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Author Topic: Problems, Problems, Problems  (Read 1181 times)
Barnabus
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Location: South Carolina


« on: June 05, 2005, 10:33:12 PM »

Hi:
What would you do if this is your hive?
It's one year old. They are Italian bees. They have swarmed one time about a month ago.
The hive consist of two deep boxes and two shallow suppers.

About six weeks ago I inspected the hive and all was well. Good brood pattern and a reasonable amount of brood in both deep boxes good bit of honey around the edges (normal). They had drawn four or five frames of the first supper.
Inspected again five weeks ago and found sixty to seventy percent of the first supper with capped honey so I added the next supper. I opened the top deep box and found more honey/pollen than brood the bottom box was the same more honey/pollen than brood. There were signs the queen was doing her job, saw fresh eggs in some of the empty cells.

Cheked again three weeks ago and found nothing in the top supper (the last one I added) no drawn comb nothing it was as it they ignored it. The supper that had the capped honey, it all had been uncapped and there were cells that were just half full, but there were no empty cells, checked the top deep box and it was full of honey/pollen, no empty cells at all, checked the bottom deep box found some empty cells and a little brood but it was very scattered and lots of honey/pollen. Found the queen and she looked OK.

I pulled three of the nine frames out of the bottom and replaced them with frames with just foundation (that's all I had). pulled three frames out of the top box and replaced them with frames with foundation only (checker board pattern). Put the supper with foundation only on top of the top deep box, then the supper (that had origanally been capped) on top of that.

Checked them today, The top supper was capped again, the next supper about half drawn with brood in it. the top deep box still full of honey/pollen even the empty frames put there three weeks ago.  One side on each of two older drawn out  frames was empty. On one of the frames that had the open side there were thirty (I counted them) capped drone sells and fifty six more drone cells being drawn nothing else on that side. On the other frame with the open side there were cells with multiple eggs (laying worker) but no capped cells.

The bottom deep box was full of honey/pollen execpt the three empties that I had added three weeks ago.  There was a decent brood pattern in them the three with honey around the edges. The queen was on it and looked fine.

What do I do about all the honey in the deep boxes?  Is there any way to intice the bees into moving it into suppers?

What should I do about the brood that is in the top supper, move it to the bottom, leave it alone, what?

What about all those drone cells I'm sure they will be filled with drones. will that hurt anything I don't think so but I'm not sure?

What about the signs of laying workers that was only on one side of one frame in one deep box.

Do I just add more boxes/suppers and let mother nature take its course?

I was so hopeing to get some honey this year but it doesn't look promising.

I applogize for such a long post but I couldn't figue out how to ask the questions with out the history behind them.

Hope someone can help I surely need it.

Barnabus




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Jerrymac
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Location: Wolfforth Texas


« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2005, 10:56:10 PM »

One suggestion I can think of. Take some of the honey out of the deeps and extract it. Then replace the frames into the deeps. The bees will clean it all out and then the queen will have a place to lay.
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Miss Chick-a-BEE
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Location: Eastman, Georgia USA


« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2005, 12:30:36 AM »

That does sound like a confusing mess. I'm no expert, but it appears to me you've done all kinds of right things.

You say they swarmed a month ago? Was wondering if the queen you now have is a purchased queen or one the bees raised. Could she be just young? And that would account for the multipule eggs in cells? The hive is on the edge of honey bound, but I know you're doing alot to fight against that.

I'm thinking.... things will eventually get better. BUT, in the meantime you want to do what you can to get any capped honey out. The goal I'm thinking of is to give room for laying. I believe I'd extract honey, and give what frames and foundation on the lowest box. I think the bees for now are going to put the honey in the first cells they can (lowest area). But maybe if they do, the queen can find somewhere to lay higher up.

I know they'll get it all straight at some point. I had a hive get honey bound, but after awhile they fixed it.

It seems to me that you've done (and/or thought of) all these things yourself. So I may not be giving you much new to work on. Smiley

Beth
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2005, 11:06:38 AM »

"Backfilling" the brood nest is a common precursor to swarming.  Sounds like they plan to swarm again, to me.  But I suppose, if you can't find any swarm cells, it's possible the queen is failing.

>What do I do about all the honey in the deep boxes? Is there any way to intice the bees into moving it into suppers?

Take it out.  If you don't use chemicals you can extract it and use it.  If you DO use chemicals, you can extract it or cut the comb out and feed it to the bees and put the empty frames back.  An empty frame between two drawn combs will be drawn nicely and that will give the queen somewhere to lay and them somewhere to cluster.  While you're at it, checkerboard the supers (put empty frames or frames of nectar between the capped frames if there are any) and get rid of the excluder (if you're using one).

>What should I do about the brood that is in the top supper, move it to the bottom, leave it alone, what?

If you want you can move it to the bottom or put it on top of the deeps.

>What about all those drone cells I'm sure they will be filled with drones. will that hurt anything I don't think so but I'm not sure?

The bees will only raise so many drones and then they will fill it with honey.  I like to move combs of drone cells to the outside edge of the brood boxes.  That way the bees can clear them and the queen can lay in them if they want drones, but they usually fill those frames with honey.

>What about the signs of laying workers that was only on one side of one frame in one deep box.

I've never seen a laying worker in a hive with a queen and you say you saw the queen.  Sometimes when a queen can't find room to lay she will lay multiple eggs.  But a queen lays them in the bottom of the worker cells and the laying workers lay them on the side of the cell because they can't reach the bottom.  Are you sure it's a laying worker?

>Do I just add more boxes/suppers and let mother nature take its course?

You could try that.   But my guess is they will swarm if you do.  A frame of eggs is always a good step, in case it's a failing (drone laying) queen, then they have the opportunity to supercede her.  It also gets them back into brood rearing.  I'd open up the brood nest also so there is room for the queen to lay in case that's the problem.

If you give them the resources and if there isn't a laying worker (which I don't think there is because you have a queen) then they may  work things out.
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Michael Bush
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