First, I am so happy to have found this forum. Many of the posts have been so helpful. Seems most the time there is no right or wrong way to do this, but the advice is great! It really helps.
Second, I need advice, laughing. So any comments are welcome!
Boy have I had a busy week!
This is my first year beekeeping, so for the mistakes I have done, be gentle.
I have 2 hives, one feral, one Russian. When I opened the hives a couple weeks ago, they both seemed very week and was concerned they were not storing any honey.
So I decided to start feeding both hives. I did not check the hives immediately the following days except to check the level of the syrup in the glass mason jars.
Well Saturday,last week, I opened the feral hive and took a better look at the brood, just didn't look right. Spotty pattern.....poked a few cells....coffee colored slime inside....So I got on the phone. I Talked to about 6 different local beekeepers about American foul brood. Most these folks did not think it was AFB, but in any case the advice, opinion was, a strong queen can clean up the hives. Another was the queen was just weak and not laying healthy brood. So I proceeded, in the feral hive, started tearing the hive apart, taking out any frames I even thought showed signs of anything funny, and then consolidated all the decent frames into one brood box, Treated with terramyicin, gave them some syrup closed it up. (was not happy about treating, but dead bees...had to try something)
Did the same with the Russian hive, the cells did not look much better, but a little better. Less infected frames, not all the cells seemed infected, some even had hatching babies and other stages of dead larvae.
(nasty frames in a box for my next bonfire, perhaps today!)
So now we have wonderful nectar flowing right in the hive...Yum yum!
So here I go again the next day, and man look at all the activity!
First thing I see is the cleanup crew of ants hauling off bee parts from the feral hive, Then all this crazy flying around the front of the hive. Next, the Russian hive has swarmed out the hive and is hanging out under the pallet the hive is on, fighting off the ants, cause they are basically on the ground. Hornets going in and out of their now abandoned Russian hive. The Russian's robbing the feral hive. ( I am thinking this is WAY better than a bar brawl!)
So here I am with the books again, reading the forum.
So took all the syrup out of the hives, closed the feral hive up with grass at the bottom, and they have a small vent hole in the back they can get out of. Well no one is home in the Russian hive...so I just switched their box out, giving them a box with a vent hole too, grassed up the front hoping they would go home.
I set up the syrup in a bowl with sticks about 20 feet away so every body can have some.
I killed a few hornets with a flat stick, my only consolation prize.
So the next day, I bring home another pallet from work. move the hives over to the new pallet and prop the pallet the Russians are living under against the hive and throw a sheet over it. Giving thought go home, go home. Well they did not go home.
So now...It's Thursday? I figure the hives are both in a state of chaos, It seems the Russians want to have what the feral has, and neither is very strong. I decide to consolidate the hives, thinking if I am to get any of them through winter we need at least 1 strong hive. Besides those darn hornets are still hanging out.
I find my feral queen, the weaker of the 2 hives, and kill her (man what a bummer, what a docile hive I really liked her) Take the feral hive bottom brood box, put some paper over it, and put the Russian brood box over it. The Russians are now hanging off the pallet in a tight little ball scoop them up and dump them back home. Now....this time I did place a jar of syrup on top of the Russians, trying to keep them in.
The Russians still have the vent hole to get in and out of, but have to chew through the paper if they want to get out any other way. The now queen-less feral box in the basement has their vent hole and grass stuffed at the front entrance.
Big sigh. Now I left them alone yesterday. The Russians are still robbing themselves, laughing. The hornets and the bees are both in the bowl of syrup away from the hives.
One of the brood boxes from the Russian hive is closed up away from the hive and the Russians are trying to get in it.
Obviously everyone is feeling great now! This is the most activity I have seen all summer.
So I am going to see if I even have a Russian queen today. I have no idea if she is alive. Then I am trying to decide weather to replace her. The idea is the first issue of AFB, and or just bad laying may have been avoided if the queens were strong?
So now if she is dead, I have to re queen.
If the Russian queen is not dead should I wait and see if she starts laying well, the bees start storing? If I do wait, how long would one wait?