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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    Ok, apparently I need to be entered into the category of "She did EVERYTHING wrong"! My brand-new hive swarmed, then my other new hive lost her queen. Well, now I am in a robbing situation with my hive that lost the queen. I went into the deep and there was NOTHING! And this hive only has ONE DEEP!

    This is the status am as of yesterday.... I have the weak hive with an entrance reducer down to smallest hole. I have a ventilated inner cover on the top so I can feed through the top into my hive-top feeder. I haven't been back since I did both of these (day before yesterday). Storming a bit around here. Not sure when I'll get back IN but will continue to feed, regardless. But I can't say yet what the innerds look like - if they are able to rebuild or what.

    I guess my real questions are - is there anything else I can do to discourage the robbing, short of moving the hive?

    Then my next huge concern is, since I'm a newbie, I have no way to project what the situation is like for this hive. It has only one deep, no "stores" of honey, had only 1 frame of brood. It is hobbling, at best. Do I need to consider combining these hives? How long would it take to build up enough bees, honey, brood, etc., to last through the winter. We are here now at July. I'm in mid-Arkansas. Don't know nectar flow just yet for these parts.

    Lastly, on the hive that has been doing the robbing, it is just BRIMMING with honey (hmmmm!) I've got 1 deep (8 frame equip) and 2 mediums. Only brood at last entrance was in the deep. Should I add another medium even if there is only brood in the bottom deep? I think there were about 5 of the frames full when I checked last week.

    And I'm thinking I should continue to feed the good hive, in spite of its honey stores if there is no nectar flow??? And should I reduce it's entrance too, to minimize the ransacking?

    Thanks so much!
    Cindi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,678

    Default Re: Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    Hello... Directory Assistance... Can I have the number for Oh never mind.

    Welcome to the club Cindi for bees that don't read books and as a result don't do what we think they should!

    It's always good to go back and review the basics - you may find you already know how to handle your various situations.

    In terms of robbing, by installing the entrance reducer you've already done all you can do short of moving the hive. If the hive is still being robbed that means the guard bees are not able to successfully defend a very small opening. If that is the case combining makes lots of sense.

    The hive that is doing the robbing - they are the hive the swarmed? So as far as you know they have a queen or queen cell about to hatch? Since they've got such a store of honey, there is no need to feed them. You have to decide how much honey to take from them - take too much and you'll be feeding them in the fall - but as long as the honey supers haven't been on the hive when you've done any chemical treatments the honey should be fine for human consumption. If you're still worried about that you can always feed it back to the bees.

    You should go through the hive to determine what caused the swarm and make sure you correct any of the conditions you identify. The leading cause is brood nest congestion which means you'll want to make sure there is empty preferably drawn comb in the brood nest for the queen to lay in.

    I'm writing from Maine and don't know the Arkansas climate. By all means search out other beekeepers and see if there is a club in your area. The local in person voice of experience is hard to top.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    Hello... Directory Assistance... Can I have the number for Oh never mind.

    Thanks for the laugh, Dewey.

    Ok, entrance reducer on. None on the other, strong one?

    Yes, the robbing hive is the one that swarmed. It is also the one we stole some queen cells from to give to the weak one. By the looks of things, strong hive is remaining strong - but I've been a bit timid to go alllllllllll the way down into the deep and check for brood, etc. Should I? I was doing it weekly, but have backed off a bit now, especially with nectar dearth in full swing.

    Wondering if it would be beneficial to steal back a frame or two of honey and put in the weak hive???

    Thanks for your speedy response!
    Cindi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Anderson County SC
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    Cindi,

    I can only agree with and echo what Andrew said about the bees themselves.
    As to nectar flow, I am in South Carolina. However, I grew up in Texas and Arkansas and learned to keep bees there. You are going through some storms now, which is going to initiate the flowering of things that initiate flower in mid-summer when it gets rain and keep what is flowering now going. That is your first factor to consider. Then you have until at least early October for a Fall flow. The honey will likely be darker and strong tasting but will feed the colony!
    How far out "in the country”, are you?
    If you are away from town then your colony has more forage to collect nectar from than if you are in the city. It sounds like you already have a good forage area if your one colony is still bringing in a lot of nectar. Additionally, you have a number of Aster species, Sourwood, Sumac, Blackberry, and some other species that are going to flower and produce nectar for at least the month rest of the month and then a whole host of other species that will flower in the month of October. Many of the later flowering species are going to be big pollen producers as well. Oh, don’t forget the Goldenrod and Ragweed!

    Kenneth

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,678

    Default Re: Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    Think about what needs to happen for the hive being robbed to survive the winter:

    They need to build up a good population and they need to put by plenty of stores.

    You certainly can rob honey and frames of brood from the strong hive - but you'll still need a queen. That's just a matter of pulling out the credit card and making a phone call. (Presuming taking a cell from the strong colony did not work)

    I strongly suggest you talk with someone local to find out if it is feasible for a hive to build up from where yours is now.

    You might want to try "saving" the colony as an educational experience. Just be aware that all your efforts might still result in a dead colony.

    [And re: talking about putting an entrance reducer on the hive that is doing the robbing - I think the only thing that would accomplish is to cause ventilation problems.]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
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    1,076

    Default Re: Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    Ok, I'm going to see how the girls are this weekend, I'm going to STOP feeding the strong hive that has lots of stores, and continue feeding the one that doesn't, no reducer on the strong one . . . and see if I still have a queen!

    I'm sure you've not heard the last of me!

    Oh yeah, and I'ma calling someone local!!

    Thanks again. You are all SUPER!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Battle Ground, Wa
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    I'm not recommending this, but rather asking a question. Since there are only two hives involved, what would happen if you just switched their physical locations. Seems like this should provide a lot of extra bees to the weak hive & really confuse the robbers, but would the "newcomers" to the weak hive help protect it from their former colony mates?? Has anyone tried this??

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    Ok, going out today to open weak hive and check status after being robbed, and on strong hive will put back in the right order the mediums I erroneously switched.*

    On the weak hive, it had only one frame of capped brood a week ago. If this has not increased, is it safe to say there is no longer a queen?*

    If yes, we think no queen, I'm thinking go ahead and combine?

    Combining: 3,2,1: weak (w3) deep on top of strong (s2) medium brood on top of (s1) deep brood would be the layout. Newspaper between 3 and 2.*

    And I would do all if this checking and switching at the same time?

    So then do I leave deep up top?

    Does this sound like a plan or should I give it another week after fixing all my other probs?

    As ever, thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
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    Default Re: Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    Hi Cindi,

    I take it you've stopped the robbing - right?

    I'd go back through the weak hive and look for signs that a queen is there - eggs/larva, etc.
    If she is there you can let the hive limp along - feeding it up until winter.

    Or you can combine it with your other hive. Your description is accurate - the brood chamber from the weak hive would go on top of the strong hive separated by a single sheet of newspaper. It wouldn't hurt to find the queen, if one exists, in the weak hive and pinch her before doing the combine.

    Otherwise what will happen is that the queen from the strong hive will eventually fight to the death with the queen from the weak one. My thought would be to avoid the battle if you can.

    After the newspaper has been eaten through and all brood hatched out you can remove the deep that belonged to the weak hive. Just gently shake any bees off the frames and down into the mediums.

    Keep us posted!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    Hi Andrew. Have robbing under control, I think. Still some attempts, but I saw them dragging attackers off, and activity has quieted dramatically. So under control?? Hopefully!

    Sounds like you are leaning toward combining? This one hive has been hobbling along all season, BUT just before robbing started we just got a new, happy queen who WAS doing quite nicely - before robbing.

    I think I'll decide after I see if there is more brood and how much. If pitiful, I'll combine.

    Cross your fingers that maybe THIS time I'll make the right move! Will definitely keep you posted. (crying for help, more like it!)

    Thanks again!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
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    Default Re: Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    Is there a "chicken" icon anywhere???

    YAY - I swapped back the two mediums that shouldn't have been swapped in the first place. Didn't go into it, cloudy, windy day and thot they had been tormented enough for two days.

    Went over to the weak hive - still had syurp after one night - YAY. but they still seemed quite cranky, so I decided to put the lid back on and wait till it is sunny and not windy. Color me yeller. BUT, now, 15 minutes later, it's a DOWNPOUR! So, yellow worked well today.

    So.... Ive got No questions for a change!

    More tomorrow - another YAY I hope!

    Great day to you all! And thanks for being there when we newbies need you!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Bloomington In
    Posts
    790

    Default Re: Please don't call ASPCA on me!

    take from the rich and give to the poor. they stoled part of it from the poor to start with.

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