This does not look good....

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by litefoot, May 11, 2013.

  1. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    About 3 weeks ago, I installed a nuc in a 10-frame deep. There were several marginal weather days, so we had to move the nuc into the deep in one move (all frames together) without looking for the queen. At the same time, I did a newpaper combine onto the nuc with a medium from a hive that was busting at the seams. I thought it would give the nuc a nice boost while relieving pressure off the other colony. The combine seemed to go well, and activity around the outside of the hive looked good the last couple of weeks. Today, I opened things up and to my great disappointment I saw frames covered in capped drone brood. I couldn't see any worker brood. I either started this nuc with a drone-laying queen or a dead queen and subsequently laying workers. How can I tell the difference? In addition, now that I was able to separate the frames of the nuc, I found two of the 5 frames were bare foundation. Argh!. I didn't see any queen/emergency cells which leads me to believe the drone-laying queen idea. How should I handle this with the Ag center where I bought the nuc? Not sure if introducing a good queen will save the colony at this point. Can this hive be saved?
     
  2. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    3 weeks all viable brood that was worker will of hatched so you don't want to save any of the drone brood. put a week colony in the place of the drone laying colony and shake the bees off the frames 20 + feet from the colony so the workers can fly back to the colony. A laying worker or drone laying queen will not make it back. Freese the comb to kill the brood and any mites and place it back on the colony for the bees to clean out and reuse. If you want to split this colony do so in a weeks time when by talking brood and bees to make a new nuc.
    If you can find the queen that is only laying drone brood you may have a case for the nuc being put together with a unmated queen, if not doing a combine is a risk hive manipulation that could of caused the demise of a good laying queen. Especially during a time that the weather was not inducent to the bees flying and gathering nectar.
    As for the 2 frames of foundation they should not have been in the nuc. you payed a preamium for a nuc because the frames are drawn and the queen is laying with brood of all ages in it.
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    A drone laying queen will leave a single egg in the bottom of each cell. Laying workers will leave several eggs in each cell, some deposited on the sides of the cells as their shorter bodies do not allow them to reach the bottom when depositing their eggs.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    when you did the combine which part of the combine was on the top and which was on the bottom?

    since you combined the hives I would assume you will have to eat this mistake yourself.
     
  5. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Tec, I put the deep with the nuc on top and the medium on the bottom with the newspaper in between. Yesterday, it got cloudy while I was inspecting, so I couldn't look for multiple eggs in cells. But I will go back today and look for that as well as the remote possibility of finding the unmated queen. Now, how to proceed...Apis, in addition to this colony, I have two other colonies; a strong 2nd year colony in two deeps and a 2-week old newly installed package that is doing very well. What if I install a new queen (in a cage) in the original position after I remove the drone comb and shake the bees off away from the hive? What time of day would be best?
     
  6. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    OK, I found a local beek who had a queen, so I shook out the bees and saved the best frames from the two deeps and combined them into one deep. Utter chaos ensued as the daytime foragers returned while I was doing the deed away from the hive. But things are calmed down considerably and I have a lot of bees in the single deep that flew back. The new queen is installed in a cage with a candy plug. she will have a couple of drawn frames to lay in immediately upon her release. So essentially this is the same as installing a new package. Hope I did the right thing. There is not joy in dumping a pile of nurse bees on the ground to perish.:|
     
  7. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    With no nurse bees, who is going to care for the queen, and for any eggs she lays now?
     
  8. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Considering that you got short-changed on the frames, could it be that other, built frames you have were of drone brood sized cells? ... either supplied with the nuc or built after you filled it up with bees from the medium super.
    I'm just raising a question for consideration as a possible explanation. Maybe the queen you got was fine, but she laid drone eggs because the cells she had were drone brood cells. If that's the case, it would be a shame to eliminate her---Of course, if the drones you found had developed in worker sized cells, I'm obviously off mark.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I think???? the thinking is Omie that some older bees will revert to nurse bee status.

    of course if you do it properly you can often add nurse bees to a colony with little problem. one frame of open larvae from another hive plus any nurse bees would certainly make the arrival of the new queen less risky.
     
  10. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Thanks ef, that's something I had not considered...and something I'm going to write in my notebook. But I think the queen met her demise when I did the early combine.

    I wish your "I think????" had fewer questions marks behind it.:lol: I hope you're right.

    You know, Lynn and I talked about adding a frame of brood and the attendant bees, but we weren't sure. We had already buttoned things up and after stressing the bees as much as we did, decided to leave them alone. I often refer to your good advice that if you have doubts, then don't do it.
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    ""I think???? the thinking is Omie that some older bees will revert to nurse bee status.""

    I will remove the question marks. I "know" the foragers will revert back.

    I set trap outs with a frame of brood and eggs, without bees. The only bees trapped are foragers. They tend the brood, build queen cells, and draw comb. They convert the nectar brought in into honey and cap it. They guard the hive. They clean the hive and remove debris.