Ah, Geez! Queenless!

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by srvfantexasflood, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    This weekend I built this nice hive stand for my hive I keep here in my yard. I have another hive I keep over at my sister's. This evening I went to move the hive from the old stand and the solid bottom board onto the new stand with a new screened bottom board. I had been in the hive about 3 weeks ago. This time there was nothing in the bottom brood box. No brood, no pollen, no honey. It was getting kind of dark, but I don't think there were any eggs. I always need good sunlight over my shoulder to see the eggs. The population was way down. The wax moths had moved in and are beginning to make a mess. The top brood box was packed with honey, just the way it should be going into fall. I think it's too late to introduce a new queen. I could use some expert advice here. If I save the top hive body that is loaded with capped honey, can I freeze it or should I put moth crystals on it? Is there any chance of saving the bees? There may be 1000-2000 bees at this point. Do you think I could combine them with my other hive?
    I am soooo bummed.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would shake them out 10 feet in front of the other hive. They will take up with it. There isn't enough bees to make it through the winter even if they had a queen.

    Be sure to protect the drawn comb and honey for spring.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    inform us srv-fan how things have been going at your location over say the past month? what were you doing in the hive 3 weeks ago and was there brood then?


    if the population is at the level you describe and if the season is about done at your location then about the only choice you have is to combine and most importantly do what need to be done to protect the honey and comb. with these starting again come spring time is sooooo much easier.
     
  4. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    Three weeks ago I but two Checkmite strips in the hive. I had seen a critter in larvae form on the front entrance. I thought it was SHB larvae. For a bright sun shiny day, the hive population seemed normal. But I look back and I think they were queenless then. I had put sugar syrup on in a hive top feeder, which they never touched. I assumed they were gathering nectar from somewhere in the neighborhood. I didn't look in the bottom box and do an inspection, just the top hive body. Big mistake.

    I'm still wondering if freezing or moth crystals is the way to go in an effort to salvage the honey. In reading past responses to similar questions, freezing seemed to be the answer.
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Freezing is best.
     
  6. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    srv writes:
    But I look back and I think they were queenless then. I had put sugar syrup on in a hive top feeder, which they never touched.

    tecumseh:
    it sounds to me like this timeline for queenlessness is about right. not looking into the bottom box can present problems. it is kind of a predictable error when you have lots of heavy boxes stacked on top. without a doubt I have made the same error on numerous occasions.
     
  8. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    Tecumseh: Can you explain further "timeline for queenlessness"?
    Yes, the top brood box is so heavy I can barely lift it. The bottom box was so empty, it kept sticking to the top box when I tried to pull the top box off. The hive stand I built raised the hive up a few inches, making it easier on the back.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I really suspect the hive in question had been queenless a bit longer than the 3 weeks duration you suggest. It takes about 24 days for a drone to hatch and 21 for a worker and without either of these it would appear the hive has been queenless about 3 to 4 weeks at a minimum. The number of bees in the hive (dwindled down to) suggest quite a bit longer.

    At this time of year you get a lot of folks thinking their hive(s) are queenless when actually what they are experiencing is the results of a late summer dearth and the onset of fall. Feeding removes the 'dearth' in the question. most times (here) when I see a hive that should be uptaking feed and they are not only one or two things can be lurking back there in the shadows... 1) a hive with no place to store any more feed of 2) queenless and not rearing brood.

    as my buddy here mom told him long ago in regards to animals he kept... 'if you got'em son, you are going to loose some'.
     
  10. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    Tecumseh- I think you are right about the queen being gone longer than 3 weeks. I look back and I think they might have been queenless when I pulled the honey off of it in late August.

    Anyway, both brood boxes are in the freezer. That should eliminate the danged wax moths. I at least frames of honey to start in the spring or slip into the hive if they need it.

    Does anyone here replace their queens annually? I can see where that might be beneficial.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I would suggest queen replacement when necessary. Figuring out the necessary sometimes ain't so easy. a good laying pattern and healthy brood (or the lack of either) would be one measure. physically some time you can judge a queen by how she moves over a frame and frayed or non existing wings is certainly a sign that the old girl will soon needs to be replaced.

    my strategy is to make replacement hives ahead of any predictable loss. I figure most 'non treatment folks' do well in the days of varroa to have queens make it out to 3 years. thereby I expect 1/3 of my hives to perish in any given year. I make up nuc replacement for these... typically in the spring and fall of the year. given how I have added to numbers the 1/3 may be a bit high.
     
  12. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Y know its a shame we have to figure on 1/3 of the colonies lost to problems that are imported from other countries, and that we otherwise can't anticipate--yeah varroa, traceal mites and foul broods, SHB they are all there but shouldn't be--wouldn't it be nice to only have to worry about foulbrood either variety. :yahoo:
    Barry