Inspected a hive that had not been opened in 15 years today

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by bamabww, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    (Updated 5-4-12) Inspected a hive that had not been opened in 15 years today

    A friend had the opportunity to buy a hive from a widow who's husband had a beehive at his lawnmower repair shop. Her husband past away 15 years ago this summer. She finally decided to sell the shop and the new owner found the bees and offered them to my friend who had a hive of bees a couple of years ago.

    He asked me to help him open them up and the following pictures show what I found. When I arrived the bees were all over the front and clustered up underneath the bottom board.

    Photo 2 shows the honey super I pulled off and two frames I pulled to place in the new honey super(photo 3).

    Photo 4 shows the top deep with 2 or 3 missing frames but the bees had followed, more or less, the frames in the above honey super and built 2 complete combs from the bottom of the honey super frames to the bottom of the top deep. Also shown in photo 5.

    Photo 6 shows the comb we dug out of the top deep. I put 3 new frames with new foundation in the top deep.

    To help relieve the congestion, I pull two more frames from the top deep and placed them in another deep to the left of photo 1. We swept off the bees from the honey super into that deep as well. We tried to tie the comb from the dish pan into another deep to hopefully establish a third hive.

    I'm hoping the two new deeps with brood etc from the overcrowded hive will requeen and start their own colony.

    What should I have done different?



    P4270586.jpg P4270572.jpg P4270584.jpg P4270571.jpg P4270573.jpg P4270582.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  2. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Neat. And neat that a hive lasted 15 years.
     

  3. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    Dont ya just love bees....
     
  4. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I guess they learned how to deal with mites without human intervention. It's probably a good strain of bees.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    What should I have done different?

    tecumseh:
    to have made certain 'that' queen was saved in the process and grafted a cell bar or two from her eggs.
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Great pictures Wayne. :thumbsup:
    I don't know why but I was thinking that after 15 years it would have been impossible to get apart. That surprisingly didn't look as bad as I would have expected! I've seen hives that haven't been worked for 2 or 3 years where everything gets busted trying to get 'em apart.
    Good job. You have picked up some good genetics there I bet.
     
  7. junkhound

    junkhound New Member

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    I would'nt mind having a start of 15 year survivor bees. Hope you raise a lot of hives from them.

    junkhound
     
  8. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Great pictures, thanks for sharing.
     
  9. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    I was afraid I wouldn't be able to pry the top cover off but it came off much easier than I expected. Several of the honey super frames did pull apart as we lifted the super off and we had to slide a support underneath them as we lifted it up.
     
  10. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    Hey get them going so that I may get a package of bees from you next spring, or just a good queen from her would be ok, they sound to be a great hive to last that long.

    kebee
     
  11. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Wow nice..... But that hardware looks far too good for being outside for 15 years...... Just saying.....
     
  12. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Jackpot Wayne! That is awesome! Goes to show ya they can survive without us...pretty darn neat! Thanks for sharing those pictures...
     
  13. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    I'm surprised too that the hive ware lasted that long. We saw an abandoned hive in Hawaii. No one was managing them, and the box was totally falling apart.

    Talk about a great local strain you got there.
     
  14. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I don't want to sound too skeptical, but from your pictures, it seems almost impossible that the hive had been neglected for 15 years. The equipment is in unbelieveably good condition and the color of the frames' top bars is really very light. But whatever the case, you got what looks like an incredibly outstanding bargain.
    What could you have done differently? All sorts of things that could have emessed it up. :rolling: But, in truth, you handled it very very well. Now, what should you do? Follow the advice that's already been given and start raising new queens from this stock. Spread the good genes as widely as you can. :thumbsup:
     
  15. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    Isn't nature amazing!? Excellent story! Excellent genes!
     
  16. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    It was outside but under a shed with a metal roof but open all around. No water could hit the hive and only morning sunshine. There's no doubt in my mind it has been abandoned since the original owners death.
     
  17. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Well they have obviously been able to deal with mites, and SHB (being in the shade). Sounds like you struck honeybee gold :)
     
  18. bwwertz

    bwwertz New Member

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    Thanks for sharing! Let us know when we can buy some queens from ya! =) Awesome pics and descriptions!
     
  19. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    And one of them did. We inspected the hives again today, both the 15 year old one and the two new ones we started last week. The one where we moved two frames of brood have a queen cell on one foundation and are storing pollen / nectar. That's what we were hoping would happen.

    Not so lucky on the hive where we tied the comb to the existing frames. While the bees were still working in the hive, maggots have taken over much of the tied up comb and we had to remove a large quantity of that comb. This is the comb we had in the dishpan in photo 6. In hindsight we should have pull two more frames of brood from the original hive last week for this hive as well instead of trying to reuse / tie up the comb we dug out where there was no frame in the original hive (photos 4 and 5).

    There was not nearly so much bearding on the front of the original hive today but when we opened it, there were bees top to bottom on each frame we looked at. We decided to make a 4th hive and moved the entire top deep off the original hive to a new bottom board and with an empty honey super on top of it. That would be the deep shown in photo 4 and 5. So that deep still has 5 frames of the original hive and 5 new frames of foundation.

    We still haven't seen the original hive queen. But she will be either in the deep we moved from the original hive or in the bottom deep of the original hive. We'll check again in about a week and see if there is new queen cell somewhere. That's hoping and praying we didn't injure / kill the original hive queen in our looking / moving today.

    News of the hive has spread across the community and we had an audience watching today. All safely inside their vehicles but still it's the first time I've worked bees in front of people who are not beekeeps.
     
  20. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Bamabww said: "still It's the first time I've worked bees in front of people who are not beekeeps."

    Those are the best kind, easy to impress and are unaware when we goof up! :thumbsup: :lol: :mrgreen: