty frames of comb I can hopefully boost it fairly well as my queen is a strong layer and still going gangbusters even now. My problem is frames of empty comb. hopefully some of this foundation I just put in the hive will get drawn out. But this way IF all I can do is get the new queen through one laying cycle I can add the population of a second cycle from my strong hive.
I also saw information in the past about wintering a nuc over a strong hive. Does anyone have any comments on that and how well it works.
We went and took one of the frames with queen cells and left the other. With a more careful count of cells and still not certain we found all of them. there are at least 14 queen cells on two frames. We brought the one frame home and added two frames of honey and one frame of pollen and I hope eggs to a 5 frame nuc. We also placed a frame of foundation in the nuc.
When I got into my hive to get the additional frames my bees seemed pretty hot. I got two stings tot eh back of my hand even though I was wearing gloves. The back of my gloves are a knit cloth material and the bees are able to get their stingers through it. I have to figure something out to prevent that. ANyway my bees are seldom that aggressive so I don't know if there is a dearth or something might have happened to my queen. Something has them unhappy right now.
Anyway I will put an empty box above the inner cover of the nuc and start feeding this tiny colony. There are only enough bees to cover about 1 frame but they where already covering the frame of foundation in minutes. I am hoping they can get some empty comb drawn in the next week so the new queen has plenty of space to lay once she has mated.
Otherwise what are my options in getting additional bees added to this nuc. I know adding frames of brood I can just place frames in the nuc. But what about additional adult bees? what precautions do I need to take so I am not starting a war? For example if I take a frame of brood from my hive with the nurse bees on it can I just place that directly in the new hive without them fighting?
Thanks Guys, I thought it was okay due to watching videos etc. but the whole combining bees things gets fuzzy until you actually do some of it. Sure wish I had been certain yesterday while I was in the hive. It is a long way down to that brood box. Anyway that is a perfect way to give this nuc the bees it needs. One frame of brood with the nurse bees on it will give it a pretty good population. Kind of bare in there right now.
We want to bring a couple more frames of bees home from the trap out to boost the strength of the nuc we brought back with us. Is there anything special we nee to do to introduce the new bees to the nuc now that they have been separated? I was thinking we should at least do a newspaper combine or something.
There is also still a frame of queen cells in the trap out. I have been trying to decide if we should just bring that home as well but that woudl leave the trap out hopelessly without a queen. I am thinking that will just result in laying workers.
We will go check on the trap out this afternoon and want to bring the frames back with us then. I am also hoping to find the queen in the trap out any day now. Here is to hoping anyway.
Just an update. We added the extra bees just fine they seemed to be okay with just being set on top of the nuc and allowed to mingle.
I was not able to separate the queen cells due to lack of frames to make up the nucs. Both hives had queens emerge yesterday per observation of open queen cells. I suspect by now that only one queen has survived in each box.
Wish I could have held onto them a bit longer I just don't have enough equipment yet. Between my hive, a new nuc and the trap out. NO bees will draw any new comb. I am spread pretty thin considering I only had one hive to start with to provide resources for all of this. I was counting on being able to ad foundation to hives and feed them to get them to draw comb. The bees had other ideas.
My plan now is to get all the bees I can with the trap and add them together in a hive here and do my best getting that one hive through the winter. The extra queen will be used to re queen my top bar hive.