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Author Topic: Removed A Colony, What Next?  (Read 1461 times)
johnauck
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« on: December 18, 2012, 06:36:57 AM »


Today I managed to remove a colony for the first time.

I was called in to see if I could remove some bees from a wine barrel.

It was a bit tricky getting the lid off, a bit of hammering on the rings to loosen the staves. The lid fell in and damaged the combs a bit
but they were not crushed badly and I fished them out from the bottom of the barrel and pressed them into some wired frames.






I got four frames of comb (mostly brood) into a 5 frame NUC.

Nearly all the bees ran into my NUC once I shook the barrel out, and they are at home now.

What should I do next to get them onto some straight frames? Should I feed them? Put them in an 8 frame box with foundation?
I don't have any spare drawn frames. I was thinking of something like shake the bees off the natural combs into a bottom box and put them in a super separated by excluder, and remove them once the bees have hatched out? How long should I leave them bee to get accustomed to their new box?

Any advice would be appreciated.



cheers

john

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ShaneJ
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2012, 07:47:07 AM »

Firstly good job mate.

When removing 'natural' comb and putting into frames you should never over lap the comb like it looks you have done in the first pic. This will guide the bees to continue building the comb in the same fashion.

From here on just keep a close eye on them in the nuc. Did you get the queen? Did you you put a frame of foundation in to make up the 5 frames?
If yes to all the above, Make sure they don't create to much of a mess with the comb they continue drawing. If they start drawing comb from frame to frame remove it asap. Once you have 5 frames of brood wait till they are about to hatch and migrate to a full size box. Once the full box is full of capped brood, if the frames of natural comb are still messy, move them to a top box above an excluder and wait for the brood to hatch and then remove them.
This time in Australia you don't need to feed.
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Shane
ShaneJ
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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2012, 07:49:34 AM »

I should have also said that you could have fit the combs into unwired frames. Cut the comb to shape keeping as much brood as possible and hold in the frames using rubber bands.

Watch some of JP's and Scotts videos to get some great instruction.
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Shane
johnauck
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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2012, 05:30:18 PM »

Thanx Shane for the advice.

You are right, I wasn't paying too much attention when transferring the combs to the wired frames. I knew they had to be straight but thought a little bit of overlap may not matter.

I did not put in a frame of foundation, as it was a tight squeeze. I will have a look tomorrow and try to straighten up the combs if they are overlapping or crooked.

I am pretty sure I got the queen, the NUC was placed in roughly the same spot as the barrel and after I emptied the barrel out on the grass in front and they ran in.




I suspect that the owner moved the bees recently, from out the back to the front yard (about 30m). If this was done during the day I reckon a lot of field bees would have been lost. I will find out, he wasn't there, I have been speaking with his brother. That is why I thought they could do with some feeding. But this morning I noticed bees flying out so I think you are right, no need to feed.


I have watched a few JP youtubes, great stuff.



cheers

john
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2012, 06:02:30 PM »

They went to the smell of brood, hopefully the queen did also. Check in 4 days for eggs. If there, you have her.
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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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johnauck
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 06:07:10 PM »

Ahh ok, I didn't know they would run in to get to the brood.

I did leave them for about 20 mins until almost all had gone in. I reckon there were about 50-100 bees left, some flying around and some on the grass when I packed up.
I will check for eggs in 4 days. Is that so the existing eggs will have hatched into larva and I can see new eggs?



cheers

john
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Birdswood
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 06:22:38 PM »

It seems that you've done a pretty good job John...well done. As Iddee said, look for new eggs and you'll know if you got the queen. I know that the excitement of collecting your first hive of bees like that tends to take over, but if you just slow everything down a bit and look for the queen at the time of transfer you'll more often than not locate her and if you carry a couple of the plastic queen holders like JP uses in his videos, you can strap her to a frame and you know exactly where she is and that she hasn't absconded. It will also help you to get those stragglers to enter the hive a bit quicker usually too.  cheesy
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iddee
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2012, 06:30:14 PM »

Yes, it takes 3days for an egg to hatch. Any eggs there on day 4 were laid in the nuc.
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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*
johnauck
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2012, 07:16:43 PM »

Yes, I actually bought a couple of queen catchers, I want to be just like JP! But I left them down on our farm. Silly me, I have a small kit (NUC, tools, clothing etc) I keep in the ute in case there is a swarm or colony to catch (except a queen catcher).


I am not a good queen spotter yet, but I always have a look for practice when inspecting hives. In this case, all the hammering on the barrel rings and the lid falling in created a mass of bees in the bottom of the barrel. In hindsight I prob should have had a closer look at the combs when pulling them out.






It is definately exciting doing bee removals!


cheers

john

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Birdswood
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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2012, 08:45:33 PM »

Good on you John. Just take your time, the bees aren't going anywhere. From your photos they seem to be quite a docile colony too. Good luck with them.
Keep us updated on their progress.

Leigh
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johnauck
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« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2012, 07:35:39 PM »

Thanx everyone for the advice.


Here is a bit of an update.


Four days ago I checked on the hive, sure enough, my efforts at attaching the combs onto empty wired frames had not gone to plan, they were building comb everywhere I did not want. I used rubber bands to attach the combs and trimmed them so there was no overlap (after watching some more JP vids).

It looked a bit crowded in the 5 frame NUC so I transferred to a super as well. I gave them a frame of syrup to help them building comb, even though they probably did not need it.

I also spotted the queen, so looks like everything is going to plan so far.


Today, I inspected the box, and the combs are sitting where they should be, the bees have drawn out almost two frames of foundation. Did not see the queen this time, but she is laying eggs in one of the newly drawn foundation frames.





May be I attached too many rubber bands to one of the frames, the bottom of it was bowed up.

So far they are very gentle bees, no need to smoke them.



cheers

john
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2012, 05:10:11 AM »

Really nice looking brood. Glad you got the queen. She looks to bee a keeper. Not only a good pattern but it looks like they are hygenetic  due to the cleaned out cells.  That is what is saving our bees from the mites.
Jim
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iddee
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« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2012, 06:27:36 PM »

There is ALWAYS a need to smoke them. They will prove it to you one day.
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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*
johnauck
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« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2012, 08:19:39 PM »

Thanx sawdstmakr, yes I agree about hygenic bees being resilient to mites.

I am of the opinion that allowing bees to adapt to local conditions and pests is better than re-queening regularly with queens from different districts. And selecting bees that are good house keepers will no doubt be a good strategy.

My next project is to try and raise some queens myself. Unfortunately my hives at the farm are still getting established, I don't think they are strong enough yet for breeders and feeders. My hives in Melbourne are much stronger. My neighbours will freak out if they see a bunch of NUCS appear suddenly.

Iddee, I know what you mean, I have learned my lesson with a swarm I caught recently, at first they were the most gentle bees and I did not smoke them when inspecting in the first few weeks. I got cocky and went in without gloves and copped a sting on my palm smiley They were still quite placid bees, it is probably more my handling technique, but I think I'm getting better.

However, I still think that using minimal smoke is a reasonable strategy.

Anyway, I will leave the new colony alone now for a few weeks. By then I reckon it might be time to move the original combs up into a super with an excluder.


cheers

john
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max2
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« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2012, 09:06:45 PM »

Lots of good advice there.
I avoid transferring hives like these now. I have done my share and they are quite messy.
As you need to work out the wired/rubber banded foundation as soon as possible to get nice and straight frames, it helps to wire the old foundation with the brood UPSIDE DOWN. As soon as the brood hatches the queen will not return and lay more eggs but will move to the new frames
I have found that it will take a few goes at it until all frames are straight. All fun.
Good luck with it all.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2012, 09:37:36 PM »

Iddee,
I have hives that I don't smoke and I have hives that I always smoke. My open air hive is one that I never smoke. Never received a sting from that hive and have never used protection with this hive. on the other side of the coin, I have a hive that often times, one bee a week will come out and nail me between my eye brows. It was my strongest hive, it wintered over. It didn't settle down until I split it.
Jim
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