Today I received my new queens and went to install them into the hives, but couldn't find the old queen on one hive that is very large and very aggressive. I got stung about 10 times while wearing a full suit - not fun! There were capped brood, but no eggs or larvae. I have no other reason to believe that the old queen wasn't there. There were just so many bees that I couldn't see her. Maybe the hive is queenless, but I really can't tell. What are my options? At this point I'm a bit gun-shy of going back in frame-by-frame.
Any pointers welcome.
Use excluders/screen to isolate the old queen and possibly introduce the new queen without the two killing one another. You'll know in a day or two if they will except a new queen and can possibly shields/retrieve her if there is the old queen inside.
Is there a distinctive humming sound of the hive which can indicate queenlessness?
Thanks for the input. When the hive has not been touched in a while there does not seem to be much sound at all..but when I crack the inner cover - watch out!
I think I'll try your suggestion. What would be the signs they are not accepting her? I think I heard that they try to sting her through the cage - true? Any other signs? Should I cover the candy side of the cage for a day or two so they can't get to her?
Thanks again for the suggestion.
This method works so give it a try.
Last year I was aked to requeen 7 hives that were 3 boxes high,full of bees and known maneaters.If I got within 30 yrds of them they would be after me. Going into the BC was rather.... exciting!These hives were in real need of a new queen.
Anyway, I made up a split by shaking off 4 frames of brood,4 of stores and 2
of comb and placed them into an empty super. I then put it on top of the original 3 boxes.This new box was seperated from the lower 3 by an excluder.I replaced the combs I took out with foundation.
The next day I replaced the excluder with a division board with an entrance to the rear.
Five days latter I checked this split for queen cells and introduced a quite Italian queen.The queenless nurse bees in the split readily accept the new quiet queen.
When the each split had built up numbers (in about 6 or 7 weeks) I removed the division boards and united with newspaper.
The "new" queen and her bees from above and her field bees now entering from below bring about the demise of the "old" agro queen 98% of the time.It's not long before the new queen is in charge and you have a very quiet hive.
In fact this method works so well you can use it for normal requeening as well.
If the hive is REALLY mean you can place the split on a new site until you're ready to unite.
Oh yea....make sure your bee suit is up to scratch,mine had a small hole in the knee and as I was making the first manipulation I suddenly found one VERY pi**ed off bee in my veal..
The little bugger stung me on the eye lid.With both hands full and a gazzillion agro bees bashing into my veil there was little I could do.
Both eyes swelled shut for 3 days.
What I would do depends on if you are requeening a queenright hive or a queenless one. Sounds like you expected a queeright one. Here's a discussion of what I did: http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000734.html
Short version, I just split them into a lot of 5 frame nucs and came back a day later. It was a lot less bees and stress to just plunk five frames in a box and put on a lid, and five more and put on a lid. If you have the equipment you could put them in 10 frame boxes if you want. It's just that five frames of vicious bees are managable. Then the next day when they are calm, look though each of these nucs for the queen. Then you can combine or not as you wish. I left them broke up and put queens in the queenless ones and killed the old queen. They are still a bit hot but managable in the small hives. A good indication it was genetics.
Thanks to everyone for their inputs.
Yesterday was my "bee day" and had to go to work today (the one that pays the mortgage) and couldn't give much time to the bees. I did however, take BjornBee's suggestion and install the new queen above an excluder. I simply didn't have the time to do the splits.
Hopefully, if it truly was a queeright colony that the new younger queen will win out if they accept her and when I remove the excluder. They did not attack the cage, but were very definitely checking her out.
I really hope this works out because my hives are kept at my home and I simply cannot afford to have bees with this level of aggression. BTW, I now know the "banana" smell! I guess the last resort is to kill the hive. I really hope that it doesn't come to that, but when my wife gets stung 35ft from the hive while just walking in the yard...well, the clock is ticking on their existence.
I split them up without any effort to sort brood or anything. They were too vicious to spend the time! I just put five frames one after the other in each nuc. They are MUCH calmer in the many small hives than in one big one. Then I could spend the time to find the queen. I know what you mean by them hunting you down. I've had them hunt me down several hundred yards from the hives and sting me, not just buzz me. You REALLY need to make SURE the old queen dies. That's whay I'd break it up first and find her. Even if they don't accept the new queen if they raise a new one, they may calm down once she starts laying.
Before you get desperate and kill them, I haven't done this, but if you don't have enough equipment to split them up, you could do it. I would say that bees can be disheartened, and it makes them much easier to work. If you go out at night and close up the hive and the next morning drum the hive until the fury dies down you may find they are past all the anger and down to confused and disheartened.
That's a hoot! Maybe I can make them little tiny yoga mats to help with their relaxation techniques.
Seriously, thank you for all the information. I may try the drumming as a last resort before the Palmolive treatment.
[This message has been edited by AstroBee (edited June 26, 2003).]
hmmm... 200,000 watts - wonder if it will work on the neighbor's dog?
i would like to say right now that i am not resposible for that one either.