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Author Topic: new beekeeper in need of advice to manage difficult beehive situation  (Read 2373 times)
stonecroppefarm
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« on: February 03, 2011, 11:00:52 PM »

End of august I received 4 frames of comb and a small number of bees (3 or 4 lbs) from a removal done earlier in august. as a new beekeeper, this was my first hive/colony and I was told to have fun, it is too late for this colony to produce a sufficient number of bees and stores to survive the winter (RI, close to the coast, not really a harsh winter though this winter has been very cold). their new home was a 10 frame deep with 4 frames from the removed hive and 6 frames with new foundation. for the next two months they consumed ~2lb sugar 1:1 syrup daily and gathered a lot of pollen (goldenrod i think). Problem one, the cutouts did not stand well and this produced significant crossover. I was never able, being new at this, to pull the frames for inspection, to do so meant losing/damaging brood and honey comb, though I could see brood and capped honey and the hive body was not light.
I insulated the hive to help with the winter conditions and now in February there are still living bees. Perhaps they will survive the winter.
As spring arrives, how do I get the bees to abandon the messed-up box and move to another with frames of new foundation? I was told to put a deep box on top of the existing hive body and the colony will naturally move up into this box producing brood and food storage etc. Not being a bee, I don't understand this. Can someone explain this?
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hardwood
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2011, 11:15:12 PM »

If you place the new box below the old one (spring time) they will start to store honey above the brood nest forcing them down into the bottom box. If you can remove any drawn frames from your original box at all and put them into the new lower box it will speed things along.

You need to straighten things out as soon as you can. Sacrifice a bit of brood if you must and make sure the queen is out of the way. The longer you let it go as is the worse it will get.

Scott
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iddee
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2011, 11:18:33 PM »

That will work "eventually...

The best way is to just leave it and let the bees build. About May, when they have 18 or so frames drawn out and full of brood, pollen, and honey, remove the four frames all at once. Replace them with empty frames. Sacrifice the four frames.
If your other 6 frames have foundation, I don't think it will get any worse.
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stonecroppefarm
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2011, 11:22:01 PM »

Scott, thanks for the advice. I noticed that you are located in FL. I am in NE, right now as I type the temp is 12 deg. F. Not a good time to begin this procedure. When (temp wise?) would you suggest that I start to do this?

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gardeningfireman
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2011, 11:23:56 PM »

When you get comb from a cutout, cut it to fit into a medium or deep frame, and hold it in place with a few rubber bands. After the bees attach the comb, they will chew up and remove the bands. Hardwood gave good advise. Also, in the spring when you give them new foundation, feed, feed, and feed! Until then, get yourself a couple of books on beekeeping, read this forum, and watch videos on youtube. There is a lot of good info out there. Also, join a beekeeping association and get a mentor. If this colony doesn't make it, don't give up. We all lose colonies. Best of luck! Don't go into that hive until temps are in the 50's.
Alan
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stonecroppefarm
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2011, 11:27:19 PM »

iddee, are you saying that I add a 10 frame deep on the existing hive body and the bees will draw out the foundation and the queen will leave the original box and move to the new box to produce brood?
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hardwood
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2011, 11:38:22 PM »

iddee is right, my advise is the slow way, but is gentler on the bees. If it were me I'd have already done a cut out if it's in that bad of shape, but that can be intimidating for a new beek.

Don't add a new box (top OR bottom) until you have warmer weather (once again spring) and are expecting a flow or feeding.

We all have different methods...it's up to you to pick what fits you,

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
BlueBee
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2011, 11:58:32 PM »

Ron,

When you pull out those four fused together frames like iddee says, you could throw them in a nuc and start hive number 2.  There’s a good chance there will be eggs in there and they'll probably make you a new queen.   You’ll also want to figure out where the queen is when you pull out those fused frames.
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T Beek
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2011, 08:19:39 AM »

Great advise from "everyone" Smiley  Should join the "best of the forum" catagory

When I was beginning with "foundationless" I neglected to inspect a swarm I had placed in a medium Lang for two weeks.  When I opened them up the cross comb was both beautiful and heartbreaking, and thus began my first cut-out, the bees survived, but only until the following Spring, when they succumbed to starvation (w/ plenty of stores around them) likely due to inability to move.  That was a winter when we had minus zero temps for two weeks straight and I was a very stupid beek.

thomas
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iddee
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2011, 09:03:32 AM »

Basically, leave them as is until warmer weather, other than dry feeding if needed. When they have drawn the empty frames, add another box. As they draw the second box, she will lay eggs in both boxes. All frames other than the 4 should be straight.

On a warm day, find her when she isn't on one of the 4 frames. Then treat the 4 as a cutout. Remove them as one unit and cut them apart. Save any of them that you can, but don't worry if you lose it all. They will still have enough to prosper.

PS. It won't hurt the bees if you leave it as is forever. It's the beek you are fixing it for, so don't hurry. You have plenty of time. The longer you wait, the better it is for the bees.
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T Beek
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2011, 09:08:54 AM »

Iddee:  Your PS says it all man Smiley

thomas
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Acebird
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2011, 09:10:24 AM »

Quote
There’s a good chance there will be eggs in there and they'll probably make you a new queen.   You’ll also want to figure out where the queen is when you pull out those fused frames.


I am going to ask one of my dumb questions again.  Why?  If they will make a queen for the nuc why wouldn't they make a queen for the parent hive?  There has to be eggs in both or one is going to die off anyway.

Just because you use foundation doesn't mean the bees are not going to do something squirrely.
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T Beek
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2011, 09:27:00 AM »

Both are capable of producing a queen, but the NUC is just better served with the old queen.

thomas
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iddee
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2011, 09:35:31 AM »

Acebird, there are 5 ways to keep bees.

1...the right way

2...the wrong way.

3...your way.

4... my way.

5... the bees way

Only #5 is important.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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T Beek
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2011, 09:38:20 AM »

Thanks AGAIN Iddee.  That's going on my wall Smiley

thomas
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stonecroppefarm
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2011, 10:58:24 AM »

First, let me thank all of you for the responses. You all sound like seasoned, experienced, knowledgeable beeks. the issue is that I am not, being a novice, new beek. So, what you all are recommending is still a stretch for me to comprehend. First, my goal is to have this colony reside in a hive body, brood chamber, (see, I don't even know the terminology?) with all ten frames that I can somewhat easily remove for inspection (why?, check for queen, laying pattern, mites in brood cells, stores of honey, pollen, etc. I don't know). I am somewhat believing that this requires that I get the queen to move to another box for her laying, is this correct? She will do this when the original (present) ten frames have no room for decent brood laying, is this correct? This new box with new frames I must add, this I know since the present hive consists of the original fused frames single deep box. Do I add this deep below the existing or above the existing? and why? and what is the catalyst that drives the queen into this box rather than remaining in the original?

About the queen, this is all conjecture on this new beek's part. She may be new, I am not sure that the original queen survived the vacuuming or made the transfer into the hive box. There did not appear to be much laying at first, but by the end of September, (recall that the removal was early August), the colony size began increasing noticeably. like from less than 3 lbs count to 5 or 6 by the end of Oct. So, the suggestion that I might start a second colony in a NUC using the four original frames of cutout  confuses me. Aren't there way too few bees to split the colony?  How do I keep the existing queen with the original frames such that worker bees will make a new queen from the new brood in the new box? At this point, assuming the colony survives the six remaining weeks of frozen tundra, I will be happy to get the colony to prepare ten new manageable frames. Any further recommendations appreciated.   Ron       
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iddee
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2011, 11:17:38 AM »

First, RELAX. You are reading more into the situation then there is there. Next, for the record, I understood there are 4 frames messed up and six either straight comb or foundation. Is this correct?

If so, just leave the box as is until 8 or 9 frames are drawn. If they are shoved tightly together, they should be drawn straight by mid to late spring. At that time, add a box. Top or bottom matters not. She will expand into it.

When it is half full or more, remove the 4 bad frames and replace with empties unless you can straighten up some of them.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
stonecroppefarm
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2011, 11:36:45 AM »

iddee, I shall take your advice, all of it. First, RELAX, thank you, good
advice. Next, yes, four fused frames, but actually the crossover spread 1
frame to each side of the group of four frames so I have four frames that
are rather straight. Next, by the end of Oct the bees slowed down on taking
the syrup that I was providing, most of the frames were fully drawn and
packed with honey and pollen.

When you say, 'when the new box is half full', do you mean half drawn?,
should there be evidence of queen laying? I plan to be feeding with a top
feeder. does this influence whether the new box goes on top or below? I
believe we are getting there.  thanks again --- Ron
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iddee
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2011, 12:10:55 PM »

You will see eggs and larva in the old box before the new box is full. The normal rule is add a box when 8 frames are drawn. It can be varied.

Even with top feeder on, the box can go on top or bottom. When the weather warms, food will be coming from top and bottom. "feeder and field" Therefore, it doesn't matter where the brood is. They will arrange their house as they see fit.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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kathyp
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2011, 12:12:27 PM »

new boxes go under.  bees draw down.

to much is made of messed up comb.  it's no big deal.  it's nice when you can rotate it out, but there is no imperative that you do so.  

having had the same results from cut outs, i'll tell you what i do......and i do it whenever i get around to it.....

later in spring when it's nice a warm and you have added that second box, pull the clump of frames (smoke them well to move queen down) and shift the clump to the outside positions in the box.   those frames would become 7-10 .  give them a couple of weeks and cut out and remove #10.  make #9, #10 and replace #7 with new frame.  

the queen will be more apt to be laying in the middle.  whatever is on the clumpy frames has time to hatch out so you don't lose bees.  it takes a while to do it this way, but it's the least disrupting to the hive and has least loss.

a nice long bread knife is good for cutting wonky comb apart.  
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