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Author Topic: Re-queened one hive today.. *wince*  (Read 1466 times)
DennisD
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« on: October 21, 2008, 05:34:00 PM »

Well, I requeened the hive in my backyard today. For whatever reason, I feel as nervous as I have when my kids were born.

Again, I looked for eggs in the brood cells from frame to frame. No eggs. I looked for the old queen, even looking for semi-circle formation of house bees to see if they would "give her away", no dice. So, I pulled the cork in front of the candy, used a small nail to pierce the candy, attached a small wire to act like a hanger, and placed the queen cage between the two center most hives and situated her a few inches from the top in the center and inserted the frames. I waited about 20 minutes and opened the top again and removed an adjacient frame to have a look at the queen cage for the presence of the old queen and to observe the behavior of the bees between the frames. I was unable to locate any signs of the old queen, the behavior of the bees between the frames near the queen cage was that of a gathering and no appearance of them attacking the metal mesh over the queen cage. I smeared a small amount of honey from one of the frames on the small portion of the mesh on the queen cage. So, I am under the impression after yet 7 attempts to see any signs of the old queen that she is gone. I placed the queen excluder back on top of the brood box and placed the honey super atop that and them placed the top cover back on. I've left them about 8 frames of honey, 4 in the brood box, 4 in the super, all frames located at the outer most positions of the hive by twos. My reasoning, it snows up here in late january, early February, so, a little insulation of honey may be a good thing. Should the outer most frames of honey freeze, there is still the frames next to that should be something they can eat. I have feeders in stock at home in the event they NEED them.

Other observations: There were NO signs of the bees making up queen cells. So, if she is gone, would they not try to make a new queen? The presence of drones are that there are drones a plenty! Prior to re-queening, I observed many cells filled with pollen as well as returning flight bees with lots of pollen carried. I observed several new bees emerging from capped cells, on one, I noticed a varroa mite on her back just under her wings, prompting me to scrutinize further. (Will powder sugar dust in two weeks)

Weather: So. Cal, even at this elevation is still sunny and quite warm with the exception at night. There are still lots of various wild flowers in bloom, even my roses are still blooming.

My questions are thus:

1. If the old queen is STILL there, what is likely to happen?
2. Succession? (Need to prepare to capture swarm?)
3. Will the old queen kill the new queen?
4. Will the workers kill the new queen?

Is there anything I could have done better? I have ravaged the Internet on this subject and tried to digest as much information as possible as well as pick my mentor's brains as time allows. Please discuss.

-Dennis


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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2008, 07:13:01 PM »

>1. If the old queen is STILL there, what is likely to happen?

They will kill the new one.

>2. Succession? (Need to prepare to capture swarm?)

No.

>3. Will the old queen kill the new queen?

No.

>4. Will the workers kill the new queen?

Yes.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
DennisD
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2008, 07:53:53 PM »

Michael, that's what I was afraid of.  Sad
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DennisD
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2008, 07:32:30 PM »

On day 4 after placing queen inside of hive in her queen box, something was just not right about the hive. Having a sick feeling inside due to the notion that there may still be a queen inside that is just hiding, I opened the hive and located the queen cage. The candy had been eaten out and nearly all of the queens attendants were dead and the queen was in sad shape. I removed the cage and placed it in her original shipping box then put my NEW (as in I never needed them before) eyeglasses on, put my veil back on and inspected the hive. So, STUPID ME. Oh yes, the old queen is VERY much alive and well, there were eggs and larvae of various sizes in development as well.

I felt very stupid, it is amazing what you don't SEE when you think you CAN SEE and a sad lesson that says I should realize that I am not 20 years old with the eyes of a hawk anymore.

Closed up the hive for a while while I examined my new queen in her cage. She was pretty beaten up, limping and crawling. She had probably been stung by the bees in my hive. I took her out of her cage and placed her in my hand, feeling pretty sorry for her. I again placed her in her shipping container, got another empty brood box and loaded it up with frames less one frame. Opened up my hive and removed a frame full of brood, brushed the bees off and took it over to the new brood box. I placed the new queen on the brood frame where she crawled about. I watched her for quite some time. long enough to see some new bees emerge from the capped brood cells, they pretty much hung out with the new queen and showed her no agression. I inserted her brood frame into the new box and added a frame of honey and pollen and closed the box up, then inserted two entrance reducers for security over night hoping the new house bees and the box would keep her warm enough that she would be able to hopefully heal.

The next day's carnage.

When I went outside, I suited up and went to my backyard to inspect the new queens box and brood. What I saw was nothing short of what looked like warfare. The bees from my first hive had managed to REMOVE the entrance reducers and were buzzing around the box, inside the box, and when I opened the top to inspect, there were hundreds of bees inside, robbing it out. There were "bee fights" where I could see several bees grappling with other bees. I desperately began looking for the queen, she was no where, this one would be easily identified by her marking. No luck. Sadly, I opened up my first hive and returned the brood frame and the frame of honey to the original colony and closed everything up. Feeling pretty down, I went back to my patio and geared down. Ya know, I really liked that little queen, she was truly beautiful.

Hard lesson to be learned, really. I probably sound silly, but I am attached to my bees, even that new queen. Screw the money I spent on her, easy come, easy go, I am more upset about the queen being gone, dead I imagine. So, I thought I would post my folly, hopefully, two things will come of this, a learned keeper can shed more light on this, and second, a new beek can avoid such a happening by me posting about this event. Now to go back to my beeyard and refill their water supply as it has been warm.

-Dennis
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asprince
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2008, 07:49:22 PM »

The best lessons are the ones learned the hard way. Been there.

Great story....I did not read anything that I would have done differently. Of course, I am just a mortal, the Bee Gods will soon speak.

Steve
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annette
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2008, 11:06:10 PM »

I understand Dennis as I did the very same thing this summer. Thought my hive (did not know they were laying workers) needed a queen and went to this beekeeper who took this beautiful, gentle queen right out of a hive filled with bees who loved her. I took her home and placed her into a hive that killed her. I felt so bad about this.

Learning, learning.

Annette
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