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Author Topic: MAYDAY MAYDAY advice needed.  (Read 5754 times)
mick
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« on: January 25, 2008, 02:33:58 AM »

Okies so trhe two nucs.............one going like a house on fire, huge amount of bees, 10-20 per second coming and going.

The other nuc, oh dear, a handful of bees, no stores to speak of, no pollen, a few capped and emerging brood, and I mean a few, maybe a coupla dozen.

One big bee was running from me, hiding, maybe a queen? but no covered frames of bees, nuttink, nada.

One every minute entering this hive.

Should I swap locations? How do I transfer a frame of brood and nurse bees making sure there is no queen among them? or should I just wait and see?

Its as though all the bees from this nuc have jumped ship and gone to the other hive.

I did put a frame of last years honey in with them a month ago, it doesnt seem to have been added to, if anything its a lil less than when I put it in.

So two nucs, purchased same day, one going mad, the other struggling, both within 20 feet of each other.

Plenty of food around, nice weather, lots of pollen and honey in the strong one.

Im stumped.

Is there such a thing as a lazy queen?

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Understudy
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2008, 07:46:32 AM »

Yes, there is such a thing as a lazy queen.

If you can add a frame of brood from the other hive. It may give her a kick start.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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JP
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2008, 08:33:55 AM »

Mick, if the nuc that has low numbers is doing well otherwise, but the queen is shooting blanks you could do a combine, but of course you would lose that one queen. I would try as Brendhan has suggested first, to give her, them, a kickstart, but if all else fails do a combine.

Sincerely, JP
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2008, 05:27:09 PM »

try swapping her empty pollen frame with one from the other nuc which has pollen and feed her syrup since you say she has no stores and give her a frame of capped brood.  when you pull the frame of brood from the other hive, give it a couple of shakes [after making sure the queen isn't on it] tp dislodge most of the adult bees.  the ones left clinging on are usually the younger nurse bees.  gl!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2008, 06:10:28 PM »

The fact that she's running and hiding leads me to believe you have a virgin queen, which means either the other queen failed or they swarmed.  Look for open brood, capped brood and emerging brood to see if there was a gap in egg laying.
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mick
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2008, 06:29:33 PM »

I dont think they swarmed as there wernt enough bees in the first place to swarm. From day one it was ovbious that this was the weaker of the two.

I half reckon the queen was a dud from the word go.

Theres no larvae, just a few capped and emerging brood and I mean a few.

It could even be queenless now, I dunno.

I will chuck a frame of brood and nurse bees in the other one plus some stores, Ill turn the frame over a few times to make sure there isnt a queen on it.

The good news is that the other is so strong, I can afford to rob it.

Is it possible that they all jumped ship to the other hive?

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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2008, 01:02:51 AM »

G-Day MICK, So you have one hive going flat out like a lizzard drinking, And  You have one hive with a possable Dud, I would do as they say and give the weak hive a frame of brood and stores and hope they pick up soon. You should be going into fall pritty soon so they should be doing well. If you think they would do better you could kill off the weaker queen and combine the weaker hive Have a G-DAY Mick

Angi
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mick
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2008, 04:41:31 AM »

Had a good chat with Dallas, the Bill Gates of Bees.

I chucked two frames of brood in, reduced entrance 75%.

One wax moth larvae immediately ran like the roadrunner out the entrance. I spose in went 500 nurse bees and a coupla thousand eggs.

Interestingly there are bees buzzing around the vents. This happened to this nuc when I got it. You know, Im now thinking the other hive robbed this one out. Either that, or the bees from either hive are keen on the scent from this one. Are they trying to get in and kill bees? rob stores? or just dumb?

Anyway, Ive gone from one bee a minute leaving/entering the weak one to 1 bee every 5 seconds.

The bees in the good nuc are not impressed. Stinging me 6 hours after the event.
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Cindi
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2008, 10:07:59 AM »

Mick, good, you have taken measures to strengthen this colony.  I am sure this will help out alot.  I remember you speaking in an earlier post about how much weaker this colony was than the other package colony.  It is important, so important, to try and keep colony numbers reasonably equal.  Especially during times when there may be a dearth. Stronger colonies will rob out weaker colonies as soon as they figure out that there is a weak state.  Bees are survivors.  Have a great and awesome day.  Cindi
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2008, 12:02:20 PM »

It's hard to beat a frame with eggs and open brood as it gives them the resources to replace a bad queen.  It's hard to beat a frame of emerging brood as those bees will quickly repopulate the nuc.  A frame of honey for food never hurts if there is room.  Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2008, 11:42:05 PM »

Quote
I dont think they swarmed as there wernt enough bees in the first place to swarm. From day one it was ovbious that this was the weaker of the two

I've seen some fairly small hives swarm.  If the swarm conditions are there a hive will swarm regardless to it's overall size.

Having added a couple of frames of bees the queen should either get it in gear or be superceded.  Check for supercedure cells in a week to 10 days as they will be very visiable by that time if there. 

It does sound as if the hive in question was being raided by the other hives, a not too uncommon of an occurrance for weaker hives that will plunge them into a death sprial if not attended to.
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mick
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2008, 07:15:04 PM »

A week after adding the two frames of brood  I had a good look this morning.

No sign of a Queen, no freh eggs.

However I dis spot what could be a Queen cell. I should have taken a pic. I noticed that about 6 bees were inda guarding this cell and fiddling around with it.

So what do you reckon?

BTW do they only make one queen cell or a few?

Also added a frame of last years honey as there dd not seem to be much in the way of stores.

Also noted, on one of the original nuc frames, 5 bees that seem to have perished while trying to emerge from the cells. There wasnt much else on this frame, MAYBE some nectar way down in the bottom of the cells., but certainly no honey, so I removed that one and replaced it with the frameof honey mentioned above.

Meanwhile the other hive is going gangbustes and are fiesty little buggers. They can sting through the heavy duty cotton suit no worries!
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JP
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2008, 07:26:26 PM »

Sounds like a queen cell they are fiddling with for sure. You did right by giving them food. Watch their progress, let them be for a week or so, so she can emerge un-disturbed by you, and take her maiden voyage.

......JP
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mick
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2008, 08:13:31 PM »

I cracked, it was gunna drive me crazy not taking a pic. These pics are of one of the two frames of brood I added last weekend from the strong hive,

Suspected Queen cell, note the yellow bit of stuff on the end



Suspected Queen cell. Note the larvae from the added frames.



Big cell on the left has a larvae in it, looks re used, suspected Queen cel lin the middle and another large reused? cell on the right with a larvae in it. Note this is one of the original nuc frames.




Any advice appreciated.
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pdmattox
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2008, 08:21:20 PM »

I see 3 queen cells and one is capped. now close them up and let them be. about 9 more days and you will have a queen and about 2 weeks she will be laying.
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mick
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2008, 08:23:41 PM »

Okies Dallas reckons all three are Queen cells so it looks like the emergency measures have worked, last weekend there was maybe 100 bees in this hive, now there are at least a thousand, thanks to the two frames of brood and nurse bees added.
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NWIN Beekeeper
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2008, 12:01:19 AM »

Mick,

http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/5771/mickwe2.jpg

I would consider making a wire mesh cage to cover each of the cells until all emerge.
This would allow you pick the best looking queen of the lot.
There can be a big visible difference.

I would not wait any longer than 4-5 days from the time the first one emerges.

If you choose not to, nature is reasonable at picking queens.

-Jeff
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mick
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2008, 12:05:43 AM »

That sounds like good advice, but to be honest, with my experience and luck, it is really beyond me.
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JP
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2008, 12:18:30 AM »

Mick, things are looking good with that hive, they are making a new queen, let them. Sit back and have a cold one. cool

......JP
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2008, 08:27:24 AM »



mick see the queen cell in the middle that looks capped, I would pull that one outif it is capped, destroy it, small queen cells like that usually mean a small not well feed larva, if she hatches first and kills the big queen cells odds are they will be replacing her before long, I always destroy small queen cells if I find any because it usually mean not a very good queen, queens should be big and fat and their cells they were raised in should be also..
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