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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Peckham, London, England
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    24

    Default New queens on order and I cant find the mean queens

    I have ordered 2 new queens because 2 hives very mean. They went queenless and I gave test frames and they raised queencells. Q/Cs torn down now so I think there must be virgins/ just mated queens in the hives. They are stinging my family, and neighbors' kids too. New queens arrive Thursday. Problem is that I think there are virgins/newly mated emergency queens in the hives, but I went through all the frames and couldn't find them today.

    I really don't want them to ball the new queens. Advice please.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,268

    Default

    Here's one option you can try...

    Get a metal queen excluder and nail/screw/staple it solidly to the bottom of a beebox. Put this on top of another empty bee box that has a top lid nailed/screwed/stapled to the BOTTOM of the box.

    Now you have a queen and drone 'sifter' if you will. You can now shake or brush all frames from your hive into this top box and smoke the bees down into the bottom box, and shake the top box aggitatinly to sift the bees down thru the Qexcluder. If you have a qeeen, she won't go thru the excluder thereby you found her. Then take the box they were sifted into and turn upside down back onto your hive and they'll flow down into it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,027

    Default

    Introducing mated, laying queens is a faster way to get brood back in the hive, which could potentially mature and become a gentler population of bees, or not.

    Even letting the virgins mate, then begin laying, and having their offspring repopulate the hives might change their temperament for the better, or not.

    Either way, just having a mated, laying queen in the hive may tame them some, but what I'm saying is there is no 100% guarantee that any new queen will produce gentle workers. They may even be worse than before. But my wishes are with you in your desire for gentle and productive.

    What I do with overly defensive hives (that usually seem reluctant to accept introduced queens), is make up Nucs with two frames, one of emerging brood and nurse/house bees, and one frame of honey/pollen. Be 100% certain there are no queens in these Nucs. Introduce the queens with push-in cages over emerging worker brood. Let the new queens come up to speed with laying while I search out any queens or queen cells in the hive(s) that will ultimately receive the queen(s). RayMarler's method sounds good. Then when I'm sure they have been queenless, at least overnight, I put an empty super above the brood nest (some beekeepers separate with a sheet of newspaper) and put the two frame Nuc with new queen against one side of the empty super, add empty combs/frames in the empty space, wait several days, then check for the presence of the new queen and that she is laying, if everything looks good I put the Nuc frames down into the brood chamber, replacing two least used combs.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 08-24-2008 at 02:11 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Columbia, South Carolina USA
    Posts
    2,600

    Default

    I agree with the previous posters in principle however if you can't find a queen because they are recently mated/virgins they may actually get through the Queen excluder if suitably motivated, by smoking, brushing, bothering at etc.

    Here is what I would do. Just before the new Queens arrived I would remove a couple frames of sealed brood, a frame of honey etc. Brush off all of the bees so to be sure of not moving a queen. I.e. make up a nuc. One per queen. Place this over an excluder that you have placed on top of that hive. This will allow some bees to move up and cover the frames. Do not give them too much extra space to patrol or at this time of year SHB will be a problem depending on your area.

    An hour or three later when you remove these nukes you will have lots of bees and no queens. The queens are unlikely to move upwards as they should not be terribly motivated to do so. Don't smoke the colony too heavily or you could drive the queens anywhere.

    It would be best if you could move these several miles away, the foragers will remain and the nucs will stay better stocked. The next day, introduce the queens to the now queenless nucs. They should be happy to receive them.

    Once the queens are laying and have a population of happy nurse bees you are ready to use these as re-queening units.

    Now back at the old hives you still have the conundrum of finding those queens in those boxes. The queens will be older though and should be easier to spot than virgins. Having said that finding queens in a well populated and defensive hive can be very challenging. This is particularly true if there are multiple boxes to go through. So hedge your bets. Slip an excluder between each and every box. Four days later only one of those boxes should have eggs. You can confine your search to that box only. I don't know how many boxes these hives occupy at present, but I know searching 10 frames is only half the work of searching 20, 1/3 the work of searching 30 etc. etc. Once you find her, pinch her. Wait a while and you can combine one of your nucs with that hive with newspaper and you are off.

    It may sound complicated, but it is just a series of relatively simple manipulations.

    Keith

    PS: If it was earlier in the year I might have suggested ordering enough queens to have one per box and then split the daylights out of the hives and call it increase, but it is getting a little late. Large aggressive hives are often somewhat tamed by the act of splitting.
    Bee Sting Honey - So Good, It Hurts!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Peckham, London, England
    Posts
    24

    Default

    Thanks for the replies guys. Tough call. Shaking these bees off their frames will drive them mad, and neighbors 20ft on either side will be at risk. Guess I can gently smoke and brush and gently shake to get them through the excluder.

    Don't have any more nuc boxess. What are the odds that a virgin will go through the excluder. If high, not worth risking family and neighbors getting stung.


    Kalula

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default

    You can make these temporary Nucs, they don't have to be put into special Nuc boxes, any super with something to close the bottom and a cover that can leave an opening for an entrance will suffice. You can even put medium depth frames into deep supers or deep frames into two medium depth supers. Heck even a cardboard box can be cut and taped, glued, or stapled to hold frames as a temporary Nuc.

    As far as shaking defensive bees to make up the Nucs -- I wouldn't do that either, I'd make the Nucs from your gentler hives. Heck, at an appropriate point in the process, I might even try swapping places with a queenright gentle hive - nurse/house bees are rarely defensive, its mostly the older bees and swapping foragers may temporarily increase the defensiveness of the gentler hive, but it will likely have a gentling effect on the ornery hive. I have done this and it can help.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 08-24-2008 at 03:53 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,268

    Default

    You've got a tricky situation, with aggressive bees close to neighbors. You say there are 2 "testy" hives? How many stories are these Hives? Do you have other hives?

    Do you have any friends or relatives who might own some property somewhere, 5 or 10 miles away, where you could move these mean hives to at evening dusk? That way you could work with them the next day without involving neighbors with mean bees.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Peckham, London, England
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    Default

    I have only 2 hives and a nuc that I made from the bad tempered hive, to try to calm them after they went queenless and got even angrier. (they are always grumpy if you mess with them covering your veil like a cloud and stinging through gloves and suit, but when they have a queen, they don't follow and you can walk past them without being stung). i put some queen cells in the nuc and left some in the hive 3 weeks ago. I am on Langstroths and have now taken off all the supers and frames to treat with thymol and put on an empty super on each hive so that bees are not too overcrowded.

    The nuc is 5 frames. It is a bit spicy too, as you would expect, as made from bad tempered colony.

    I have spare bottom boards, roofs, bodies and supers.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Peckham, London, England
    Posts
    24

    Default

    Thanks for all good advice guys. There are eggs and 3-4 day old larvae, so am well happy that my new queen has been accepted. K x

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    1,313

    Default

    How did you end up going about it?
    Troy

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Peckham, London, England
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    Default

    Went through nuc twice looking for virgin that might have been in there and didn't find her. (Problem was that I fell over when I was carrying the nuc to the garage when I first made it and I could easily have destroyed the queen cells - but couldn't be sure)

    Queen arrived in post late when evening was drawing in. Placed her with attendants overnight in the queen cage, but with the exit blocked, in the nuc. They were roaring when I opened the lid. Next day took her out into the car and freed her attendants and put her in a new clean queen cage with soft fondant that I had made blocking her in, back between 2 frames of nuc. (Bees were really mad when I took her out in the morning - couldn't tell if they were mad at her or mad at me for temporarily removing her).

    Weather bad, so couldn't check if she was out of the queen cage. Hoped, watched and prayed. Saw pollen going in yesterday, when it was raining and I didn't expect any bees to be flying.

    Today at inspection, which was quick because weather still bad, found larvae and eggs. Hoping these came from my newly introduced queen!

    I also found new eggs today in the other hive that I made the nuc from, which was previously queenless. Double bubble! That hive still super bad tempered even though they now have a laying queen. Looking to order a New Zealand queen for them at Christmas for delivery in March. Weather too bad and too early days to go spending too much time looking to mark new queen.

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