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Author Topic: Drama and resolution  (Read 1827 times)
wisconsin_cur
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« on: May 31, 2009, 01:02:58 AM »

So this is my first year and I installed two packages with Russian queens this year.

One hive never had an egg laid in it.  After getting some advice (3-4 weeks after install) I took a frame of brood from the good hive and put it in the queenless one in the hopes of raising a queen. 

As time passed I was a little confused, I started seeing eggs so I wondered if I had accidently moved the queen from one hive to another?  Had my queen finally started laying?

I spend some time between the two hives today.  The hive that has been without problem has lots of brood, day old eggs with excellent pattern, dead center and deep.  I go to the problem hive and (now that I am learning to recognize what I am seeing) the eggs are off center, sometime 2-3 per cell and spotty.  The capped brood was all bigger which made me think drones.  The hive has been without a queen for 5 weeks now so I am pretty sure that I had some laying workers. 

Looking at my options I put a sheet of newspaper on top of the good hive and combined the two hives.

I am a bit sad.  When I had 2 hives I was already wishing I had 3-4 and now there is one.   Cry

But at least I am learing to identify a lot of different things.
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hankdog1
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2009, 01:40:47 AM »

May i ask why you decided to combine the two?  I would only do that if one was so weak i had no other choice.  You probably did have a laying worker what you should have done is went about 50 feet or so from the hive shook all the bees off the frames then gave then brood that is less then 3 days old from the good hive.  In the mean time i might have even considered ordering a queen.  But look on the bright side you can always split the hive next year.  Then your back up to 2 and only out the money for a queen.
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wisconsin_cur
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2009, 01:59:49 AM »

I thought because the package was now 5-6 weeks old and with no brood (other than drones) that it would be hard for the hive to get up to winter strength before winter comes.

The clover bloom has started here and the last big one would be golden rod. 

From what I read (which all I have at this point) combining the hives was my best bet... with only two hives I decided to go with the "best bet."
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sc-bee
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2009, 07:13:32 AM »

>I go to the problem hive and (now that I am learning to recognize what I am seeing) the eggs are off center, sometime 2-3 per cell and spotty.  The capped brood was all bigger which made me think drones.  The hive has been without a queen for 5 weeks now so I am pretty sure that I had some laying workers.

A new queen will sometimes lay multiple eggs fro a while. You say the eggs were off center. Where they all the way down in the bottom of the cell or on the side wall. A worker often can not deposit in the bottom of the cell.

 If not a laying worker the drones could also be from a drone laying queen. Either way if that bad and spotty needed to be replaced.

Here are MB's pages on laying worker, hope he don't mind Wink

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2009, 10:49:30 AM »

Also keep in mind timing.  A new package queen sometimes takes as long as two weeks to start laying.  If you give them eggs to raise a queen and they do, it takes four weeks to get a laying queen.  Many people give up too soon or too late.  A frame of eggs and open brood is good insurance because it has all of the following effects:

1)  Open brood suppresses laying workers.
2)  It gives the hive that seems queenless a population boost as they can raise some brood.
3)  It isn't that high a cost to the hive you took it from as they can only rear so much brood and the queen can probably out lay what they can raise by ten fold.
4)  It doesn't interfere with whatever is actually going on as far as virgin queens etc.
5)  It gives the hive with problems the resources to resolve those problems without forcing them or sacrificing expensive queens in the process.

Even if you are only two weeks into them rearing a new queen, a frame of open brood is good insurance.  Maybe the simplest solution for any queen question or issue is to give the questionable hive a frame of open brood and eggs every week for three weeks.  This will resolve queenlessness, laying workers and possibly drone laying queens, but certainly failing queens.  You don't have to know what is going on, you are just providing the necessary resources to resolve it.
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wisconsin_cur
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2009, 11:04:58 AM »

I thought about that but with only one other hive, and it itself being a package with only five frames drawn out, I was afraid to weaken it by taking from it once a week.

Thank you all for the feedback,
wis.cur
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hankdog1
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2009, 01:02:05 PM »

good management takes time gotta be patient with the girls sometimes.  think ahead to next year i'd do everything i could to help get the hive you have as strong as possible and order a queen next spring and split that sucker.  then your back up to 2 hives and so on until you get the desired number.
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wisconsin_cur
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2009, 09:36:49 PM »

Well I did an external inspection this evening and the newspaper is mostly torn up and they seem like one big happy family.

If all looks well, is there any reason to not just split them again in a couple of weeks (dividing up brood and honey) and let one of the hives raise a replacement queen?
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wisconsin_cur
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2009, 05:53:14 AM »

In the weeks since the last post the hive drew out 10 more frames of foundation and filled it with brood and honey.  This evening I went out and split the hive back into two.  This is my first split.  The milkweed bloom is just starting and I just discovered a field of sunflowers ~1 mile from the bee yard.  There should be time and food for the hives to build back up to winter strength.
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adgjoan
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2009, 06:08:13 AM »

Just wondering ...did you give one of your splits a queen?  I have learned a lot from your experience.  Thanks

Joan
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wisconsin_cur
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2009, 07:09:21 AM »

I did not, and this is my only concern.  This means that I will not have a laying queen until August so I do not know if there will be enough bees to make it through the winter. 

What I think I will do is more or less leave them alone for 3-4 weeks and then steal a couple of frames of brood from the hive that kept the queen and give it to the one that went queen less.  The hive was looking very strong (in my limited experience) before I split it. 

If I had June to do over again, however, I would have ordered a queen for that hive.  I didnot know how well the hive would take off so I was reticent to make a decision until it was too late.  A conversation with a local beekeeper was enough to push me off the wall and get me to do the split.
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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2009, 07:25:10 AM »

Well I did an external inspection this evening and the newspaper is mostly torn up and they seem like one big happy family.

If all looks well, is there any reason to not just split them again in a couple of weeks (dividing up brood and honey) and let one of the hives raise a replacement queen?

You did EXACTLY what you should of done. By combining (and not doing that shake out crap that never seems to work) the strong queenright hive took advantage of the extra added bees, the good queen had ample room to expand the brood chamber, the queen's pheromones shut down the laying workers, and this one strong hive now is (or was) in a position to split back apart.

The only part I would of done, was introduced a queen into the queenless half about 24 hours later. (The old queen gets moved to the new location, where she will keep more bees with her, rather than leaving her in the old position and having more bees seek out her location and lose too many bees from the split).

What you did was optimize the bees potential by combining them, instead of having a weakened hive (shake out hive) going into robbing season. A shakeout has was too many thing going against it. Combining allows one much stronger hive to be soplit a few weeks later and you are in a much stronger position.

Way to go!   Wink
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1of6
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2009, 01:00:41 PM »


...(and not doing that shake out crap that never seems to work)...

Well said.  I'm not sure why publishers even allow writers to continue to include this in the how-to books...  rolleyes  Furthermore, remember that a laying worker (more often than not) HAS taken its orientation flights and knows its way back, just as its laying worker sisters do.  Remember, there's almost never just one...if anyone believes that there is, I'd like them to come over and spend some time picking mites off my bees' backs.   flying pig
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kathyp
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2009, 01:11:51 PM »

Quote
(and not doing that shake out crap that never seems to work)


i just can't agree with that.  it does work if you do not give them the original hive to return to.  if you take them away, shake them out, and let them join another hive, you end up with one very strong hive and do not risk the queen.  combining a laying worker hive with a queen-right hive, is a risk to the existing queen.

that said, if you do combine and it works, a split later can be done more easily.  the only thing i would have done differently for the split is order a queen.  as much as i hate to buy them, when it gets late in the year, it's your best bet to build them up for winter.

in the end, if what you have done works, it's all good!   grin
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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
BjornBee
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« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2009, 01:42:43 PM »

Kathy, so how many times have you combined a hive and lost the queen?

I've combined hundreds of colonies this way, about 10 just last week. It's part of the nature of the business when your queen rearing, ripping out queens, building nucs. I come across laying workers all the time after thinking a couple more weeks were needed and getting busy with something else.

The only story I ever heard about someone losing a queen was the "recent" guy who had three deeps of laying worker bees and then introducing a five frame nuc into the situation. (Introducing 5 frames of bees into a well defended colony could almost forcast the impending doom.) Now, all of a sudden, without hearing one peep of "losing queens" by combing laying worker colonies in more than 5 years of discussions, seems another urban legend is born and this repeated "lost hive" will be making it's rounds for years to come.

I combine all the time. I use newspaper, spray the bees down, smoke the crap out of them. By the time they clean themselves up, the smoke clears, and they eat through the paper, ....I have never lost a queen in this manner.

"Shaking bees" were suggested for years due the simple, yet wrong assumption that laying workers could not fly. However this is.....wrong! And to think that the guy losing a queen combining would not  of lost the same queen if he would of shaken the many laying workers from three deeps, and had them all bumrush the next colony over (a five frame nuc). I think the same results would of happened.

I see no reason to shake the bees off comb when allowing the expanded queenright hive to utilize this area for expansion, especially with all the new (introduced) bees, seems the way to go.

And if you were going to combine a 5 frame nuc to three deeps of laying worker bees, then utilize the beekeeping equipment that has been around for years such as a push in queen cage. Then you can come back and free the queen after a few days.  Wink

Books have always suggested combining weak colonies at the end of the year. The key is that your combining a weak colony with a stronger. But I have never read that you should not combine colonies due to queen loss. But now it seems to be a problem. Hmmmmm.
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kathyp
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« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2009, 02:01:33 PM »

Quote
yet wrong assumption that laying workers could not fly. However this is.....wrong!

never said they couldn't fly.  also agree that shaking them off is doomed to failure if they return to the same hive.  how many queens have i lost?  don't know.  probably several when combining swarms.  as long as i end up with one, i am happy.  fortunately i have been lucky and not had much of a laying worker problem.  shaking them out to join other hives is fast, efficient, and simple.

i will defer to your experience on the matter.  i just object to saying that something never works, when a thing can work if done correctly. 
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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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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2009, 05:03:53 PM »

This has been an informative discussion.  I recently combined a laying worker colony with a queenright colony, without using the shakeout method.  I am concern about risking the queen to the laying workers (as people discussed).  I will let you know how this works.  this was my process.

1) Put screened inner cover on top of queen right colony.  Then placed laying worker colony on top of this inner cover.  Added sugar syrup (internal syrup frame feeder) to laying worker colony.  Provided upper entrance to laying worker colony. 

I didn't use the newpaper right off because I wanted the phermones from the queen below to filter up to the laying workers.  this was to attempt to shut laying workers down prior to adding the newpaper between the two colonies.

2)  After several days (3 days). Installed newspaper in place of where the
 screened inner cover was located (yesterday).  Added more Sugar Syrup.

3)  I will check the status of the newpaper tomorrow and hopefully see if the queen survives at the end of this week.

Cheers,

John
 
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