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Author Topic: Newly Hived Colonies--HELP  (Read 1113 times)
thomashton
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« on: April 14, 2006, 11:04:34 AM »

On weds. afternoon I hived two new colonies. Both are italians from the same supplier. They were hived within 20 minutes of each other on the same elevated stand.

One hive is busy as . . . well bees. Tons of coming and going. Lots of pollen being brought in and defending the hive from wasps and flies. I put the large side of the entrance reducer on becasue there was so much activity. I was able to get the queen cage in and still squeeze all 10 frames in the hive before closing it. I am using a plastic hive top feeder.

The other hive seems dead to activity. Hardly anyone coming and going. No on sitting out at the entrance. I put the small hole of the entrance reducer on as there were tons of flies and a wasp or two in the area but no one to defend. This hive I was only able to get the queen cage and 9 frames in. Could that make a difference.

I was so concerned about it that last night while it was still warm and the sun was still up I cracked the top and moved back the hive top feeder and saw a ton of bees in the three frames surrounding the queen cage.

Why aren't they working? Do you think she has been released too early and they killed her? Could the extra space from that one missing frame make any difference. Should I open it today and see if the queen has been released. It has been more than two days and I will be going out of town for the next 3 days and then again for the next 5 days after that. This lazy hive makes me think they lost  their queen, but she was doing well and looked healthy just two days ago when I hived it.

HELP!
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After 18 months of reading and preparation, my girls finally arrived on April 11th (2006)!
Kris^
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2006, 12:05:36 PM »

Two days is probably too soon to expect the queen to be released -- it would be for me.  I've usually checked at 3 days and 5 days; if she's not out by then, I've pulled the cork and let her out.  As for the bees flying, I'd venture a guess to say that the older bees in that package who would be inclined to forage may have drifted to the first hive.  I don't think the difference in the number of frames would have any effect on getting them started.

I'm assuming since you got 10 frames in one of the hives with the queen cage hanging down, you're starting on foundation? And you hung the queen cage in such a way that the bees have direct access to the screen, and the exit from the cage isn't blocked?  And I assume you are feeding both hives?  A pollen patty might help, too.  If these are all done, I wouldn't do anything right now.  Check again when you get back into town in three days.  But it will still take a while longer to get the foragers equal between the hives.

You could also look into the first hive and see how it compares with the second one.

-- Kris
(But of course, I could be all wrong about this!)
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thomashton
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2006, 12:14:34 PM »

Yes, both hive are starting on foundation. The queen cage is stapled to the top bar of a frame in the center of the hive with the opening up. There was no candy plug so I removed the cork and used a mini marshmellow.

I didn't think about drift of foragers over to that other hive. Could be a good reason. If all that were left in that hive were younger, non-foraging bees, then perhaps I would need to feed a pollen patty or else they could be far behind the other hive once the queens start laying.

Good thoughts. Anyone have any other ideas.
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After 18 months of reading and preparation, my girls finally arrived on April 11th (2006)!
thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2006, 12:18:52 PM »

It sounded like your packages were some that might not have been picked up timely by whoever ordered them.  I would check the queen in the colony that seems slow, and release her if she's still caged.  Give them a little inspiration to get moving.  The nurse bees will change duties and begin foraging sooner if that's what needs to be done.  Just keep an eye on them dwindling too much before the first frame or 2 of brood emerges.  There's a pretty good chance you've had some drifting, and lost some foragers to the other colony.  Once they get the brood nest going a bit, you can reverse them and the weaker colony will pick up a ton of foragers and catch up.  I wouldn't get in a real big hurry to do it, but keep it in the back of your mind if the dink doesn't start growing.  Still got some pretty cool nights happening up your way, that will slow them down for a while

I was out to Jones yesterday and their packages and queens have been pushed back a couple weeks.  Torrential rains and cool weather are having a major impact.  Many people still haven't been able to get their bees out of the almonds because of the mud.
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Robo
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2006, 01:37:41 PM »

I would get in there and make sure the queen has been released, and get that 10th frame back in.   With packages, you don't need to give them time to acclimate to the new queen,  they had that time during transportation.  Get the 10th frame in there ASAP as they are most likely building their own free form comb in the space.  Since your using foundation make sure the frames are all tightly pushed together with any excess space left on the ends.  Keep an eye on them, ans as golf said,  you can always swap the two hives to equal out the populations.
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thomashton
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2006, 03:20:44 PM »

OK. Looks more promising now.
I went home at lunch and did what you suggested Robo. I cracked open that "lazy" hive and found that the queen had already been released. They were building comb like crazy and there was no burr comb. I removed the queen cage, added the extra frame and pushed them together. While it was open I saw bees with pollen so I know there are foragers out there working. Saw a few coming and going with pollen as well, so all should be good. Didn't pull any frames as I didn't want to disturb them too soon.

Opened the one with more activity as well. The queen was also released and they were building comb like crazy as well. They had a bunch of pollen socked away. I pulled the one frame the cage was attached to. Didn't see the queen, but didn't look too hard as I was just removing the cage and making sure all was ok.

So, looks like all is good. thanks for the help. I don't plan on bugging them again for a little bit. They seemed to be working so hard, I don't want them to stop.
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After 18 months of reading and preparation, my girls finally arrived on April 11th (2006)!
Robo
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2006, 05:19:50 PM »

Good to hear things are well. Don't be surprised if the slower hive turns out to be your best.  Some are just slow starters, but come on with a bang.  Even after all these years, I still get surprised by some slow starting hives.

I'm sure you will sleep a little easier tonight wink
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"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison


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