When do you give up on a hive?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by BSAChris, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. BSAChris

    BSAChris New Member

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    ** EDIT _ when I posted this, all my new paragraphs got sucked into one big one - after a couple of tries over a few hours its straightened out now.

    I have a hive I call the Hazel hive - There's a big "H" painted on it, and Hazel's the new queen. Well she was, but she seems to have gone. Prior to her, Helen was the queen but I accidentally killed her in a nasty oafish needle nose plier move while she was safely ensconced in her little cage. This hive is a new package install on brand new un-drawn foundation.After I installed the replacement queen 3 days later, Hazel that is, a nice Italian girl, the hive was happier - things proceeded as normal. Until about 2 weeks ago when I noticed there were no new eggs and the bees were sort of milling around , not building new comb, and there are no new eggs, no larva and just a bunch of capped brood.

    I don't want to buy another new queen - I've already bought 2 (1 in the package, 1 replacement), its a 2 hour roundtrip to get another one, so at that point I thought I'd let them try to make their own.I took 1 frame with mostly capped brood and some eggs and lots of nurse bees from the hive next to it and put it in there.

    Today I had a look, and they were quite irritable (although I had a banana for breakfast, I realized after I opened the box) AND, almost all the brood has hatched and there are no new eggs and no remnants of either queen cups or queen cells in there. SO, I took another frame with lots of eggs and some larva and some capped brood and lots of bees, from the hive next to it (same one) and put it in there

    The one I've been taking the frames of brood from is right next to it, and its half way through filling its 2nd brood box. My two strongest hives, also new installs on fresh foundation, are within a week or having their first honey supers put on. However, they are up a hill and across a field away, so I've been stealing from this closer hive to expedite matters.

    ​So my questions are:
    1) given that I don't want to invest in another new queen, if this latest frame fails to do any good, is July too late to try again?
    and
    2) when pulling frames out of stronger hives to put in weaker hives, do you generally take from your very strongest hives regardless (within reason) of distance, or do you tend to take them from the closest hive assuming its doing fairly well?
    and
    3) IF you wanted to pull a frame from a hive about 300 yards away, what's the easiest way to move it without losing all the nurse bees on the trip? Stick it in box I suppose?
    and
    ​4) if I give up on this hive, can I put whatever remaining frames of stores and the bees into other hives, or should I let them die out and discard the frame contents (except honey) since they may be goofy bees anyway?

    Thanks!
    Chris
     
  2. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Sounds like a combine would be the best direction. That way, you can take whatever frames not used into storage or otherwise away from danger of being ravaged by moths.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    That's a lot of questions. I'll try to hit on a couple of them. To help with the queen problem, we need to know the exact dates of both frame additions. A queen emerges 13 days after the addition and starts laying 20 to 32 days after the addition. You may have a new queen that isn't laying yet. The last frame added should be checked for queen cells 5 to 10 days after the addition.

    Then we can advise on combining.
     
  4. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Iddee nailed that one down. If you do descide to combine do a newspaper combine with the hive you have been taking the frames from. However at this point I would give it some time and figure out if you do or do not have a queen.
     
  5. BSAChris

    BSAChris New Member

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    I would like to give it another couple of weeks before I throw in the towel, certainly. There was never a queen cell in the hive after I put in the 1st frame - I had checked it about a week after I put that frame in, and there was nothing but larva or capped brood by then. I am not prepared to give up on it yet obviously - they need time to make a new queen. My "giving up" point was specifically tied to if this frame of eggs/larva doesn't do the trick - at that point it will be well into July and too late I think, in my climate.

    And the other questions - about moving frames, which hive to take them from, what to do with frames from a failing hive -those are for future reference. I have so many questions that sometimes they come out a bit out of context!
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would move from the nearest one that could afford it and I liked their demeanor.

    Empty frames should be frozen, sealed in a plastic bag, and stored until needed for SHB areas.

    Other areas should treat them the same as extracted frames.
     
  7. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    "My "giving up" point was specifically tied to if this frame of eggs/larva doesn't do the trick - at that point it will be well into July and too late I think, in my climate."

    (spent 10 min trying to reply to this thread, post froze up, couldn't post,then poof ).......

    anyways, chris, my own 2 cents, if there isn’t any evidence of queen cell building, hatching, emerging, this hive will be doomed in our climate past july. they wont be able to build numbers and enough numbers to be able to pack away winter stores, cluster and survive our winter. maybe, but a long shot. like iddee said, another 30 days, brings you to the end of july, IF all goes well, AND she turns out to be a good layer, if she doesn’t, the hive fails……..i would be looking to combine this hive as soon as you see any sign of the bees not rearing a new queen; as no new bees are born, the hive dwindles down, and also, older bees get more fussy to requeen with a purchased queen. i read you don't want to requeen, but paying the price of a queen vs......the price of nucs, and packages, and the time to build them up. if you have a decent population, and can get them through winter to spring, you will have a hive ready to go next season.......the price of a 25-30$ queen is worth it to me in july......(i don't have a 2 hr drive, they are sent to me from iowa)......
    :grin:
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    it is good you understand that at some point some hive will be just too far along to ever make anything of any value and at that point you do need a strategy to deal with the problem.

    a snip followed by > my comment...
    1) given that I don't want to invest in another new queen, if this latest frame fails to do any good, is July too late to try again? >I am not totally familiar with your season in Wisconsin but I would suspect you should be capable of resolving the problem thru July.... the question is will they then have resources to make it thru the winter.
    and
    2) when pulling frames out of stronger hives to put in weaker hives, do you generally take from your very strongest hives regardless (within reason) of distance, or do you tend to take them from the closest hive assuming its doing fairly well? >generally but not always. as in your case for what is handy has to suffice.... a frame of brood now and then doesn't really set a hive back very much.
    and
    3) IF you wanted to pull a frame from a hive about 300 yards away, what's the easiest way to move it without losing all the nurse bees on the trip? Stick it in box I suppose? >I 'almost always' shake off any bees on frames I transfer at this time of year. actually if you move sealed brood you will have nurse bees in a day or so but more directly in the situation you describe you are really wanting to move a frame of very young brood which gets some of the existing bees in the box to attending the larvae.
    and
    ​4) if I give up on this hive, can I put whatever remaining frames of stores and the bees into other hives, or should I let them die out and discard the frame contents (except honey) since they may be goofy bees anyway? >a newspaper combine is a good thing to practice and will likely be a simple process that you will need to use again and again as time goes by. I like to do these with the addition of a queen excluder which basically acts to hold down the newspaper since we typically get a lot of wind.

    Further note by tecumseh..
    1) it does sound to me like you don't really need to give up on this hive just yet. do give it a bit of time... 30 to 35 days from the time you first allowed them to begin making their own queen is a good time line. in the mean time as long as they are queenless they will tend to be cranky and you should minimize any beekeeper disruption till then to minimize any possible of damaging the process which is playing out.

    2) I am not certain how thing work in Wisconsin but at least here (and in just about every state I have lived) any legitimate queen breeder has a license issued by the state which allows you to ship queens and package via the US postal service. Perhaps you need to locate one or more of these.
     
  9. BSAChris

    BSAChris New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the advice! I'm going to keep the feeder on top of this little hive and try not to look in it for 2 weeks. Tell me if I have my "queen bee math" right please:

    A frame with eggs (some laying down, some standing up) went in June 28.
    July 12 will be 14 days from when I put the latest frame of eggs in. If I look in then, I should have a good well-along queen cell, yes? Or maybe more than one I suppose.
    July 14 she may have emerged or be close to emerging anyway
    July 26 or shortly thereafter, if she's been out and mated and come back, I should start to see fresh normal eggs in the center of the cells.

    If I get to the point where I have to combine - I've done a newspaper combine before, last August, and it worked well. That hive almost made it through the winter. I believe that I ignorantly starved those bees by accident, because I found them alive in February, and didn't know to feed them. When the weather warmed up by April, they were all dead and they had no food left in the hive. My fault. I've made so many mistakes, but I try really hard not to repeat them (with the bees anyway!)

    Thanks :)
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    She should emerge 13 days after the 28th, or July 11th. You need to check July 4th to July 9th to find capped cells. If she emerges on the 11th, she can start laying any time from July 16th to July 30th, with the average being July 23rd, or 28 days from the day the egg was laid.
     
  11. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Here is a link to a queen rearing calender. I figure that when a frame of eggs is installed into the hive that is day 3, not day 1.

    So when you generate your calender enter June 25 instead of June 28.

    http://www.thebeeyard.org/queen-rearing-calendar/
     
  12. BSAChris

    BSAChris New Member

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    Ah - good info on the actual start dates - thanks!
     
  13. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    I have a similar situation with a split that I made mid may. The introduced queen failed (possibly due to my inept marking), so I let them raise their own. She was laying for a while, but today when I checked the hive I could not find any eggs anywhere, just week old larvae. Also no queen cells for a replacement. I put in a frame of eggs from the hive next door and crossed my fingers.

    Yes, the queen timing had me confused too. The thing to remember is that they like to start a queen from a freshly hatched egg/one day old larva, which is really a 3 day old bee already. They will start with a 2 or 3 day old larva too if nothing else is available, but such a queen tends to be inferior in quality.
     
  14. BSAChris

    BSAChris New Member

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    AH! Well that explains a lot, I don't know why but I thought they grabbed an egg, not a freshly hatched larva - aha, I understand now. :)
     
  15. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I read somewhere recently that they may start a bunch of cells in an emergency then cull some of the first ones (as they would be from older larvae). They must have read that queens from older larvae are not as good a prospect! 'Ya think?