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Author Topic: Two installs merged into one hive!?  (Read 1189 times)
jeremy_c
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« on: May 20, 2009, 10:58:25 PM »

I installed 2 packages today, a 3# Russian and 3# Italian. Each into their own top bar hive. The Italian's were installed around 3pm and the Russians about 6pm. This evening before bed, I went out to just take a peek at them and the hive w/the Russians has, I'd say, 1/2-3/4lb of bees and the Italian hive is jam packed!

What happened? More importantly, can I fix it and how? I'm going to be bummed if I loose the Russian hive (or the Italian).

Jeremy
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2009, 11:11:45 PM »

My guess is you got two Italian packages, one with a Russian queen. The Italians drifted over to the Italian queen, hence the additional numbers in the Italian set up.

You could let them build some, then switch spots, condense them somehow, or get some more bees and combine them with the Russian hive.


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jeremy_c
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 08:26:38 AM »

You could let them build some, then switch spots, condense them somehow, or get some more bees and combine them with the Russian hive.

With there only being 1/2lb of bees in the one hive, is it even possible for it to begin to build and survive until the other hive builds up? If it does, what's to stop the bees that I put into the hive from just finding the Italian hive and moving again? I am going to contact my bee supplier to see if that indeed was the case (Italian bees w/a Russian Queen... I was under the impression I was purchasing a 3# package of Russian bees).

Jeremy
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2009, 09:24:00 AM »

Yes, it was a 3# package of Italian bees with a Russian queen.
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 09:45:19 AM »

You can transfer frames of bees from one hive to the other. You can also switch the hives so the field force of your full hive returns to the same place that is now the weaker of the two hives. When we install packages I treat them as a swarm they are homeless, queenless, and all that.  Remember these bees are shakeing into a package from another strong hive, then given a new queen in a cage by the time they reach us expected to unite with the new queen.  The bees may not always accept the new things we have for them and drift to other hives.  I go the next day and move frames and bees each time expecting this.  As long as the queen is live in both I would add frames of bees from the packed one to the other.  Even if they are a mixed and would be mixed breeds in the hive.  Remember the life span of the workers isn't that long, and they would soon be replaced with the genitics of your bred queens anyway as she starts laying.  The main thing is to keep that expensive queen alive and get her laying in the new hive.  
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 10:18:38 AM »

You can transfer frames of bees from one hive to the other.

This is a top bar hive, so it has no frames. Looking through the bottom screen I can see in the Russian hive, about a fist and a half of bees hanging from the 2 center top bars. Looking in the Italian hive, I can't guess how many fists, but the ball of bees hanging from the top bars is huge! I have two other top bar hives that were installed with 2# packages and when they started, they were about twice the size of my new Russian hive.


You can also switch the hives so the field force of your full hive returns to the same place that is now the weaker of the two hives.

This may be my only option. How many bees will this actually be? A few hundred, a thousand, ? That number, I am sure, will be just a wild guess, but just curious.

Jeremy
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Eshu
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009, 11:06:28 AM »

If the top bar hives were built to the same dimensions you could swap bars.
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2009, 11:16:59 AM »

I think what he is saying is that he can't swap because there is nothing built on the bars to begin with.
In topbar hives you install bees on nothing but plain bars so even if he swapped, he is basically adding an empty bar to the hive.
Even if there were some bees hanging off of the bar getting ready to build comb they probably would not stay there very long before they return to the other hive.
He would have to wait for them to build some comb and for brood to be in them so that when he adds it to the russian hives the bees on the comb may stay there to care for the brood.
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2009, 11:19:09 AM »

If the top bar hives were built to the same dimensions you could swap bars.

Yes, they were. I guess I was thinking that something needed to be done immediately, hence the other hive doesn't have any populated bars yet. How many bars should I let them fill before moving? And should I wait for capped brood? So many questions, I'm sorry. This is hive #8 for me but the first 6 hives went basically text book perfect, this is my first problem in my apiary.

Jeremy
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kathyp
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2009, 11:25:08 AM »

if you have other hives, can't you grab a few frames of bees and brood and add them to the weaker hive?  if the frames don't match, you can shake in a few fames of worker/nurse bees.  just don't shake in your queen!  at the same time, you can swap locations.  you may still have drift, but it will help get your numbers up.
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 Alexis de Tocqueville
jeremy_c
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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2009, 02:46:34 PM »

if you have other hives, can't you grab a few frames of bees and brood and add them to the weaker hive?  if the frames don't match, you can shake in a few fames of worker/nurse bees.  just don't shake in your queen!  at the same time, you can swap locations.  you may still have drift, but it will help get your numbers up.

I do have other hives but this is my first year, so none are booming. A few have 5 full frames filled out and new bees emerging from their brood (witnessed this and got it on video too during an inspection, it was quite fun to see!). Anyway, I'm a bit concerned about risking those hives to save this one.  However, saving this one may be all over. I am not sure what happened but I went out to check on my apiary and things looked normal. I went on a walk through the woods and then came back out by my apiary and there were bees everywhere, and I mean everywhere. You could see them in the air from 150 yards away and I am sure much greater distances (that's how far the woods are from my hives). Anyway, it looked as though bees were going in every direction, but the whole mass certainly created a path to a tree. I ran inside to get the video recorder and got quite a bit of it on tape, have not looked at it yet, I am not sure how well it will turn out. Once I was able to tell which hive things were happening on it seems as though bees were returning to the Italian hive. The Russian hive is now empty. Only the dead bees from the package shake last night remain.

I went out to the tree the path lead to and hear/see nothing. The cloud of bees did seem to end up at the Italian hive, so I am hoping that they simply finished what they started last night and the remaining Russian bees evacuated to the Italian hive. I hope I did not just loose all those bees. I am processing video right now, I'll post a link to any usable segments of the video when it's done.

It sure was exciting seeing this happen, I just wish it was not a problem with my Apiary. Best case would be to see a swarm come into my Apiary and populate an unused hive grin

Jeremy
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2009, 07:05:37 PM »

Well, both hives are empty now. I didn't see either of them leave. There are straglers (100ish). This is pretty disappointing, but at least I have 6 other hives. I am unsure of why this happened. Does it happen often?

Jeremy
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kathyp
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« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2009, 07:16:17 PM »

did you go on a search to see if they were hanging out somewhere?

sorry that happened.  it sucks to spend money on them and have them leave.  do a search here on absconding.  it does happen.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
jeremy_c
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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2009, 07:19:28 PM »

did you go on a search to see if they were hanging out somewhere?

sorry that happened.  it sucks to spend money on them and have them leave.  do a search here on absconding.  it does happen.

I walked around and looked in trees w/in about 300-400 yards of the apiary and didn't see or hear anything. How far would they go?

Jeremy
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kathyp
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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2009, 07:21:42 PM »

they can go a long way.  if you have time to go further out, it's worth a try.  if you find them and hive them, put a queen excluder on so that she can't get out.  i don't know if you can do that with the type of hive you have?  or hive them in a box......
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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