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Author Topic: To Combine Or Not To Combine...  (Read 1597 times)
MeadFarm
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« on: June 10, 2010, 11:50:53 AM »

Over a week ago I was dealing with my first laying worker. I'm sure I made a few mistakes as a newbee is prone to do. I would appreciate any input on my actions and any advice as to what to do next.
I shook all the workers into the grass 1000+ feet away and replaced all the frames with 4 frames of brood and a couple of food with workers from other hives in the original location. 2 days later I placed a new queen with attendants in a queen cage into the hive with what I thought was an enormous candy plug. I went back yesterday (a week later) to find the queen dead in her cage.
I can think of a number of reasons why this happened. One bit of advice I did not heed was to leave the corks in until I could see how the bees were treating the queen before removing the cork. How would I know how she was being treated? They all seem to cluster around the cage - hard to tell if they are being nice or not.
The "what now" question is the important one. Do I attempt re-queening again? or do I cut my losses and try to combine (using the newspaper method) with another queenright hive that was a little slow to start? Or...something else?
Thanks!
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brendan
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2010, 01:56:27 PM »

I had the same problem last season. I ordered a nice marked queen from Honey run apiaries. The queen came in a plastic cage. I elected not to do a shakeout but instead kept the queen in the age for 5-6 d with a piee of duct tape over the plug. It worked like a charm. Since you already plopped down 20 bucks for the queen, try just adding frames of open brood from another hive and let them raise one. Alternatively, you could call the person you bought the queen from and ask for a replacement at a reduced price.
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2010, 02:10:29 PM »

when you shook them out, you let them return to the same hive?  laying workers fly.  they would fly back to the hive, the hive would believe it still had a queen, and would kill the new one.  when you shake out a hive, you need to take away the old hive and let the workers join your other hives. 

you can try requeening, but it's better done with a push cage than just hanging the queen cage in the hive.  you can try putting a fresh frame of eggs in the hive every few days until they make a new queen.

  the easiest thing to do is shake them out, but do not give them the original hive.  let them fly back and join other hives.   take the old hive across the field, take an extra empty box and a towel.  as you clear each frame put it in the empty box and cover.  when you are done, put all the stuff away so the bees have nothing old to attract them.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm

simple instructions and ideas.
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 Alexis de Tocqueville
MeadFarm
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2010, 03:43:00 PM »

I shook the bees in front of my other hives in a different pasture. I'm not totally convinced that they flew back, though anything is possible. I don't see any eggs at all in the empty cells after a week. If some of the workers came back, I don't think (read: I hope) that the laying worker made it back (maybe a swallow got her!)
I'm leaning toward combining hives rather than re-queening again - though I would like to keep the same number of hives, having one strong hive vs. two weak ones sounds a bit better. I'm just trying to find the best route. I would sure hate for this hive to kill the queen in the queenright hive!
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kathyp
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2010, 03:50:33 PM »

laying workerS.  as i learned here and from doing it wrong  grin.  there are probably multiple and yes, they will go back to the same hive if it's left for them.  it's home.

 but....if i am re-reading your post correctly, you basically started a new hive?  when you introduced a queen you later found her dead in the cage.  kind of sounds like a queen problem rather than worker problem.  also, did you give that hive any honey or feed syrup?  if you take only workers, there are no bees for forage for food.  combining is probably a good idea unless you have found good queen cells?
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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
MeadFarm
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2010, 03:59:00 PM »

I've been feeding all my new hives so at least they have nurishment.
What kind of queen problem do I (or did I have)? I do have access to some local queens so I'm not totally opposed to trying again with the re-queening. Maybe do a push? I just have a hard time recognizing if the bees are liking the new queen or if they are being hostile.
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hardwood
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2010, 04:02:30 PM »

In a laying worker hive there may be hundreds of laying workers. MB has the best advice I can think of "a frame of eggs and open brood once a week for three weeks" (paraphrased). If you can spare the frames of brood from your other hives that might be the way to go, but if you have a struggling hive I would combine to bolster them up and split during the goldenrod flow if they're strong enough or wait 'til spring to split.

Scott
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MeadFarm
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2010, 06:34:46 PM »

Sounds like combining is a safest way to go. Then splitting later. Genius!
The question remains how much danger is the queen in from the queenright hive if I combine?
Thanks for all of the feedback!
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fish_stix
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2010, 11:22:04 PM »

If you combine with another hive and there are still laying workers present they will kill the good queen. The best way is the way Michael Bush suggests with a frame of eggs/larva each week for 3 weeks. If that doesn't get results then do the shakeout and remove the hive so the bees get distributed among your other hives. Laying workers are tenacious and tough to get rid of.
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