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Author Topic: Lost a queen in an observation hive, northern New Mexico. Advice?  (Read 1207 times)
mbest
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« on: January 05, 2012, 06:22:15 PM »

Hello and happy new year!

I am a relatively new beekeeper (5 years experience) and last summer I started an observation hive (3 deep frames). In midsummer, the hive went through a catastrophic die off due to inadequate ventilation; the workers had sealed off the mesh screens for venting. I cleaned out the hive, resolved the venting issue, and added a frame of brood and a frame of honey from my other regular hive. I thought it would take too long for the observation hive to produce a queen and build up for winter, so I introduced a new queen and she was accepted and laying well towards the end of summer. Since then the population has dwindled and is now about half of it's summertime heyday. The queen had stopped laying back in December, or maybe earlier, and they are going through their honey stores rapidly. I am supplementing their stored honey with honey I harvested from another hive.

Today, to my dismay, I found that the queen is gone (she was in the hive three days ago), and I wonder if there is anything that can be done. I don't think it's a good idea to remove brood or food stores from my other hive as it will be a challenge for them to make it through the winter as it is. I assumed the queen would have started laying again later in January or maybe in February, so maybe it wouldn't be such a blow to have another queen introduced at this time, though I doubt any are available this time of year. Should I simply combine this hive and it's food stores with my outdoor hive, using the newspaper method, to help insure it's survival and start fresh next spring with the observation hive? Any ideas?

I'm new to the forum and am excited to be a part of the community.

Thanks,
Marcus
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 06:34:34 PM by mbest » Logged
specialkayme
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2012, 09:36:49 PM »

First, welcome to the site!

Are you sure the queen is gone?

If you are, there is little you can do now. I wouldn't try and do a combine in January, depending on where you live.

Usually I have to feed to get my OH to make it through the winter. Sugar water and pollen. Their populations just arn't what a typical hive is.
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mbest
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2012, 11:34:02 PM »

I can continue to feeding the hive, but won't I just end up with a steadily declining population of workers, some of which will start laying, then a hive full of drones by spring?
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 12:34:14 AM »

maybe, but you might want to feed and watch.  my OB hive queen hides really well.  unless you found her dead, she may yet be in there.  in the spring, you can repopulate the hive.  even a dying hive is something you can learn from.
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mbest
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2012, 12:59:53 AM »

even a dying hive is something you can learn from.

Good point. And, no, I haven't found the dead queen, so I will continue to look for her.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2012, 07:01:29 AM »

I think she's still in there.

I've "lost" the queen in my OH quite a few times, only to "find" her a day or two later.
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Keeperwannabe
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2012, 05:46:55 PM »

I think most people lose their observation hive in the winter, at least you aren't out much.
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SerenityApiaries
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2012, 04:55:19 AM »

The trick is to design an OH that is big enough that it doesn't suffer winter loss. I want to try to design a 10 frame OH that could fill a whole wall. Moses Quinby, Author of Mysteries of beekeeping Explained was one of the first commercial beeks during the 1800's and much of what we know today is from his observations in his OHs'. If I could convince my wife, I would take out an entire wall for the purpose of having a massive OH. lol

Khalen
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2012, 05:12:04 AM »

The trick is getting it to go into winter with a decent, but not too large population and plenty of stores.  Sometimes you have to boost them in the spring as they dwindle too low sometimes.  It's not hard to give them a couple of handfuls of bees from one of your boomers.  Shake them into a box with no combs (being sure not to get the queen), put on the lid, and rig the hose so they only place they have to go is into the observation hive.  They will smell the queen and the hive and move in.
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Ken
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2012, 06:35:54 PM »

My OB hive with 3 deep and one medium frame went through a couple of winters with no problems.The third year it dwindled away.Then I was just pondering putting a couple frames with bees and brood/eggs when a swarm took up residence then departed in the early fall.
It sat empty last year with swarm lure,but swarm season was virtually non existent.I never gave it much thought,but wax moths moved in and cleaned up all the old comb. So this year I will put in a couple drawn frames and a new package.It will be nice to have bees in the house again!!

But back to original topic,the queen got very difficult to find during broodless periods,even the marked one seemed elusive at times.
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