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Author Topic: New Keeper-Dead Queen  (Read 259 times)
Jeregano
New Bee
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Location: Hopelessly Lost


« on: May 28, 2013, 10:17:30 AM »

So I am a very new bee keeper and very excited.  I tried last year to get started with 2 hives and I lost those hives to small hive beetle before they could get a good start.  I received my bees late in the season, it had been warm and everything bloomed early last year, due to warm winter all the pest bugs were bad last year (I am in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA by the way), and the idiot new-bee keeper (me) set up the hives in too shady a spot.  It was a perfect storm of problems I think.

Anyway on to this problem.  I decided to try again this year.  I set my hives in a sunnier spot (but now they are closer together than I would like I think). We had a good winter.  I got the bees last Monday and everything is in bloom.  Things are looking good!  I put my bees on their hives last Monday and then on Sunday I opened them up to give them a quick check and remove my queen cages.  One hive looks AWESOME.  The other looked ok, but the big thing was the queen was dead in her cage. She was alive when I put her in there but it looks like she never made it out of the cage alive.  I left her in there knowing that if the body leaves so will the bees.  I can't get a new queen from Kelley until June 11th.  Will this hive survive that long with no new brood?  Will it survive until it can get the new queen out, get her to lay brood, and get that brood hatched?    Should I take a frame with some brood out of the other (still fledgling) hive and add it into the dead-queen hive? The hives are close together (Right next to each other now actually), if I remove the queens body will they just drift over into the other hive?  That could be ok for me, to get the other hive really roaring wouldn't be bad since they are just starting. To make matters worse I will be going out of town June 13th, so that queen will have to come quick.   Thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for your help.
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JWChesnut
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Location: Coastal Central California


« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2013, 10:25:19 AM »

I think you should newspaper combine the two populations.

The fresh egg>queen cup> virgin queen > laying queen cycle is too long  to sustain a nuc hive.
If you have a large bee yard, you can supplement with capped brood frames (about 5000 bees) to keep the population up while you go through the ***long*** emergency queen cycle.   You do not have a robust source of capped brood frames, so don't attempt the egg > queen cycle.

If you want a second colony, and I think 3 hives as an absolute minimum, do a mid-summer split from your mother hive using a purchased queen to jump-start the split. 

The colony with the good queen will build up faster with the additional workers, and when a healthy mated queen becomes available, you can draw comb and workers off the robust colony to start your desired second hive.

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Jeregano
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2013, 10:38:33 AM »

I was thinking combining the two populations was my best bet too, so maybe a newspaper combine is the ideal thing for me to do.  The additional workers would be helpful in getting the other hive up and going.

I most certainly do not have a robust source of capped brood frames, so thanks.  I thought the cycle from fresh egg to queen would be too long to sustain the hive there and I was certainly not excited about the idea of taking any frames from my other hive with is also just getting going.  I don't know if I noted or not, but I started with just the 3lbs of bees and a queen in a fresh hive, no brood to start with not a nuc box with something for the bees to get going.  Thanks for the advice.

I am thinking that combining is the best idea too, so the newspaper combine is probably the right idea.  The thing is that I will have just 1 hive after that.  I wanted to start with 2.  What should I look for to tell me that my one hive will be ready for the mid-summer split?  So far they have only been in their hives for 1 week right now, will they even be able to get robust enough for a mid-summer split this year? 

Thanks for your input JWChesnut.
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Jeregano
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2013, 10:49:00 AM »

Would I leave that dead queens body in the one hive body as I combine or would I go ahead and remove her?
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JWChesnut
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Location: Coastal Central California


« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2013, 10:51:01 AM »

Where are you located?  What are the flows, winters?

Your hive with a robust new queen and six pounds of workers is going to build like gang-busters.
To start a nuc/mated queen ideally you need a frame of honey, a frame of capped brood, and  a frame of drawn comb, and about 2 lbs of bees. I believe you should be able to draw that off the new hive with zero problems.   Some of the ace nuc producers on this board feed supplement continually to maximize the brood and wax for splits.

The old proverb is cautionary:
   From  "The reformed commonwealth of Bees" -- published 1655
    A swarm of bees in may is worth a load of hay
    A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon
    A swarm of bees in July is not worth a fly"

If you have a mid-summer dearth (very, very common) you will need to supplement, if you have a cold winter you will need to have a strategy to get to the minimum hive required for over-wintering.  I don't have these problems.
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JWChesnut
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Location: Coastal Central California


« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2013, 10:53:34 AM »

Would I leave that dead queens body in the one hive body as I combine or would I go ahead and remove her?

I cannot imagine why.  I always take my dead queens  to the taxidermist and get them mounted as tiny trophies.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 11:45:18 AM by JWChesnut » Logged
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