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Author Topic: Queenless hive. Winter coming fast.  (Read 932 times)
Leather Jim
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« on: October 21, 2013, 03:19:48 PM »

Looking for some advice, I have several topbar hives and one of them, a rather strong one has gone queenless. First discovered about 10 days ago but waited to be sure it wasn't just a fall slow down. I'd like to combine into a smaller hive that has a good queen, a daughter of the one that's gone missing. Good stores in both hives. Any advice on how to proceed would be great. Thanks  Jim
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T Beek
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2013, 05:22:27 PM »

If you're absolutely, positively certain they are queenless you should have time to do a combine RIGHT NOW in OH. 

However, I'm uncertain on how to do so with a TBH  Undecided  other than just simply transferring the bars to another TBH (room permitting? that's the big Q) and fitted with perhaps a "double screened follower board" for a few days to prevent fighting among the 2 colonies.  I used to have such a thing (homemade, designed to fit my TBH) around here but you should build some (follower boards) for these kinds of issues and double screen at least one for combines.  Shouldn't be too hard to fix something up (to keep them separated) in an hour or so with a saw though.  Good luck.

Personally I use Langs and LONG Hives these days, gave up TBH a few years ago.
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
Leather Jim
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2013, 05:39:24 PM »

Well, saw no open brood 10 days ago and only a couple of capped today. Double screen follower sounds like a plan for a few days. I started converting to long langs this year. I'll convert all my tbh's this spring. Seems to be the best of both worlds and my bad back likes the idea. : ) the hive in question had a great queen too, she came from a swarm that I thought was late enough in the year to not be a primary swarm with an older queen but now I have to question that. At least I got two queens from her before she went. Thanks for the advice.
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T Beek
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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2013, 08:38:41 AM »

Have you noticed any queen cells?  Keep us all posted on any observations and/or results please. 

Queen issues cause many more problems than most Beeks realize making this topic especially significant, yet largely misunderstood. 

Many colony problems are blamed on factors that likely originated with a queen problem, caught late or not at all.
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
merince
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2013, 04:58:47 PM »

Leather Jim:

Are you absolutely certain the hive is queenless? It is quite possible the queen has shut down. It is the right time for it. A queen that is shut down will be smaller than a laying queen and more difficult fo find (runnier). If the hive is calm (no queenless roar) when you open it and not defensive it is very possible she's just done for the year.

Otherwise - T beek gave you some great advice - the queen excluder will also help the queen from wandering among unfriendly bees, too.
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riverrat
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2013, 09:56:14 AM »

I bet theres a queen in there somewhere
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Jim 134
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2013, 10:09:51 AM »

IMHO I with riverrat on this one.




                BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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T Beek
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2013, 11:00:16 AM »

Without more info that'd be my guess as well....time will tell.
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Leather Jim
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2013, 11:27:31 PM »

Well, I'm thinking that's possible. We have a couple 60 degree days coming the middle of the week. One last hard look before I break out the new double screen follower and do a combine. Hoping she's still there and just reducing the population.  I'll keep you posted.
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RHBee
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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2013, 12:53:59 PM »

Appreciate the update when you get some more info.
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Later,
Ray
capt44
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2013, 07:41:46 PM »

Here in Central Arkansas my Queens have basically shut down for the winter.
We've had a couple of cool spells.
My bees were dragging drones out a month or so ago, I figured cool weather was coming pretty soon.
I bet your queen is still there.
No way would I attempt feeding pollen patties this time of year, the small hive beetles are worse this year than I've ever seen.
A pollen patty would be a magnet to them.
Good Luck
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
o.molchanov
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2013, 11:25:07 AM »

I'd like to combine into a smaller hive that has a good queen, a daughter of the one that's gone missing. Good stores in both hives.

Try to do that as soon as possible. Do not forget about grid divider between dividing colonies during this period. Then check food stores and fulfill them if necessary. Do you leave the hives at the street or put them into winter-adobe?
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Leather Jim
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2013, 08:47:19 AM »

Ok, an update.. Sorry for the delay, had to go out of town for work for a bit. I did one last thorough inspection  looking for a queen or any sign of one about 10 days back, no luck. Far to late to give them any eggs. So as advised I used a double screen follower board in a small hive with a good queen and moved the queenless girls in to get everyone used to the idea. 13 bars of bees and 7 more with just winter stores.

After 3 days I removed the screen follower and opened up hive to full size. Everyone remained calm : )  Yesterday I took a quick peek and they have been moving things around to there liking so I would say it was a successful combine.

I'm pretty sure looking back at it that the missing queen was an older queen, I thought they swarmed late enough in the year that she would be a youngster but I guess not. Must have been a primary. Luckily I did get two queens from her before she passed. They are doing great and both of those hives are cold weather flyers so I look for rapid expansion in the spring. If this is the case then many more queens from this feral bloodline are in the plan. Love those feral mutts.

Thanks for all the good advice.
Jim
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T Beek
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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2013, 09:14:39 AM »

Thanks for the update!

When a colony swarms the 'old' queen goes with it.  This leaves the parent colony queenless until another is raised or provided by the Beek.

 The trouble can begin with her virgin mating flight AND not making it back....for a variety of reasons, leaving such a colony hopelessly queenless.  Generally one should 'see' eggs in such a hive after 5-6 weeks. Any longer and you've got trouble.

If none are seen after 5-6 weeks its time to add either a purchased queen or...depending on time of year....introduce a frame of eggs/brood from another colony or combine them.
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
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