Tricky cottonwood redux

Discussion in 'Swarms, Cut outs, and Trap outs' started by cstephen, May 9, 2011.

  1. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

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    It’s been a few weeks on this trap out and the nuc box still isn’t as full as I expected. Bees are exiting the trap and it appears that they cannot get back in and the trap box is slowly filling; but it’s only about half full.

    The few egg cells I put in do not seem to have been attended to and I’m starting to worry. I had a very hard time acquiring what little egg comb I put in there and it seems that I have little chance of getting any more.

    Should I just buy a queen and introduce her?

    If so, what? Italian? Australian? Any recommendations?

    I’m still quite new to this bee keeping business, but I’m fascinated and fearless. I’ve gotten very good at catching bees; I just need to learn a lot more about keeping them.

    Claude Stephenson
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    The eggs you put into the bait hive should have been capped on day 9, a queen cell should have been started a few days after you got everything set up and capped in 7 to 8 days.

    If you do not see a queen cell by now and it has been "a few weeks" (need a better count of the days really) it is too late for them to make a queen cell from the eggs you gave them. Yes buying and introducing a queen will work also. As far as breed of queen, I would look around for some one close and buy what is available ($15 to $25 plus shipping should put you in business)
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Yes, we need a better day to day time. Did you check the eggs the first 12 days they werein the trap. If so, what did they look like then? If not, has it been 32 days or more since you put them in? If not, I would wait until 35 days after you put the eggs in and then check for eggs and larva.

    Then buy a queen if needed.
     
  4. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

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    I put the eggs in Tuesday April 26, so, two weeks. I'll check tomorrow for caps and evidence of queen cells. I'm still not sure if I actually got eggs.

    A new wrinkle. I local beek leaving town offered me two Langstroth nuc boxes with queen cells in each. I'm a top bar keeper with no viable hives so I'm taking them. I'm thinking that I can combine the bees in the two Lang nucs with the bees I caught last week from the broken up swarm and give them one of the queen cell frames. Then put the other queen cell frame in the trap out box in the tree.

    I think if lean the Lang frames just right sideways, they'll fit under the top bars. Then remove them once the hatched queen takes to the top bars. Otherwise I'll have to figure out how to remove the queen cells from the Lang box frames without hurting anything. I've got wire baskets on some of my top bars to place comb in.

    To complicate matters further, there's a chance of a cut out in an elm tree I'm going to check out tomorrow on my way to work. They're in the process of removing the trees so I may be able to bring the log home and deal with it at leisure.

    Thanks for all of your advice and help so far.

    Claude Stephenson
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    You should have had capped queen cells on about 5-4-11
    should hatch around 5-11-11
    should see eggs around 5-29-11

    It is easy to miss a queen cell sometimes, bees will all be standing on it and will be hidden a little.

    If the nucs have multiple queen cells in them you can carefully remove one with a knife and put it in your TBH, can even cut a small square of comb that the cell is attached to, to have something to tie it up with.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Gs, I think you started from day 1. If the bees chose a 1 day larva, That was day 3 or 4. That would mean the queen emerged on the 8th or 9th. She is now running around the hive.

    Putting a queen cell in now will work They will sort it out if there are two.
     
  7. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I figured from the youngest egg which would put him at the longest time period to look for a queen.

    4-26 put eggs in (starting at this point would be the longest time line if the bees waited for one to hatch out)
    5-1 should see beginnings of queen cell
    5-4 capped queen cell
    5-11 hatched queen cell
    5-16 to 5-17 mating flights
    5-29 should see eggs
    6-3 should see larva

    I picked the longest time line so that he would know that after these dates there was no need to look because the eggs would have been too old to be made into queen cells.

    Does that make sense to anybody, it does in my tiny little brain, but that doesn't mean it's right.
    Please correct me if I am wrong!! :oops:
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Looking at the longest possible, yes.

    I have never found a frame with eggs in an active hive that didn't also have 3 day eggs and 1 day larva, therefore I figure the day it goes in the trap is day 3. Day 16, she emerges. If he looks for the first time on day 18, no queen cell.They didn't raise one.

    false impression.
     
  9. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

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    I brought the 2 Lang nucs home this AM and just opened and left them. The elm cut out turned out to be a swarm that left before anyone got to them. However, my wife got a call today and brought home a very large swarm while I was at work. I transfered them to a TBH this eve at sundown. We're back in business so I'm more relaxed about getting the rest to work.

    I had no time to check the cottonwood trap out today, so I'll get on it tomorrow. The timetables you provided on queen development are extremely informative and I hope they can be of value and use to others. Sorry if I missed it, but if not, this is the kind of information that would be extremely valuable on an FAQ.

    My plan is still to add one or both of the nucs with half the queen cells to the UNM queenless swarm we caught last week and cut out the queen cells from the other the Lang nucs and put them in the trap out box. With luck I'll end up with two hives plus the swarm we got today.

    I checked measurements and there is no way to fit a Lang frame in my TB nucs, even sideways, but I have the UNM swarm in a TBH with a movable partition, so I can expand it to fit.

    Have any of you had any luck transferring Lang box bees into a TBH? I pulled it off a couple of years ago but it took all summer. They were good for about a year after and then they all just vanished one day. I figure a nuc should be a lot easier but I'd like to hear other folks experience in this. Perhaps this is a thread for another subject heading.

    Anyway, you folks are just great. As a relative newbie I really appreciate all the great expertise and insight.

    Claude Stephenson
     
  10. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

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    I made it back to the trap out today. There was no sign of a queen having been made from the few egg cells I put in. However, the trap out box is populating nicely and they are now drawing comb and storing pollen.

    I managed to find a viable queen cell through my local forum in a nearby beek’s Lang box that had just swarmed. I cut it out of the frame very carefully and brought it home and attached it to a piece of clean comb using melted wax and put it in one of my top bar cage frames. See below.
    [attachment=1:3sgj8vu0]QueenCombBar.jpg[/attachment:3sgj8vu0]
    Here’s a close up of the queen cell. It’s got that nice reddish tinge to it that tells me it’s ready to open soon.
    [attachment=0:3sgj8vu0]QueenCell.jpg[/attachment:3sgj8vu0]
    So I’m now feeling good about the success of this trap out.

    I did find a small hole in the trap setup where the wire cone was bent over to accommodate the box porch. I saw two bees manage to wiggle through it in ten minutes though most remained clueless. I did my best to sew a piece of hardware cloth over it and I think I sealed it; but it was frustratingly difficult work thirty-five feet up on a ladder through a veil with gloves with the box in the way. It took over an hour. Nobody got back in during the fifteen minutes I watched them afterward. I’ll check it again tomorrow.

    If it doesn’t work, I may peel the whole thing off and take it down to the ground to sew it shut and then restaple it back to the tree. I doubt many bees would get back into the tree in the fifteen minutes or so it would be off.

    Living and learning and having fun.

    Claude Stephenson
     

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  11. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

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    My patch worked. No bees were getting back in today. I pulled an empty bar next to the queen cell cage to check on what was happening and saw that the bees had bridged to the comb of the next cage I put in with brood. It's not what I want them to do but at least they are drawing comb now. The bar I pulled was empty of wax but they are busy building upon the combs I have put in. Since they were bridged I did not want to disturb them for fear of damaging the queen cell. I think I should wait a few days.

    A piece of wire I used to tie down my patch over the leak was touching the porch of the trap out box and I saw many confused bees simply follow it and go inside. I think I have discovered something here. If you can't get the base of the cone of the trap close enough to the entrance to your trap box, simply provide them a walkway between the two and they will follow it right in.

    all best,

    Claude Stephenson
     
  12. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    yes some sort of bridge will most times lead them to where they need to go. They are curious creatures as well, and will explore many areas.
     
  13. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

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    I went up Sunday and opened the box. Wax everywhere and filling fast. I found another leak in the trap where the occasional bee was getting back into the tree, but the majority seem to be opting for the trap out box. I sealed the leak (I hope) and I hope we're nearing the end. It's been four weeks.

    There was no sign of the queen cell I put in May 13. Just gone. They weren't drawing any comb when I put the queen cell in but they are going nuts now. They were a bit more aggressive about my intrusion. I didn't see her but I think we're in business.

    I think it's about time to bring this box home and move them into their permanent home. We're not done but this box is full and needs replacing I'm new at this so tell me, should I wait until dark to move them? It seems to me that the bees outside will just encounter the new box in the same place and move in if I do it in daylight.

    Claude
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would do it in daylight in order to give the new box an influx of bees to care for the eggs or cell you leave in it.