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Author Topic: reuse comb?  (Read 1398 times)
chux
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« on: June 04, 2013, 07:58:17 AM »

Hey folks. I had a package hive supercede after a couple of weeks installed.  New queen swarmed and took half the package. In the meantime, they filled about 7 bars with nectar and some pollen. I put a queen cell from another hive in there, but it failed to hatch. 6 days ago, I still had about half a package in there and plenty of nectar. 3 days later, only maybe 100 bees left, and no nectar. I dont know what happened to the bees.

Question. Would it be safe to put these bars of empty comb in my other tbh?
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duryeafarms
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 09:38:36 AM »

Maybe there was another queen, the original went with the first swarm and you had a secondary afterwards? Maybe it was robbed out by your other hive? Regardless, I don't know why you couldn't put your existing comb in the other TBH. How is your other hive doing? If it's strong enough to donate some eggs and bees, maybe you could try and resurrect the weak one.  Is there any possibility of acquiring a swarm to restart it?
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chux
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 01:29:24 PM »

Thanks for the thoughts. There was another queen, but she never returned from mating. Im 99% sure they were queenless when they suddenly disappeared. But what else makes sense than a swarm? Ill never know. The other tbh started as a small swarm capture in mid april. They are doing great, but I dont want to split them. They have about 12 bars now.

 I hadnt considered keeping the comb ready for a new swarm. Seems to be getting a little late in the seas8n though. How could I keep these combs for a couple of weeks just in case, and not get wax moth trouble?
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duryeafarms
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 01:52:55 PM »

Can't you just freeze them (assuming you have a freezer big enough, I certainly don't)?

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 02:18:38 PM »

> I had a package hive supercede after a couple of weeks installed.  New queen swarmed and took half the package.

They did not supersede.  They swarmed.  The only way I've seen a package swarm is when they are fed constantly.  The brood nest gets clogged and the swarm sequence of events takes place even though they don't have enough bees to swarm.

> In the meantime, they filled about 7 bars with nectar and some pollen. I put a queen cell from another hive in there, but it failed to hatch.

So there is a dead larva in the cell?

> 6 days ago, I still had about half a package in there and plenty of nectar. 3 days later, only maybe 100 bees left, and no nectar. I dont know what happened to the bees.

Without a queen and young bees they got old and died.

>Question. Would it be safe to put these bars of empty comb in my other tbh?

I would.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
chux
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 03:48:54 PM »

Michael, I have enjoyed reading your insightful words on the forums and on your site. You have a good reputation in eastern nc and beyond, I am sure. Thanks for your words here.

 say they superceded because queen cells were in center of combs. Also, the original queen was driven out or killed. In my ignorance, I ordered a marked, clipped queen. She did not swarm. I suppose I am confused by terminology. The colony did not like the old queen and replaced her.

How do I know when im feeding too much?
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duryeafarms
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 07:00:43 PM »

I'll chime in on the queen cell location.  As I found out, and was informed by Michael and at least one other forum member, queen cell location is not a good predictor of hive queen dynamics.  Construction of queen cells, no matter their number or location (I saw them in both the "supercedure" and "swarm" positions simultaneously) is an indication the bees are preparing a queen to a) superscede or b) swarm or c) rectify a queenless hive.

I missed the queen you bought in the chain of events. Original queen either swarmed or was superceded. Her replacement swarmed. You transplanted a queen cell that didn't hatch. Where does the queen you bought fit in?  Is the purchased queen still in the hive?  Is she laying eggs?  From the sound of it, brood production has never gotten off the ground.

As far as feeding too much, again quoting Mr. Bush, you can stop when there is any capped honey, even on brood comb.  If you see the brood nest being filled with syrup and taking up space the queen needs to lay, this will trigger swarming.
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chux
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 08:23:11 PM »

Thanks for the input on feeding. I need to stop for now, since hives have some capped honey on brood comb tops. I am sorry if I am confusing. I only purchased one queen. She came with the package. She was marked and clipped. Just a few days before queen cells hatched, she disappeared. A couple of queen cells hatched. Maybe a week or so later I saw the new queen. Looked similar in size to the queen in my other tbh. There was still at least one unopened queen cell at this point. 3 days after spotting the new queen, she swarmed. I also saw a smaller queen in that inspection. Never saw her again. That was a couple of weeks ago. I am nearly positive she never made it back after mating.
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chux
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 08:30:54 PM »

The hive went a couple of weeks without a queen. The small amount of brood laid by the original queen in that first week must be all that is left. Was it mr. Bush who said the population probably just died from old age. Likely.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 08:51:53 AM »

>I say they superceded because queen cells were in center of combs.

Irrelevant.
http://bushfarms.com/beesfallacies.htm#swarmcellsonbottom

> Also, the original queen was driven out or killed.

No.  I'm pretty sure the original queen tried to swarm when the first swarm cell was capped (eight days before the first swarm queen emerged).  She was clipped so she could not fly.  She ended up on the ground with a cluster of bees on her.  The cluster gave up and returned to the hive before you noticed.  The queen perished.  The swarm left with the first virgin eight days later.

> In my ignorance, I ordered a marked, clipped queen. She did not swarm.

I am certain that she tried.  But, of course, she could not.

> I suppose I am confused by terminology. The colony did not like the old queen and replaced her.

I don't think so.  I think the colony tried to swarm with the old queen and failed.  The old queen couldn't make it back since she couldn't fly.

>How do I know when im feeding too much?

If there is nectar coming in and they have a bit of capped honey you are probably feeding too much.  Bees collect nectar.  It's what they do.  When you feed you give them this unending supply of what the bees probably view as spilled honey to clean up.  Rather than being reined in by the normal set of feedback mechanisms (the receiver bees stop taking the nectar when they don't have any place to put it) they keep trying to put it somewhere and the only place to put it is in the brood nest.  This creates the sequence of events that leads to swarming.

http://bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm#reproduction
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
chux
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 11:18:46 AM »

Thanks, Michael. So, from now on I only feed if I don't see capped honey. Capped honey means they have something to eat, even if there is no nectar out there. Let them fend for themselves. This philosophy seems to go right in line with what you say about not treating for everything under the sun.

And you may well be right about the first queen trying to swarm. I absolutely hate that I got her clipped. Suppliers should put some kind of warning to read up on that before you order. And I should have had enough sense to look into it before I ordered...

I'm going to move the comb over to the other tbh this afternoon. I guess I'll leave the few remaining bees on the comb when I put them in.? The two hives are about 3 feet apart. Should I turn the other one upside down or move it to another part of the yard to keep the few remaining foragers from returning to it? 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 12:51:59 PM »

>So, from now on I only feed if I don't see capped honey.

In the spring during a time when nectar is available, that's a good plan.  Come late summer and early fall you need to make sure they have ENOUGH capped honey to get through the winter.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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