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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    South Mississippi
    Posts
    128

    Post

    Went by where an old beekeeper used to live the other day and found 2 half rotten hives full of bees! He has not lived there in 15 yrs and passed away 2 years ago. Got in contact with his sister and asked permission to get the bees to which she agreed. I went today and opened the hives up to see what would be needed to get the bees. 1 hive has 1 super on it the other has 2 supers, one of which was a section super. Both hives full of honey, bees and ants. All apparently living together happily. Everything is rotten so I will not be able to salvage any of the frames. I am going to try to cut the brood in sections and put in new frames with rubber bands to hold it in place. The bees are Italians and would you believe extremely docile. The smoker went out when I was just starting into the second hive and I didn't bother to relight it since the bees weren't being that agressive. Not 1 stinger in my suit or gloves, not even a head butt. Am planning to go back Tuesday and try to move/salvage the brood to 2 new boxes. Not sure just which way to go with the supers 1)put old supers on new boxes and let bees move what they will down into the new brood section 2)Cut it out of old frames into a tub and let the bees bring it back in 3) squeeze the honey out and feed it back to them in a feeder. Boy, I hope I can save the queens to raise some stock from these bees. Any tips or suggestions would be welcomed in the best way to handle these 2 hives.

    Marty

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Montezuma, GA USA
    Posts
    69

    Post

    If you can find the queen, why not use her to requeen a split, then when they start several new queen cells use them to requeen some more splits. This way you might be able to get several hives headed by queens that seem to have resistance to mites and ABF (lived 15 years on there own). Leave the splits in the same area as the original two hives so the queen cells get the benefit of the original hives drones, which would also have these genetic traits hopefully. Sounds like a great find.

    Best of luck
    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Post

    If the frames are indeed rotten (unusual because they are inside the hive and covered in propolis) then I would do as you say, cut the brood out and rubber band into empty frames.

    The honey is just a choice of what you'd like to do. I'm sure the comb isn't white, so I'd just press it and strain it and probably feed enough back to get their winter stores up and keep the rest.

    I agree it is a find. Docile, suvivor bees are a wonderful genetic find. I'd try to breed some queens from them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Make sure to inspect for disease also.

    Clay

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    brown county,indiana,usa
    Posts
    571

    Post

    nice find,you maybe have some tough bees,but just because the hive has been abandoned for 15 years,that doesn't mean those bees have been there surviving that long.they could have been a swarm that found the abandoned hives this spring.hope they are survivors though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Elizabethtown,KY
    Posts
    260

    Post

    Cochran,
    You may want to consider contacting Tom Webster at the University of Kentucky Entomology department. I think he is trying to do a study on hives that have not been treated for varroa. But as Hoosier Hiver intimated, you would need to confirm how long these bees have actually been there.
    If you're interested I can get the contact info for you.
    Denise

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
    Posts
    831

    Post

    Hi Denise
    If bees live together with an antÂ’s colony they get all the Varroa treatment they need from the ants. Bees and ants can live in the same hive without any problem. The bee colony is paying for the Varroa treatment (formic acid) with some honey and can survive many years.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    South Mississippi
    Posts
    128

    Post

    Thank you all.

    Mark> I am a newbie(first year beekeeper) and have not yet got into grafting queen cells but that is an excellent idea if I am able to save any of the eggs or the queen and get somes eggs from her I will try some splits and let them raise a queen from this stock.


    Michael> All of the frames are not rotten but I don't believe I will be able to pull one intact but hey maybe/hopefully I am wrong. In the places that I could see comb is going every which way and crossed over between frames.


    hoosierhiver> This is very true but in my area we have plenty of wax moths, at the least sign of weakness they will take a hive. The comb and honey is very dark so I don't believe it is this years and if it had been abandoned very long the moths would have gotten it I think. But if it is a swarm from earlier this year they have been busy so I am still very happy to get them especially with their disposition.


    Denise> I don't think it could be proven how long the bees have been there. The old house he lived in has been empty since he left and the place has grown up something fierce. It doesn't appear that anyone has been taking care of the place at all. My uncle has a few hives of feral bees that he captured several years ago that have never been medicated, though.

    axtmann> I learn something new everyday. Didn't know that about the ants.

    Marty


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Post

    Forma is Latin for Ant. Formic acid is what ants leave for a trail everywhere they go. It's also what makes it burn when they bite.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Elizabethtown,KY
    Posts
    260

    Post

    I had heard that about the formic acid but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder. So it seems, if the ants are not causing any damage, it would behoove us to just leave them bee.
    Denise

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Post

    I figure if they are harming the bees then I take steps. Otherwise I don't worry about it. I have found them with nests on inner covers but I usually throw them out. I wonder if ants eat varroa? Rumor has it they eat SHB larvae. How about wax moth larvae?

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