Hive inspection Surprise surprise

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Gypsi, May 20, 2016.

  1. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I opened the dual boxes I put the basketball sized swarm in on the night of the hailstorm March 23rd. Bottom one they lucked out and had comb, but they didn't fit so top one was empty medium frames, and yes I did feed. But I think the bees were the wrong age and I didn't feed often enough. Tuesday a swarm went up in a tree, then the bees appeared to return to the box. Had to work long day Wednesday and it rained all day Yesterday. So today I located every empty medium frame I had (there were 8), and went out to see if they were over crowded as there was so much bearding on the box. And between the sticky board and the screened bottom board. Suited up and grabbed a smoker after I staged the empty box out in the apiary. Lid off, guess what, no comb drawn in the top box at all. Not that many bees up there, for all the back of the box and the sbb were covered with bees. Pulled the top box off and opened the bottom.

    first 2 frames were empty, just to make room. Bee bread, pollen nectar, 6th frame has a capped queen cell. 7th frame doublesided full of worker brood (future wax workers of america), 8th frame doublesided full of worker brood, except for an almost capped queen cell. and the 9th as well, plus a couple of queen cups on 9 that weren't full or capped.. 10th really sloppy honey comb in a foundationless deep frame with no starter strip.

    so. all the bees under the box and on the back had to be the swarm with the old queen. Except I never did find the old queen. But I stuck a nuc with a screwed on bottom board (just a piece of plywood) and a hole drilled in front with both screen and tin can lid available, under the hive and brushed the bottom board bees in. Took a dust pan out and swept more in. Shoved a screen in the front opening put a screened feeder lid on top and I'm going to take them some syrup.

    I am not sure whether to grab a queen cell from the mother hive and add to the nuc, or not. I have queens coming in Tuesday. I did open the front door on the main hive to be sure the new queen can exit to go on her mating flight, don't know how the old queen got out that 2 bee opening, and I am not at all sure if she is in the nuc, but with the screened front door I figure the bees will let me know. They have 4 empty frames and one with comb and some honey that has been previously frozen, While I go to work tomorrow and decide.

    And my little doublestacked nuc swarm from a month ago is queenless too, but they are pulling in lots of nice honey,
    They get a queen for sure. They are too small to have a front door for mating.
     
  2. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    fun times in the apiary
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yup. I think the swarm's queen was injured when departing the hive, I had the entrance reducer shut down pretty small. when I moved the bees from the outside of the hive into a nuc, I shut them in for a couple of days, they were ok, but when I opened the door they all went back to the hive. Darn shame, she laid a pretty pattern
     
  4. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    well my queens came on Wednesday but I had to finish pressure washing the front of the house before getting into bees and annoying them. Yesterday I had morning errands and it was cloudy, but the sun was out when I got home. Still didn't get to the bee yard until after 6:30 pm. But I have pretty docile bees and it is daylight til 8:30. So I stuck the queens in my pocket (they spent the night and day in their opened cardboard envelope on top of my refrigerator, warm and not drafty place, with a drop of water on the screen every 12 hours)

    Anyhow queens in pocket of my full suit, bee boots on, I lit my smoker and started with hive 1, which is the hive that had swarmed then returned to their hive at the top of this post. On my inspection May 21st I found 2 queen cells, one capped on frame 6 and one not yet capped on frame 8. Yesterday I found 13. Since I knew the frame 6 cell to be first capped, I intended to leave it, but on frame 6 there were 2 queen cells. I removed the one I thought was newest, and removed all of the other queen cells. The only bag in my bucket was an old ziploc with some sugar brick/fondant left over from winter. I put the 13 queen cells in it. As I did so I noticed a large striped bee with a circle of attendants near the cells. The old queen. She wasn't purchased, she was the March 23rd swarm queen. She possibly was injured getting out past my entrance reducer, not moving fast. I had left a queen cell on frame 6, but I returned the lady to her hive. She was a grand layer in her day. The bees can do their own removal. Her little followers went with her.

    And I went to hive 2 - the 3 box hive that had had a beeweavers queen, and had issued a large swarm in March. Their swarm is in a deep not too far away and clearly the queen is laying and viable in that hive. But the 3 stack showed robbing sign (chewed wax on the ground under the sbb) and diminished bees. This was way too much real estate for a small hive. Dusk was fast approaching, but I smoked them and popped the top. Top medium had 5 good frames with stores, no eggs, no brood, and 5 frames of good comb, some with honey in it, and a few large wax moth worms on each. I dug out the worms and coccoons from the comb and gave my hens a treat., set them aside. One wasn't too bad so I cut out the worms (big advantage to no foundation) and put it back in, set box on my little table and put lid on it. 2nd medium, same situation, moved the good frames to top box, cut worms out where I could and set frames aside for freezer. The deep was virtually empty, apparently I put the medium on too early last year or I stole too many frames of brood from the hive, at least 5 frames were not drawn out. I think I was thieving brood for another hive. Anyway, I pulled the deep completely, a worm in a couple of frames of comb but still the comb from this hive was pretty solid. I got in there just in time. I installed one of my queens in the medium frame I had cut moths out of, horizontally so the queen would not be trapped should an attendant die. By this time it was nearly dark so I put the one occupied medium back on the sbb, stuck in some crude entrance reducers, and closed it up.

    Frames with comb are divided between my freezers. The 2nd queen is back on top of the fridge, all her attendants alive, she is alive and looks good. Gave them a drop of water this morning. I brought the queen cells in and set them on the kitchen table to look at in a minute and try to figure out what to do with. I am not exactly set up for queen rearing around here but no telling what my inspection of another hive might show. Well some telling. I know hive 4 (nuc 3 being in the middle) has a good queen because I stole a frame of eggs from her not long ago. And I know the beeweavers swarm in the hive on the truck was kicking out dead brood after some rain got in around their feed jar. I fixed that last week.

    Anyway. I turned around and when I looked at the baggy on the table there was a queen walking around in it. I do not know if she stung the other queen cells or not before she started licking the sugar brick in there. Rain storm coming in soon, what the heck am I going to do with a queen? I had put a couple of the frames from hive 2 out under my driveway light, brushed bees off frames to be frozen onto them, so I had some bees. I had the little nuc bait hive next to hive 1 I had brushed outside bees into last week, went and got it. To my surprise there were bees in it, not a lot, but some, and 5 frames. I added my 2 lost bee frames from the drive, pulling a couple of empties, and put the little queen in it, and returned it to its spot in the apiary. It is small and fairly defendable and a different color so she can see where she needs to return to if she flies to mate. Just a little excitement in the apiary. hatched_queen_5_26_16.jpg queencells.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I see sunshine. More bee tending very very soon
     
  6. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    well shoot - the old queen took off with a swarm today, in tree, then in the air then either gone OR back in the hive without the queen. I opened a few hours later and there were a LOT of bees in that box. SomeBee robbed my nuc, that I had just put a caged queen with attendants in on Friday, and the only bees left alive were the queen and the attendants. So I split hive 1, stuck the split in a nuc, and gave them the caged queen, AND hive 1's spot on the stand so it could gather workers. I am afraid someone else's bees are robbing mine out, the robbers head northwest up high. Need more robber screens
     
  7. ibeelearning

    ibeelearning Member

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    Damn, Gypsi! You need a new sheriff!
     
  8. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    Wow Gypsi, if you we're having bad luck you wouldn't have any at all. Sorry my friend.
     
  9. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Bad luck and bad management. Keep hives strong and balanced. I have been gone since mid February most daylight hours, and I am still not sure there isn't a feral hive hitting the apiary. Lost another one yesterday I think, the one I requeened on Friday looks very low movement this morning, not being robbed anymore. Hopefully the queen is still in her cage, seeing if any "men-tees" want to come help and play with hive management, as I am going to probably move them in to a medium nuc and shut down the entrance and put them in a high traffic location, then take the larger half of yesterday's split down into a deep nuc.

    I am actually a bit worried about the larger 2 hives I have left, I think that hive 4 was under attack yesterday and that hive is huge for my place (maybe not that huge for anywhere else) 3 boxes because the first 2 were full, plenty of bees, fresh queen laying well, they requeened and mated her while I was gone to work, I only know because I found the failed swarm in a nuc without a queen. A lot of black bees and very gluey ones... Need to make robber screens
     
  10. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    well it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be today. The 10 frame medium with the caged queen that looked robbed wasn't bad at all, decent bee numbers, I reduced their entrance some more and released the queen.

    The smaller half of the split I stuck in a nuc yesterday had picked up plenty of foragers when I gave it the corner spot, so I moved it over, and that queen I lifted the screen so she could get out, but didn't fully release as it was kind of crowded, afraid I would lose her getting her in the hive. Will check in a day or 2.

    the larger half of the split lost the foragers off the corner, but still had plenty of bees for a 5 frame nuc, deep, and that is where they are now. Their queen was unmated so I moved their front door rocks over, hope she finds her way home if she is on a flight. I didn't see her but she is very young and likely I wouldn't, I did make sure I moved all bees.
     
  11. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    well update - I lost that 10 frame medium with the new queen within days. Robbers could have been my hives could have been feral or another beekeepers. I just had to straighten out the comb on the hive on the truck, sad thing that the queen did such a beautiful job putting the brood below the medium frames in that deep box, and the honey was all up in the frames. I cut it apart, rubber banded brood into medium frames, and put them in a medium on the truck with their deep box and dripping honeycombs above. Going out in a few to see if the rest of the bees got inside and to close that opening up very small. Robbing season is here in full now, and I couldn't wait any longer, they had already had a comb collapse in the one deep frame without fishing line that was in the box. Tis sad that I was so busy not to take care of such worthy bees, making up for lost time now.