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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Luzerne County, Plains, PA, USA
    Posts
    162

    Default In need of a queen? Maybe?

    In early May i hived a #3 package. The queen was accepted, and all seemed fine. In recent weeks, i have looked in many times, and given the weather so far this "non-summer" (low temps and rain rain rain) i am beginning to think this hive will not survive the winter. It's been over 2 months now, and still a single medium is not full.

    should i re-queen and hope this gets better, or risk losing the hive. It's doubtful i will be able to buy another package next season to replace this one if it fails.
    A beekeeper is not what I am, it's what I aspire to become.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,772

    Default Re: In need of a queen? Maybe?

    Lot's of questions. Are you feeding? I assume that when you say the medium is not full, you're hiving with all mediums. Or do you mean that you've filled your hive bodies and you have a medium super on for honey?

    How is the brood pattern? If your queen is laying fine but the bees haven't expanded their broodnest, it could be that they just don't need the space. Space (as in comb, not foundation) is needed for brood and stores. If they cycle through stores quickly, they don't need more space to store it so they won't pull wax. Again, feeding might help as it could give them a surplus that they need space to store in.

    I'm hesitant to recommend re-queening without finding specific fault that a new queen might cure. If you have a "slow" queen, by all means replace her. You're right....you won't get a package now and you really don't need one.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    550

    Default Re: In need of a queen? Maybe?

    hello, if its been raining, no foraging, no new comb if she is alive no worries.....you can feed 1:1 sugar water to stimulate building of comb...you will not get honey this year from them anyways...they will be fine reduce your entrance also so they will not get robbed....also if you have pollen patties add to top of hive also helps...i use a dog water bowl with bark in side little to no drowing...it also keeps ants from tring to enter hives feeding this way...if it rains hard it takes a few days for flowers to produce nector...they also my supercede her as well even so they will be ok..

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Luzerne County, Plains, PA, USA
    Posts
    162

    Default Re: In need of a queen? Maybe?

    Ok let me explain better. Sry for the incomplete posting.

    The package was hived in early May. The queen was of the Italian "mated and laying" variety.

    At first i was feeding, i use a gallon jug with holes in the lid. For about 2 days they fed fine.........before the queen was released. Then nothing, not a drop was taken once the queen found her way out of her lil cage thingy.

    The numbers came up quite fast, to the point i needed to add a second medium super (yes they were hived in medium super as thats all i plan on using from now on...... I aint gettin no younger, and neither is my back ).

    Anyway, i felt i best leave them alone to buildup, without intervention from me. I wasnt doing regular inspections, just an occasional peek
    now-n-then. I know, i know, "Ya shudda looked closer Wayne", but alas i didnt. I had other things going on and the numbers at the porch looked "acceptable". My bad, so sue me......... lol.

    Anyway, all else being said, the numbers are low. The pattern "looks" ok......not great, a bit spotty, but............. hive numbers are down.....only about 6-7 frames covered with bees. To me that dosent even seem close to right, not after over 2 months anyway. But then too, it has rained for like 57 of the last 30 days.....so im sure that helped (or hurt as the case may be)

    Here in the northeast, from what i have been told, you really need at a minimum 3 mediums (or 2 deeps) packed with bees, to winter over well.......... a few less than "packed" would be fine, but these guys just arent building their numbers at all..........the queen has gotten slow, or perhaps just givin up on increasing their numbers. I did try to restart feeding, but still they wont take it. Only a few sips in 3 days now.

    Maybe they are mentally deficient, they were building comb in the upper box from the bottoms of the frames upward, instead of from the starter strips downward.

    I kinda wanna say "i give up" and just combine them with my stronger hive that has room for them, but then I lose the queen anyway. I'm kinda stucked. I doubt i will be able to afford another package next spring, so my situation is kinda desperate. (at least in MY mind).

    In short, my thoughts now are......... combine and lose the queen anyway, or kill Ms Queenie, and pray I get one thats more prolific (spelling?). Either way i lose her majesty, but if i get a better queen, then maybe she can build this hive up in what remains of the summer/fall.
    A beekeeper is not what I am, it's what I aspire to become.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Covington, Ga, USA
    Posts
    1,549

    Default Re: In need of a queen? Maybe?

    Wayne, have you tried feeding them again. Not sure if you are in a Dearth or what, but its plausible. I hived mine June 4th, and they just finished their 9th deep frame and have begun to move up now into the second deep. I feed them..A LOT so they can build up stores and build comb, and they tear it up....
    "You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    932

    Default Re: In need of a queen? Maybe?

    If the queen needs to be replaced this would not cause them not to take syrup. It would cause slow build up

    What are you feeding and how


    Really it sounds like they may have T- Mites or nosema or a heavy V-mite load

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,772

    Default Re: In need of a queen? Maybe?

    I'd still wait and try feeding. Certainly check for a mite load. You still have the option of combining later. For winter, you want three mediums filled (or for the most part filled) with stores....not necessarily wall to wall bees. If you have lot's of stores and a good number of bees, you're OK. If you've got a ton of bees in all three mediums, you'd better plan on feeding all winter!!!!

    I'd watch.....wait...watch and feed. Just me. If this were my only hive, I'd re-queen but save the old one for a bit until I knew the replacement was accepted. It's different when you have more than one hive to mess with.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,839

    Default Re: In need of a queen? Maybe?

    Try reversing the boxes and put a feeder on. Bees build starter strips from the top down much easier if the box is on the bottom. They have no ladder from the broodnest up to the top starter strips the way you have it now, and if your feeder was on top, then it's too far away from the broodnest and no ladder to it either. Another option would be to checkerboard the frames and put a feeder on, but I think I'd tend to go with the first option, reverse the boxes and put a feeder on. This way the broodnest does not get broken up.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Luzerne County, Plains, PA, USA
    Posts
    162

    Default Re: In need of a queen? Maybe?

    Thanks Ray, I did consider checkerboarding, but as you said, i didnt want to break up the brood nest. I never thought of reversing the boxes... now I know what i'm doing when i get home. Thx again.
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 07-15-2009 at 07:14 AM. Reason: Unnecessary quote
    A beekeeper is not what I am, it's what I aspire to become.

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