Old rotten hive boxes have a colony in them

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by lindnova, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. lindnova

    lindnova New Member

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    First of all I am familiar with bees as my dad had bees when I was little and my uncle ran a bee business, but my personal experience is low. I was going to join a local club and start keeping next year, but this colony got me excited to try and get them now.

    ​I have an old hive with two deep brood boxes (sat unattended for over 14 years) that have a wild colony in but the frames are rotten and full of bees and a general mess. I put another box on top in hopes of luring the queen up there and then dumping the old mess after most of the brood matured.

    ​Put the box on Saturday and checked on Tuesday and lots of bees, but no comb made yet. Couple of big beetles also = bad. I have new frames with wax coated plastic foundation.

    ​Any thoughts? Should I wait longer or bit the bullet and try to salvage and wire some of the brood into the new box and try to find the queen to get her in the new box.

    ​I know starting this may not work, but what the heck. They are either going to swarm, leave or die in the mess they are in anyway.
     
  2. ibeelearning

    ibeelearning Member

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    I'd give it more time. They been doing whatever the hell they want for 14 years, I expect it will take more than 3 days to reform them.

    I would be tempted to band in some comb in the new box... but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea. If you had a colony to borrow from, open brood in the new box might help move them, as would honey stores when your dearth sits in. I haven't a clue what the Minnesota bee calendar is like.

    And, welcome to the forum. :hi:
     

  3. lindnova

    lindnova New Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    Right now we have clover everywhere, so I thought they would be looking for at least more storage. We'll see what is going on in there on Saturday.
     
  4. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    If you have a flow they should build comb. Give it some time.
     
  5. lindnova

    lindnova New Member

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    Update - I am too obsessed with them; newbee right now.

    I got ansy and tried to pull the two old boxes apart this morning. Boy did they get mad and I failed anyway as the boxes are stuck - I got the edges apart but there is comb holding it together and between that and the rotted wood starting to give way I gave up. I was going to get the boxes back up on the bottom board as it is off now, but with so many fliers and bearding on the front I couldn't even grab the boxes. I had a jacket and veil on, but no shirt underneath as it is super hot and humid today and I didn't want to bend over and let them in down my pants. Those bees followed me for quite a ways away from the hive.

    I did nail some lath over the holes in the corners - kind of worried about robbing later on with too many wide openings. I will have to come back next week with a helper to lift the two boxes up on the bottom board and get the reducer in proper.

    ​I did check the new box and they are gluing propolis all over the frames and no comb yet. I did pinch a bee and got stung in the hand - good I am not allergic as I wasn't sure because I haven't been stung by a honeybee for years. I put a sugar water feeder bottle in per my uncles advice to help them get comb. Last week there were few foragers, but this week I am seeing them all over the clover which is good. Basswood should be flowering soon also. The hive is very full of bees and seeing a few drones so I assume whatever is going on below is ok for now. Once I get the boxes leveled next week my plan is to stay the course and hope by next spring they are up in the new boxes and I can start a clean colony next year. I also am assuming there are mites in there and hopefully nothing worse. I should be able to see evidence of those problems later in the year.
     
  6. ibeelearning

    ibeelearning Member

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    so... curiosity stung the cat? patience grasshopper...
     
  7. lindnova

    lindnova New Member

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    Checked the hive today. The new deep on top had some good action. Three full and partially capped frames. Six half full of honey and mostly drawn out frames with a few larva on one. The middle frame has the lower 2/3 filled with eggs. Couldn't find the queen.

    Put another deep on top with a queen excluder. Put the full honey frames up there.

    All good for now. Still not sure what I will do come winter. Still not sure if I should over winter this one of just take the honey, run and start clean next year.
     
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    ah give over wintering a try, good experience, but get some local advice on space and feeding to do it.
     
  9. BKB

    BKB New Member

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    I have the same thing. Going to let them over winter.
     
  10. lindnova

    lindnova New Member

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    I have decided that I want to over winter.

    Update on progress. I did dive in and pull the old frames, clean burr comb and replace bad rotting boxes about a month ago. The old frames and comb are nasty - replaced some frames that didn't have much brood on them and planned on replacing the rest in spring. Was going well.

    A week ago I put on mite away quick strips. I think I took off the paper that was supposed to stay on.....

    On inspection after 7 days I removed the remains of the strips and found empty cells only with some honey in the lower box. Second brood box had very few larvae in royal jelly and no eggs could be found. I am worried the queen is gone. I guess I will know by this weekend whether to order a queen or let them go. I
     
  11. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    MAQS are known to be hard on queens. I would only do one strip at a time.