What would you do?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Tia, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Two of my hives are confusing me (Hives #1 and #6). They're both strong--one is extremely strong (hive #1). Despite slatted racks they've been hanging out on the front of the hive, even overnight and through the rain storm the other day! When I went to alleviate the problem yesterday, hive #6 actually had a massive amount of bees covering the underside of their screened bottom board! About three bees deep! Took 2 boxes of honey off hive #1 and replaced them with empty boxes. I added a new box with alternating frames of foundation and starter strip to hive #6 one without taking anything off. This morning I still found bees hanging out outside on both hives, but thankfully there were no bees on hive #6's SBB.
    Because of the low roof on my beeyard (6 feet. The hives are on a 21-inch bench stand, so hive #1 is stacked about 4 feet high and has 4 boxes of brood), I can't add anymore boxes to hive #1. I was thinking of moving it to a shorter stand so I could add more boxes. I'm thinking the alternative is to split that hive, but splitting is not my forte--never had much luck with it.
    Also discovered I have a queenless hive (hive #2) that was as strong in April as hive #1. Was thinking of taking some frames of eggs/larva/brood--or an entire box--from hive #1 and giving it to hive #2 thereby controlling the future population of hive #1.
    This should be interesting (ask a bunch of beekeepers a question. . .), but fire away. I want everyone's opinions!
    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Two boxes of empty frames/foundation? You shouldn't add more than one box of empties at a time, and even then you should pull up frames from below that either have honey or brood or something into the top box to get the bees up there. They have to be really motivated to want to go up into a box of all empties and start drawing comb. If you want to go the extra mile to get comb drawn out, consider bottom supering, or putting undrawn frames under the honey supers (right above the brood chamber.) They need a certain temperature to draw comb, and right above the brood is the best, especially if you pull some brood frames up into your empties, and put some empties right in the brood box.


    See above. (Either bottom super or pull some frames from below up....)

    I'm sure you have a good reason to want a roof over your bee yard and we can't talk you into getting rid of it, so yeah, at the very least lower your hives so you have more room up top.

    I really hope you get some help with that, either here or by starting a different thread. Splitting/dividing is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do. You get increase, you get a break in the brood cycle which will help your bees get an edge on the mite population, etc., it allows you to have more control over keeping the genetic traits you like in certain hives, etc...


    That's a whole conversation by itself. I don't know what your experience level is, so I don't want to appear to be condescending to you at all, but if you aren't good at splitting, I might guess that's because you haven't gotten the hang of spotting the queen and/or eggs/larvae....So I would ask why you think they are queenless. Are there just no eggs/larvae that you can see? Are there queen cells everywhere? Are they just acting agitated and pissy? Most likely, either they aren't queenless, or they are just in the process of raising themselves a new queen and it's fine. This time of year, even if you accidentally killed the queen during an inspection, they'd have plenty of resources available to allow them to replace her.

    All of the above is simply my opinion, of course.
     

  3. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    are you talking about chimney brood, that is a large brood pattern in first 2 brood chambers, then a few frames in the other two or large patterns in all deeps? Which would bring on the next question--why would you want the queen to lay in what should be honey supers. For hive# 2 I would take several frames of both emerging brood, and eggs and if the colony is strong enough, let them raise their own queen, if they are weak, still give them the brood, but order another queen and use the queen cells to make splits in the other stronger colonies. As for the bearding on #6 not unusual for a strong colony to beard out on the front of the hive, they jusat turned on the AC for ventilation.
    Barry
     
  4. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    The two boxes I added to Hive #1 are drawn comb. Honey boxes that I harvested on May 5. I know that undrawn foundation and/or foundationless frames can be added only one box at a time, but drawn comb can be added at will. In the old days before SHB I would put five and six boxes on at the same time and they all got filled with no problem.

    I have a roof because we have hawks and my chickens are in with my bees and are doing a superlative job of keeping the SHB way down. I should've explained that the reason my bees are so far off the ground is because we are 3' above sea level and in every hurricane we have, the girls get flooded by about 6", even on the 21" hive stand. Not really a problem because the girls just move up until the waters recede, then go down and clean it out and start over again. I just need to put cement blocks on top of them so they don't float away.

    I have no trouble spotting the queen, eggs or larva. But as to hive #2, they are not acting agitated or pissy so I'm thinking I now that I may have a virgin queen. Even still, if I put some eggs and young larva into that hive, they will either raise a queen, or if there is a virgin queen, not raise a queen. In the case of the latter, those frames will help build up the colony.

    Barry, it's not chimney brood. It's ridiculous. Four boxes of brood chambers that are exactly as they should be in a beekeeper's best dreams. Nice, tight brood with an arc of pollen and remainder in honey. I suppose I could just divide these 4 boxes in half and get another hive out of the deal, but like I said, I have bad luck with splits so I'm gun shy!

    I don't want the queen to lay in the honey supers; that's just what she did! Having listened to all the beeks that call them "honey excluders" and bending under that pressure, this is the first year I haven't used queen excluders and this is the result! Back to QE's for me. The colony in #2 is still very strong, has 4 boxes, two of which seem to be waiting for brood--they haven't backfilled the brood area for some reason (that also lends me to believe there might be a virgin queen in there).
     
  5. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Sounds like you have a good reason for everything you are doing and don't need much help.
     
  6. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    How awesome Tia about the big hive! I think if it were me I would split the big girl. I have made some errors on my last split that worked to my benefit. Upon advice of the more a experienced, he told me to locate the queen for sure and isolate her super while I rearranged. That way I put that super and her exactly where I wanted her. I put her in the split by accident, and had the bulk of the hive colony then queenless. They raised an emergency queen and the war stories about an emergency queen being not as good have not been the case here. We newspaper combined most of the bees back to the original queen to basically make the box with the emergency queen nuc size, so they would pull wax and go into "go" mode. This queen and colony is amazing! she has been laying since April 20th and They can't pull wax fast enough for her...they have grown exponentially in a little more than 6 weeks and are about ready for a QE and honey super.

    As for the queenless hive, I would be positive beyond any shadow of doubt that she was truly queenless...No eggs no larva for 3 or 4 weeks. I thought my hive was queenless when they were just growig the emergency queen (unknown to me) April 2nd to the 20th I saw nothing! and even added a rack of brood and another of honey at one point to keep them going and busy.
    If queenless, I would first try to see if they would raise a queen with a frame of new eggs. If not then I would newspaper combine them to another hive that needed numbers...I am still learning, but just went through some similar stuff so it is fresh in my mind...
     
  7. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Tonja and Steve, thanks for the input. Sounds like you're doing great--and as for still learning, aren't we all? I don't think an adventure with my girls goes by without my learning something new! Thanks for the information; I will use it and do a split (again). Actually, I can't complain. Been keeping bees for ten years now, and I basically let them take care of themselves. It's because of that, I believe, they are virtually mite and shb free. I've only requeened twice in those ten years. They seem to like my methods.
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    "" When I went to alleviate the problem yesterday,""

    WHAT problem. Do you call it a problem when your chickens lay too many eggs. There's nothing I like to see on a hive more than a 3 or 4 lb. beard.

    As for the #2 hive, I think you know how to deal with it.
     
  9. JUDELT

    JUDELT New Member

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    when there is this kind of bearding, won't they tend to swarm?
     
  10. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Iddee, I don't like to see my girls beard--especially in the rain!!! Once I started using slatted racks, I stopped seeing bearding because they would all just hang from the slats instead. This is the first year they've bearded. And still it wouldn't worry me except that only two of my six hives are doing this! The other four are good and strong as well--this includes hive #2 as far as numbers go. Are you telling me it's okay if they're bearding and won't even go inside to get out of the rain? What about Dave Tarpy's saying "a wet bee is a dead bee"? Too, would you requeen #2 or would you give them frames/a box from #1? I value your opinion; let me know.
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    In my opinion, this is a beautiful site.


    [​IMG]

    As for a wet bee, it just don't happen. A swarm or beard will spread their wings to make a total waterproof shield. The bees will stay perfectly dry.

    As for #2, either way would be fine. If I wanted another queen from #1, which seems to be good genetics, I would use eggs from it. If I wanted to try a new strain of bee, I would buy a queen. It is an opportunity to start a hive of any line of bees you would like to have or have more of.
     
  12. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    If you remember, he was talking about the Winter cluster. Water dripping on a cluster in the middle of Winter is completely different than bearding in the rain in June in North Carolina, IMO. That's why in warmer climates bees can draw comb in/on tree branches with nothing else above them and live for years. I get the feeling that you are doing what you want for a reason and don't need/want advice from just any 'ol body, but you did ask us what we would do......Well, to answer that simply, in your case I would get my bees out from under a roof, learn to split and not worry about bearding. Relax and have a beer. :grin:
     
  13. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The roof is wire, Dr., to keep the hawks out of the chicken lot. Tia is a 10 year experience Master beekeeper in the NC masterbeekeeper program. She is just very cautious and protective of her bees and really hurts when something goes wrong.
     
  14. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I didn't say I'd get the chickens out from under the roof, I said I'd get the bees out of there. I'm a tall stacker, remember? She said if she lowers the bees they get flooded, but if she doesn't lower them, she can't add more boxes, right? So I'm just saying, since she did ask, I'd move the bees somewhere else so I can add boxes. And learn to split. And relax about the bearding.

    5-16-12-hive-I.jpg

    I'm actually worried that this hive isn't bearding enough. I think they can do better.
     
  15. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    God bless you, Iddee. I never quite know how to reply when things like this come up. I'm glad to know the rain won't hurt my girls and I'm glad, Iddee, that you've explained why getting wet won't hurt my girls. This fact is new to me, and this new knowledge a big relief for me. I know yhou understand how much I love my girls. I also appreciate your elucidating on the different reasons to requeen either with a frame of eggs or with a new queen. For exactly the reason you cite--good genetics--I'm going to opt for the former and give them some of #1's eggs and larva. Due to the dense population in #1, do you think I can afford to just give them an entire box from #1 (making sure the queen's not in there!) and replace the "stolen" box with one of the mediums I will be harvesting tomorrow? I figure they'll have a good time cleaning up the leftover honey and making the box ready for brood.

    There's always something new to learn when it comes to honey bees and it seems I learn something new almost daily from all my beekeeping friends. That's what makes beekeeping so much fun!

    Can't wait to see you in July.
     
  16. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    By the way, Dr., you're lucky to be able to be a "tall stacker." I used to be before the small hive beetle--used to have to stand in my wagon to reach the top of my hives--but nowadays in these parts, if you put more than three supers on a hive, you're only asking for trouble. Ask any beekeeper in Carteret County. Hence, the chickens. They do a fine job of eating the larva and keeping the shb population down.
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    BUT........ I'm a short stacker. Choose your weapon. The duel is on. :D

    The chickens keep the SHB, roaches, etc. out of the hive. A good trade off if you ask me.
    In her situation, I think she should go back to the excluders and use two deeps for brood and mediums for honey. Then extract anytime a medium was fully capped. I went through my hives today and found 3 full mediums. I bottled 6 gallon and still have 2 or more gallon to bottle. That's about all I want to do in one day. I don't want to work 8 or 10 deeps or more at a time.
     
  18. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Maybe I'll learn something new here, too. Are you saying, Iddee, that water won't hurt bees in the Winter, either? I've never gone out and poured water on them in January, but I assumed it would be a bad thing.
     
  19. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I've never seen a swarm or beard in Jan. I guess if it was warm enough for them to beard, it probably wouldn't hurt them. I do believe that I listed those 2 things in my post.
     
  20. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Sure, that's what I thought, but the issue got a bit confused when the OP quoted Tarpy's statement that "a wet bee is a dead bee," and it didn't seem to register with her when I reminded her that Tarpy was only talking about Winter clusters that can't get wet. I didn't assume that she knew that, because if she understood that distinction, she wouldn't be asking what she was asking. I seriously doubt I know anything that can ever be of any use to the OP, but if anything ever occurs to me again in the future, I'll PM it to you and you can pass it on to her. Of course, now I've jinxed myself and SHB will turn me into a short stacker for sure! :eek: