Im a little lost with my beekeeping...

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Kevin, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    I feel a little lost with my beekeeping at the moment, not sure if my hives actually are queen less and not sure whether to join my new swarms that I got this weekend with these two swarms.
    I removed two tiny swarms this weekend. One hive had some brood and a perfect laying pattern and the other just started to build comb.

    Not sure what to do.....any advice will be much appreciated....

    Such a steep learning curve.

    Kevin
     
  2. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    When in doubt, at least put newspaper between the hives, and set your new swarm on top. But if there is a queen, she will kill the new queen.

    Not seeing a queen is not unusual. If you see open brood there was a queen there in the last 3 days.

    I don't hunt the queen unless I must, too much risk of injuring her by hunting for her.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Many forum members have thanked me in the past for suggesting they wait a week before deciding what to do. I am now suggesting you do the same. Let them alone for a week. Not even a peek. Then the picture will be much clearer.
     
  4. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Very small swarms are cast swarms that leave the hive with a virgin queen A queen emerges in 18 days and if the bees in the colony prevent her from tearing down and killing the other queens in the hive and cells she will swarm. She still has to develop go on her mating flights develop some more before she can start laying. It takes about 30 days from the egg for a queen to start laying, so a queen from a cast swarm will take about 12 days to start laying.

    As Iddee said leave them alone for a week or more.

    Evaluate the size of swarms when captured if the swarm is not large enough to turn into a productive hive quickly you might be better of combining with another week hive to have one productive hive rather than 2 that are struggling. If you have other hives that are overflowing with bees you could bolster the new swarms strength by adding bees and brood. Make sure there is a laying queen in the new hive first.
     
  5. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    Thanks guys,

    Iddee, remember I put a frame of brood in both hives, more than a week ago now, nothing happened. Three days ago the one hive still had nothing in it and the one had the eggs against the sides. I had to take a frame out of the second one yesterday and still never noticed much difference. No considerable difference. Thats why Im feeling lost....
     
  6. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    If there were eggs or just hatched brood in the frame you added and they didn't start drawing queen cells there was most likely a queen in the hive but she was unmated and needed the 12 days to mate and start laying. That being said queens are lost at times on orientation flights and on mating flights. Birds will take bees as a meal she could have wandered in to the wrong hive and been killed. if she did go missing by that time there may not of been viable larva the proper age to raise a new queen.

    Straight out advice if the swarm that appears to be queenless dose not have eggs and a laying queen when you go in and check it in a weeks time (As Iddee said leave them undisturbed) combine it with a hive that could use a few more bees. Don't add more brood hoping they will raise a queen as it will take the 30 days before she starts to lay and all the bees in the hive will be old and dieing off soon. put the bees somewhere were they can contribute now.
     
  7. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    OK. Ill do that. If there are laying workers and no queen, will the new queen that I introduce be killed by the laying workers?
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    might I ask Kevin what size of box are you setting these swarms into? and african bees correct?
     
  9. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    Standard Langstroth 10 frame hives. And yes Apis mellifera scutellata.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    if you are having a difficult time I would think you would be well advised to figure some way to reduce the size of the interior space and most especially since you are operating rearing scutellata. some understanding of natural nesting site size is usually a good place to get a grip on this kind of loosely held understanding. if you have only 10 frame hives small bodies or follower boards for deeps are good things to consider.
     
  11. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    The two new swarms are tiny, and the two queen less ones are big. I think I have nothing to lose if i join one with each.
    Will the laying workers kills a new introduced queen from above?
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    Will the laying workers kills a new introduced queen from above?

    sometimes yes and sometimes no... you are taking a large risk here.... I would not. with european bees if a box is nasty with laying workers I would rather knock the existing bees out on the ground and start over. very small swarms might be a place where smallish queen mating hives (half size frames) might be handy to have about.
     
  13. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Walvis Bay Scutellata

    Kevin

    I think that your local strain of scutellata may have developed strong survival traits to cope with your weather conditions. Your posts talk of absconding, swarming and throwing casts. With my local bees (mellifera) if the conditions deteriorate the bees stay put and could die ---- your scutellatas will abscond. Mellifera will swarm but the hives that swarm then throw casts are in a minority.

    If I collect a cast, I know it will take a lot of effort to build it to a producing colony. With the absconding nature of your local bees, it may not be worth the effort. In my area, multiple casts are infrequent, and the usual treatment for multiple casts is to 'throw' them together and let the bees sort themselves out.

    If you are getting calls to collect further casts it may be worth ----" I'm sorry I have run out of equipment. If you leave them alone they will fly off to a new home in a day or two."

    It may be worthwhile for you to set up a bait hive or two and hope that a prime swarm is attracted. In some parts of Africa. bait hives are regularly used and the 'beekeeper' does not manipulate the bees but just harvests the honey and wax. I gather from your posts that you want to do more than just that.

    I hope that these thoughts are useful to you.
     
  14. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I believe the smallish swarms are called after swarms--so named because they follow thew primary swarm and are MUCH smaller then the primary swarm, and always with a virgin queen. As stated above, your scutellata will abscond if they deem conditions unfavorable european strains tend to stay put again as stated above. Since your starting out in your springtime even the after swarms could develpoe in to full colonies assuming your nectar flows remain strong for a few monthes, and your willing to feed heavily if that isn't the case. Bait hives ( Nucs ) with old brood comb as a attractant works well.
    Barry
     
  15. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    I really appreciate your thoughts everyone...
    I won't be about for couple of weeks and think I'm going to join the hives tomorrow.
    The one with the possible aging workers Ill shake off onto the ground, they will end their way back in right? Do I remove the comb too? Ill give them the cast swarm with a possible virgin queen as they are the smaller swarm.
    The larger swarm in front which I'm 90% sure is queen less will get the swarm from Tuesday which has brood and a great brood pattern. The catch went well too so the queen must be ok. I think I should remove the supers for a while too that the queen can go to the bottom, there may be a bit congested but the supers contain not much.

    Im hoping it all goes well, Ill place the cast onto the newspaper above the queen less hive. Hope this works. Any pointers?
     
  16. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    So I saw my first queen today! In cast swarm that I got last week. Whilst throwing the bees off onto the floor to get rid of the laying workers I lost so many bees. And 90% of them went to sit under my hive, I helped them all back possibly defeating the point. Ill put the new swarm onto this hive tomorrow.

    I won't repeat this with the other swarm as I will loose so many again, or should I rather loose more bees and be sure to be rid of the laying workers, I saw a size of drone brood like my hand in the hive today so def a laying worker in there too, not much for the whole hive I don't think. i will add the cast to this one tomorrow As well. I hope Im going about this right.

    What you guys think?