Abort Mission!!!

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Tia, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Last Thursday I took the short course newbees into my beeyard for first spring inspection. We went through all the hives and the girls were sweet as sugar. But in the swarm I caught last May, I found loads of queen cups--not cells; just cups--and took note. For the past couple of days, that hive has been very swarmy. . .loud and all over the front of the hive, flying zig zags--very active. I was afraid they were going to swarm and decided that today would be the day to split. Since the hive is only a shallow and deep my plan was to split the deep frames rather than the boxes. Talk about defensive! I pulled one frame and my gloves were covered! By the second frame, I had to stop to corral up my chickens--I had let them out that morning and didn't expect such an onslaught from the bees! The girls were getting zapped and were only to happy to run to the coop! :eek:They're complaining now that they want to get out but I want to give the bees an hour to calm down.

    Just couldn't get through the cloud of bees that were bouncing off my veil and gloves to check frame by frame, so I took the top box (shallow) that has all the queen cups (I still see no cells. . .they might be on the face of the frame, but only cups on the bottom) and put them on a slatted rack & ssb, put a deep of foundation (I have no more deep drawn comb) on top of the shallow, gave them a robber screen, inner & outer cover. Left the deep where it is, gave it a shallow with the frame of honey that the bear messed up--The best I could do under the circumstances. Just hoping the queen's in the deep rather than the shallow that has all the queen cups! Might be I left the large hive without queen cells or queen, but that's for another day.

    Kept testing them to see how far they would follow me. Only about 40 feet, so I don't think they're mean (they weren't when we all went in last week); just really defensive and I think it might have something to do with what they had planned to do (swarm!).

    I know Iddee and Wally are going to have a lot to say about how I messed up. :roll: I'm interested in hearing what I should have done under the circumstances.
     
  2. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    May be the hive is already queenless , thus so hot.

    Swarm should not treat you like that
     

  3. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    With a hive of tigers one possible way is the following :-- Move (with help ?) the whole hive several feet away. Put a brood box (with a frame of eggs from a quiet hive ?) on the old stand. The idea is that the foragers and guards from the tigers will go to the old stand and the keep can then sort out the old hive which should have younger (quieter) bees. :roll:
     
  4. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    But let me stress this one more time: Exactly a week ago I was in this hive and they were fine. Very pleasant. The queen was in the deep. A beauty. . .big and bronze colored. How could they go mean in a week? I don't think they were mean; rather, defensive. No one stung me; just butted me. I was just out there a minute ago (1 hr after closing them up) and they're leaving both me and the chickens alone and they're back to their regular routine. Zulu, it's not a swarm now. I caught them last May. It's been a standard hive in my beeyard since May 11, 2011. I'm not concerned with the defensiveness; just the manner in which I split the hive.
     
  5. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    A question on being queenless... If a colony suddenly becomes queenless but has resources to re-queen and proceeds to do so, will the colony still get defensive during that time? Or, does that only happen when it is both queenless and no hope of making a queen? In other words, will the bees get grumpy for a while until the new queen emerges and mates and then calm back down once she's laying and spreading her pheromones around?

    Ed
     
  6. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Maybe they've been getting robbed or fending off robbers? Or....you have a skunk harassing them at night...
     
  7. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    First off, were you able to discern whether eggs and young larvae present, if not if only mature larvae, and pupae, but no queen cells, just cups, then your bees absolutely will be mean. You may have to take a beating again just to be certain, but I would, once established, use another colony and take a frame of eggs, and allow the bees to raise their own queen what ever you do--do so quickly before you get egg laying workers, that represents a whole host of other issues after that.
    Barry
     
  8. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Last Thursday there were young larva and eggs in the hive. I'm gonna give them a couple of days to sort things out now that they're split. I don't understand why they had all the classic signs of a hive about to swarm (the loud buzz; the spiraling outside the hive) but when I went in found only queen cups. . .there've got to be queen cells between the frames is all I can figure. I will do everything in my power to avoid laying workers. Been in that position twice in my ten years of beekeeping and twice is two times too many!
     
  9. RayMarler

    RayMarler New Member

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    Is it a possibility that the hive was being robbed? That will cause the symptoms that you are describing.

    As far as the splitting, I agree with others that I would have moved the hive away and left a box witha frame of eggs and a frame of nectar in place. But you did it this way which will be just fine so long as there are eggs available to each part, then whichever part is queenless will normally raise you a new queen. Just check back in each part in three days and see which part has eggs, it will be queen-right. The other part should have cells started and if not, you can add a frame with eggs to it.

    I think you did just fine under the circumstances, and in three days you will have answers to the conditions of each half of the split.
     
  10. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    I know I moved the wrong box off the site; should've been the one I thought the queen was in. But what's done is done, so we'll have to go with this. At the very worst, I figure I can always recombine if necessary.
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You did fine if you follow up correctly. Go into both Sun. or Mon. Preferably Mon. One should have eggs and the other queen cells. ""A queen cup with larva is a queen cell."" If either one has neither eggs nor cells, correct that at that time.
     
  12. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Thanks, Iddee. It's supposed to rain Sat & Sun and I have to work on Monday, but my plan was to go in on Tuesday and see what the deal is. I was surprised when, yesterday, those cups were still cups! From the way they were acting I was sure at least one would be drawn out. Let's see what it looks like on Tuesday. Thanks for your encouragement.
     
  13. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Update! Yesterday I went into the two hives haphazardly divided from the one crazy hive I spoke about above. I was concerned that the smaller of the two had died because I saw no activity outside the hive which the larger half is going gangbusters. The small hive is just lovely. . .still lots of uncapped brood, and three lovely queen cells. I assume there is no activity outside because all the foragers must have gone back to the original hive. Got brave and went into the larger, very active hive. No queen cells; lots of eggs, new larva, and capped brood so it appears I didn't kill the queen. Both hives were very calm. Yes, there were a couple of those kamikaze bees who "annoy at you," but no mobbing me, and they responded to the smoke. I've come to the conclusion that they were so grouchy last time because that morning it had rained and was cloudy, and even though by the time I went in it was sunny, warm with a slight breeze, I think they were probably just still in their grouchy rain mood. Relieved that all is going so well and thought you all would like to know.
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Good news, but no surprise. They seem to do well in spite of our "help". :D
     
  15. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Iddee, ain't that the truth!!!!!
     
  16. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    And the story continues. Yesterday this same hive swarmed (where the heck was that queen cell?), and politely landed in my old faithful wax myrtle right where my swarms always land. . .very low to the ground and very easy to hive. Put them in the apiary last night and released them this morning with a Michael Bush-type change to the entrance so they will reorient.

    Right now all my hives are really active. They're already flying at 6:30 am when I go out to let the hens out! I've never seen active bees at that hour before, but it's all of my hives so I'm figuring there just must be a really good early morning nectar source someplace.