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Author Topic: Oh where, oh where have my bees gone???  (Read 1379 times)
Georgia Boy
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« on: June 20, 2013, 08:49:26 PM »

There is a longer version of the story which I am trying to put together but for now the short story...  grin

On Monday.

Needed to get eggs into a hive so they could make a queen. This was my hive #3 some of you may have read about in an earlier post.

I have a total of four hives all started this year. My strongest hive #1 didn't have hardly any eggs in it due to the queen being trapped on a frame for 3 weeks and she couldn't seem to find her way off. I can only guess she was trapped by honey. I did some rearranging of the frames and she is now laying again.

Hive #4 has a poor layer in it and only has sparse eggs, larvae and brood.

So my only option was hive #2 and it only had 2 good eggs frames in it. It had honey and pollen but only 2 frames with eggs.

So I took a frame of eggs from #2, I made sure the queen was not on the frame and put it in to #3 and then closed it up. I wasn't going to open it for 9 days and then check it for a queen cell. Went back to hive #2 and double checked to make sure the queen was in hive #2 and she was.

Today went in to check on hive #2 and no bees, no queen. Maybe 10 to 20 bees that was all.

I then checked my hive #3 and there seemed to be more bees in there than on Monday. I know they couldn't have hatched out because there hasn't been any capped brood in that hive in over three or four weeks. None.

These are my thought on what happened.

By my removing the egg frame from hive #2 and giving it to hive #3 I made hive #2 too weak and they absconded.

The question is:

1.  Did they smell the egg frame I moved into hive #3 and follow it into the hive?

2.  Would the bees in hive #3 let them in?

3.  What of the queen from hive #2 where might she have gone? She was too fat to fly on Monday. I check all the frames in hive #3 and didn't see her.

Anyway please give my your thoughts on these questions.

Thanks

David
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 09:43:06 PM by Georgia Boy » Logged

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don2
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2013, 09:20:06 PM »

When you have a small or weak hive, take nothing from it. Period.. If any thing give them something. You still had the queen in your strongest hive, regardless of how much brood/eggs. Once she was free of being honey bound, the hive will be on its way again.You could have taken one frame from your strongest colony with half doz. eggs/brood shook the bees off and put it in hive #3. ( But if the queen was trapped) for 3 weeks, then you had no eggs in that hive. If they had enough bees to make a queen it doesn't matter where the eggs/brood came from.  Can't tell you what to do about # 2, except shake out what bees are left in front of another hive. Clean the hive body up and store it. On your other hives that are not doing so good I would move them to a 5 frame box and add another box to that when needed, "if" you have nuc boxes on hand. My.02 H O.  :)d2
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2013, 09:35:07 PM »

My bad on the info on hive 1. I misspoke. I wasn't that it didn't have many eggs, it didn't have any eggs at all and only a few capped brood. The queen had been trapped for around three weeks on that one frame. I just didn't realize it. I just thought she happened to be on the same frame each time.

I would not have taken from hive 2 if I had not thought it strong enough. But I am new and will make mistakes.
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« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2013, 10:05:11 PM »

Too late now, but what you could have done was combine the queen-less hive with one of the others.  You just remove the top from the  one that has the queen. Put one layer of nesw paper onand slit a few holes in. then place the queen less box on just like adding another super. That way in 4 to 6 weeks you could have made a split and got your 4th colony back.

This is a first for me to start with a nuc. Form  14 years  of beekeeping I have never bought a nuc or hive. I did buy a couple queens a couple years. Got all I ever had from feral swarms and swarms from my hives. This year I bought a 5 frame nuc on the 11th of may. brought it home in a 10 frame box. They balled the queen the next morning. The man had accidentally got two queens in and they killed the younger one. I added the second box 2 weeks later. Last Friday that box had 4 and one half frames of capped brood, two frames of eggs and open brood of all stages. I got another top and bottom and put the top box on a new stand. Today the two frames which had the eggs and brood  has got 3 queen cells each. So tomorrow I have to split this box into two mating nucs. 5 frames and 4 frames. I will then add the same when they increase and when they fill those will move them to a 10 frame box. The mother hive is busting out again.

Don't feel bad, we all make mistakes. The bigger mistake is when we don't learn from them. Very old saying, keep on keeping on. Smiley d2
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« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2013, 10:58:30 PM »

when you transferred the eggs, are you sure you didn't take the queen with them, by accident?

out of curiosity, when you transferred the larva, did you mush the cells of young larva to get them to make queen cells, or were you just hoping they would as is? I think they pretty much like to pick their queens at around 2 days old myself, and I'll often crush the bottom of the larva cell at a 45 degree angle away from the 2 day larva, as close to above them without touching them as I can, and they'll make them queen cells. I know quite a few others who do this, in fact, I learned it from someone who does this, and has for decades myself.
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2013, 05:51:33 AM »

Didn't think about this when I was in the hive yesterday, I was too shocked that the bees were gone, but there was only a small amount of uncapped nectar on one frame. On Monday there was capped honey, eggs, larvae, capped brood and pollen in the hive. Earlier this week I had been seeing a lot of what I thought was orientation flights but now in hindsight might have been robbing. With all their stores gone they might have left.

Transferring one frame of eggs from a hive with a laying queen shouldn't have caused them to leave.  Robbing seems to have been their downfall.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 07:29:21 AM by Georgia Boy » Logged

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Leather Jim
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2013, 06:13:02 AM »

when you transferred the eggs, are you sure you didn't take the queen with them, by accident?

out of curiosity, when you transferred the larva, did you mush the cells of young larva to get them to make queen cells, or were you just hoping they would as is? I think they pretty much like to pick their queens at around 2 days old myself, and I'll often crush the bottom of the larva cell at a 45 degree angle away from the 2 day larva, as close to above them without touching them as I can, and they'll make them queen cells. I know quite a few others who do this, in fact, I learned it from someone who does this, and has for decades myself.

Can someone explain this procedure in more detail for me? Or perhaps tell me where I can find pics or video.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2013, 10:00:32 AM »

A weak hive is probably already in trouble.  I don't see any reason they would abscond because you took eggs.  The queen in a queen hive can lay hundreds of times more eggs than than the workers can raise and eggs are a small investment compared to capped brood or even open brood.  I don't think your problem stems from taking a frame of eggs.  I think the problem was already there and manifested itself shortly after you took the eggs.  Maybe you took the queen.  Maybe they got robbed.  Hard to say at this point.

http://bushfarms.com/beespanacea.htm
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2013, 07:26:34 PM »

Well after inspecting the hive and looking over every frame again. I know they had only very little uncapped nectar only on one frame. My wife and I discussed the bees we saw flying around last week and over the weekend. I watched them and didn't notice any fighting at the entrance of the hive but it could have been taken place just inside the hive. Don't know for sure. In any case it looks like they left because of robbing.  I think the bees went into the hive I placed the frame of egg in. The bee population seems to have increased even though there hasn't been any brood in that hive in over 4 weeks now. So I know they didn't hatch out of that hive.

As for the queen I don't know where she ended up. I know for a fact she was in hive 2 after I transferred the frame of eggs from 2 to 3. After I moved the eggs I closed up hive 3 and then saw the queen on the frame of eggs in hive 2.

In any case I hope things get easier as I learn more and more about beekeeping. Sometimes it really STRESSES me out. Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2013, 02:01:54 AM »

I know for a fact she was in hive 2 after I transferred the frame of eggs from 2 to 3.

oh, well there you go then, you obviously didn't transfer her with the eggs, due to robbing it is then, maybe a smaller entrance, or if you had multiple entrances only have one next time? although if they left due to robbing, you should still see the robbing continue, once another hive finds easy food stores and are able to take it, they love going back until its all gone, and really pretty cleaned out. I cannot see them stopping once the others leave.
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2013, 02:20:18 AM »




Can someone explain this procedure in more detail for me? Or perhaps tell me where I can find pics or video.


It is called OTS queen rearing or On The Spot queen rearing and 'notching'. typically bees build queen cells at the bottom of frames, however they can be 'conned' into doing it anywhere by using 2 day old larva (their preference really, not a necessity.) and then 'notching' the underside of the larva cell at a 45 degree angle down. the standard procedure I know of, just uses the flat end of your hive tool on a row of larva mushing it downward next to the larva but not touching it at all in two spots on each side of the brood frame. They will then make queen cells out of bunches of them, often 5-6. you then eliminate all but 2, and allow them to raise the queens normally, and you have a queen without grafting or goofing around. This method is used by Mel Disselkoen, to false swarm his hives, and none of his hives have swarmed in 30 years, (and it allows him to sell and maintain his own queens.) furthermore, since he does this in july, he breaks the varroa mite cycle in july, since there is no queen to lay drone, and goes miticide free. You can do a search on google for OTS queen rearing or notching OTS queen rearing on google, to find some info, or type in his name probably.

here is a url to a picture that shows how you 'notch' it isn't complicated, you just leave enough of the cell so the 2 day old larva doesn't fall out, and you do not touch it, and it cons them into thinking it is the bottom of a frame and a good candidate for a queencell.

http://www.mdasplitter.com/pics/batched/600/homepic_notching.jpg
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don2
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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2013, 11:52:09 AM »

The two frames that had some eggs and freshly hatched brood that was in the box I made my split from each ended up with 4 queen cells each. It was the first box I had added to my new nuc. I just took the box and put it on another bottom board. It had 4 and one half frames of sealed brood with about 6 frames of bees. I did not notch mine as Mel does. I did notice where the eggs and youngest brood was when I split it. The first two cells that were capped was the ones that had the young larvae. The reason I was able to tell was there wasn't a great number of eggs and young larvae. Maybe a dozen on each side. All cells were sealed yesterday so I split into 2 five frame mating nucs. All I did was move a box with bees and brood to another location with out a queen. Yes, the cells are on the face of the frames like  supersede cells. but they all look good. think I should go in and take all but two out? Smiley  d2
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« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2013, 02:26:18 AM »

It's up to you really. I do for the reasons I stated, I do not want a situation where a good queen gets in 5 fights or takes out 5 of the opposition, gets worn down and a weak 6th one gets lucky and wins the fight...you know b*tches, they don't fight fair....heh. naturally speaking, you can have multiples though, so it isn't like it's a horrible situation that will end the hive or anything, it is just one of those things that are preferences, and somewhat educated theory, really. you are surely good whichever way you go with it.
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2013, 03:11:17 AM »

Can someone explain this procedure in more detail for me? Or perhaps tell me where I can find pics or video.


here is another url that shows the system rather well, as well as the source for the information mdasplitter. as the graphic shows, the dates on this particular graphic is for michigan pretty much, as our swarm dates will be different then others swarm dates, here its may 10th ish, as well as our flow dates would be different. so part of the idea of his method is to do this before swarming, to create a false swarming, and to be without a queen during the time on the chart to break the mite cycle. The splitting/etc is only done if you wish to, you can always re-add that which is split to make a super hive as it mentions.

http://www.mdasplitter.com/docs/OTS.pdf
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Leather Jim
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2013, 07:43:32 AM »

Thanks all : )
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