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BigRog
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« on: October 26, 2004, 02:16:15 PM »

Well the state apirist just left. My queen has gotten old. The brood pattern is all over, population is down and they have really slowed on taking the sugar water (that started about 3 weeks ago) he ays that this all points to a weak queen. Left as is It's not likely that they'll winter successfully. A month ago the hive looked good I saw good brood pattern and a lot of uncapped honey. there is less honey, from what the apirist says about half of what I need to winter. This is a big change from when I got the hive from John. I am hoping that I didn't kill the queen when I did my last inspection. I was careful but if she moved when I was putting the frame back in......... dang
Solution: I need a nuc with bees and queen. From what he said that since this hive was a swarm, the queen was prob 2 years old when they swarmed. So if anyone knows where I can get a nuc with bees let me know. I am looking locally as well.
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2004, 06:07:07 PM »

Hey Rog:

Sorry to hear about such problems, I can't even image what might have happened. I still suggest going one super high with your most filled frames and give the hive a good thermal protection barrier from the cold - shed the hive or something to keep it warmer and hopefully come
Spring they can make a new queen from any eggs this queen may still lay.

Or, if possible get another queen somehow this late in the year just to keept the pheromone together.

I actually shocked since she seemed to be doing great, the bee count was very good and they were strong foragers. I wonder if the sporatic eggs (which I wouldn't really expect hardly any egg laying now) was improperly takenas a bad egg laying pattern by the apiarist. I can't imagine that being the case but wow.

Keep us informed, do what you can to get them through the Winter and if they make it, order a new queen - I really don't know if I'd want a nuc to deal with going into Winter, I'm not sure if that is the answer.

Please let us know what you plan to do with a nuc to save this colony, I know the clock is running and already it is too cold to do such things here. Sorry again Rog, this is bummin me out!
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BigRog
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2004, 09:53:26 PM »

I'm not feeling that great about it either.
If anyone finds someone selling a nuc please post the info here.

The girls had really done nothing with the third super I had put on top. So I'll put frames from a nuc in there with newspaper inbetween, the queen on top should take out the older one if I can't find her. There were some eggs so the queen has to be in there. the big prob is that they aren't taking sugar water, nor do they have enough honey to winter. According to the aparist this is a good time to requeen and there is a change in how often people are requeening around here. The aparist is saying that 30% of managed hives around here do not winter. By requeening every year that number of survivng hives goes up quite a bit. And it also almost eliminates swarming.
He seemed to feel that adding a nuc if I can find one would be the best solution.
He also took a sample of bees to run some tests. I'll get the results in a couple of days.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2004, 10:46:46 PM »

Hey Roger-
Now, I'm not there, but I certainly hope that this inspector is basiclly wrong. I'm wondering if it's possible that he took too negative of a view of the hive, which has gotten you now in a panic state. Try and think of all the "facts" and find what's actually "true" with the hive. Did YOU think the hive was getting really small before the inspector came by?

I'd also like to say that it is possible it got smaller, but that maybe that's just fine and normal. After all, most hives pretty much "shut-down" by the begining of September. They may still fly, and they'll still work some, but probably won't build any more wax. And the fact that the hive was strong a month or so ago, but now smaller, makes sense really. If the queen laid eggs like crazy in the summer, and those eggs hatch - then you have lots of bees. But then 1-2 months later, the queen slows way down in laying eggs, AND the mass of bees hatched 1-2 months ago DIE...... well, the hive gets smaller. Add in the fact that the younger bees in there may not be collecting any of the sugar water you gave them, but instead doing clean-up jobs within the hive like young bees do.

I don't know..... like I said, I'm not there to see the hive in person, but it sounds like a normal fall hive - bees dieing off, less larvae laid, less foragers - majority young bees. Some of the stuff the inspector told you are probably (or ARE) right - such as having an old queen, and she would be less of a layer. Just don't panic yet. Slow down and look at each aspect of the hive - how old are the bees, how full is the hive really (of bees and honey)...........and so what if they don't have enough honey for the whole winter, just give them a warm place and feed them.

Do like we all do - do all you can for them to be warm for your climate (windbreak? tar paper?), lessen the space in the hive (take off un-needed supers), feed them, and PRAY. Smiley There's certainly nothing wrong with finding a nuc, but is it really needed? I guess if I was there I'd look you right in the face, reach two feet up and stretch my arms out as wide as possible to grab you firmly by your shoulders, smile, and say "you can do it, you can get these girls through the winter".

Beth
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BigRog
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2004, 11:55:03 PM »

I appreciate the vote of confidence. I am going to do everything I can to get this hive through the winter. There is very little brood, that is a problem. They are not taking any noticeable amount to sugar water (1/2 qt in 2 weeks). Not enough honey in the hive. This guy was not a doomsayer, he likes bees and beekeepers, He really didn't like telling me what he had to. He was upbeat about trying to winter the hive, but also matter of fact. I am waiting to see the results of any tests before I go nuts trying to winter the hive. I am starting to track down a nuc or at least a queen, but in two days I could get news that will make it a moot point. I am not depressed, I did what I could, The queen just pooped out. I will keep you guys posted and I am keeping my fingers crossed.
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2004, 08:33:58 AM »

Rog,

I believe you have a good lesson for a lot of the new beekeepers here.  First of all, this is not meant as a should of/ could of note.  To be quite frank,  under your unique circumstances (getting one hive late in the season) I don't think anyone on this board would have done anything different.  

I agree with the inspector that your queen is most likely 2 or more years old.  I know there was a thread a couple of weeks ago about how often one requeens, and there was a lot of folks that felt if a queen was a good performer, just leave her along.  The unfortunate thing about that is,  the older queens are more likely to fail, and usually at the most inconvenient times. Just like death, it is a given,  the only unknown is when.  Sticking to a requeening policy is the best insurance against queen failure.  If you were told a month ago this would happen and you could prevent it for $10, I'm sure you would have done it.

This also shows why keeping more than one hive is best.  If you had more hives, you would have more options like combining or moving from other hives to support this one.

If you can't get a queen or nuc (not sure about your area, but around here everyone is shutdown for the winter), I would remove all the empty frames/supers and get them condensed down to having just stores. Even if that means just one super.  Since they are a small cluster,  they will not be able to cross and open comb to get to other stores, so it is important that the stores are all together.  I would then make up a 25lb batch of fondant or candy and place it right on the top bars of the upper super (where the inner cover would go).  This way, once they run out of stores, they will be right at the sugar.  Keep an eye on it, and come Jan/Feb if they need for , just add it right on top.  I would also at least wrap them with black tar paper, so they get the benefits of the sun in heating.  Cut both the lower and upper entrances down as much as possible, while still giving them access.  Perhaps even consider giving them some supplimental heat (7w night lite?) as Finman has done.  I would suggest stop trying to give them syrup, as they aren't strong enough to ripen it and this will lead to too much moisture which in turn leads to dysentery.



Best of luck, and I hope things turn out for the best.
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2004, 08:59:47 AM »

Rog, sorry to hear of your delema. I know that next spring you had planed on another hive but that doesn't help for the upcoming cold of winter. Take the advice given by those here who deeply care about you and the girls. I might add a trick of our oldest club bee keeper has been doing for 40 years here, although the materal has changed over that time. He places a shallow super above the deeps where the girls will winter and fills it with insultion. Here in this climate he said his average winter kill is less than 10%, and that most appear to have sucome to other things rather than running out of food or freezing to death.

If your still looking for a queen try Kellys of the bee equipment supplier company. They might be able to help you out.
I was comfused when you first said that you were afraid you might have killed the queen on the last inspection. then you talked of eggs and a awful patteren. Did the inspector not see a queen? I sure trully beleive every word Beth printed, Don't panic. A crappy laying pattern seems normal for what I am seeing in my hives now, do to the reduced space she has. Seems as thought the brood hatches and the girls pounce on the cell and clean it up and pack it full of nector or pollen ASAP. One would think that My Carnolain queen was a dud if they looked at her patteren. One trait I'm told of this breed is they stop laying sooner than most in the fall.
Well I'm getting long winded and not helping any.
Just try Kellies for a Queen, Don't Panic, And remember all here are in your corner doing what ever, praying or chantting as we believe.
 Cheesy Al
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2004, 09:25:28 AM »

If you really believe you need a new queen, kona queens, or one of the other island breeders can probably get something headed your way pretty quick.  I like alot of what finman has to say, but he doesn't put the terrarium heaters in until spring.  Warmer temps will make more activity, which will consume more stores.  I think reducing the space, is about your best option.  Wrap the hive as Robo says, and make up some candy.Squeeze them down, and make sure all the stores they have is in the box with them.  You can succesfully winter a colony in a single deep.  They are doing it at the college in Canada.  Gault I think it is?
 I just don't think queens last like they used to.  And I believe it's because management techniques have put alot more pressure on them than ever before.  We are pressing them to keep increasing colony size, the mites and chems to treat them take a toll as well   I think the top bar guys see their colonies almost stop at a certain size, unless they add topspace.  The Lang seems to naturally pressure them to grow, expand,
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BigRog
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2004, 10:06:37 AM »

Thanks for all the support
I am not in a panic state, I am just going to act on what is going on. I was told that in my area there is about another month of laying that should be going on. It is not only the pattern but the very low amount of laying that is troublesome. I am not in winter yet and have a couple of options. As there was very little brood, one of the things the inspector is going to be looking for is the mount of varroa on the adults. It there is a great number of varroa this could be a huge prob. I should hear from the inspector tomorrow and then decisions must be made. For right now I am looking into sources for keeping this hive going. If there are major problems beyond what I allready know about, it might not be possible to get them through the winter. This is a bummer but I am learning from it and that was my original plan for this year. If the hive does not winter I will not be the only one who has lost a hive over the winter. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.
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"Lurch my good man,…what did you mean when you said just now that 'You've got better things to do than run my petty little errands'…….?"
BigRog
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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2004, 10:16:24 AM »

Cool
I found a nuc!
about 20 miles from me!
Now I just need a good report from the inspector.

Fingers crossed
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"Lurch my good man,…what did you mean when you said just now that 'You've got better things to do than run my petty little errands'…….?"
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2004, 12:01:43 PM »

Great news!

If you get a good report from the inspector, kill the old queen, leave your hive queenless for 24 hours, combine the nuc with your hive, feed, feed, feed, you just might pull the hive through the winter.

Fortunately, where you live you do in fact have a little bit of time left to make an attempt to get the hive ready for winter.

We'll keep our fingers crossed for ya.
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