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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Phila Burbs, PA
    Posts
    40

    Default New Package queen died, small amount of bees left, questions...

    Hi Guys,

    I'm a second year beekeeper, and I got 4 packages on Saturday. Hived them with no problems. Went to release the queens today, 3 were fine, 4th queen died and bees probably went to other hives (only a handful left near the feeder). I have a replacement queen from the guy who I got the packages from coming tomorrow (Tuesday), but what should I do about limited number of bees?

    I have a hive that survived from last year (1 died, 1 survived), but they are just starting to build up and only have 2 frames of larval brood, and about 4 frames of bees, seems kind of small; smaller than the package amount.

    My thinking is to hang the new queen cage in the "abandoned" hive, shake some bees from some of the new package frames in it, and hope they make a happy home. Any comments, ideas, or crass remarks are appreciated. Maybe not too crass...

    JAK

    PS Do many people use the tag function in threads, just wondering. It would probably be pretty helpful. Cheers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,496

    Default

    Hey JAK,

    Sorry bout your queen not making it. You are going to need bees for the new queen. If you just shake them from the other hives and it is near them they will just go back to their original hives, so if you do that you will have to move the new package a distance away, like making a split. Getting a queen without more package bees is going to be a bit tricky.

    Check the hive that survived. If the queen isn't putting out a nice brood pattern you may want to think of replacing her with your new queen.

    Last option is to have the guy wait on giving you a replacement queen. Then in about a month and a half when the other hives are going really well you can get your queen and pull a frame or two of brood from each hive and have a strong hive going with a new queen.

    Hope that helps.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Phila Burbs, PA
    Posts
    40

    Default RE: Good news, some bees remain

    Hi Guys,

    Alpha 6, thanks for your response. It's the first time I ever had a queen in the cage die. Oh well, easy come, easy go. I'll look into the Italian queen from the surviving hive. Being the second year, I don't know too much about when the Italian queens will start building up. She started in one corner of the box and was slowly moving her way across the brood frames, no empty spaces, and I had the hive in a partially shaded area. I moved them to full sun. After reading some articles in Bee Culture, I figure that I'd requeen in the fall, probably look for a northern raised queen from Bjornbees or something from NY area.

    I got the replacement queen over my lunch break, hung her in the new hive and then looked in the hive top feeder to see if any bees were left (medium super was empty), and there were about 4 cups of bees drawing wax from the inner cover on top of the hive top feeder. Interesting. Anyway, shook down whoever was still clinging to the inner cover, they were all abuzz (cold day, 40ish outside, chance of rain) and then settled down and started to inspect the queen cage. So I covered the hive back up and went back to work. Things should work out all right as there were a lot more bees in there feeding than I saw last night. Don't think it's bees robbing as it hit mid 30s last night and hasn't top much over mid 40s yet today.

    I'll hope for the best.

    Cheers,

    JAK

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Douglasville, GA, USA
    Posts
    70

    Default cage Queens

    I would release the attendants with caged Queens. This is what I was told when I was having caged Queens dead inside. Basically, the attendants try and protect the Queen which triggers a response from the hive to attack. This is what I was told and have done with success. Release the attendants next time, it might work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Phila Burbs, PA
    Posts
    40

    Default RE: Releasing queen attendants

    Bee_Sweet,

    That's the first I've heard to release the attendants. I was under the impression that the queen needed attendants to feed her while she was in the cage. The queen will be hanging in the hive for at least 3 days (since she's new to what's left of the package) and I would wonder if I'd just end up killing another queen (starvation) if I'd remove her attendant workers. I follow that there could be an attack response because of over-protective attendants, but I'd be worried that the queen'd be left to fend for herself. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.

    JAK

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Douglasville, GA, USA
    Posts
    70

    Default

    JAK, you will not starve her, because the bees in the hive will feed her. That is how they get use to her and makes her release easier. She will call for food and the hive will respond, this is what happens even with attendants in the cage with her. So, when the hive starts to respond the attendants protect, which triggers a fight with the hive. Does this make sense? The hive bees will feed her.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Missouri Valley, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    82

    Default

    Don't expect a large brood nest just yet. I am in Iowa and we have had some really cool weather and I know you guys in PA have to. As long as the nest she has is nice and solid and full she is probably fine. You will read of people having 4,5,6,7,8,9 frames of brood right now. Don't forget to loo at thier location compared to yours.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Millersville, Maryland
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: New Package queen died, small amount of bees left, questions...

    Hi JAK. In May 2008 I bought a few nucs from Bjorn Apiaries in PA and I'm very pleased with them. One of the nucs turned out to have a super queen. The hive is beyond comprehension.

    In April 2009, I split the hive 4 ways. Taking a deep hive body with each split. As of June 30, the mother hive (queen) is now five feet tall and absolutely packed to the seams with bees, honey and brood. There's 200+ pounds of honey in that hive and I've literally never seen so many bees. It's ready to be split 4 ways again in less than 3 months of the original 4 way split.

    I'm going to get my nephew to take some pictures and I'll try to post them soon.

    I give Bjorn Apiaries two thumbs up

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,160

    Default Re: New Package queen died, small amount of bees left, questions...

    You're surviving hive from last year, should have lots of brood & nurse bees.
    You can move a frame of brood with the bees on it too the week hive. The nurse bees will stay.

    You might want to spray them with sugar water first.
    Dan

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