Cracked into our NEW (used) bees for the first time today! HELP!

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Levi Binegar, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Levi Binegar

    Levi Binegar New Member

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    As some of you may know... we (todd really) bought a complete be hive, with a colony of bees a couple/few weeks ago. Other than setting the hive up, We have not really cracked into them until today. the only thing we did was remove the inner cover, add a pail feeder.


    today, as we cracked into the hive this is what we say..


    1. we removed the outer cover, and feeder pail. the bees consumed maybe 1/8 or less of the sugar water (mixed 1:1) we removed the empty super body surrounding the pail feeder and inner cover exposing the 2nd (top) deep.


    2. we pulled 2 frames from the top deep. the upper deeps frames were STUCK in hard. tons of propolis, and honey sticking them together) we didnt see a lot of bees in the top deep, but in the 2 frames we pulled, they were full of honey. it was also pretty darned heavy. no queen noticed.


    3. we removed the upper deep feeling as though it was full of honey. when we removed it, there was comb built between the two deeps, and some (freshly dead) larvae. set upper deep to the side.


    4. as we began to remove frames from the lower deep we noticed a lot of the combs were empty. there was maybe 25% coverage on them of capped cells, pollen cells, larvae cells, act. the coverage was a lot less. there was more bees in the lower deep, but there was less activity on the comb. we did see one thing that we wernt sure what to make of... 1 LARGE QUEEN CELL IN THE MIDDLE OF ONE OF THE FRAMES!


    5. we added a super a reassembled the hive.


    as far as behavior goes, everything seemed normal. as far as numbers... i expected there to be a lot more bees, but maybe im wrong. there was def a bunch of them.


    what are your thoughts on what we saw? we didnt pull and inspect every frame so i cant say for sure that we do or dont have a queen. i assume from the larvae (that we think are almost in all stages of growth) that we have one. but we also so a queen cell which a lot of the bees seemed attracted too.


    this colony is at least in it second spring. it was a swarm collected by the guy we bought everything from.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    It sounds like it could be a supercedure cell. Perhaps the bees have recognized a problem with the current one and have decided a replacement is in order. Because a complete inspection wasn't done on all the frames it is kinda hard to say exactly, but if the bees were calm and there was no aggressive behaviour I would say nature is simply taking its course.
     

  3. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

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    Some breeds/strains of bees overwinter with a smaller cluster/population than others, the low population in your hive "maybe" normal for that colony. As perry said the supercedure cell hints that they are taking care of the home front and looking towards a new boss.
    Don't know about your weather and flow but it might be to early to stop feeding. Jim
     
  4. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    not checking all the frames there could be cells on other frames. was the queen cell caped they may have swarmed already explaining not as many bees in the hive as expected.
     
  5. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    The queen cell could also be from last year, so don't jump to conclusions too quickly. It sounds to me like you have a brood nest that is straddling the 2 deeps, with a good honey cap on top. Over the next couple of weeks as nectar flows start that brood nest will grow in size considerably. If you only pulled a couple of frames from the edge of the top box, then you don't really have a way of telling what's going on. The brood nest should be centered in the box, but could easily be off to one side. the comb between the frames usually contains drone brood and it's a good idea scrape some off and to examine it closely for mite infestation levels. As for finding the queen, I only found my queen 3 times all year, they can be sneaky, running away from the activity of inspection.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    and pistol pete at least points to the first obstacle you will need to deal with with is an existing honey cap <failure to deal with this fairly promptly will lead to swarming (if the queen cells that you saw is not already a sign of this future event).
     
  7. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    If the upper box is solid honey I am not sure there would be a lot of bees on it.

    Are you sure that what appears to be empty cells are not actually cells with eggs? Eggs can be very hard to see.

    If they have a solid layer of honey over their head that woudl concern me. from what I can tell bees consider any solid layer of honey a boundary. Both to the sides of a brood nest and over head.