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Author Topic: Bees Clustering Under Lid  (Read 2186 times)
johnauck
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« on: November 04, 2012, 12:53:16 AM »

Hi Downunder Beeks, hope someone can give me some advice?

Today I did a quick inspection of one of my hives. Upon removing the lid, I noticed quite a few bees clustering under the lid. What could this mean? Below is a photo of the lid and super.

I was only making a quick inspection so I did not smoke the bees and only had a brief look at some of the frames in the super. This super does not have a queen excluder as I want to build up brood for a split.

I pulled a couple of the middle frames from the super and noticed a single uncapped queen cell. I would have looked more, but the bees were starting to notice me.

In the next few days I will make a more thorough examination of the hive. In the meantime, does this look like the hive is gearing up to swarm? If I had used smoke under the lid would those bees have moved down?




thanx

john



« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 04:43:16 AM by buzzbee » Logged
Maryland Beekeeper
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2012, 01:46:00 AM »

I wouldn't wait a few days.
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Drew
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Ken
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012, 04:44:28 AM »

It was a queen cell torn open or a queen cup yet to be finished and have a egg laid?
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yantabulla
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 05:00:12 AM »

If you use a smoker you will be able to inspect your hives thoroughly. 

Smoke has been used successfully for thousands of years.  It makes life easier for you & the bees

It takes a few minutes to light a smoker.

Yanta
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rawfind
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2012, 06:14:12 AM »

Hi Downunder Beeks, hope someone can give me some advice?

Today I did a quick inspection of one of my hives. Upon removing the lid, I noticed quite a few bees clustering under the lid. What could this mean? Below is a photo of the lid and super.

I was only making a quick inspection so I did not smoke the bees and only had a brief look at some of the frames in the super. This super does not have a queen excluder as I want to build up brood for a split.

I pulled a couple of the middle frames from the super and noticed a single uncapped queen cell. I would have looked more, but the bees were starting to notice me.

In the next few days I will make a more thorough examination of the hive. In the meantime, does this look like the hive is gearing up to swarm? If I had used smoke under the lid would those bees have moved down?




thanx

john






Looks to me like they are running out of room so are up on the inside lid id give em more room
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tefer2
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2012, 09:23:56 AM »

Time to add another box to those bees.
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johnauck
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2012, 05:27:58 PM »

Thanx,

weather is good today so I won't wait any longer. Will get in and have a proper look and see whats happening down in the brood box. Yes, I will use the smoker.

I am not sure if the queen cell I spotted was new or hatched. If they were about to swarm would I not see a lot more cells?

Once I've had a better look I will decide whether to add another super or make a split. Either way should make more room for the girls.



regards

john
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rawfind
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2012, 01:39:05 AM »

Thanx,


I am not sure if the queen cell I spotted was new or hatched. If they were about to swarm would I not see a lot more cells?


regards

john

Im no expert but i get the idea that none of this is an exact science, after all they are women and that makes them unpredictable some of the time, i have read that in some cases that sometimes when given more room they actually take down the queen cell, maybe someone more experienced than myself may care to comment on this?

I had 3 frames of brood with about 3 to 4 sealed queen cells in one of my hives about a week ago i removed them and placed them in a nuc box along with the nurse bees on the frames they are still doing ok i threw to remains of a swarm at the entrance and they went inside no probs and boosted numbers a bit, but like i said im no expert i think there are  years of learning to come, and i dont think any of us will ever stop learning.

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OzBuzz
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2012, 06:44:53 PM »

Time to add a box!
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Birdswood
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2012, 12:53:23 AM »

I agree. Time to add a box.
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Lone
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« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2012, 05:00:00 AM »

Hello John,

If that is actually a queen cell you could pull that frame and use it to make your split.  But you'll have to find the old queen to make sure they both don't go into a new box.  Probably use a nuc box.  I disagree that that amount of bees under the lid definitely means you need to add a super right now.  It depends on the supplies/brood/amount of bees in the rest of the box.  Those migratory lids are generally used in our hot climate.  A lot more bees under the lid might indicate the need to put on a super and we use that as a guide here.  But you might just have had an unusually warm day in your Melbourne "four seasons in a day and all of them winter" weather.  That is not to say you shouldn't add a super or make a split or whatever; but I'd make sure that hive is strong enough to save ending up with one or two weak hives and not enough bees to guard against beetles.  A moderately weak hive would probably do well anyway in Melbourne at this time of year.

I also don't think you need to use a smoker, just so long as you don't mind a few dozen or few hundred stings every so often. grin

I've never had a swarm but I think you'd be seeing more cells if they were about to swarm.  Those bees under the lid won't necessarily move unless you smoke them directly and even then you'd use the brush as well.

Lone

PS Happy birthday.
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johnauck
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« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2012, 05:04:41 PM »

Thanks Lone, for your advice.


Since I posted, I added a super. It has been too cold and windy to do much else. Now the bees are not clustering under the lid, they are hanging around on the new foundation but do not appear to be drawing it yet.

Yesterday was sunny and still, I had a good look into the bottom box and the top.

This is what I noticed :

* top box appears to have better brood pattern, (newer comb and queen working more up there perhaps?)
* bottom box appears to have patchy brood, but may be due to recent hatching?
* top box had three queen cells with larva in them, two on one frame and one on another. Bit hard to see, but the bottom of the cup was glistening white, and nurse bees were sticking their heads in often
* did not spot the queen

I figure I have at least 7 days before the queens emerge, so moving the queen cup frames to a nuc or new hive sounds like the best plan, I am confident the hive is strong enough. I do want to increase our hives this season smiley

I agree, there would probably be more queen cells if they were swarm cells.




With the smoke, this hive definately needs a bit of smoke when doing a thorough inspection. But they are pretty placid.

My newest hive however is extremely calm and a delight to work, without any smoke at all. This is a small swam colony I captured 4 weeks ago. Since the bees are only occupying 6 frames so far, I was able to spot the queen easily. The queen has so far laid out 3 full frames of brood and is working on the fourth. I will be keeping a close eye on this hive as it builds up, I am sure to learn a lot watching it grow.

Here is a photo of the queen of this new colony.




regards

john
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Birdswood
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2012, 08:49:51 PM »

Just wondering how that hive is doing now John? You said that the brood pattern in the bottom box was a bit patchy and thought that it may be from recent hatchings, have you noticed any improvement in her brood pattern in this box?

Leigh
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johnauck
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2012, 02:30:32 AM »

Hi Leigh, good timing, I inspected the hives this morning and all is looking good so far. Up until today I really was not sure if I'd done the right thing and was thinking about joining hives back together.

A bit has happened since I last posted.

I split this hive on 17th November, there were about 8 queen cells, so I made up a second hive (next to the original box) and swapped their positions. I also made up a 5 frame NUC and moved that away to another location. In hindsight I probably should have removed excess cells (what do you think?). I removed a couple that were in the way though.

A week later I was inspecting the original hive and the new split next to it swarmed. Luckily they clustered close by and I got them into a NUC. I think they swarmed a second time, but I could not get this cluster, it was 15 meters up in a blackwood. I set out a swarm box with a lure and some lemon grass oil. But they did not move in. I posted a couple pictures here of this swarm http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,29954.80.html


Today I inspected the hives and all three have brood and eggs. I spotted the queen in the NUC.
The original hive, while not looking strong, now has eggs and small larva, I suspect the old queen was superceded. The bees were a lot calmer too, perhaps another sign that they hives are queen right.
And the fourth hive (the swarm) is doing well, drawn out almost 4 frames.

Anyway learned a lot even if the bees did not go along with my plan. I still expanded my apiary which I set out to do in the first place.


regards

john
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Birdswood
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« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2012, 06:11:58 AM »

Yep, should have removed the excess cells, but it appears to have turned out almost to plan...yours or the bees...not sure which one.  grin grin grin
Sounds like you've done a pretty good job all in all.

Leigh
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