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Author Topic: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!  (Read 2921 times)

Offline phill

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Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« on: August 15, 2009, 03:23:32 PM »
I'm a newbie working with 2 hives. Started from nucs in early May, and both built up reasonably well, filling 2 deeps despite a very rainy June.

Then one hive, the stronger of the two, started bearding a lot. I added a super-- although they didn't look crowded-- and cracked the top cover for ventilation. Still they kept bearding, and since everything else looked OK, and I saw no swarm cells, I stopped worrying.

About a week ago I noticed that the bearding had stopped, for no apparent reason. Today I did a quick inspection, and was surprised to see that the population hadn't increased. It might even be down a bit. The other hive, which had lagged in development, now has 10 frames chock-full in both deeps and is starting to draw comb in the super. This one has maybe 15 full frames total. I pulled a few frames, and saw no eggs or brood. I hadn't left myself time to check more thoroughly.

One more thing: The buzzing in this hive was much, much louder than in the other one. I don't know how to distinguish the "roar" of a queenless hive, but I started worrying...

I'm going pull this hive apart thoroughly tomorrow, and if I find eggs I'll stop worrying again. But if I don't, then what? Seems late to try to re-queen. Combining would give me an awfully big hive. Suggestions? Advice?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 03:39:54 PM by phill »

Offline JP

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2009, 06:00:31 PM »
If queenless and too late to get a queen in your area, then you just may need to do a combine, but I bet you could find a queen somewhere if need be.


...JP
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Offline phill

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2009, 03:45:09 PM »
Checked thoroughly today. I've got a problem.

No eggs. No larvae. Not much capped brood. She's been gone for a while.

There's a fair amount of honey on the frames, but the bee population is definitely down. They must have swarmed, and I didn't notice.

I'd be grateful for suggestions on what I should do now.

Online kathyp

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2009, 03:50:12 PM »
you really only have two choices.  combine or requeen.  i would lean toward combining and splitting in the spring if the population explodes.  if you are concerned about having only one hive, then buy a queen.  you should still be able to find one around.
.....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

Offline Bee-Bop

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2009, 10:58:54 PM »
This I think is when you need a local OPINION ;

I'm a thousand miles from you, so it's hard for me to know your temperature, humidity, altitude, ocean breezes, etc.

Re QUEEN for me; last week Yes, this week WELL MAYBE, next week NOPE !

I think their are just too many unknown variables for long range/distance advice this time of the year.

Good Luck in your decision.

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Offline Natalie

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2009, 12:53:01 AM »
Phill, if you need a queen there are a few places around. Reseskas might have some but Trails End Farm in Rhode Island had some very recently and Mark Robar is very good to do business with.
He has russians and new world carnis.
Its cutting it close in alot of areas but I do know that a few beeks from my club just requeened this week so its probably not too late in our area.
Good luck.

Bee-Bop, don't forget that just because you may be a thousand miles away from members that ask questions here, its doesn't mean that everyone is.
There are people on this forum that may be local to where any member lives and are able to help them.
There are actually several members here from Massachusetts that can give him the "local" opinion that you speak of.

Offline bee-nuts

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2009, 03:16:28 AM »
If other hive is doing well couldn't Phill add a few frames of brood from other hive after re-queening to boost the numbers and help them get ready for winter?
The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory

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Offline diggity

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2009, 10:45:01 AM »
Just a note that I spoke to someone at Warm Colors Apiary in Deerfield last week.  She said they would have queens available this week.  You can find them on the web - just do a google search.

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Offline JP

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2009, 10:56:57 AM »
If other hive is doing well couldn't Phill add a few frames of brood from other hive after re-queening to boost the numbers and help them get ready for winter?

Yes, this is what I would do.


...JP
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Offline bassman1977

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2009, 01:51:17 PM »
If other hive is doing well couldn't Phill add a few frames of brood from other hive after re-queening to boost the numbers and help them get ready for winter?

Yes, this is what I would do.


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Offline bee-nuts

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2009, 03:41:18 PM »
Phill

Do you know what queen cells look like?

I ask because I think they probably swarmed.  If so and you are already to the no brood stage, you may have a new laying queen in a week or two. I think you should become familiar with queen cell and swarm cell so you dont waist your time and money on a queen.

Here is a video of a hive after it swarmed.  A week or two later I found capped brood from new queen.

This video is far from professional and I would watch other videos, look at queen cell pics and do a little reading in book or converse here on forum and take another look in hive unless of course after watching this video you already know you have swarm cells.

If they swarmed and you already have a queen and you introduce a new one, one will kill the other and you  willl have wasted your money and time.

Just my opinion and Im sure others will add to this.

Good luck!!
The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory

Thomas Jefferson

Online kathyp

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2009, 03:52:11 PM »
Quote
If they swarmed and you already have a queen and you introduce a new one, one will kill the other and you willl have wasted your money and time.

easiest way to figure that out is to put in a frame of eggs and check it in a couple of days for queen cells.

i'll give you my reason for why i would probably do a combine and you can see if it fits your area. 

i am 4 weeks from frost.  it's not that we won't still have some good weather between now and mid-October, but we'll start having cold nights and lots of rain soon.  brood production will go way down quickly.  rather than weaken another hives numbers, i would combine at this time of the year.

the others are correct.  if you buy a queen and can keep your numbers up enough to compensate for less laying by queen (depending on your temps, etc.) you might be just fine buying a queen.  quickly though.  there may not be to many left out there.
.....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

Offline beee farmer

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2009, 04:17:53 PM »
Might be a Virgin queen in there thats not started laying yet...I had 4 that swarmed on me and no eggs or larva... ordered new queens and by the time they got here and I was going to install there was larve in there so ...Been there dun that.... luckly I had several strong hives I was able to use the new queen in making splits
"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do"  Benjamin Franklin

Offline phill

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2009, 04:27:31 PM »
Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts. Very helpful.

I should have mentioned another important factor: I'm going to be traveling the next 2 weeks, and won't be available to check this hive. So the wait-and-see options aren't really available. Unless somebody knocks on my door with a new queen in the next couple of hours, I'm going to combine this evening.

Bee-nuts, I do know queen cells. I hadn't noticed any in this hive before the trouble began. Did I miss them? Seems likely. I realize that I might have a laying queen in another week. But if I don't, I'm up a creek, right?

Offline bugleman

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2009, 04:06:27 AM »
Make sure they are truly queenless.  I have a couple of smaller collonies the last week because of the dearth quit making brood until almost all of the last batch of brood hatched out.

Offline bee-nuts

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2009, 04:42:11 AM »
Phill

Hope everything goes well what ever you decide or have decided and done.  Two weeks without being able to check on the girls would kill me if I were in your situation.  If you did combine, the girls should be fine, and no reason to worry while your gone.  Should be a strong hive and maybe make you lots of honey.

Next year you should be able to have lots of fun making increases.

Good luck
The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory

Thomas Jefferson

Offline Sparky

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2009, 10:59:34 PM »
In the case of combining the hives, is this one of the times when you would put newspaper between them to keep them from fighting till they get to know one another?

Offline JP

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2009, 12:05:46 AM »
In the case of combining the hives, is this one of the times when you would put newspaper between them to keep them from fighting till they get to know one another?

Yes. When combining a queenless hive with a queenright hive, a newspaper combine is the most common approach.


...JP
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Offline phill

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2009, 08:14:05 AM »
I combined the hive Monday evening. That night there was some serious bearding around the entrance. (It was a hot night, and no doubt the newspaper cut down air circulation.) By Tuesday morning, though, things looked good from the outside: minimal bearding, very heavy foraging activity.

I'll be back from my first trip this weekend, and will have just enough time to peek inside and give a report.

Offline phill

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Re: Should I be worried about this hive? Yes, I should!
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2009, 07:19:54 PM »
Back home for a visit between trips, I took a quick look at the combined hive today. The bees seemed fairly happy: busy but docile. Dunno if I'll harvest any honey this year; they're just drawing out comb in the first super. But with 3 full deeps they should be strong going into the winter, at least.

Thanks to everyone here who helped me make the decision to combine. I'm confident it was the right move.


 

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