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  1. #1
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    Nov 2010
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    cumberland me
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    Default fist full of bees

    Hi Everybody,
    I have a fistful of bees in a ten frame deep. It was one of my swarm traps. I brushed them down. The bees were in the rain hanging on a branch for a few days-pitiful. They have been in the deep for about two weeks-along with a couple of shallow frames of uncapped honey. There is no queen. Do you think that adding a frame or two of uncapped brood and purchasing a mated queen will be enough? linn
    P.S. There are also 4 deep new foundation frames. linn
    Last edited by linn; 05-30-2012 at 10:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    813

    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Not sure if you have small hive beetle in your area, but I had a real small swarm in a 5 frame and I gave it a frame of pollen and uncapped honey from another hive, with the bees on that frame to the weak hive. A few days later one side of it was covered with shb larvae and they were starting on another frame. If mine had been queenless I would have either added open brood frame 1 per week til I saw queen cell, or combined with another hive. Do you have a 5 frame box you can put them in? Sounds like alot of space if it's only a few hundred bees.
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Quote Originally Posted by linn View Post
    Do you think that adding a frame or two of uncapped brood and purchasing a mated queen will be enough?
    Going on the accepted assumption that 1 frame of brood = 1lb of bees, I'd say 3 frames of capped (or nearly capped) brood + a purchased queen would roughly equate to a package (actually, since the brood will all be young, so better as nurse bees, I'd say a bit better), so as long as you have plenty of flow left before your winter starts, there should be little problem turning a few frames of brood + a purchased queen into a decently strong hive before winter. I'd call it a split, rather than "saving a few hundred bees," but either way, if you have time left to get a package established, then you should be able to do what you're planning successfully

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Bay City, MI 48706
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    78

    Default Re: fist full of bees

    How are you so sure there is no queen, bees know they nead a queen to keep the hive going ,new queens are hard to see for one, and could of been out on a mating trip,when you were looking. I would wait 10 more days.

    I hived a small swarm three years ago, I could not find the queen, it was about three weeks befor I saw eggs. she built up to a med hive body and over wintered in Michigan. I did a three way split
    the next spring.

    paul

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    cumberland me
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    223

    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Hi Bevy,
    You are right-too much space. Unfortunately, the parent hive issued a big swarm today. I do have a five frame deep. I have never had SHBs but other beekeepers have in this area. Cold winters usually take care of this problem. It was too warm this winter. I looked in the parent hive for uncapped larvae. There is only capped larvae. I did manage to catch the swarm but that is another story. I can pull some uncapped larvae from another hive and wait to make sure there is no queen. Thanks so much. linn

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    cumberland me
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    223

    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Hi Robherc,
    Thanks for your reply. I may end up doing a split. I don't want to be scrambling for a queen come late summer. A little uncapped larvae will buy some time. If I do not see evidence of the queen then I will give some capped larvae and maybe a mated purchased queen. In my area there is time. Come fall there in knotweed. It makes a reddish honey but the bees love it. linn

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    cumberland me
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    223

    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Hi Graperunner,
    I am going to take your advice and give the queen a reprieve. I will put some uncapped larvae in the deep and if I don't see the queen or evidence of her in two weeks then I will give the bees a little capped and uncapped and maybe give them either a queen cell or a purchased mated queen. Thanks again. linn

  8. #8
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    Mar 2012
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    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: fist full of bees

    If you gave them young enough uncapped larvae, then the absence of queen cells in 3-4 days indicates that you have a queen....obviously, if there ARE Q cells then, you don't have one & can go ahead with other plans

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    cumberland me
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    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Hi robherc,
    Yesterday a very large swarm issued from the hive where the fistful of bees came. I had promised a swarm to a guy is used to work with. He came to get the swarm. While he was here we went through the parent hive and destroyed all the queen cells. One queen cell had an emerging queen so I put the cell in with the fistful of bees. I didn't see eggs in the parent hive-just capped brood. I will get some uncapped brood with eggs from one of my other hives. The swarm was very large. I am thinking that with future swarms I could just combine the swarm with the parent hive. Is there any disadvantage to re-uniting the swarm with the parent hive?
    Thank-you,
    linn

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Bay City, MI 48706
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    78

    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Did you leave a queen in the hive that swarmed?

  11. #11
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    Nov 2010
    Location
    cumberland me
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    223

    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Hi Graperunner,
    I doubled checked for a queen. There was no queen. On May 20th a huge swarm came out and landed high up in the pine tree. When I got back home there was just this fistful of bees in the pine tree. The swarm that just came out the other day was very large. I am thinking that the huge swarm that came out of the hive went back in the hive. I say that because the swarm was very large, there were no eggs or larvae in the hive. In hindsight maybe I should have left a few swarm cells. They are very nice bees. Here we are destroying queen cells and that seems kind of mean but what do you do? Thank-
    Last edited by linn; 06-01-2012 at 01:25 PM.

  12. #12
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    Nov 2010
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    cumberland me
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    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Graperunner View Post
    Did you leave a queen in the hive that swarmed?
    Hi Graperunner,
    I see what you mean. I could very well have left them queenless and the bees come from very good stock. I took a frame of brood and two capped queen cells on May 20th. I put that in a little four frame nuc. Hopefully one of those queen in the cells will mate and come back. I also put the little emerging queen in with the min-swarm. Neither one is a sure thing. I used to have a teacher that said statistics lied but then again the teacher was not talking about queen issues. I definitely should not have destroyed the supercede cell and should have kept at least one more queen cell. Thanks so much for your help. linn

  13. #13
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    Mar 2012
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    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Quote Originally Posted by linn View Post
    I am thinking that with future swarms I could just combine the swarm with the parent hive. Is there any disadvantage to re-uniting the swarm with the parent hive?
    Yes and No...there are advantages on either side of that coin IMHO:

    My recommendation, based on what I would most likely do if I caught a swarm from one of my own hives, and didn't want to start a new hive, is this:
    #1: Place the swarm in an empty hive, and treat them like any of your other hives for a while
    #2: Remove all but 1-2 queen cells from the parent colony, then close it back up & leave it alone for 2-3 weeks
    #3: After the new queen in the parent colony has established herself laying, evaluate brood patterns in all of your colonies; squish whichever queen you have who is performing the worst; then place one of the queens from the 2 hives in question (parent & swarm), caged with a candy, in the hive of the queen you squished (unless, of course, it was one of them) and re-combine the swarm with the parent colony.

    This way, you're replacing your poorest queen, and instead of having 2 weaker colonies from the swarm, the re-combined colony will benefit from having brood from BOTH queens being laid for a week or two, and may well turn out to be your strongest colony in the yard for a while

  14. #14
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    Nov 2010
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    cumberland me
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    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Hi Robherc,
    Thank you for your good advice. It is hard to cut out those queen cells. The other day I thought I heard piping. Maybe the solution is to look every 10 days so as to avoid those capped queen cells.
    Thank-you,
    linn

  15. #15
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    Nov 2010
    Location
    cumberland me
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: fist full of bees

    Hi Graperunner,
    You are right. I spoted a fully mated Italian queen a few days after putting in the little queen cup with the emerging queen. She is very beautiful and huge. Anyways I put some brood in and started feeding them.
    Thanks for your help.
    linn

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