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Author Topic: Disturbing the Hive?  (Read 1520 times)
Wombat
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« on: April 09, 2005, 06:32:06 PM »

As some of you guys may know by now, I do behavioral/learning discrimination research with bees down here in SC, and I have also recently become pretty actively involved in maintaining our hive...I cracked it open today for the first time really since winter and I'm pleased to say that it is doing really well and has a very strong population (although there is a little issue with Varroa at the moment). And tons of honey. Anyway, I have another quick question.

The work I'm going to be starting on this next week will be involving drones. About a week and a half ago they were pretty plentiful, coming and going from the hive in the morning, and I was quite pleased. In recent days they have settled down and seem to be keeping inside the hive more than before (like I said, I peered in today, and everything was good looking for the most part...including a representative proportion of drones).

The easiest way for me to collect the boys is to pop open the hive and snag them from off the honeycomb rather than to wait around for forever for them to leave the hive on their own. Furthermore, the drones I'm seeing inside the hive itself actually look and act more healthy than those I've been collecting leaving the entrance, and physiological fitness is certainly a concern with the next project. I'm a little concerned, however, that a week or two of daily hive-opening will disturb the bees too much. I'm very gentle and quick about getting them out, and it would only take a minute or two each day, but I'm worried that I might inadvertantly upset the hive. I'd only be collecting about 10 drones or so each day for about a week, and obviously only removing the outermost frames. Should I be concerned about disturbing the hive too much over this period of time, or will it make a difference at all. I've been advised that no, it probably won't, but I'd like to stay on the safe side...so I thought I'd ask the pros! Like I said, I'm new to this, and basically this is my first hive. I sure would hate to kill it or drive the girls to abscond. Couldn't find anything about this in all my books.

Or maybe there is an even easier way of drone collection I haven't thought of, yet? smiley Any ideas?
 
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wombat
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2005, 07:01:55 PM »

You could probably put a queen excluder, or piece of one, across the entrance in the afternoon for a short time.  Come back in an hour and have a grundel of them stacked up trying to get in.
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Robo
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2005, 07:08:04 PM »

With the method you described, I don't forsee any issue.

If you are concerned, you could install a frame of drone foundation in the center of the brood box and let them draw it out  and the queen fill it.  Once it is capped, you could remove it from the hive and collect the drones as they hatch.  This would also help with your varroa problem.  If you don't have drone foundation,  you can put a shallow or medium frame in the middle of the brood chamber and they will most likely build drone comb off the bottom to fill the space.  Once capped you could cut it off and collect them as they hatch.
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Wombat
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2005, 07:25:27 PM »

Robo - I've been considering talking to the professor about expanding the hive and putting in another super, anyway...its getting very crowded and it's pretty dense in there.

how long would you expect for it to take the girls to draw out the drone cells and the queen to start laying...? That is, when could I expect to see the boys? Everyone is very active and I would expect they would be anxious to take right to it. If I had to wait too long it might be best to go with my previous method though...and then of course, I'd have to wait for the boys to develop and hatch...

these are great ideas, by the way...thanks!!! All comments appreciated!
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2005, 08:17:07 PM »

Do you use smoke? I understand it is less disruptive if you don't. They can get back into what they were doing faster than if they have to restock the honey they sucked up because of the smoke.
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Robo
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2005, 08:28:44 PM »

If you put it right in the middle of the brood chamber,  it could be as quick as a couple of days.   Drones do take the longest time to hatch, around 24 days.  So your probably looking at a month or a little less if you try the drone foundation.
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Anonymous
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2005, 08:08:18 AM »

At our 67th anunal beekeeping comferance this speaker was telling us of a company that makes strips with queen phormone which could be useful to beekeepers.
I miss place the web site address for that company.
You might contact Zachary Huang derectly for that information.
The company may have a virgin queen phormone strip out that could be used to draw drones to a collection site.

Zachary Huang
Department of Entomology
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
USA

Zachary also has a very nice web site.
http://www.cyberbee.net/


 Cheesy Al
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