Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Hive absconded. Some bees stayed - what to do? Add new queen?  (Read 205 times)

Offline rushin2

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Gender: Male
Hello everyone! We started our two new top bars. Russian bees were introduced and one hive appears to go strong. The other one we have issues - a queen took off with 3/4 of the bees with her. We tried to locate the swarm, but they were gone...

About 1/2 to 1 lbs of bees stayed in the hive. They are all sitting in a ball in one corner. When it was sunny yesterday they came out, but appeared very weak and did not seem to collect any pollen. What should we do?

1. Should we add them to the other strong hive in the evening? (will they accept a new queen?)
2. Add a new queen? (but there seem to be only workers left in the pack, no drones)
3. Let them die? (really wish not to go this route)

We are wondering if giving it a try and adding a new queen would be more reasonable, but their quantity is so small compared to 3 lbs packages!

Anyone had experience with such? We are thinking to add a queen, but lack of seeing drones concerns us - who will inseminate her?

Offline Dallasbeek

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 589
  • Gender: Male
Re: Hive absconded. Some bees stayed - what to do? Add new queen?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2015, 01:37:49 PM »
I'll leave the other questions for more experienced hands, but as to lack of drones, virgin queens go out of their way to not mate with drones from their own hive.  This wouldn't matter in your case because she won't be related to drones of her hive, but I'm not sure thay compare family trees.  She'l travel far enough away so that doesn't happen.  When they mate with their brothers, inferior laying occurs and they supercede her pretty quickly.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Offline Dallasbeek

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 589
  • Gender: Male
Re: Hive absconded. Some bees stayed - what to do? Add new queen?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2015, 01:38:59 PM »
Go into your profile and enter your location, since answers to questions often are location-specific.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Offline rushin2

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Gender: Male
Re: Hive absconded. Some bees stayed - what to do? Add new queen?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2015, 02:05:05 PM »
Thank you Dallasbeek. Updated my location - Seattle, WA.

Offline Dallasbeek

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 589
  • Gender: Male
Re: Hive absconded. Some bees stayed - what to do? Add new queen?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2015, 02:30:05 PM »
You might also ask the administrator to move this string to general beekeeping, since your questions are not unique to top bar hives and you'll get better responses there.  Some never look at TBH topics, since they have no interest in TBHs.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Offline Dallasbeek

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 589
  • Gender: Male
Re: Hive absconded. Some bees stayed - what to do? Add new queen?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2015, 02:31:40 PM »
For what it's worth, I'd recommend adding your bees to another hive.  Look at Michael Bush's website for help on doing this.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Offline rushin2

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Gender: Male
Re: Hive absconded. Some bees stayed - what to do? Add new queen?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2015, 02:57:24 PM »
Dear Dallasbeek,

"When it rains, it pours" applies to my experiences in life. Including beekeeping, as it seems. Not that it's bad - most of the time it is for my own good. Steep learning curves.

I just happened that you answered my question with answer I suspected is the proper route - to add these bees to the strong hive. I was going to order a new queen, but with such small quantity of bees - not sure they would pull it off with her.

I will add them to the strong hive. Still new to all of these, but most of it (beekeeping) makes sense from standpoint of Nature and how everything in Nature operates (except for our chickens who insist on laying 3 eggs a day for 7 of them in the flock :)

Off to Mike's site to search on how to add the bees to the strong hive. Now questions on how accomplish it without disturbing them too much... Not sure when to do it - at dusk and collect them in a box to gently dump them into strong hive?..

Thank You for your answers - it reconfirmed my feelings and I just now cancelled the purchase of a new queen...

Offline Better.to.Bee.than.not

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 519
Re: Hive absconded. Some bees stayed - what to do? Add new queen?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2015, 02:38:40 PM »
it is only april. plenty of time for the hive to rebuild itself imo, and if they are there there is a good chance they will make a new queen if there are eggs to do it. instead of adding them to the stronger hive, I personally would add eggs and nurse bees from the strong hive to the weak one, do it a few times periodically until you see a queen being made, notching the cells can help as well. you may actually prevent swarming of the strong hive doing this, and you will then end up with two queens and two hives thus birthing twice as many bees as you would with one. at the end of the season, if the hive is weak, then you can merge them if you wish. But right now it is the time hives are building up and potentially swarming and you are doing your splits anyways.

for thoughts and ideas on the relative way to go about doing this, google or look into "OTS queen rearing" and understand the concept and ideas behind it.

here's a start:


Offline Dallasbeek

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 589
  • Gender: Male
Re: Hive absconded. Some bees stayed - what to do? Add new queen?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2015, 08:12:36 PM »
Better-to-bee..., I'll go along with you on that.  He had indicated there were only a few bees left.  He apparently has a couple of top bar hives, which, even if he has a follower board pushed way forward, will give the bees a lot of space.  If he can put the follower board up so there are just a few top bars to deal with, it might work.  The problem is that he doesn't have frames of bees to work with.  OTS on a comb without foundation is going to be a little touchy.  It can be done, I'm sure, and I think he ought to try it.  It would be a great learning experience.  I hope he can make some videos.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944