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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    88

    Default First cut-out - a little strange

    I did my first cut-out last week. It was in a porch wall and I could see that it was two big colonies near each other and another colony at the other end of the porch. Looks like a squirrel had chewed holes in the wall and the bees seemed to like the height.
    2012-05-24 004e.jpg2012-05-24 005e.jpg

    I started with the smaller colony on the other end. Wasn't what I was expecting. Lots of bees. Oh, there was a swarm that just moved in next to the other colony! So 4 colonies in the porch! In the first pic, I've already vac'd most of the swarm. Unfortunately, the swarm swarmed on me the next day before I added any brood. Some nice brood in the other chamber, just a little over 2 frames worth. 2012-05-24 008e.jpg2012-05-25 027e.jpg2012-05-25 028e.jpg

    Next I tackled the two bigger colonies. Went thru the first and kept vac'ing bees and pulling honey. And removing honey. Absolutely no brood in the chamber, just honey with pollen cells through out it.
    Went to the next colony (separated by 2 empty stud cavities). More honey. Finally saw a smattering of brood. Little over a frame's worth!
    I left them in two different hives on the porch overnight. The next morning the one hive was empty and they were clustered in the one cavity. Since there was no evidence up a queen in the one colony, I combined them and put in a frame of brood.
    The hive seems to be doing good so far.2012-05-26 006e.jpg2012-05-26 009e.jpg

    Yield - 18 lbs of honey (doing a really strong vanilla mead with it), 2 colonies, and some more experience.

    I'm still baffled how a big colony could have no brood at all. And the other big colony didn't have much brood either.
    They must have been huge swarms to put all that honey away in the past month (they definitely didn't overwinter in the wall).
    Last edited by Kurt S; 06-04-2012 at 12:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: First cut-out - a little strange

    I went into the 2nd hive today. There seems to be less bees than before (really hard to tell) and there's tons of queen cells. So either she swarmed (seems unlikely) or she got hurt.
    Several of the queen cells were open, but most were still closed. It's only been a week, so I'm guessing the cells weren't viable?
    I know it's best to have queens from the youngest eggs. If they used an older egg to make a queen cell, wouldn't that queen appear first and kill off the other queens?
    Thanks!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: First cut-out - a little strange

    The bees will use the best available larvae to make queen cells from. Often, with emergency cells, I've noticed that they'll start some now, then more as eggs hatch...so all were started at different times, but when the larvae was the "perfect" age. If you wanted, you could likely put the cells in 3 different boxes & split the colony right now. Of course, that's only if you wanted more colonies

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: First cut-out - a little strange

    I don't have a shortage of colonies right now. I have all my equipment in use and 2 hives from a friend. Am in the middle of a trap-out and have someone that wants me to do a cut-out. I wanted colonies in the spring, but now I just want bigger colonies.

    I still am surprised that the one colony didn't have any brood, just honey. Anyone ever seen that before? I'm assuming they were queenless, but happy??

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