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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    E WENTCHEE WA USA
    Posts
    3

    Question

    Hello there,
    I am a 9 month old hobbyist with one hive from last april.
    I just purchased 9 hives of used bees from a gentleman who was getting out of the hobby. When I got them home and inspecting them in the sunshine I couldn't find any eggs, larva or the marked queens that were supposed to reside within. It is now less than 40 days till the first major bloom of fruit trees here and I'm wondering what if anything can be done to get these hives in shape. The gentleman was feeding them sugar and there is a very tiny bit of sealed honey in the second story supers and nothing in the bottoms some of the frames look like they were just put in and not even drawn. I was not able to get all the hives checked but all the ones I did check were in this condition.

    Thank you for your assistance, Tim.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,427

    Post

    >I couldn't find any eggs, larva or the marked queens that were supposed to reside within.

    I wouldn't panic just because there's no brood unless you know that it is normal for your climate for this time of year. Just because you didn't find a marked queen doesn't mean there is or is not a queen.

    Marked or not, you need to see a queen. You can't find one in ANY hive? or just one hive? Assuming the weather is nice you should be able to stay at it until you find the queen. Is there a couple of frames with more bees on them? I'd start by looking there. There are usually more bees wherever the queen is. Don't just look for a marked queen, look for ANY queen. She may have been superceded, or she may be marked and you're not seeing her because there are other workers crawling over her at the time you looked there. It takes practice but you're looking for a longer body. The color may not be ovbiously different at first glance. You will not find a queen until you convince yourself there is one. If you look thinking there isn't one, you probably won't find her. If you look with the attitude there has to be one and you are expecting to find one you have some hope. If you really can't find any queen or any brood, then the next question is when should you see brood in your climate. I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that. Could someone from Washington help with this?

    If there is no queen then you need to requeen soon, if that is possible. It may be too early to have one shipped there. I don't know what's available there, but if you know any beekeepers maybe you could get a frame of fresh eggs so the workers can make a queen. Obviously, you have to have a queen. If you can validate that only some of your hives are queenless you can combine them with a hive with a queen, or steal a frame of newly laid eggs from a hive with a queen and give to the queenless hive to make a queen.

    >It is now less than 40 days till the first major bloom of fruit trees here and I'm wondering what if anything can be done to get these hives in shape. The gentleman was feeding them sugar and there is a very tiny bit of sealed honey in the second story supers and nothing in the bottoms some of the frames look like they were just put in and not even drawn. I was not able to get all the hives checked but all the ones I did check were in this condition.

    Are there a lot of bees in the hives? If you bought a hive with two deeps they should be full of drawn comb and bees. Some of the comb will be empty from winter but the hive should still be pretty full of bees on a warm day. On a cold day there should be a cluster of bees a foot or more in diameter. Did the seller tell you there was a lot of undrawn foundation in the boxes?

    I'd keep feeding syrup whenever it's warm enough for them to take it and see if they don't draw the rest of the foundation out.

    If you don't see alot of pollen stores you may need to buy some pollen or pollen substitute and feed that also.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    medesto,indiana,usa
    Posts
    257

    Post

    I would think if its warm enough that you can check the hive and the bees are storing sugar syrup you should be seeing eggs or brood unless the queen superceded then the queen should start laying after she mates.You may need to get a new queen soon or some brood and a queen cell.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,427

    Post

    Maybe we should address the temprature when you are inspecting the hives. Are the bees flying before you open it? Are they tightly clustered or loosely spread out in the hive? What is the temperature at the time you are inspecting. What's the temp been at night and during the day lately? Is the sun shining when you're doing your inspection?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    E WENTCHEE WA USA
    Posts
    3

    Post

    Thank you for the replies and the attitude check. I must admit that when I saw no brood I immediatly started to suspect the worst. I only had time to check 3 of 9 hives on my lunch time. Today is supposed to be nice as well and I will get more looking done.

    As for climate, the fruit bloom is determined by "degree days" which is the number of degrees above 43 on each day starting 1feb each year. We have had an unusually warm winter and are at least 2 weeks ahead of schedule unless we get a lot of cold weather, which at this point seems unlikely.

    I will check my last years hive as well for brood and if I find extra I can steal it for the new hives. (I hadn't looked in there yet this year because I was still afraid after getting stung a bunch because I messed with them too late in the fall)

    How much can I steal without hurting the existing colony?

    There are no pollen stores and I am unfamiliar with feeding of pollen. Is that the soy patty stuff?

    Thanks again for all the help, Tim.

    [This message has been edited by corbinace (edited February 18, 2003).]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    E WENTCHEE WA USA
    Posts
    3

    Post

    Mr Bush,

    It was about 52 degrees the sun was full on at noon and the bees were out enmass, with lots of hovering at fron of the hive. There were bees about 6-7 frames wide in all of the 9" supers top and bottom with 1 layer thick covering the center 2-3 frames.

    The temps at night have been in the mid 30's, and days in the upper 40's to lower 50's.

    Tim

    [This message has been edited by corbinace (edited February 18, 2003).]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,427

    Post

    >I will check my last years hive as well for brood and if I find extra I can steal it for the new hives. (I hadn't looked in there yet this year because I was still afraid after getting stung a bunch because I messed with them too late in the fall)

    If your old hives are also broodless, it may be because of the climate, pollen flow, nectar flow etc. If not, then I would be more suspicious of the queenlessness of your hives. If all of the new ones are queenless I’d wonder if the man selling them to you didn’t just split a bunch of hives too late in the fall for them to raise a new queen. Also, as mentioned before, it is possible you have a virgin queen. Even if you add young eggs (they need to be just hatched or not yet hatched) for them to raise a queen there probably aren’t any drones to breed with. She can’t mate until there are.

    >How much can I steal without hurting the existing colony?

    You only need one frame for the new colony to raise a queen.

    >There are no pollen stores and I am unfamiliar with feeding of pollen. Is that the soy patty stuff?

    The best is real pollen. This can be purchased from many bee suppliers. I bought some from Brushy Mt http://www.beeequipment.com/shop.asp?p=18 It is very expensive, so I tend to mix it half and half with some pollen substitute, also from Brush Mt http://www.beeequipment.com/shop.asp?p=19 until it’s a thick paste and then put it on some wax paper and put this on the top bars of the brood chamber. But if I were trying to raise queen I wouldn’t dilute it. I’d just mix the pollen with honey. Another popular pollen substitute is the BeePro product from Mann Lake. http://www.mannlakeltd.com/catalog/index.html The bees seem to like it. I don’t know that much about how well it will work for raising a good queen.

    >It was about 52 degrees the sun was full on at noon and the bees were out enmass, with lots of hovering at front of the hive. There were bees about 6-7 frames wide in all of the 9" supers top and bottom with 1 layer thick covering the center 2-3 frames.

    Sounds just warm enough to inspect.

    >The temps at night have been in the mid 30's, and days in the upper 40's to lower 50's.

    Sounds like spring. I would think if it’s been doing this a while you would see some brood.

    You could combine some queenless hives with queenright hives using the newspaper method and split them later when you can buy or raise queens.

    If you can find someone who will ship queens this early you could try to buy a queen. (or queens if your other hives are queenless)

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