Strong to weak hive???????

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Michbeeman63, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    I had a 2nd year hive that I split May 1st. boiling over with bees. I supered the hive I split immediately and got a full honey super in about two weeks, making me add a 2nd super, and a third anticipating the need for space, even after the split. I bottom supered, and did not use a queen excluder. The split was five frames from this hive, which they quickly replaced. I left the queen, at least that was what my inspections showed from the nuc.

    Since the middle to end of may my hive has not produced any more surplus honey and the bee population seems drastically lower.

    If this hive lost its queen, would this explain the drop off in production since the hive would have to create a new one, and no new bees would be produced in this period. I tried to inspect for larvae and eggs this week, but this hive is so hot, I wasn't able to get too deep into the brood before an all out war started. This is not a new characteristic of this hive. It has been nasty all year. The split was an experience.

    the split is going pretty good, yet not producing any surplus honey. It is about 15 frames full in the brood and a honey super is on.

    I know it has been very hot in Michigan in June and july 90's to 100's and this may play some role.

    any advise? should I remove the 3rd super since the 2nd hasn't progressed.

    appreciate any help.
     
  2. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    A change in the colony's disposition that is that radical, usually indicates something radical has happened. Loss of the queen will cause such a different behavior. Until the new queen arrives. As for the super, are there bees still working it? if so no leave it on assuming there is still a nectar flow on in your area. If no flow, and a handful of bees, shake them out, remove it and save for a better day. One more thing, If your hive is still quite weak, even if you still have a queen there, but are being robbed out by another stronger colony, then you will pay as well.
    Barry
     

  3. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    based on the timing of a split on may 1, would it be possible to still have bees in the hive if I had lost my queen then? I know the hive would likeley reproduce a new queen, but could that explain a drop in bee population, and major lag in production? Just trying to make some sense of this change.
     
  4. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    when you did the split did you make sure you had frames of eggs in both hives. it sounds like the queen went to the new hive. lack of surpluss comming in is usually do to nothing is out there to be brought in. When you mix a hot day and a box full of ladies with nothing to do they tend to get a little bit agitated as there is more bees to deal with. I would suit up and try to get into the hive to see what is going on as soon as possible. or ar least pull a frame of eggs from the other hive and insert into the hive you think may be queenless and trade positions of the hive in the afternoon.
     
  5. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    all of the hives are in the same space. no real difference in sun exposure.

    could the hive have swarmed, even with the split in May? I never saw it occur but it was a thought.

    When I did the split, I took 5 frames from the top, two with primarily honey, and three with brood. Is it too late for the hive to create a new queen and survive? If I am queenless, would it be better buy a queen?

    Guess, I have some inspecting to do. Not looking forward to this since I get covered with bee stingers when I go deep into this hive. Would be great to have a new queen with less aggressiveness anyway.

    thanks for the help
     
  6. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    Update on my hive. Inspected and there is no brood at all. No sign of eggs, larvae, or any capped cells. My assumption is that this hive lost its queen. How is a question, will probably never know. Maybe it swarmed and a new queen was formed, and she got killed on her mating flight? Maybe I rolled the queen when I did the split. Maybe I took the queen with the split. All that aside, need some advice.

    I have 4 other hives which two were brand new installs, one was a dead out install, and one is the split from this hive. I plan to extract the honey from the super, and from the 2nd deep since is capped honey. the whole reason I am in this hobby. I plan to put the spun out deep and honey super on my other hives in anticipation of a honey flow. These are better than empty frames with no comb. Finally, will put the bottom deep, which has some bees and some uncapped honey on one of my weakest 4 remaining hives. My thought is that this may get filled out and capped in a good flow in late summer, early autumn. A sheet of paper between the existing hive and this deep with some bees will help them combine.

    If I see no capped cells of brood anywhere, just capped honey in the top and 2nd brood, and uncapped honey in the bottom. Is it possible the queen just stopped laying and is lurking waiting for a flow? This would mean she hadn't layed eggs for quite a while, and I find this hard to believe. Just playing devils advocate. I believe this hive has no queen. My hive only has a fraction of the number of bees as when I did the split so I think the queen left the building. These may very well be bees from my other hives robbing this hive.

    Just looking for some experienced insight.

    appreciate it.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Hi Michbeeman. You've got so many questions flying, one doesn't know quite where to start.:roll:
    You've got a lot of thoughts and considerations --- Let me start with this: Is it possible the queen just stopped laying and is lurking waiting for a flow? They say that the most desirable queens "know" how to adjust their laying to suit the seasonal variations in honey production. But I've never heard of them totally stopping laying during the summer, only in the winter. I would assume, as you do, that your queen is gone. Another indicator of the presence/ absence of a queen is the hives behavior. If they're calm and collecting, maybe she's still there.
    Comes the big question: do you want to "play" with bees for the sake of learning and experimenting, or would you rather be totally practical and work toward honey production?
    If you're in to learning, I would suggest giving them a frame of eggs/young brood and see how they handle them. If they raise queens, you've got your answer.
    If you want honey, uniting them with another family (as you mentioned) is the way to go. If you think that you have laying workers (not likely since you found no eggs) be careful with the uniting process--laying workers don't tend to accept a "demotion" easily.
    If you decide to "experiment", you can still decide later on to unite hives.
    So many options--why can't all decisions be easy, cut and dry?
    :mrgreen:

     
  8. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    I had considered the addition of a frame of brood from one of my other hives. My worry is that the number of bees is drastically down, and it is going into August. Doesn't it take up to 45 days from adding the frame with eggs before a new queen is made, and she lays eggs. Basically I'm into late september before I get any new bees. My thought is that this will be too late to build up for winter. Any advise on this would be appreciated. Would this hive have enough time to rebound in population for wintering. The other concern is wax moths and ants. This hive being so weak and apparently queenless, leaves it susceptible to wax moths or other robbers ants, mice etc.

    it is amazing the different manners of dealing with this loss.

    appreciate the help.
     
  9. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    well if you do put the frame of eggs in now by 30 days she should be laying and you can always add brood from other hives to keep the numbers up till then, and with you adding brood to the hot hive they now have young to feed so they will get there behinds out there foraging rather then hanging around waiting to sting you, plus the moment you have a laying queen you can feed like mad to prep them for winter, just remember to take the 1st frame of eggs you want your new queen raised from from a hive that has the gentleness that your looking for.
     
  10. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    use the frame of eggs to see if they start a queen cell if so you got a few options. reduce the hive down to a nuc and let them raise a queen. combine with another hive or buy a queen if you can find one this late in the year.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    to riverrats list....
    consider feeding just a bit <often times this tells you fairly quickly if you have a queen on board.

    at some point it is better to combine a hive and wait for another day than to jeopardize the equipment (everything left worth saving???).

    and a snip...
    I supered the hive I split immediately and got a full honey super in about two weeks, making me add a 2nd super, and a third anticipating the need for space, even after the split. I bottom supered, and did not use a queen excluder.

    tecumseh:
    I am not certain why you wanted to bottom super which in this case sounds totally inappropriate and has the net effect of splitting the boxes with an empty space in between.

    just sounds to me like you created some of this problem yourself (not pointing fingers here since certainly I have made my own fair share of blunder with 'the girl'). on most ALL situations you do not want to be adding extra space willey nilley< as a beekeeper maintaining space is somewhat to highly important. in almost any situation I can think of in making splits or nucs you want to size the box to the existing cluster and add some space a little at a time as the hive growsd.

    and a question..
    did you use a mated queen with the splits or did you do a 'walk away split'? <really just a cat curious kind of question here.
     
  12. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    sorry, Tecumseh,
    it was not a mated queen.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a efmesch snip...
    Is it possible the queen just stopped laying and is lurking waiting for a flow? They say that the most desirable queens "know" how to adjust their laying to suit the seasonal variations in honey production. But I've never heard of them totally stopping laying during the summer, only in the winter.

    tecumseh:
    the carnoilians had a reputation for ramping up brood prior to a dominant seasonal flow (I think this is what is sometimes call 'genetic memory' in some academic circles) and TOTALLY shutting down egg laying two days after a major flow stops. I think one of the lines of bees developed by Dr Larry Conners a long time ago in Florida displayed this trait directly (seem to recall it was of the Cale line of bees named after Bud Cale who worked in rearing bees for Dadant and who commonly had a column in the ABJ decades ago).