My day at MY beeyard!

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by PerryBee, May 21, 2012.

  1. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Spent yesterday and went out to look at my own bees. :thumbsup: Drove out (1 1/2 hours) and just took my time for a change. I knew I might have a couple of bad news hives and I was right. First two weak ones were gone, and I mean gone. No bees, no dead bees, just empty boxes (never really seen this before but maybe they just got tired of trying and gave up and left). Never had a hive abscond before if that's what they did.
    Now comes the interesting one. This one hive was doing really well and when I cracked it and set off the top box I figured it might be ready to swarm.

    I have a routine I go through with a hive I'm going through:

    First, visual inspection from outside, and then a light smokeing.
    Then outer cover comes off and upside down next to hive.
    Then, without removing the inner cover, I crack the top box, tilt it back and have a quick peek at the bottom bars of it (swarm cells search) and then set it slightly askew on the outer cover.
    Then I dive into the bottom box. If necessary I have a nuc box handy and if I happen to come across the queen early on I set that frame in it for safe keeping (seems to put me at ease)
    Once done the bottom box, I crack the inner cover off the top box and set it on the bottom box I just went through.
    Then I go through the top box.
    With the box not being worked on covered, the bees always seem to be calm.
    Same procedure most of the time.

    Well, back to this hive. I went through the bottom box and it was full so I shifted the inner cover and started going through the top. Frames 3 and there she is, a big beautiful golden coloured queen. I took the frame out and set it in my nuc box and covered it. Now, I figure I'll go through the rest of the top box and look for any cells that may be starting. There was a bunch of cups when I took my quick peek and figured for sure I would find something that I could use to split this hive up. Frame 4, nope, nothing that would work, on to frame 5 and HELLO! What have we here? An absolute twin to the first one! I put this frames aside and went back to the frame in my nuc thinking perhaps mental decripitude had set in but no, a queen in the nuc and another on this frame. Neither one of these was a virgin that was clear, both big abdomens, swollen and long. I'm thinking that my day isn't going to be all bad! :grin: Checked the rest of the frames and no cells to be found. Took my time and did my split and both have a queen. :thumbsup: (Probably mother/daughter)

    On to my next yard and one that was booming there (3 deeps) I am going to split.
    This hive fooled me this spring, it had limped along last year, never got a super on it but it built up last fall that I thought it had a chance. I threw a deep (3rd) super of honey on it for feed (so far away). Anyways I go through it and there is brood in all 3 deeps, good candidate for a natural split. But where is the queen? I am almost through the 3rd deep thinking, well, I don't have to find her but I'll finish up looking anyways. About 3 frames to go in the last deep and there she is! And she's marked????????????????? White, and almost worn off but clearly marked.
    I mean, I'll take it, but the last queen I ever bought that was marked was 2, maybe 3 years ago?????? Checked my records and nothing in there about a marked queen, (I don't usually bother having them marked). Anyway, she worked out for me and I did an easy strong split.
    Finished up all my hives, drove home the 1 1/2 hours, got home in time for a 5 minute shower and off to the live theatre with my wife and son. Watched 3 1/2 hours of Anne of Green Gables, came home and slept like a baby!

    Despite a couple more losses, today was a good day! :mrgreen:
     
  2. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Sounded like a good day...Crazy mystery about the marked queen. I went on a date night with my four daughters one evening about three weeks and watched live theater for the first time. It was the story of Anne Frank. Ironic you saw something with "Anne" too, ha! I really enjoyed it!
     

  3. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    Very good queen day! Got to like that!
    As for the bees absconding, heard a lot of that this spring here in the south, and other places.... Iddee mentioned a cause when he visited our club meeting last month... a new strain of nosema? cerana, I think, maybe he has more info.
     
  4. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    Thanks for the description of your routine! There are some good practices in there that I am going to adopt.
     
  5. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Great account of your day! i enjoyed reading it.

    Mayber that marked queen you dont remmeber was in a swarm you captured and put in that hive at some point? She could have been a queen from some other BK and you didn't see her when you loaded in the swarm?
     
  6. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    You must be living right, Perry! :)
     
  7. BoilerJim

    BoilerJim New Member

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    Sounds like your "Living the life of Riley" upthere in the far north ! :razz:
     
  8. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    Perry, as always enjoyed your post and the info you provided about going thru the hive. I also use the top (outer) cover for a base to sit the box one I'm not working but I don't turn it over as I think I understood you did. Is that to keep from crushing bees or ???
     
  9. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    You and Omie should join forces a put out a bee book. I enjoyed your telling of the visit with your hives. I 1/2 hours a way from your hives must have a story to it. Were you closer before you moved? Are you thinking of moving them to a closer location? The marked queen says that your hives have neighbors in the vicinity (were you aware of them?)
    Bottom line: With bees, always be prepared for the unexpected. You met the challenge beautifully.:grin:
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    Checked my records and nothing in there about a marked queen

    tecumseh:
    not so long ago I stopped in a yard just up the road that has a good number of hives that belongs to my neighbor BWeaver. I had my veil on and was having a conversation with the owner and casually helping then as we arrived at the last hive in the yard (stuffed back in the corner) the owner handed me a frame with queen on it that was very clearly marked pink. within the vicinity I am the only person that marks queens that color so I suspected the bees were likely a swarm from my own place a good mile or so away.

    and yes a very nice physical description of 'what I do'.
     
  11. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Exactly. If there are swarm cells (or even possibly swarm cells) I never want to accidentally crush them so I always set my top box on an upside down telescoping cover on a slight angle. No bees crushed, if anything falls (even possibly the queen) she will land in the upside down lid, etc.
    I used to always go through my top boxes when I first started keeping but after a few years of trying to find queens I realized all I was doing half the time was chasing her around. When I went through the top box, she probably dived into the bottom. By the time I got to the last frame in the top box she may have popped back up onto one of the first frames I inspected and then when I removed it to look for her in the bottom box, she had already returned to the top one. If I need to find her I found it much easier to just seperate the boxes to start. Also less chance of an accident (when placing frames back in a box) of crushing bees (or her) on the burr comb between top and bottom bars.
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Efmesch:

    My hives are still in Lunenburg where we lived up until last September. I believe the long distance combined with my infrequent visits during my "fall experience" combined to hand me my sad overwintering numbers. I am a hive away from 50% loss. :sad:
    My last trip was to ready them for travel, something I hope to do with half of them this week, the rest following blueberry bloom in mid June.
    You are right about hives in the vicinity. The blueberry grower on who's land my hives are on had 3 of his own hives last fall and is down to 1. It could be that this queen was one of his. He had bad losses the year before and must have bought a couple of nucs, maybe with marked queens?

    Another snippet I picked up on my last trip: I may have mentioned an older beekeeper friend who has always had 6 or 7 hives as long as I have known him ( around 8 or 9 years).
    He does absolutely nothing to prevent swarms (almost borders on encouraging them IMHO :lol:). He freely allows his bees to swarm and often just calls people he knows to come and collect them if they wish, a really nice guy. In the time I have known him he has never lost more than a single hive to overwintering. I attributed this to breaks in brood cycle, and almost always going into winter with a young queen. I just learned this spring he lost all but two. :sad:
     
  13. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    Glad your day went well!!! I thought for a little tiny moment a few days ago that my main hive had 2 queens. I found her, put her over to one side of the box I was working on, then got down into the next box after a few minutes and...there was a queen! I went back to the first box, and just poured over every single frame, but apparently she'd just moved boxes ninja fast.

    I *LOVE* your method for the inspecting process, and I am completely and utterly going to do this from now on. Thank you so much for sharing.