Back with one hive.

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Mosti, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Mosti

    Mosti New Member

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    I am back with a single hive after the second one died out.:sad:

    It was quite strong when I got it as a nuc in July 2012, however for some reason the queen was not laying appropriately and it dwindled soon after.

    Maybe I should have given it the other hive's queen and let the stronger hive raise an emergency queen of their own? Has this been done successfully before or am I expecting too much?

    Other wise I will be planning to get another nuc or split the only hive I have come mid spring...?!?!

    Actually I am confused and I would sincerely appreciate any suggestions which would help me get back on track.

    cheers:wink:
     
  2. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    First of all, be glad you chose to work with two hives and not one. :thumbsup: You are living proof of the importance of not putting all your "eggs in one basket" [=bees in one hive].
    You would have been wise to replace your failing queen by any one of several methods as soon as you took notice of her family's dwindling instead of thriving. (Two possibilities in addition to the one you proposed: "pinching" the queen and letting the hive raise a new one from one of her eggs, or raising a queen from your other hive and replacing the bad one with her).
    I can fully appreciate your hesitance to do that. It's not so easy for a newbee to decide to kill a queen in a hive, but sometimes we have to learn to be cold and calculating.
    Buy or Split? That is another question not easily answered. If the remaining hive is really strong and develops well at the beginning of the new season, and you buy or raise a new queen early enough, you could get a nice crop from them both----but a lot depends on the season that unfolds, and that is always an unknown.
    Either way, you'll learn a lot about managing bees.
    Remember, mine is only one opinion. I'm sure you'll receive others after the sun crosses the Atlantic. :smile:
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Ef is right on in his summation. I would probably have pinched the poor queen, waited until they started some queen cells,(a week or so) destroyed them and then placed a frame of eggs from your strong hive in to raise a new queen from. It would just be a precaution to halt what may have been poor genetics.
    Either that, or purchased a new queen if available.
    (like Ef said, smart move having 2 hives) :thumbsup:
     
  4. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Yes, I would have done exactly what Perry said too. I would advise you to order at least one nuc for this Spring. You may lose your other hive too this winter, who knows? In fact, some folks would order TWO nucs right now, if they wind up with more than they need, they can EASILY sell the extra nuc come Spring- Spring nucs are a hot commodity because of new beekeepers' unexpected winter losses!
     
  5. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Listen to Efmesch Geographically he is the closest to you. Keeping bees in similar climate and conditions. The strength of the nuc when received was from the bees and brood chosen to make up the nuc the new queen placed in the nuc was not able to expand the colony and should have been replaced. As Ef and Perry stated check the strength of your surviving hive and if there is lots of bees and brood buy a queen and make a split buy pulling a nuc from the colony.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    long long ago my father who knew absolutely nothing about bees insisted that I start a 4H project with 3 hives and not 1. you experience suggest why this advice was sound then and is even more so today.
     
  7. Mosti

    Mosti New Member

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    Some helpful suggestions given, much appreciated.

    My concern of splitting the stronger hive, at the beginning of the season if feasable would be distance of the newly forming colony from the the mother colony. I am concerned that the new colony would remain just with nursing bees as the foragers would go back to the original hive due to them being in the same area/field. Obviously I would give them a push with feeding syrup (this came to my mind right now!)

    What is best done with the queen? Left in the mother colony or moved with the frames to the new one??
     
  8. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    You take the queen out along with 2-4 frames full of capped brood and nurse bees- put them in a nuc box. Take one more frame full of bees from the main hive and just shake them into that nuc for good measure. Then put 2-3 frames with honey and pollen into the nuc, on either side of the frames of brood and the queen. if there's more frame spaces, then put empty frames of comb or foundation on the outside positions...and/or a syrup feeder for the first 2 weeks at least. The bees will know what to do and will move things around in there as they see fit.

    Put the nuc in a new location, doesn't matter how close or far from the original hive. Could be two feet away. All the foragers out foraging will likely return to the original hive, and that's what you want because they now have no queen and are at a disadvantage until they raise a new queen. They need those foragers and extra workers because they have no queen for a few weeks.

    When you make the split, be SURE you leave two frames with fresh eggs in the original hive. Check 5-6 days after the split to make sure they have made at least one good queen cell.(if not, they'll need another new frame with some fresh eggs, from the nuc).

    Meanwhile, you made a nuc with no foragers present. But they actually have the advantage because they have a laying queen. They'll have some honey and pollen (and syrup if you feed them) to tide them over. Some of the nurse bees you gave them will immediately switch to being foragers, and new brood hatching every day will quickly become new nurse bees and more foragers. This nuc is at an advantage because they have a queen constantly laying, that's hundreds of eggs per day in warm Spring.
     
  9. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Good advice here on requeening. My devious mind says "have we jumped to a conclusion that the queen was at fault" What was the situation that lead to that diagnosis? Was the mite level determined?

    This comes to mind because of my experience with a hive that was not growing in numbers. There was a classic poor pattern of brood, lots of eggs but shotgun pattern and lots of interspersed empty and uneven aged brood. I discovered fairly high mite levels and treated and the pattern straightened out and the hive took off. By fall it appeared to be busier than its mates. I did have to feed heavily as they missed at least 2 months production.

    Now it is remotely possible they superseded but I was checking close for queen cells, even hoping they would requeen, and did not see any; my conclusion is that it was not queen problem but mites were killing her babies. Throwing another queen in likely would not have been a solution.
     
  10. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Frank, you are absolutely right. It is possible that the queen was not really at fault. But we'd need more information that is probably unavailable to make a more definite decision. In any event, if mites were the problem, a break in laying while a new queen is being raised can help bring the mite population down.
     
  11. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    The hive that had the failing queen, mite problem, or what ever is the colony that died out . We are discussing the possibility of splitting the hive that did well last year and has survived the winter.

    When dose the first flows start? how strong? and how long?
    How strong is your existing hive? Now and two week into the first flow? this will be the determining factor on whether you should split your existing colony or not. Of possibly needing to replace the queen.
    Stating you have a hive with bees that are still living is a bit to little information. The facts we need to know is what time of the beekeeping year you are in. Winter cluster, spring buildup, summer flow or dearth. The strength of the colony, # frames of bees, # frames of brood, the amount of honey not so important cause syrup can be fed but the lack of pollen can limit the bees building up.

    Omie's post for walk away nucs if good advise for requeening the colony and pulling a nuc and achieving mite control thru a break in brood rearing. The first question to ask here is you are on an island, what is the status on the mites there? the issue I have with doing walk away nucs is the length of time it takes for the new queen to bee back in the hive mated. You have bees that could have supported a laying queen and raised another 30,000 bees in the time the hive was with out a laying queen so you have greatly disadvantaged the hive in numbers.

    If you are not adapt at finding the queen. I would recommend if you have the population of bees in your remaining hive (2 supers with bees and at least 10 frames of brood), in each super put about 1/2 the brood in the top and the other 1/2 in the bottom and a queen excluder in between. In 4 days time pick up a bought queen and split the colony. One box will have eggs and the queen the other will have no eggs set that super on new bottom with cover and let it sit for a couple of hours before introducing the queen. Place a empty brood super on the original colony with the queen and check in 3 days that the queen is released and in a week that she is laying add 2nd brood box when needed around 2 to 3 weeks.
    If finding the queen is not an issue split the brood and bees making sure the queen is in the original location. The reason for placing the queen in the new hive location is the older foragers will return to the original colony leaving the young nurse bees that will be more accepting of a new queen.