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queenless hives

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  • jlg7001@humboldt.edu
    Good morning, I just discovered this list and I m so glad! I started beekeeeping just this past year and things were going *really* well and now they ve gone
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 24 9:10 AM
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      Good morning,
      I just discovered this list and I'm so glad! I started beekeeeping
      just this past year and things were going *really* well and now
      they've gone to hell in the proverbial handbasket.
      I live in Northern California, USA and we have a very temperate
      climate. Summer means fog and cool weather, which the bees aren't too
      happy with. Ah well, here's my current conundrum.

      I had one hive (total, I have no others) from a package that was doing
      really well. Nice laying pattern filling out the cells on the frames
      well, etc. About 6 or 7 weeks ago, I looked in and found chalkbrood
      AND a bunch of queen cells. EEEK! So I cut out all of the queen
      cells in hopes that they wouldn't swarm (they had plenty of room so I
      have no idea why they were doing this). They made more, of course.
      Cut out most of the rest of 'em and left a good one, in case they were
      superseding. The queen hatched. My instructor (I took a class in
      beekeeping this spring) said "oh, good, you have a new queen now."
      However, when I looked in 10 days later, there was the old queen!
      (she's marked). Musta killed the new queen, I surmised.
      On the 29th of July, the bees swarmed.
      Of course, since the queen was clipped, they couldn't go far so they
      ended up under the pallet that the hive sits on. I put as many as I
      could get (it's hard getting bees out from UNDER a pallet, trust me!)
      into a new hive near by. They went back under the pallet by the next
      day. Put them back in the hive. This time, about half of them stayed
      put, and half went back under the pallet. Grabbed 'em again and THIS
      time, they stayed put. So I assumed I had the queen.

      Well, she must have either died or was injured, becuase when I looked
      2 weeks ago and this last weekend (which is now 3 weeks after the
      swarm), I have ZERO queens. No eggs in either hive, no larvae. Bees
      still collecting nectar and making honey.

      Two weeks ago, I tried to re-queen with two new queens ordered from an
      apiary. Looked in last week and there's no eggs, no larvae. The new
      queens must have been killed (I was told this might happen, because
      they had been queenless for so long).

      So here I am, with two hives. One VERY weak and one is moderate.
      I'll be bee-less in another few weeks. I'm at a total loss as to what
      to do now and would appreciate any suggestions.

      Julia
      Elk River, CA
    • Martin Rebane
      Hi! Few things I d do differently: ... I can t agree with you. This is one of the best ways to kill queens if you want them alive and also best way not to find
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 24 5:08 PM
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        Hi!

        Few things I'd do differently:

        On 25 Jul 2001, at 0:22, Leslie Walton wrote:
        > Take the entire
        > colony about 20 feet behind or to either side of the hive and
        > disassemble it onto a piece of plywood at least 4 feet square.

        I can't agree with you. This is one of the best ways to kill queens if
        you want them alive and also best way not to find them when you
        need to replace them. Use queen excluder instead (i recommend
        metal ones @ http://www.swienty.com/engelsk/excluders.htm )
        and drive all bees through it.

        >pinch her head off, and smear
        >her body on the new queen cage to transfer her pheremones to
        >he new queen,

        How I do it: after removing old queen i put new one with the cage
        into the hive and keep it there for 2 days. Then i check for queen
        cells. if there are't any, i release the queen, otherwise i'll break
        cells down and keep the queen caged one more day. If you
        suspect that the colony might be hostile towards new queen then
        replace orginal accompanying bees with YOUNG bees from same
        hive before introducing the queen.

        I agree with Skip -if one hive is really weak and you can't get a
        brood to help them you should join two colonys.

        Martin.
      • Leslie Walton
        ... too ... doing ... frames ... chalkbrood ... I ... course. ... were ... they ... I ... me!) ... next ... stayed ... THIS ... looked ... Bees ... an ... new
        Message 3 of 10 , Jul 24 5:22 PM
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          --- In beekeeping@y..., jlg7001@h... wrote:
          > Good morning,
          > I just discovered this list and I'm so glad! I started beekeeeping
          > just this past year and things were going *really* well and now
          > they've gone to hell in the proverbial handbasket.
          > I live in Northern California, USA and we have a very temperate
          > climate. Summer means fog and cool weather, which the bees aren't
          too
          > happy with. Ah well, here's my current conundrum.
          >
          > I had one hive (total, I have no others) from a package that was
          doing
          > really well. Nice laying pattern filling out the cells on the
          frames
          > well, etc. About 6 or 7 weeks ago, I looked in and found
          chalkbrood
          > AND a bunch of queen cells. EEEK! So I cut out all of the queen
          > cells in hopes that they wouldn't swarm (they had plenty of room so
          I
          > have no idea why they were doing this). They made more, of
          course.
          > Cut out most of the rest of 'em and left a good one, in case they
          were
          > superseding. The queen hatched. My instructor (I took a class in
          > beekeeping this spring) said "oh, good, you have a new queen now."
          > However, when I looked in 10 days later, there was the old queen!
          > (she's marked). Musta killed the new queen, I surmised.
          > On the 29th of July, the bees swarmed.
          > Of course, since the queen was clipped, they couldn't go far so
          they
          > ended up under the pallet that the hive sits on. I put as many as
          I
          > could get (it's hard getting bees out from UNDER a pallet, trust
          me!)
          > into a new hive near by. They went back under the pallet by the
          next
          > day. Put them back in the hive. This time, about half of them
          stayed
          > put, and half went back under the pallet. Grabbed 'em again and
          THIS
          > time, they stayed put. So I assumed I had the queen.
          >
          > Well, she must have either died or was injured, becuase when I
          looked
          > 2 weeks ago and this last weekend (which is now 3 weeks after the
          > swarm), I have ZERO queens. No eggs in either hive, no larvae.
          Bees
          > still collecting nectar and making honey.
          >
          > Two weeks ago, I tried to re-queen with two new queens ordered from
          an
          > apiary. Looked in last week and there's no eggs, no larvae. The
          new
          > queens must have been killed (I was told this might happen, because
          > they had been queenless for so long).
          >
          > So here I am, with two hives. One VERY weak and one is moderate.
          > I'll be bee-less in another few weeks. I'm at a total loss as to
          what
          > to do now and would appreciate any suggestions.
          >
          > Julia
          > Elk River, CA

          Julia, I had similar problems this year, although not all in the same
          hive at the same time. Was this a package you installed this spring
          on new foundation? If so, it may be that the queen was laying faster
          than they could draw comb and not having enough cells for brood,
          pollen and honey, it may have triggered the overcrowded swarm
          response.
          I made some serious errors in my first requeening attempt this spring
          and ended up with the queen and half the colony under the pallet like
          you did. Similar situation. I was looking for the queen and dumped
          all the bees out on a board right in front of the hive (not twenty
          feet behind like you're supposed to). Well, they all just walked
          back up. Half went back inside, but the queen and a cluster went
          under. When I discovered this several days later, I scooped them out
          to a board 20' behind the hive. They kept going back under so I kept
          smoking heavy and scraping bees off the bottom until they quit. I
          undoubtedly killed the old queen because I never found her and the
          new marked queen I installed took.

          I would recommend that you combine these two colonies and introduce a
          new queen ASAP while they still have time to lay in winter stores.
          If they are very close (within a couple of feet) go ahead and stack
          one hive on top the other for a couple days. (Otherwise, move each
          hive together two feet per night.) Then, take the top hive off,
          remove the top cover of the lower hive and place two sheets of
          newspaper over it. Punch several very small holes in the paper (just
          so there's some edges for them to start chewing on). Place the other
          hive (without bottom board) directly on the newspaper. As they eat
          through the newspaper, they will slowly mingle and accept each
          other. Once they are combined, introduce the new queen as you
          normally would. You must first be certain there is no queen. Not
          having any eggs or larvae may only mean that a virgin queen has not
          matured enough to start laying. You may want to wait a week after
          they are combined and check carefully for eggs before requeeing. If
          still no eggs, use the board method I described above to check for an
          immature queen or one of several other methods to separate out the
          queen. A young unmarked queen is very difficult to spot in the
          hive.

          The method I use is as follows: on a day when you know it will be
          warm and sunny all day, start mid to late morning. Take the entire
          colony about 20 feet behind or to either side of the hive and
          disassemble it onto a piece of plywood at least 4 feet square. Start
          with the bottom box. Take all the frames out and replace the bottom
          board and empty box in their original position. Shake or brush all
          the bees off the frames one by one and replace them in the box in
          their original order. Do this box by box until you have all the
          boxes and frames and cover put back together. Most of the bees will
          fly back to the hive right away. The queen will remain with a small
          nucleus. Use smoke to keep them from congregating under the edges of
          the plywood and to keep them moving. Once you are left with a small
          cluster of bees, it is fairly easy to spot the queen. When you do,
          pick her up with a pair of tweezers, pinch her head off, and smear
          her body on the new queen cage to transfer her pheremones to the new
          queen, which will make acceptance more likely. Immediately place the
          new queen cage in the hive and allow them to eat out the candy plug
          to release her after several days. If you simply cannot find the old
          queen, it is probable that the hive really was queenless, but the
          frustrating part is that you can never be really positive. (You
          can't prove a negative.)
          Hope this helps.

          By the way. It's always good to have at least two hives so that you
          have some basis for comparisons and evaluation.
        • Leslie Walton
          Actually, that reply was from Skip Walton, using my wife s (Leslie) Yahoo profile. Skip in WA www.sundaycreek.com
          Message 4 of 10 , Jul 24 5:25 PM
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            Actually, that reply was from Skip Walton, using my wife's (Leslie)
            Yahoo profile.

            Skip in WA
            www.sundaycreek.com
          • Martin Rebane
            Hi! ... I take bottom board and empty hive body and place them next to the hive. Then I take out about 3 broodless frames and shake the bees from them back to
            Message 5 of 10 , Jul 24 6:42 PM
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              Hi!

              On 25 Jul 2001, at 1:58, Leslie Walton wrote:
              > What do you do with all the
              > bees to get them off the frames before you drive them down through
              > the excluder?

              I take bottom board and empty hive body and place them next to
              the hive. Then I take out about 3 broodless frames and shake the
              bees from them back to the hive. I put those frames into the empty
              box - thease are necessary because you cant just drive bees into
              empty box. Now i cover the box which has 3 frames inside with
              excluder and lift the full hive body with bees and other frames onto
              it. Then I spread the frames and start smokeing bees down and
              while they are leaving i remove empty frames one by one until the
              box is empty and almost all bees are gone. Now if the queen was
              inside, You can easily find her.
              NB! Usually some of the bees remain at the bottom board. So after
              you lift the hive body onto empty one, take botton board and shake
              all the bees smoothly into the hive(because queen might be there).
              If Your hive have more than one bodies then lift off the old one after
              it's empty and lift the next box on.

              It takes about few minutes(if you are doing this for the first time, it
              might take longer ) and it's about 99% sure that if the queen is
              inside, You'll find her. And if you act smoothly, you ain't gonna hurt
              any bees either.

              After that just reassemble the hive, I usually leave the original
              empty box there and take the hive body which was in use - that
              way i don't have to lift the frames and drive the bees again.

              Martin.
            • Leslie Walton
              ... if ... Martin. I have heard about this technique and will try it next time. I have had partial success using the board method, but it seems like it kills
              Message 6 of 10 , Jul 24 6:58 PM
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                --- In beekeeping@y..., "Martin Rebane" <martin@l...> wrote:
                > Hi!
                >
                > Few things I'd do differently:
                >
                > On 25 Jul 2001, at 0:22, Skip wrote:
                > > Take the entire
                > > colony about 20 feet behind or to either side of the hive and
                > > disassemble it onto a piece of plywood at least 4 feet square.
                >
                > I can't agree with you. This is one of the best ways to kill queens
                if
                > you want them alive and also best way not to find them when you
                > need to replace them. Use queen excluder instead (i recommend
                > metal ones @ http://www.swienty.com/engelsk/excluders.htm )
                > and drive all bees through it.

                Martin. I have heard about this technique and will try it next
                time. I have had partial success using the board method, but it
                seems like it kills off a lot of bees. What do you do with all the
                bees to get them off the frames before you drive them down through
                the excluder? Do you use empty boxes? Please describe in more
                detail.
                Thanks,
                Skip in WA
              • Julia Graham
                ... Hi Martin (and Skip too), My problem is that I m 99% certain I have no queen in either hive. The smaller, weaker one and the larger one that originally
                Message 7 of 10 , Jul 25 9:27 AM
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                  How I do it: after removing old queen i put new one with the cage
                  into the hive and keep it there for 2 days. Then i check for queen
                  cells. if there are't any, i release the queen, otherwise i'll break
                  cells down and keep the queen caged one more day. If you
                  suspect that the colony might be hostile towards new queen then
                  replace orginal accompanying bees with YOUNG bees from same
                  hive before introducing the queen.

                  I agree with Skip -if one hive is really weak and you can't get a
                  brood to help them you should join two colonys.

                  Hi Martin (and Skip too),
                  My problem is that I'm 99% certain I have no queen in either hive.  The smaller, weaker one and the larger one that originally swarmed.  I know that I should join the colonies, but my thought is that at least *one* should have a queen first.  If this is a false assumption, someone please let me know!  I'm planning on going home at lunch to try and re-queen the smaller hive.  After a week or so (assuming they let her live), I was going to try and combine the two, so they at least stood a chance of surviving the winter.

                  julia


                  Martin.

                  Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                • Martin Rebane
                  Hi Julie! If you are willing to take a risk You might try the following method: 1. requuen BOTH colonys 2. wait until BOTH queens are laying eggs 3. Join the
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jul 25 10:09 AM
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                    Hi Julie!

                    If you are willing to take a risk You might try the following method:

                    1. requuen BOTH colonys
                    2. wait until BOTH queens are laying eggs
                    3. Join the colonys.

                    Use queen excluder (preferrebly with entrance):

                    1. take off hive cover
                    2. place 1 or 2 sheets of newspaper and punch few small holes in
                    it, so they can start chewing and get used to each other.
                    3. place the excluder
                    4. lift the other hive onto it. shake all the bees that are left on the
                    bottom board into upper hive.
                    5. close the hive.

                    Now you have a colony with 2 queens and it develops faster than 2
                    different colonys. I use this method every spring when I make new
                    colonys.

                    Separate the colonys about week before you start feeding for winter
                    or earlier. If you leave them together until late autumn they might
                    kill the upper queen.

                    That way You can have 2 strong colonys.

                    I said 'if you are willing to take a risk' before, because sometimes
                    this might not work and bees could kill one of the queens. It
                    happens about 5% cases(usually it's because of different breeds or
                    the lack of flow). But one thing is sure - as much as i've practiced
                    this method they have never killed both queens.

                    If you want to have one hive then i believe that it is reasonable to
                    introduce the queen before joining them(if both are indeed
                    queenless).


                    .martin.
                  • Julia Graham
                    ... Hi Martin (it s JuliA, btw...email being what it is...) ... I did. :) 2 weeks ago. ... No eggs, no larvae. Not a week later, not 2 weeks later. And they
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jul 25 11:25 AM
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                      At 08:09 PM 7/25/01 +0300, Martin Rebane wrote:
                      Hi Julie!

                      Hi Martin (it's JuliA, btw...email being what it is...)


                      If you are willing to take a risk You might try the following method:

                      1. requuen BOTH colonys

                      I did. :)
                      2 weeks ago.


                      2. wait until BOTH queens are laying eggs

                      No eggs, no larvae.  Not a week later, not 2 weeks later.  And they were mated queens. I think, therefore, no queens.  I think the colonies balled them both.  It had been 2 weeks since they probably went queenless (at this point, I'll be shocked if I don't have laying workers!).


                      3. Join the colonys.

                      Use queen excluder (preferrebly with entrance):

                      1. take off hive cover
                      2. place 1 or 2 sheets of newspaper and punch few small holes in
                      it, so they can start chewing and get used to each other.
                      3. place the excluder
                      4. lift the other hive onto it. shake all the bees that are left on the
                      bottom board into upper hive.
                      5. close the hive.

                      Now you have a colony with 2 queens and it develops faster than 2
                      different colonys. I use this method every spring when I make new
                      colonys.

                      Ah, what a fascinating idea!  I hadn't heard of this.  I'll have to try it next year if the problem comes up.

                      <snip>

                      If you want to have one hive then i believe that it is reasonable to
                      introduce the queen before joining them(if both are indeed
                      queenless).

                      Good.  That's what I think I'll do (the reason I want to join them is because neither one was very strong to begin with...) so it seemed like the best route.  Of course, this could all be a moot point.  <sigh>

                      thanks!
                      julia



                      .martin.

                      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                    • roni thompson
                      I would combine and requeen at the same time. ... From: Julia Graham Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2001 3:50 AM To: beekeeping@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re:
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jul 26 6:52 AM
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                        I would combine and requeen at the same time.
                         
                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: Julia Graham
                        Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2001 3:50 AM
                        To: beekeeping@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [beekeeping] Re: queenless hives
                         

                        How I do it: after removing old queen i put new one with the cage
                        into the hive and keep it there for 2 days. Then i check for queen
                        cells. if there are't any, i release the queen, otherwise i'll break
                        cells down and keep the queen caged one more day. If you
                        suspect that the colony might be hostile towards new queen then
                        replace orginal accompanying bees with YOUNG bees from same
                        hive before introducing the queen.

                        I agree with Skip -if one hive is really weak and you can't get a
                        brood to help them you should join two colonys.

                        Hi Martin (and Skip too),
                        My problem is that I'm 99% certain I have no queen in either hive.  The smaller, weaker one and the larger one that originally swarmed.  I know that I should join the colonies, but my thought is that at least *one* should have a queen first.  If this is a false assumption, someone please let me know!  I'm planning on going home at lunch to try and re-queen the smaller hive.  After a week or so (assuming they let her live), I was going to try and combine the two, so they at least stood a chance of surviving the winter.

                        julia


                        Martin.

                        Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.

                        Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
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