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Thread: VIRGIN QUEEN?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    5,159

    Question

    Hi!I've been lurking and reading for some time now and have found a wealth of information from this list. I am a four year beekeeper and have found a quandry that I need some help with. I have a new colony that I coaxed out of a tree and installed a buckfast queen on. She began laying and looked promising, however the colony was a concern to me that it would be too small to survive the winter without a boost. Therefor I began to feed it sugar syrup, unfortunatly it became the target for robbers. To save it from the other bees I moved it from the farm to my home in the city to babysit for the winter. I plan to keep it inside and pamper it to health for next spring. My problem: the queen has no eggs, brood, or emerging babys. I have exactly one drone, one queen, and two frames of workers, and one and one half frames of honey. There are also some tiny ants raiding the syrup. What do you think? HELP!
    Bill

  2. #2

    Post

    hi Bill
    sounds like you have aproblem some queens shut down in hot weather and begin again in mid sept. I would put a frame or two frome astrong hive to boost it try to get one that has new hatching bees on it.
    also you might have damaged your queen upon inspectin your hive.
    good Don

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Post

    >I have a new colony that I coaxed out of a tree and installed a buckfast queen on. She began laying and looked promising, however the colony was a concern to me that it would be too small to survive the winter without a boost. Therefor I began to feed it sugar syrup, unfortunatly it became the target for robbers.
    Always a delima feeding a week hive when there is not nectar flowing.

    >I plan to keep it inside and pamper it to health for next spring.
    How will you do that? In an observation hive? In a hive in the house with a tube going outside?

    >My problem: the queen has no eggs, brood, or emerging babys.
    If she was laying all drones I'd be worried. If you couldn't find her I'd be worried. If she hadn't been laying before I'd be worried. You have none of these problems. It may be the weather that caused her to quit laying.

    >I have exactly one drone, one queen, and two frames of workers, and one and one half frames of honey.
    Sounds like it would fit in an observation hive or you could put them in a five frame nuc in the house with a tube going outside (through a board under the window or whatever else you'd like to rig up)

    >There are also some tiny ants raiding the syrup.
    If the tiny ants aren't too numerous and they are only in the syrup I'd call it par for the course. If they are getting at the honey, then I'd try to eliminate them. I have good luck with either boric acid or baking soda. Find the trail of ants that leads to the hive and put baking soda on it. It kills the formic acid that the ants follow and confuses them.

    >What do you think? HELP!
    Personally, I think I'd put them in a hive on top of another hive that is succeeding with a double screen board in between and a frame feeder of honey.

    Michael

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    I plan to keep it inside and pamper it to health for next spring.
    How will you do that? In an observation hive? In a hive in the house with a tube going outside?

    I have two options, I could keep them in a greenhouse that I overwinter houseplants in and let them fly loose however it geets very hot on sunny days and may be too hot for them. The other is to keep them pened up in a full size hive with screen over the opening and a miller feeder on top for ventalation and easy feeding in my work shop that stays between 60 to 35 degrees all winter without heating.

    >My problem: the queen has no eggs, brood, or emerging babys.
    If she was laying all drones I'd be worried. If you couldn't find her I'd be worried. If she hadn't been laying before I'd be worried. You have none of these problems. It may be the weather that caused her to quit laying.

    The weather has been quite nice here for the last month. I doubt that heat is the current problem.

    >There are also some tiny ants raiding the syrup.
    If the tiny ants aren't too numerous and they are only in the syrup I'd call it par for the course. If they are getting at the honey, then I'd try to eliminate them. I have good luck with either boric acid or baking soda. Find the trail of ants that leads to the hive and put baking soda on it. It kills the formic acid that the ants follow and confuses them.

    It's raining today and for the next two days, but I think that I'll try the baking soda or oil can stilts. I am concerned that maybe the ants are raiding the eggs???

    I called the supplier of the queen today to ask for ideas and the nice lady who answered was too busy to explore the possibilities. She had customers and other phone calls and was by herself at the time. She said that it would be easier to just send me a new replacement queen tomorrow without charge. Nice of her to do that, I did not ask for that, just good customer service. I was actuly going to order a cordovan if I was going to replace the queen, but you can't argue with free. But it still makes me wonder why mine is not laying.

    Thanks for the ideas Mike!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Post

    >I have two options, I could keep them in a greenhouse that I overwinter houseplants in and let them fly loose however it geets very hot on sunny days and may be too hot for them.

    That sounds pretty good. Of course it
    doesn't seem like many bees in the hive. It may seem like a LOT more in a greenhouse.

    > The other is to keep them pened up in a full size hive with screen over the opening and a miller feeder on top for ventalation and easy feeding in my work shop that stays between 60 to 35 degrees all winter without heating.

    The problem with that is, they need cleansing fights (bathroom breaks) and they can't do that penned up. How about a tube to the cold outside world so on warm days they can go potty? I have seen some bees fly when it was too cold, but for the most part they check the temperature first.

    >The weather has been quite nice here for the last month. I doubt that heat is the current problem.

    I wasn't saying she quit because of the heat, I'd be more likely to guess there is a dearth of either nectar or pollen or both that would stop her.

    >It's raining today and for the next two days, but I think that I'll try the baking soda or oil can stilts. I am concerned that maybe the ants are raiding the eggs???

    I doubt that the ants are taking the eggs. Mostly ants seem to want honey or syrup. Since the bees don't defend the syrup so much they tend to go for that. If the hive is weak enough they might go for the honey in the combs too. The oil can stilts work great, but take more work to set up than the backing soda.

    > I was actuly going to order a cordovan if I was going to replace the queen, but you can't argue with free. But it still makes me wonder why mine is not laying.

    If the current queen isn't laying, I suppose the time delay for this one to get released and start won't hurt, but it is disruptive to the hive to change queens. Kind of like going through a divorce or loss of a wife. Still it's probably worth trying, especially since it's free. Hope the introduction goes well.

    >Thanks for the ideas Mike!
    Anytime.


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