Lots of Questions

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Tia, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Yesterday I took 6 supers off my 4 hives. Lots of SHB. Some supers were almost empty and others were ridiculously heavy with honey. So all supers and QE's are off my hives in preparation for the goldenrod flow, which they can keep, in preparation for winter.

    I harvested the boxes today and got 5 gallons plus the honey draining off the cappings. After extracting, I put all the supers in the meadow for the girls to clean out rather than putting them back on the hives to be cleaned. One box was heavy with honey, but none of it was capped, so I put it in the freezer to kill the SHB. Should I have done that or should I have just put it back on one of my stronger hives to finish?

    I also found some spotty drone cells in a couple of the supers. Less than 10 per frame and about 2 sides of 3 frames. I had QE's on all the hives and all of the hives appear to be queenright although I haven't been down in the brood box--been putting that off for a cooler day. Does this have to mean I have no queen? If it's a drone laying queen, how'd she get through the QE? Could I have a laying worker in a queenright hive? I did notice when I was blowing the bees out of the supers that there were a lot of drones.

    Another question: I have a super that was slimed by the SHB. It's real nice white comb that I hate to get rid of so I cleaned it up with the hose, froze it, and now it looks pretty but it still has a yeasty smell to it. I'm thinking the girls won't use it and that the smell might even make them abscond. So, should I remove this beautiful comb and melt it down for another use? Can I reuse the frames?

    Any advice will be appreciated.
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    as to the shb problem I would freeze ALL affected frames first and then either place over a very strong hive or set them up outside for the girls to clean up. unless you see a lot of extensive damage with freezing the frames should be reusable.

    the scatter drone cells are likely explained by the slightly long time to hatch required for drones. If when you took off the honey you saw good population and no excessive population of drones then likely all is well with your hives. a quick look once you have had a bit of fall flow makes the guess much more certain.
     

  3. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Thanks, tecumseh. Lots of work and time for my very small freezer, though. But you made me feel better about those drone cells. The question remains though. . . does this mean the queen squeezed through the queen excluder? If so, I hope she went back down before I took the boxes off! That happened to me once before when the queen passed through the QE. I was very fortunate to find her and put her back. Now I'm a little suspicious and keep an eye out for a tresspassing queen. I didn't see one this time, so I'm hoping all's well. And if I might, one more question: In light of SHB, how does one store honey supers over winter? I presently use Certan for the wax moths and it works like a charm. Do I have any worries about SHB invading? Right now, I'm assuming if I freeze all frames, thus killing all eggs, the SHB are not actually attracted to empty boxes, but rather where the bees, honey and pollen reside, so not worries. Correct?
     
  4. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Don't want to change the post but thought it a good time to ask. Over the years i have heard some old time beekeepers say that queen right hives will have some laying workers also??? Many times i have placed empty drawn comb above a queen excluder and have drone cells appear on the bootom of the frames of honey. Has any studies been done on this? Jack
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    it is my understanding Jack that all hives have some laying worker but their laying is suppressed by a laying queen. Tia's description does make you wonder if distance from the central brood cluster (and thereby the queen) might encourage a bit of egg laying by a laying worker. I do know that this distance (at a certain time in the season) can generate the capacity of a hive to produce queen cells when they are perfectly queen right.

    if super frames were exceptionally clean (absolutely no honey and most especially not a speck of pollen) then I think??? the supers should be unattractive to the shb. I generally just keep my supers on hives until the first cold snap when I know the shb and wax moth are done for the year and then remove them from the hives. I do not use certan or anything else in my overwintered supers.
     
  6. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    I will be going into my hives tomorrow and will let you know whether or not my hives are all queenright or if I do, in fact, have a laying worker (I doubt it).
    tecumseh, this answers it for me. The frames will be frozen and then cleaned before I store them. . .the girls do a good job of cleaning them. . .so thereafter I will spray them with Certan and put them in the shed for the winter.
    Thanks for your help. I go foundationless with all my frames now and I just hate to get rid of such beautiful, non-toxic comb!
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    one of my old mentors would have told ya' that pulled comb is the critical capital for any beekeeper. protect that just like you would your bank account.
     
  8. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    I hear ya
     
  9. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    I've got to learn to always follow my gut! I didn't do it this time and I think I made trouble for myself. I checked my hives today, checking for "queenrightness" and honey and pollen stores. Usually I just look in quickly and when I see brood, larva and eggs with ample food, I close 'em up. Today, I went through each hive box by box, all the way to the bottom board (haven't done that in years!). All 4 hives are full of honey, pollen and brood distributed throughout the hive as we see in pictures. . .brood in a semi-circle in the center of the frame with a one-inch arc of pollen and the rest honey. Three hives have 3 and one has two boxes this way. Lots of bees in all and saw hive beetles in only one--lots of them on the inner cover. I had to push the bees out of the way to get to them. The bees are doing a good job of chasing them down. Problem is, I thought I would be a "good beekeeper" and check the hives all the way to the bottom board. In doing so, however, I broke 2 queen cells on hive #3!!! :shock: With the beautiful brood pattern, I can't imagine they were emergency cells or supercedure cells. They were located on the bottom of a frame in the top box and when I pulled the 2 boxes apart, I also destroyed the cells. One was completely destroyed and the other had it's bottom torn off. I believe I've read here that the bees won't repair that torn cell.
    Another thing: I'm using hivetop ventilators given to me by Beehandler. The bees have started to build comb off the top bars of the box below, building upward toward the inner cover. It's so pretty, I hate to remove it. But I gotta, don't I?

    So what do you think I should do next? Wait a bit and go in and see if I can find any eggs? Do you think those were, in fact, swarm cells and that the queen's still in there somewhere? Or do you think they're queenless and I screwed things up? Their attitude is great--not like I'd expect from a queenless hive.

    Look forward to getting your thoughts on this.
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The one building upward, I would add a super.

    The queen cells, I would forget about, but check the hive again in 3 weeks for queen right.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    snip...
    Their attitude is great--not like I'd expect from a queenless hive.

    tecumseh:
    sounds like to me there is some more information here than pure 'gut instinct'*.

    as usual, what Iddee said works for me also...

    *as a general rule I really do think that once a new beekeeper has obtain a bit of understanding and experience gut instinct ain't such a bad quality to hone and ALWAYS pay attention too.
     
  12. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Thanks, you guys. I don't know why I didn't think to add a super on those two hives! Will do so today since it's not too invasive and will go back in 3 weeks to check hive #3's queenright status.

    Yes, tecumseh, I swear to follow my gut in the future. Doing otherwise, I've found, leads to trouble.
     
  13. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Just thought I'd update you all and let you know that I went into the hives on Sunday and all is well. Those supers I added have white wax and the girls are filling the cells with nectar. At the rate they're going, I may have another harvest before the goldenrod starts.

    As for hive #3, I saw eggs and larva as well as capped brood, so the queen is working uninterrupted. So I guess those swarm cells were just that. . .swarm cells. They seem to have plenty of room, so I don' t know why they would be building swarm cells at this late date, but I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens.

    I also decided to put the West traps back on--that after speaking with Adolphus.
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Thanks for the update. Glad it came out good. Looking forward to seeing you on the 13th.
     
  15. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    The club's really looking forward to your visit, Iddee. I know they're formulating questions for you already!

    Please get in touch before then. Let me know if we're taking you and your better half out to dinner before the meeting.