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Thread: Abject failure

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Grifton, NC
    Posts
    1,302

    Default Abject failure

    My friend bought some queens to requeen several hives and to make some splits. I'm usually pretty good at finding queens, but that day we didn't find any. Found plenty of queen signs, just couldn't eyeball the queens. We split one hive, taking 3 frames of brood larvae and capped, 1 honey and 1 pollen frame for a nuc. We shook nurse bees into the nuc, making sure we didn't have the queen. We had bees covering most of the frames. We put a new caged queen in. I took the nuc to my house some 5 miles distant.4 days later, I checked the nuc to see if they had released the queen. They had not, so I released her and the bees made no effort to ball her. She went down into the nuc, so I closed it up and went inside. 3 hours later, I had a large swarm of bees in my yard. I found the nuc empty except for a few bees, with most of them on a nearby gardenia bush. The marked queen was walking around on top of the nuc cover. I put her back in and the bees returned to the nuc around dark. Next morning the bees were acting normal with a good population still in the nuc. The next day they swarmed again, but I did not find the queen. Today they were gone except for a few on the gardenia bush. Wax moths and hive beetles have already settled in.

    I'm guessing there were too few bees to cool the hive(104 here all week) and they stressed out and absconded.
    Banjos and bees... how sweet it is!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default

    Weird. Something they didn't like in that nuc. Next time if they swarm like that try placing them into another hive body or box or something till you can get a hive body. They shouldn't have swarmed like that. Don't blame yourself and flame the nuc to get rid of what was driving them away.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Crescent City, FL USA
    Posts
    76

    Default

    OK here is a long shot but was the original queen clipped? If she was clipped or somewhat injured in anyway they might have just tried to swarm right before you two went to split them but they lost the queen and returned to the hive but then y'all came along and split them and gave them a new queen so they waited on her and then decided to swarm again.

    I know its out there but hey its a theory lol

    Richard
    6 Hives
    Crescent City, FL

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Grifton, NC
    Posts
    1,302

    Default

    Not clipped. We marked her with a red dot that got smeared , so I know it was the right queen that I put in there. Thi smakes a strong case for rearing one's own queens. It's not always convenient to requeen when the queens come. Having a queen bank is what I'm working toward.

    I think the nuc was too hot and crowded for the emerging brood and there were too few bees to cool it. Ants & hive beetles made an assault, so I think the bees got stressed and demoralized and absconded. I think these big black and red ants are a bigger pest than hive beetles or wax moths. They are incorrigible. I need to check my trees and bushes around the yard and see if the bees might have lodged there.

    Just another tuition payment in the School of Hard Knocks.
    Banjos and bees... how sweet it is!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,458

    Default

    If you make a split for each box (a bottom and a lid) and come back in four days and look for eggs you'll know where she is, or put an excluder between each box and come back in four days.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    beegee writes:
    I'm guessing there were too few bees to cool the hive(104 here all week) and they stressed out and absconded.

    tecumseh: excess heat is typically reason number one why bees will abscond . a bit later you listed reason number two which is ants.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    New Braunfels, TX
    Posts
    463

    Default

    beegee,

    Something you mentioned in your original message got my attention. You said that beetles and wax moths had already settled in. You had the nuc together only for a maximum of five days when the bees absconded for the last time. This indicates that perhaps the beetles and moths were well established before you grafted the nuc. Bees, especially when they don't have much invested in a new home, will not likely tolerate these parasites at high levels. Perhaps this was the problem, not heat.
    Hobbyist

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