newbie with multiple issues

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by robobvious, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. robobvious

    robobvious New Member

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    Hello all! I'm a new beekeeper, new member, and this is my first post. I have a few issues you might help me with....

    First some basic info; I live in Massachusetts (Northeast U.S.), my bees are carniolans, housed in standard Langstroth hive (2 deeps + 1 super)

    1) Multiple queens; Bad weather, work, and a new baby have kept me away from the hive a little longer than intended. The hive seemed to be going very well and I was removing queen cells each time I checked the hive. After a 3 week lapse I opened the hive to find no less than 6 queens scattered throughout? I thought the first to emerge would have killed any others? Pressed for time I closed the hive thinking they will have to work this out. I did hastily build a swarm trap and placed in a nearby tree hoping I might reclaim some of my bees should one or more of these queens depart with many of my bees.

    2) Queen excluder; I purchased a queen excluder from Dadant and added to my hive with a super. It's been over a week and there has been no activity in the super at all. I took a look and it appears the bees do not fit through the excluder? There were many bees on top of the frames of the top deep and some were crawling on the underside of the excluder and seemed unable to get through it. Are excluders sized for certain bee types?

    3) Swarm traps; I built my swarm trap in a hurry with materials I had laying about. I designed it to hold several medium frames I had on hand thinking it may be easier to transfer bees to a new hive should I capture any. Do you think I would I be better off with an empty box rather than using the frames?

    Thank you for any advice you can offer!
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Hello robobvious and welcome to the forum :hi:

    1. Most, including myself do not cut out queen cells, it is a quick way to become queenless, harvesting queen cells while leaving some is a different story. With several queens out and running around things will get sorted out, their pheromones are not very strong when they are young. You could even hear them piping for each other so they can fight it out.

    2. Bee will not readily go through a queen excluder to get to bare foundation. Remove the excluder and let the bees move up and pull some comb, store nectar and pollen, and then (after making sure the queen is not above also) put your excluder in place.

    3. The swarm trap needs to be big enough for a swarm to want to move in, a ten frame deep box is just about right but I have seen them move into smaller things. Anything with a bee smell (old comb, a hive body where bees have once lived, propolis, bees wax, etc.) will be an attractant. Lemongrass oil will also help to attract them.
     

  3. robobvious

    robobvious New Member

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    Thanks G3, I feel a little better. I'll pull the excluder today. My trap is definitely on the small side. I built it in a panic thinking my hive would swarm as soon as the rain let up. I'm going to build two more suitable traps this weekend.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    roboobvious writes:
    After a 3 week lapse I opened the hive to find no less than 6 queens scattered throughout? I thought the first to emerge would have killed any others? Pressed for time I closed the hive thinking they will have to work this out. I did hastily build a swarm trap and placed in a nearby tree hoping I might reclaim some of my bees should one or more of these queens depart with many of my bees.

    tecumseh:
    was there still any eggs or larvae in the hive?

    sometimes the virgin queens emerge and none get the upper hand... this is typically how after swarms (which are typically small and headed by virgins) occur.

    if the hive did swarm and if you have emerged virgins this should have already happened (several days back) then when you inspected the hive the adult population should be reduced somewhat (typically about 50% of the adult bees will leave with the prime swarm.. ie the swarm that left with the old queen). if the population is not noticeably reduced then you might have a superscedure taking place rather than a swarming situation.
     
  5. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    No disrespect, but as a new beekeeper, can you tell the difference between a drone and a queen? You certainly wouldn't be the first make that mistake. Also, it's not unusual for new beekeepers to mistake drone comb, built on the bottom of frames, as queen cells.