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Author Topic: Save the Queen  (Read 372 times)
HomeSteadDreamer
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Location: Tallahassee, FL


« on: May 28, 2013, 03:18:47 PM »

Ok, First I am new but try to read and try to be knowledgable.  My collection so far is The §¤«£¿æ, and Michael Bush's Practical bee keeper,  Magnum's top bar hive (Ph.D researcher) and some of beekeeping for dummies and this forum.

But .....   Last year our first hive was taken out by SHB.  So this year started in march with two packages from WolfCreek. small cell.  So far pretty happy with the bees.  My hive built the equivalent of 25 bars in those few weeks and then went into swarm mode with the bee population very large.  Even with 25 bars the queen was still outlaying the bees drawing comb and fighting with the foragers.  (sorry that paragraph is just background).

The other hive tried swarming a bit earlier but was strong.  Took the swarm cells and made 4 Nucs.  Only one had the queen.  (though she may have actually left in a swarm).  We had one but I think it returned to the hive and not sure which hive.  Of the 4 Nucs,
Nuc 1  Has a capped queen cell with a paper brown top so any day now.
Nuc 2 now has a queen,  
Nuc 4 has eggs but can't find the queen and each cell has 2-4 eggs in it.  While the pattern is solid some of the eggs are in the bottom some are on the side of the cell.  There isn't much empty comb.  Might be a laying worker though I'm still hoping for a young queen.  Plan on giving it til the weekend to see if what I can see.  

Nuc 3 (from here out named the robbed Nuc) has a queen cell has the paper brown top so anyday now.  For now I think the other Nuc don't need my intervention.  This hive though I believe has a low population and I think is being robbed. I'd like to save the queen cell.  What are my best options for doing this.  The frames in it are also getting very light for almost no bees.

Here is my first thought.  Close it up this evening.  Look for bees trying to get in, in the morning (confirmation of a newbie that it is being robbed).  Take what few bees are actually in the hive and the queen cell and place them in the nuc at a different location.  Add a frame of about to hatch bees from the backstory strong hive.  Add a frame of larva and the bees on that frame (hopefully nurse bees).  Shake one frame of bees into the hive.  The frames have a good honey band at the top so I think that would be enough to begin with.  Close the hive for 24 hours, place something in front to force reorientation when opening the next day.  The near empty frame in there now would go into the Nuc with my super laying queen split off the strong hive.

According to UF our dearth starts in June but from my readings I don't believe this is true I think I still have at least 2-4 weeks of flow left.  We are on a lake with a large surrounding area of Chinese Tallow which has just started blooming.  Magnolia is coming in and crepe myrtle will be bearing pollen soon.  We have had terribly dry weather here, but the Tallow of course is close to the lake which also has 'plains' in it and lilies.

The  second option would be to put the cell in the Nuc with the possible laying worker but if it is a queen one of them will be dead or swarm.  

I'm trying to maximize the good queens here because I have 3 Nuc/1 hive that might not have a queen so every queen counts.  I believe the others actually are going to be queen right given time but I do have limited resources from this first season.

I would be very appreciative of constructive comments.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2013, 04:10:29 PM »

If you are getting robbed, close the entrance completely with screen wire until the bulk of the robbers go home.  Then make just enough of an opening to let one bee through at a time.  Screen is important as it confuses the robbers.
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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
HomeSteadDreamer
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Location: Tallahassee, FL


« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2013, 04:21:01 PM »

Thanks Michael.  My problem is I think that even that wouldn't help.  When I say low number of bees.  I think maybe 100 (maybe less because some or all of what I'm seeing maybe robbers).  At what point will there not be enough bees to keep the queen healthy til she lays and hatches 5 weeks from now?  They only have one 1" opening now, that could be made like 1/2" (circle openings).  Should I add frames of capped brood.  I say capped because I don't think there is enough nurse bees for larva.
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2013, 05:24:45 PM »

in your 4th nuc, the sure sign from what I know is multiple eggs in the cells. if there is a queen laying eggs she typically lays one egg. if it is workers laying them, then they will lay multiples in the same cell. If you do not have any queen cells developed then you aren't going to get a queen probably, best just to requeen it yourself I think.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2013, 10:12:57 AM »

At less than 100 bees, I would shake them out and call it a loss... unless the queen is still alive and you wanted to do a split, then I guess you could do a split to a new location (or an old location for a stronger hive and move it somewhere else) and give them enough brood and bees to get going again.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
HomeSteadDreamer
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Posts: 167

Location: Tallahassee, FL


« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2013, 08:14:48 AM »

Screened it up, next day some bees hanging outside the entrance.  However, more bees inside then expected though not enough to properly cover the larva I had given them.

Decision was made to put larva back in my strong hive so they'd have enough nurse bees.  The queen cell went in the Nuc with the possible laying worker/new queen.  Either way they should end up with a queen either they have one or they'll be getting one when this emerges.  Other bars from that hive were given to Nuc 2 which has a queen.

I know us newbie mess thing up all the time and time/experience is the only thing that will help.  I just hope I get to keep the 6 hives I'm running right now.  I started March 18th with 2 packages so going into winter with 6 hives seems like a good insurance plan for any winter die off.  I just want to make sure they are good and strong by then. 
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