Here is what I found what would you have done?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by ApisBees, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Stopped by at my cousins dairy farm and he has hives. 2 langs with 2 brood chambers and a 6 frame nuc that was a walk away split. I was out and looked thru them with him 6 weeks ago and all were queen right. The nuc had a newly mated queen. Hive 2 also had a newly mated queen but her brood was spotty, chalked it up to maybe she hadn't got into heavy laying yet. But was a little concerning. The 3rd hive has a last years queen and is doing as expected.

    Stopped by on friday nuc was still in the nuc box. This told me he hadn't been in the hives since my last visit when I told him the bees would be fine in the nuc box for another 3 weeks before needing to be transferred. First thought was O'Crap got to get the bees moved from the nuc into a lang. I imagined the nuc would be full of bees and plugged full of honey and expected to see queen cells and hoped the queen hadn't swarmed. The nectar has been coming in but not to fast so the nuc was not honey bound and the queen was laying solid brood in 5 frames. The bees had some cups built on the frames but hadn't started any queen cells yet. Transferred the nuc into a lang and went onto hive 2

    Hive 2 this is where we found a problem. The honey supers were in the same state as when left 6 weeks prier one mostly full and capped and the added one still empty. In the supers no brood, an emerged queen cell, 3 other queen cells that were torn down. The bees had the queen less sound. They are back filling the comb in the brood chambers with pollen and nectar. No queen was seen in ether super, no eggs, no brood. Just 1 1/2 super of bees. The hive looked like the last brood had emerged a couple of weeks earlier and the bees had recently made some queen cups on the frames. I be leave this hive superseded and the new queen was lost failing to make it back to the colony.
    The question is WHAT TO DO WITH THIS HIVE?

    Hive 3 was as expected to be found queen right storing honey although not as much as hoped for because of a slow flow.

    What would you do, given the information at hand? There are mutable answers and ways to deal with this situation. How would you handle it? Local queens are still available to buy. as well as having brood from hive 3 and the 6 frame nuc.

    Will post what my actions were and my reason why later ofter so have wade in.
     
  2. JPthebeeman

    JPthebeeman New Member

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    This late in the year I would combine the newly transferred nuc hive with the queenless hive. If in fact the queenless hive is queenless, its a win win for both. Your other option is to of course give the queenless colony a mated queen.


    ​...JP
     

  3. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    Since I'm currently in the same situation and I'm always interested in more hives here's what I'd do. Since the bees in there already may be passing good queen building age I'd trade a frame of emerging brood and a frame of open brood from both of the queen rite hives.
    in my case I combined the two queen less with the queen rite hive beside them to alleviate laying worker problems and started a nuc from a different hive. I hoped they would build multiple cells that I could put in a mating nuc and reseparete the hives after I had a laying queen.
    As of last night I only had one viable cell started so I plan on starting another nuc today.
    Understand these nucs don't have to build up for winter. The boxes I combined are already full of honey/pollen. I just need a queen.
    Ive still got a lot to learn so if anybody sees somthing I'm doing wrong please speak up.
    Apis, I'm anxious to hear your solution.
     
  4. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    Apis
    ​im still curious about what you did.
     
  5. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    What I'd do is give your cousin a talking to. If he treated his cows the way he treats his bees, he'd be out of business. Then I'd put Hive 2 on top of the Nuc using a newspaper combine.
     
  6. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I would give hive two a frame of eggs to see if they pulled out any queen cells, this would tell you if they were in fact queenless, if they were queenless then order a mated queen and get her in there.

    or

    Give give hive two another week to see if the queen is truly in there and starts laying, if not then combine with hive one and split back apart in the spring.
     
  7. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    With the sound from the bees, the way they were acting. I had the feeling the hive was queenless by the time I had the honey super off and had 2 brood supers. OK I am pretty good at spotting queens both mated and virgins, and after going thru both brood boxes I was 95% confident that the hive was with out a queen, mated, virgin, or other wise. So as JP suggested 1st I placed the nuc on top of the what I thought was a queenless colony with a bit of a twist. Because there could have been a virgin on her mating flight or I missed her and she hadn't started laving.
    1.) I placed the original brood super on the bottom board and placed the best frames for the queen to start laying in in it with pollen and brood to the outsides, and shook the remaining bees off the remaining brood frames it to the bottom box.
    2.) I placed a queen excluder over the bottom super and a honey super on top of it followed by another queen excluder.
    3. ) Next the nuc was placed on top with news paper between it and the queen excluder.
    4. ) Followed by another queen excluder and the 2nd origin brood box that the bees were shook into the bottom brood box.
    This gave the colony a laying queen. On the chance that I had missed, and not waited long enough the new queen. If she was present, she would have started laying in the bottom supper creating a 2 queen hive.

    In the original nuc position I placed 2 frames of brood with eggs in the nuc box out of hive 3 so the returning foragers could raise a new queen.

    I was out last weekend to check. News paper is almost completely removed from the hive. The top nuc queen was laying will no queen or sign of queen in the bottom super (no surprise). The supers were rearranged now with the brood on the bottom, 2nd brood box, queen excluder and honey supers.
    The nuc has capped queen cells. If the queen makes it back and starts laying which will be the last week in August the nuc will need to be supplied additional frames of brood and young bees from the established colonies to make it thru the winter.

    The purpose of this manipulation technec was to get a laying queen in to the colony but still preserve the chance that there could bee a queen in the hive that needed more time to start laying.
    Placing brood into the colony would have been a risk as the bees in the hive were getting older in age as with no brood remaining in the hive all the worker bees are over 3 weeks old. Over 1/2 their life span at this time of year. By the time a new raised queen would have been mated most the original bees in the hive would have been dead and not able to support the new queen.

    This is the way I dealt with this queenless hive in this situation and the reason for doing so this way.
     
  8. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    Sounds like a plan to me.
     
  9. RayMarler

    RayMarler New Member

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    I know, I'm coming in late to this party, but...
    I would have caged the queen from the nuc and set her on top of the top bars of the hive in question. If they were queen-less, they would have calmed right down and come to greet the queen with tongues out feeding her through the cage. If this was the case, I'd have given them the queen and let the nuc sit to make a queen of their own, as a backup. If they rejected the queen in the cage, I'd assume they probably had a virgin (doubtful I know with a queen-less roar going on) and would have swapped in one frame with eggs from the stronger hive or from the nuc. Also, keep in mind that I'm not near as far north as you and am not privy to your timing for winter coming on.
     
  10. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Acceptance is greater when a queen is introduced with bees of her own and on frames with brood that carry her pheromones on them. It is more risky to introduce just a queen especially with bees that are older in age. There was no brood in the hive not even drones so the youngest bees in the hive would have been at least 3 1/2 weeks old, not the prime age for readily accepting queens or starting to raise another queen from a young larva.
    I have raised and mated queens on queen right colonies before with great success so giving the bottom brood box with the original bees another week to let a queen start laying if they had one was worth it. I wanted also to get the bees in the hive working and building a strong young worker population. There was no sign of any laying workers in the colony but that would not stay that way for long if no queen was present. Once a laying worker is in the hive, queen acceptance becomes even more challenging. It was the manipulation that I felt that would have the greatest chance of success in turning this hive queen right in as short of time possible.