HELP Please - First Post From New Member

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Pilotbeekeeper, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Pilotbeekeeper

    Pilotbeekeeper New Member

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    My Pastor and I began this hobby together last year. We live near Raleigh, NC and we bought our first starter hive from a local beekeeper in August, 2011. We did our first inspection of 2012 today. We found both of the deep hive bodies to be full of bees; I mean, 3/4 of the frames are covered in bees! Over half of the frames in both hive bodies are filled with brood...good laying pattern also. The rest contains honey or pollen, so it appears they wintered exceptionally well. Our delimma now is what to do? With only a couple empty outside frames on both hive bodies, from what I've read, I'm worried about the queen running out of room for laying eggs. There were no queen cells found. There were a few drone cells. Are we better off to just start putting supers on top to give them room and maintain the strength of this one and only hive we have, or should we split this hive since there are so many bees and so much brood? Again from all I've read, if we split the hive, and place an empty deep body on top of each, the hive that is left queenless should make one on their own? Right? If we need to split, do we do it now or wait until queen cells appear that may indicate swarming? Being new, if there is important information that I've left out which impacts possible recommendations, please ask.


    Thanks
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    First, pull the empty frames out, move the non-brood frames to the outside, and put the empties back next to the brood frames.

    Then either super, if you want honey, or wait for queen cells if you want more hives.

    If you split, move the queen half to the new location and add another deep to it. Wait until the other half raises a queen and she is laying well before adding a second box to it.
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Welcome to the forum, you have found a great spot for information and quick answers. :hi:
    I would agrree with Iddee. If you decide to do a split you have the option of introducing a new purchased queen to the queenless split, or you can allow them to raise their own. Be sure when doing the latter, that the queenless half has frames with eggs on it so they have the ability.
     
  4. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I'm new, too, so I can't advise you (although I'm almost in a similar situation). But I welcome you. There's good info and great folks here! :)
     
  5. jb63

    jb63 New Member

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    Last year I read the Walt Wright articles about checker boarding.If you can catch them before the swarm signal goes out checker boarding is also a good technique.
     
  6. Pilotbeekeeper

    Pilotbeekeeper New Member

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    First Hive Inspection



    Thanks for the reply Iddee. I think i like the first option this year. Maybe by next year, when we hope to have multiple hives, i will go with the split.

    PB
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    First, pull the empty frames out, move the non-brood frames to the outside, and put the empties back next to the brood frames.

    tecumseh:
    basically this is the essentials of 'opening up the brood nest'. at this point in the season with rapid brood expansion 'opening it up' horizontally encourages brood nest expansion in a horizontal direction and 'opening it up' vertically encourages brood nest expansion in a vertical direction. <solid frames of pollen or frames that are essentially solid capped honey can be move to the outside locations.

    at some point you will need to split this hive. I myself don't think that 'rearing their own queen'* is a very good path for most new bee keeper and just for the record I consider most of Uncle Walt's writings to be pretty much nonsense.

    *for one thing you are employing a selection device call line breeding here and essentially slowly and constantly narrowing the genetic diversity of you apiary by doing this. queens are not cheap (and what the heck is?) but this fork in the road is an excellent opportunity to add genetic diversity and any other qualities that you think might be fun or useful.
     
  8. Pilotbeekeeper

    Pilotbeekeeper New Member

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    Hoping I didn't mess up. Last Thursday, while inspecting this hive, let my mentor convince me to split them. We found the Queen, so moved her and the bottom deep, which had 5 frames brood and 4 of pollen and honey to a new location 50 feet away. left the now queenless deep in it's original location. The Queenless deep seems to be doing well; lots of activity. Plan to check it Saturday for queen cells and destroy all but one. The split with the old Queen is not doing very well. Within 24 hours there was very little activity, except quite a few bees coming out the entrance with DFW and dying. I did not block the entrance of this hive with grass as I've since read i should have done. Each day the bee traffic has increase little by little but still not much happening. After a couple days i haven't seen as many DFW bees. I did do a mite count and had 125 on the board over a two day period. I'll be going back into this hive Saturday as well. Any thoughts on what I may find and what i should do? Mentor suggested possibly recombining the two deeps? Not sure this is a good idea if the queenliess hive already has queen cells as it should........plus fact of transferring mites from one hive to another.
     
  9. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I was going to suggest that you follow Iddee's et.al's suggestion not to split but to enjoy a honey crop this year. Then came your post #8. What a shocker!
    Rest assured, if one hive of the split has mites, so does the other, and if you've reached the level of deformed wings that you describe, your situation is pretty bad.
    The hive that has no queen will hatch out all it's brood before it starts a new cycle of brood with the new queen. (That's assuming that the hive will be strong enough to raise a good new one). This situation is good for a successful treatment against varroa since the mites breed on larvae and "hide" protectedly while they develop in closed cells.
    Treat both hives for varroa (look up treatments available in the proper section of the forum) and expect them to require a lot of TLC to be productive this season.
    Don't let things slide. Varroa can wipe out a colony before you know what hit you.
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    #1.. Call your state bee inspector. He will come out and help you treat for mites and it is free.

    [TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD]Will Hicks[/TD]
    [TD]Roxboro, NC 27573[/TD]
    [TD="align: left"](336) 599-6345[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]

    Next, DO NOT REMOVE ALL BUT ONE QUEEN CELL.
    Leave at least 3. If you know better than the bees which 3 are best, fine, but I doubt it. If you leave them all, the bees will pick the best queen and remove all the rest.

    Next, you did the split correctly. All the foragers went back to boost the hive that will not have no new bees for 30 days. The one with the queen is now making new foragers. That's why you are seeing more each day.

    Overall, it sounds like a good split. Take care of the mites and you should end with two good hives.
     
  11. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    Pilotbeekeeper,

    hey we all make mistakes don’t be discouraged. many of our mentors mean well and sometimes we make decisions based on habit rather than paying attention to the science of the bees…..i have had my mentor literally cussing at me for going against something that was habit for him, this is how we learn, don't be afraid to challenge your mentor...well, that's the way i am. the bees will forgive you….they are more adaptable to their environment than we think they are, but we just need to help them out once in awhile.

    as efmesch and idée said, you need to treat these hives right now, no messing around. if the bee inspector can’t get out to you right away don’t waste time waiting.

    do not re-combine them. you have two weak hives now, and as idée said you did the split correctly but will have to wait 30 days for new bees. you might consider boosting population with package bees, if you don’t see an increase in population in 30 days. the queen-less hive will fall behind because they have no queen and are handicapped with mites. Idée is right about using 3 swarm cells. Idees advice is sound.

    if it were me, i would get a healthy queen for the queen-less hive now, instead of waiting for the bees to make a new queen. this takes too much time to wait for the bees to re queen. this hive may only get weaker without a queen and die off, or take too much time to build up for you to overwinter in your location. what I am saying is, as a new beekeeper i wouldn’t encourage anyone with one hive to divide it and let the one divide make a queen from swarm cells. (but makes for great learning experience!)

    in the future, here is a basic principle I use; if you want honey do not divide, if you want more bees then divide.

    let me explain my method of ‘madness’ (!) before all kinds of replies!

    if you want honey from a hive, (depending on population and swarm tendencies) do not divide or only take 1 to 3 frames of brood, extra nurse bees, honey and pollen frames from existing hives to make a small nucleus hive, with empty drawn comb for the queen to lay, (5 frames).

    they will build up quickly but may not provide you with a honey crop the first year, but you will have bees to overwinter for next year or provide you with a queen or bees to replace a failing hive.

    If you want more bees, and your hive is busting at the seams in both hive bodies and all over the frames in both boxes and top cover (very strong) then complete a 'divide' consisting of 3-4 frames of brood into one deep box. they will also build up quickly and may provide you with a honey crop in the current year under the right conditions.

    from reading your original post, i may not have divided the original hive, because you only had one. i would not have divided unless they were busting at the seams, with bees covering the frames, in both boxes and inner cover, and swarm cells being produced. i may have ordered a package with a queen. (always good to have more than one hive). if i divided that one hive, only 1 year old, i would have waited until a little later in the season and created a small nucleus hive after it built up, or for the divide you made, i would have ordered a queen instead of using swarm cells, this takes too much time for your bees to build up. in the south this can work, but i live in the north and can’t afford the luxury and want them ready and strong to go into winter.

    just my humble two cents (for 1 hive), and experience, and desiring a strong healthy bee population; a honey crop or hives that will overwinter well, and produce well for next spring. i rarely use swarm cells to create new hives to go into winter here in the north, and yes you can, it’s not impossible under the right conditions. (idee’s advice about the divide). i desire any nucleus or divide to have a mated queen and ready to lay right out of the cage. she will produce for you quicker and you will have a more productive hive much sooner than waiting for the bees to produce a queen from swarm cells, and then the attention and worries begin about the queen produced from the swarm cell.

    hope I make sense or haven’t rambled too much.

    BTW, beekeeping is really not a ‘hobby’…..!

    it is a science, and a passion,…..
    whether you keep 1 hive or a thousand hives, not one keeper has all the answers, we all have different methods, and we all benefit and learn from one another, or from the bees.

    let us know your progress!
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    riverbee writes:
    it is a science, and a passion,…..
    whether you keep 1 hive or a thousand hives, not one keeper has all the answers, we all have different methods, and we all benefit and learn from one another, or from the bees.

    tecumseh:
    yes it is and nicely stated.

    there may be thousands of way to approach any problem and yet we all work within the same species biology and the same tendencies of the bees during a given season. understanding something of the bees own biology and nature certainly makes trying to accomplish any singular PURPOSE easier or at least less subject to total failure. as an example (and contrary to my prior advice against new beekeeper rearing their own queens via splitting) in the situation you describe allowing a box of bees to rear their own queen is quite likely to be much easier in the spring time when you have something of a flow going on than later on in the summer when any flow may be waning.
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    back to youTecumseh and well stated.

    it is the biology and the nature of the bees we need to learn of, be aware of and pay particular attention to, to 'minimize' our failures, and from each season’s experience with the bees that teaches us from year to year, starting at one; and also the purpose for our actions for a result we desire the bees to achieve…..well, more like, the purpose we WOULD LIKE the bees to achieve. it seems the more I learn from any written material, research, etc.... or from a mentor, the more I learn from the bees…

    i haven’t kept bees long enough to 'figure' out their biology and their nature….suppose i will spend the rest of my life, season to season, with the passion doing so…
     
  14. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Iddee, isn't it technically no new bees for 50 or so days? 30 days for rearing, mating flights, and start of lay of new queen, and then 21 more days for new bees to ne working in the hive?

    Edit: They'll be new bees emerging for 21 days from the eggs the old queen layed then 30 days of no new bees emerging:
     
  15. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    in a good scenario, from a supercedure or swarm cell, brood emergence about 37-38 days.
    virgin queens from these cells will take about 15-16 days to emerge after the egg was laid.
    (figure about 10-14 days from the time the queen emerges from the cell to the time she starts laying eggs.)
    7 days after her emergence before she takes her mating flights, then 3- 4 days to lay after she has mated, then 21 days for brood to emerge.

    i think what you are describing is when a queen is raised by the bees from brood?

    edited.....
    :doh:uh duh, which is what he is doing, just reread pilotbeekeeper's post, but you are on track for timing....
     
  16. Pilotbeekeeper

    Pilotbeekeeper New Member

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    UPDATE -- Inspected both hives last Friday. Found 4 queen cells in the queenless hive.....i left all of them. I need to wait approx. 4 weeks to go back and check for eggs being laid, right? Someone has suggested that the Varroa mite problem (if any) with this hive should be resolved by breaking the brood cycle while waiting for the new queen to start laying? is this correct?

    The hive with old queen has lots of activity now. I left a voice mail for Mr. Hicks Thursday asking if he could come out to my place.........he called me back Saturday. His suggestion was to treat with Mite away quickly.....he didn't offer to come out; said if i didn't i would eventually/gradually lose this hive. I'm sure it's a busy time for a bee inspector.
     
  17. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    you need to monitor this hive.....don't wait 4 weeks, you don't need to be nosy in it, but would need to check them, anything can go wrong, even with four cells...i would check on them every 7 days, once that you see the new reigning queen laying then let her be maybe for another 10 days or so. if you are not doing so, i would be feeding 1:1 sugar syrup as well, with the mite treatment you should have already started. you can also visually check this hive, and pay close attention to what is going on at the entrance without unneccessarily poking around it....

    to your question about varroa, this may help with mite control because there is a break in the brood rearing cycle, but you still need to treat, you could still lose the hive if you don't. you have a mite problem now, you have no queen, there is no brood being raised, your population of bees will dwindle, so don't lose it to mites because you didn't treat it. hope this helps!

    edit:
    one last thought, might consider plopping a pollen patty in as well.
    reason, you don't have a field force to bring in the nectar and pollen, these hives will need the resources to build back up...
     
  18. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    Hey,

    PilotBeekeeper, I need to involve my Pastor of my church in my beekeeping. Always need God on your side when it comes to his creations.

    PS good luck with your split. You do know if it works it wasn't just luck!