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Author Topic: MAYDAY MAYDAY advice needed.  (Read 5761 times)
Michael Bush
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« Reply #40 on: February 04, 2008, 09:08:39 PM »

>You are concerned about eliminating the genetics of small queens that are normal, healthy, and well mated. Respectable, but I don't see that as an area that is threatened any time soon.

But we've been breeding for bigger queens for more than a century.  I think that's a threat to small healthy queens.
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« Reply #41 on: February 04, 2008, 11:09:20 PM »

But we've been breeding for bigger queens for more than a century.  I think that's a threat to small healthy queens.


but have queens really gotten bigger in the last century, I have had old timers tell me that they used to have huge queens in the 40's and 50's, just seems to me a queen will only get so big them if she is bigger then she can't lay in cells and hive die's, kinda like natures way to keep them from being to big.... I just dont think they will be bigger than normal unless they are on steroids or something Wink Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: February 04, 2008, 11:55:59 PM »

[The color or size has no effect on their fertility." -- Henry Alley, THE BEE-KEEPER'S HANDY BOOK I ]

Henry Alley was an authority on beekeeping some hundred years ago when less was understood about queen rearing and bee nutrition and biology. I would like to think that we have made some advices in our understanding that allows us to truly rear better queens, not merely guess at what we think observe.

Not always, I'm finding that resorting to some of the methods used in the late 19th century and abandoned in the 20th century, have some very valid applications.  But then, I don't know if any other beekeeper, than myself, who was mentored by a 19th century beekeeper in the 20th century.


Quote
Here is a bit more contemporary treatment of specifically the queen rearing subject:

"Queen rearing requires attention to detail. Queens vary greatly in size and weight; the greater the weight, the more ovarioles a queen has and the more eggs she will lay. The size of the queen is a direct result of how well she is fed and cared for during her growth and development, especially during the larval stage." - Rearing Queen Honey Bees by Dr. Roger Morse

I agree it requires attention to detail but bigger doesn't always mean better.  I've had huge queens that were total busts and medium to small queens that were ripsnorters.  I think the queens emerging from cells, regardless of size, that still have royal jelly (food) residue in them is a better indicator than size as it denotes a better fed bee which means a better fit bee.

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Keep in mind, a queen will fatten as her ovarioles go into production and fill with eggs.  This fattening will directly correlate to quality and quantity of pollen and nectar flow at the time she is fed.   

This is also the reason that swarm queens can pass through queen excluders. In swarm condition, her egg production minimizes so that she will weigh less to fly further. That in turn minimizes her abdominal size, allowing her to pass through an excluder. 

Yeah, and if you're queens above the excluder when she resumes laying she's just moved your brood nest up.
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« Reply #43 on: February 05, 2008, 12:55:51 AM »

I was watching the weak hive last evening, just on dark. A bee was leaving this hive every second or so, I couldnt see where they were going due to the light, but a bee was entering every 20 seconds or so. I wonder if these were training flights or maybe they had been in there feeding all day and leaving to go back to where they came from? It was hard to tell if they were heading back to the good hive or not, so a bit of a mystery.

Again there were a couple of well formed larvae on the porch, either tossed out by the bees for some reason or maybe dragged out by ants? There were a few ants around, but I didnt see any ants actually dragging these larvae out.

This afternoon I had a good look, and there are huge drones? entering the weak hive and CONFIRMED regular sized bees leaving the weak hive and heading back to the good hive!

The entrance of the weak hive is reduced to 2 inches, they are 20 feet apart. No larvae on the porch today. This weekend I will have a look at the fame that has the queen cells on it. I hope the good hives assasins havent killed my budding queens and that isnt what the dead Larvae out front were!

Now I wonder if maybe the good hive has been killing off the weak hive, or robbing it blind, or both.

Im enjoying the different opinions that have been expressed.

BTW, at least I can crouch infront of the weak hive without being attacked.

Beekeeping isnt like maths: there isnt one correct answer, there are many I reckon.
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« Reply #44 on: February 05, 2008, 01:46:30 AM »

reduce the entrance to 1/2 inch and obtain a robbing screen even if you have to make it yourself.  Then feed both hives in order to prevent even more robbing. 
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mick
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« Reply #45 on: February 05, 2008, 03:06:32 AM »

Duh whats a robbing screen?

There is no shortage of food. Both hives are 1 metre from a tree in full flower that is the size of a small house! not to mention the thousands of Eucys in flower, all very strange to me!

I will reduce the entrance now!
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« Reply #46 on: February 05, 2008, 03:23:46 AM »

Wow reduced it to barely the length of a bee, no more than 1/2 an inch. Instantly a big punch up going on, one wrestle to the death 2 against one, I dunno what side won.

Hmm can hives be too close? Surely not from the pics I have seen.

I reckon this huge tree in flower might be causing some territorial problems?

Now, should I pinch a frame of food from the good hive or add another frame of last years honey (frozen and thawed as a precaution against wax moth larvae)? This would not have any scent of the good hive on it.

You know, I have a sneaking suspicion that the queen cells might have been destroyed by the vampire bees from the good hive.

I will bring forward the inspection plans and have a look tomorrow after work.

michael Bush
10-18-2004, 08:37 AM
It's a dilemma. I think feeding is the leading cause of robbing, especially if you put any kind of essential oils in the syrup because the bees are recruited by smell.

You can try reducing both entrances.

You can try a robber screen.

You can try not feeding the weak colony and just steal frames of capped stores from the strong colony instead.

You can try open feeding so the strong and the weak colony have access to it.

You can try to equalize the hives more by putting some emerging brood in the weak colony or shaking off some bees from open brood at the entrance. The nurse bees will go in the nearest hive and the field bees will return to their own hive.

If you don't get the robbing under control the strong hive will probably kill the weaker hive
.

Sounds like this is on the money

Tis really a rapid learning experience this battle oif wills, good fun but a bit of a worry. And of coourse, I appreciate everyones input.

and this from Michael

I've noticed that queenless hives get robbed much more often than queenright hives. I had always thought it was because the robbers kill the queen, and they probably do, but when I make a nuc queenless in the fall just before I combine them with another nuc they seem to get robbed almost immediately.

We have something in common lol!

Im gunna reduce the entrance on the good hive by half just to piss them off!

Ill also shake another frame of nurse bees from the good hive onto the weak one, just coz the good one is making me mad!

Also I could move the weak one 25 metres to the front yard/
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Cindi
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« Reply #47 on: February 05, 2008, 09:26:05 AM »

Mick, robber screens can be any apparatus to dissuade bees from easy entry into a colony being robbed.  To on Michael's website, you will learn there.  I have two screens that I used this year for a short time, one was just a window insert and the other was an actual device my Husband made for me.  They really help.  The bees within the colony soon figure out how to get out, the robbers have a harder time trying how to get in.  Reducing the entrances is the best thing of all too.  Good luck, and have a wonderful day, Cindi



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« Reply #48 on: February 05, 2008, 08:36:02 PM »

Mick, I don't know if you are using screened bottom boards or not, but I agree that moving the weaker hive is a good idea. You could also seal the entrance of the weak hive for a day or two as long as they have food stores and ventilation they will be fine. This way the strong hive can't do jack while the weak hive is recovering from their losses. This will definitely piss the strong hive off, mate!  Wink evil


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« Reply #49 on: February 06, 2008, 01:40:09 AM »

Not a good day weather wise to open things up. I have placed flywire infront of the hive and youre right, it creates a bit of confusion, within 20 minutes the message seems to have gone out "no more food here" the masses are now hanging around there own hive.

Once I can get another frame of nurse bees and or brood in there, combined with the fly screen and maybe a move of the hive, things might turn the corner.

I HAVE to get in there soon to see what has hapened to the queen cells!
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« Reply #50 on: February 08, 2008, 05:02:06 PM »

The flyscreen seems to have done the trick, its a bit cool today so I havent had a look inside, will do when it warms up a bit!
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« Reply #51 on: February 09, 2008, 09:59:08 PM »

Had a look today. The queen cells are gone, either hatched or destroyed? who knows. I didnt spot any obvious new eggs or old, a few of the transferred brood remain to emerge.

I spotted two different looking bees, no bands on the abdomen like the rest, more of a copper colour, the drones have bands so maybe 2 queens?

Im wondering if I souldnt transfer more brood from the other box? I reckon another frame, what does everyone think? Honey flow is set to really fire in the next month.

The other hive continues to go beserk, in work and nature.

I heard an ususual noise from the hive the other night, a real buzz. Ive just listedned to a queen piping audio file and Im 99% sure thats what Ive heard.
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« Reply #52 on: February 09, 2008, 10:19:02 PM »

Mick,
If you have a frame with some open and capped brood,it sure wouldn't hurt to transfer it if it seems like enough bees to cover the brood.You want to swell the population as fast as you can. I had swarms shortly after a queen piped so be on the lookout! Hopefully you just have a new queen emerged.
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« Reply #53 on: February 10, 2008, 09:46:37 AM »

Mick, I am pretty sure that you had a queen emerge, her piping is her death song she is singing to the other queen(s), she will kill any other queens that are in cells that have not yet emerged.  Now.....shortly, within 2 weeks you should have a laying queen.  She will hang around the colony for about 5 days, head out on her nuptual flight, return mated, and be laying eggs in a few more days.  In about two weeks from the day that you heard the piping, then expect to see eggs.  You could add some capped brood from the other stronger colony.  But it sounds like you have will have a young prolific queen for your anticipated honeyflow that is coming soon, yeah!!!  Sounds like things are going to work out.  Have a wonderful and greatest of this day, lovin' our lives we all live.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #54 on: February 10, 2008, 10:52:19 AM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmisc.htm#robberscreen
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #55 on: February 10, 2008, 06:08:53 PM »

I had a queen with some workers sent to me last year. I had her in the queen cage on the coffee table and I heard her start piping. I was surprised by how loud it was. Since she was the only queen in the cage and there weren't any outher around I don't know why she was piping but it was amazing to hear. I have never heard it happen in the actual hive.

Sincerely,
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« Reply #56 on: February 10, 2008, 11:25:30 PM »

Yes it was a strange noise, it was around dusk and I was standing outside the hive, looking at it and cursing, and then it started, like a giant mosquito, or a fly trapped in a spiders web noise.

The timings so spot on it had to be piping.

Cindi, Im watching the calendar and Ken given wat Cindi has said, Im now down to 50/50 as to add more brood. I might let the weather decide over the next few days for me.
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« Reply #57 on: February 16, 2008, 09:23:03 PM »

Not good news. No sign of eggs in the weak hive, will give it another week. Plenty of chewed cappings on the floor so robbing is still going on. 

Only one frame of brood in the good hive, spotted an old queen cell. Dunno whats going on.

If theres no action in a week, I will combine the two.
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