I screwed up!

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by PerryBee, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Well, I guess we all have those moments. :roll:
    Yesterday I was out to a yard and went through 7 of the hives there, leaving one for today.
    At one point I found a hive where everything seemed normal (not overly strong for sure, but OK). This hive had no brood whatsoever though, but did have a queen roaming around. It's too early here for new queens so she has to be the wintered one.
    Anyway, I put a frame with eggs in it from another hive, but I didn't pinch her. I figured I would see if they tried to raise one and if not I am getting queens shortly anyways and then I would just re-queen. I also had another hive near it that was bursting at the seams and I marked it to pull at least 2 nucs off it. At the last moment (for what ever reason) I decided to switch the two hives positions, setting back the boomer a bit, and giving the weaker hive a bit of a boost.
    Well, I went back today to do the one hive I had left.
    What a scene! :shock: :eek:
    I am not sure what I did, but in front of the weak hive (now in the strong hive position) was a bloodbath! Thousands of dead and dying bees. I lifted off the 2 deeps and the bottom board was an inch high in dead bees, they couldn't get through to remove them! I cleaned off the bottom board and replaced it and put the boxes back on and as I was replacing the cover they were already hauling out more dead and wounded.
    In all my years of keeping I have never seen a result like this one. It was as ugly as it gets (for me anyways).
    I figure at the worst I killed off the colony with the queen that wasn't laying, but what a waste! :cry:
    Days like this my smiley avatar seems inappropriate.
     
  2. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    How do you explain what happened? I realize the bees didn't read the books about what they were supposed to do, but....that bad???:?:
     

  3. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Mmmmm I think you owe all of us some pie this time..... :lol:


    just like I decided to open feed about 100 ft away during the very hot January weather.... They just robbed out the two weakest hives.......... Live and learn.
    Always open feed during dearth season here without issue.
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I'm stumped fellas. I've switched hive positions lots of times with nothing like this happening. The only differnce that I can tell is the returning foragers did not like what was going on in the hive with the non-laying queen, and took it out on the entire colony. At least the good queen and all those bees and brood are safe in the old weak hive position.
    This was a needless death of thousands of bees and not something I ever hope to repeat. I should have just left well enough alone.
    What a waste.
     
  5. Bees In Miami

    Bees In Miami New Member

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    Dang PerryBee!! :eek: I am verrry sorry to hear this! :cry: Don't beat yourself up...you had no way to see it coming! :cry: Sorry bud...
     
  6. CarrollwoodBees

    CarrollwoodBees New Member

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    OMG, you must be sick about it. I would be. It just seems you never know with bees. I don't see how you could have predicted that. I have switched hive positions for just that reason and it went well. Sorry...
     
  7. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I am glad you posted about it; I have one hive that is weaker and its neighbor really strong and I was thinking of switching positions. This gives pause for thought! Maybe too many bees started coming empty handed rather than loaded with nectar and pollen and they identified the incursion as robbing and fought like heroes! Perhaps other hives joined in.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray Member

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    you have my sympathy
    You sure you haven't got a moron with a RAID can? I think there is something rotten in N.S. and it aint dead fish. Keep us posted
     
  9. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Sorry to hear this. How is the nectar flow lots of bloom and dandelions out? Sounds like you created a robbing defensive condition with the bees because of a lack of nectar coming back with the returning bees. even if there is flowers weather can effect the abundance of nectar being produced by the plants. on a different day the results could have been different. one never knows. I move frames between hives to equalize but alway during a good spring flow with lots of forage available.
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Only a guess, but I'm thinking there was no flow. It only works when there is a flow.
     
  11. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Sorry to hear about that Perry! It's really odd. That's one of those times you just have to scratch your head and wonder. :confused: :dontknow:
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry for your losses Perry. I felt that way when I lost my 2nd first year hive to robbing, like there just is something I should have been able to do. Sometimes they are just not strong enough, and no amount of moving will do.

    I'm nursing 2 weak hives along, but flow here is starting, so the bigger hives are off foraging, I only fed the weak ones Sunday.
     
  13. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Perry, most people would have been too prideful to share this, but you've turned your bad experience into a golden nugget of wisdom for the rest of us. I'm making note of this one in my bee journal. Thank you for this and all the other ways you've been a great friend to us all. And I'm sorry for what happened.
     
  14. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Exactly! I was contemplating doing the same move and with even less nectar coming in!

    Someone here used the signature line " I learn from my own mistakes and yours too if you give me the heads up!"
    We don't live long enough to personally make all the mistakes.
     
  15. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    perry,
    i am thinking on the lines too of what apis, iddee, and frank said, little flow or no flow.

    in the spring season i am very cautious about what i do before a flow comes on, or is just starting. i am not one to switch hive positions, like apis i move frames to equalize. may sound funny but *i don't like to mess with or muck up the mojo going on in a good strong colony to save a weaker one, :grin: other than seeing no brood, giving the weaker hive several frames of brood from the boomer/s, wait and watch. my concern would have been seeing no brood in the hive from the queen that overwintered. (i am sure you were, why you added the frame of eggs). giving it frames of brood would be a judgment call as well, might buy one sometime until the hive can be requeened, or joined with another at a later date.

    btw what litefoot said: "most people would have been too prideful to share this, but you've turned your bad experience into a golden nugget of wisdom for the rest of us."

    thanks perry for your post :grin:

    ps * just my quirky thinking and methodology.....:lol:
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  16. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    yes... although you can 'generally' get away with this in a flow you also don't really want to switch stuff around at almost any time when there is a large difference in the population of the hives. very obviously the field force of the larger hive simply overwhelmed the weaker hive. in beekeeping there are boundaries in almost everything that you really don't want to over step.

    in such cases you can also (I do this much more often than literally switching positions) is to do a paper combine with a queen excluder (I think it helps to place a feeder in the top box with just a little feed) and then once the population from below has boosted the top box (usually doesn't take more than a couple of days) I then set off the top box in it's original position. in the process of doing this if you also have a top entry you can utilize this by placing this to the back side of the stack and then when you split the two units place the bottom board entry of the top box in the direction of the top entry and actually capture much of the field force that was using the top entry.
     
  17. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Thanks for this post Perry. If I'm understanding correctly what happened is the hive that had the returning bees from the other hive saw them as robbers?
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    one saw the other as robbers and the other saw the inhabitants of their hives as foreign.
     
  19. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    And it must have been an epic battle judging by the casualties! :sad:
    I went back yesterday and there were no more dead bees out front. The traffic seemed good, and I saw lots of pollen going in. I believe there are 2 possible outcomes for this hive. My hope is that they are now raising a new queen on the frame of eggs I put in there, or, the non-laying queen survived and I will have to re-queen in a week or two. My guess is that the weaker bees and the queen were dispatched by the large number of returning foragers from the stronger colony.
     
  20. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    Sorry Perry :-/

    So, I take the lesson here is this 'switching' should be done during a flow and not with hives of large population differences.....? Is that correct?

    I did this switching business last week and quickly returned the hives to their original place -one hive was much larger than the other. After returning the hives to their original spot, one hive developed a beard and never lost it until I put another super on it today. I puzzled over why the bees would not go back to their original hive....maybe more queen pheromone?

    tecumseh, I was impressed with that newspaper/excluder trick you showed me, I'll do that some time for sure. This past week however, I just took a frame of bees and put them in an empty hive body above and did the newspaper between them. They had united inside 24 hours and I removed the extra hive body. :)