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Author Topic: Trying to save a colony. Could use some advice.  (Read 1189 times)
RHBee
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« on: November 15, 2012, 09:49:40 AM »

I am attempting to save a colony that is the result of a Sept 10th swarm. The story goes..
Sept 10th the swarm, I had no idea that this was about to happen. I had all but stopped going in the hives. Anyway, they settled on a limb 80ft up on a gum tree. I brought them back to earth with a couple well placed shots from an AK-47. evil I gatherd up the bees and got them in a hive and thought it was all good.
Sept 11th the start of a nuc. I got the bright idea to capitalize on the swarm and use one of the 3 queen cells left behind to start a nuc. I used a frame from the hive that swarmed that had a queen cell and other brood or honey frames from other donor hives to make a 5 frame nuc.
I left every thing alone for about three weeks then went in to take a peek. What I found wasn't what I wanted. The nuc was queenless. The cell had hatched but I guess she didn't make it back from the mating flight. The hived swarm was worse than queenless, they had gone laying worker.
I decided to shake out the laying worker and then combine the nuc with the remainder. I transported the laying worker hive about 1/4 mile from the house and shook all the bees on the ground. When I got back I put the hive back in place. At dusk I did a news paper combine with the nuc and the forragers from the laying worker.
I still needed a queen. I was able to find a guy in North Carolina that still had a queen. Due to work, shipping and such I was unable to get the queen in the hive until Oct 16. Nine days later I released the queen and have left the colony alone until the day befor yesterday Nov 13th.
Nov 13th.. I found that the queen had been accepted but she has not started laying yet.
Now the question:I have a really strong hive with lots of stores and brood. Should I grab a frame of capped brood from them to supplement the aging bees in the "project" hive or should I see if they raise their own brood this late in the year? I live in the low country of South Carolina, 30mi from the coast. The weather today is kinda crappy but next week it's supposed to be in the upper sixtys and sunny. The bees are still bringing in pollen and a small amount of nectar from somewhere. I am in my first year and I want to do right thing for that queen. I would really like to use her bloodline to increase my hives. My Italian girls got eaten up with varroa mites this season to the point of deformmed wings. But that is another story.
Could some more experienced Beekeepers throw out some wisdom here. I know it's really late in the year for this kinda thing but I just had to try something.
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Ray
Vance G
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« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2012, 10:04:39 AM »

I think it is pretty late to do anything myself.  I am taking some cripples into winter myself but I would not be taking resources from a strong colony going into winter and in any way endanger it.  I would plan on splitting that strong hive in the spring to make up my losses.
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Maryland Beekeeper
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2012, 10:11:38 AM »

Ray,
 AK ? Nice !  Another addition to the swarm catchers equipment  Smiley

Overwintering Honey Bee Nucs Indoors


Cheers,
Drew
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BlueBee
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2012, 10:36:41 AM »

The queens shut down in Oct/November here in Michigan.  No idea about down there, but maybe your new queen has shut down for a while?  How many bees, or frames of bees, do you think are in your nuc?

As the others have said, I would be really reluctant to mess with your good hive in the winter, but your concept of winter is going to be much different than mine.  Hopefully a southern beek will chime in.
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RHBee
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2012, 11:06:37 AM »

I have about three full frames of bees in this hive. They are not in a nuc I have them in a double stack eight frame deep.  I could find no sign of eggs. I did find the queen. I can see that there can be a disadvantage in taking brood from a strong hive this time of year. If there is more than a couple of frames of sealed brood in the strong hive I have to worry about the population being to high and eating through its stores before spring. I really wanted this queen to make it for breeding purposes. How about swapping the hives locations on a really warm day and letting the foragers return to the weak colony?
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Ray
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2012, 11:27:57 AM »

Ray,
I have an observation hive in my house. I have not had any visible brood for the last 3 weeks. It is a 8 frame hive, 2 deeps and 6 medium frames. I did see the Q about 10 days ago. I watched them last night and it looks like there may be a little bit of brood on the inside cells because there was a handfull of bees clustered together near the center of the frame on one side of the hive only. The clustering indicates they are keeping a little bit of brood warm. Up until last night I did not see any sign of brood. I am down her in northern FL and I would not expect your queens to be laying in SC. The opposite side from the cluster has been back filled with nectar/honey and is slowly being capped. We still have golden rod and some other flowers in bloom here.
Jim
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RHBee
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2012, 12:49:44 PM »

So I'm hearing let them be. Hope for the best. Aren't these remaining bees to old to make it thru the winter?
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Ray
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2012, 04:56:36 AM »

Winter bees are different than normal bees. Winter bees should have more fat cells to help them survive the winter. Once they go into a cluster they are using their wing muscles to create heat. They are not wearing out their wings. A major cause of death to bees.
Jim
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2012, 09:30:13 AM »

Veil? check
Smoker? check
Hive tool? check
AK? crap..forgot the AK

Smiley
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rdy-b
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2012, 05:37:56 PM »


*How about swapping the hives locations on a really warm day and letting the foragers return to the weak colony**

 Bingo we have a winer-give them some type of pollen patty also-this is your best hope --RDY-B
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RHBee
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2012, 07:37:20 PM »

Veil? check
Smoker? check
Hive tool? check
AK? crap..forgot the AK

Smiley

Well it worked. grin I sure wasn't gonna climb that tree. The limb was about 6" in diameter. When it came down it poked a hole in the roof of my storage shed. The wife was not impressed.

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Ray
RHBee
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2012, 07:57:27 PM »


*How about swapping the hives locations on a really warm day and letting the foragers return to the weak colony**

 Bingo we have a winer-give them some type of pollen patty also-this is your best hope --RDY-B

What is the best time of day to pull this off? My next days off the weather is supposed to be sunny and temps in the mid 60's for the highs. I know that inspections are good to go after 10am. I don't know about moving for these reasons.
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Ray
rdy-b
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2012, 09:12:40 PM »

theres no reason you cant do it at any time of day or even night for that mater--RDY-B
 
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RHBee
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Location: Pinopolis, SC

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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2012, 03:50:01 PM »

theres no reason you cant do it at any time of day or even night for that mater--RDY-B
 
Thanks RDY-B and all who replied. I didn't know that timing was not an issue. I was afraid that if I moved the hives at the wrong time the foragers could reorient on the new location.
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Later,
Ray
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