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  1. #21

    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Oh yeah, don't get me wrong, I love my TBH's. I was saying that from what I have observed, perhaps for some newbies it would be easier starting with a Lang. TBH's have their quirks, but I read up enough that I was comfortable with all of them. At this point I am looking to get a few Langs just so I can be justified in my experience when I recommend what others should do. I was simply pointing out that most of the bugs have been worked out in a Lang, since they have been so much more common. I compare TBH's vs Langs like gasoline cars vs natural gas cars. The technology on the NG cars has been around for decades, but very little use/exposure, so perhaps less time to work out kinks.

    OK, so it sounds like you are good to go. I certainly would have been looking for eggs long ago when I didn't see the queen. I know it's hot out, but if you're careful you can still work the hives. I think it was at least 90 degrees during my last inspection. At least it sure felt like it in my veil!

    I don't know that attacks on the hive will necessarily stop the queen from laying. Robbing/attacks should happen in the brood nest last of all. Typically the guards will keep that commotion away from the brood nest and queen, so it shouldn't keep her from laying. I really don't know why your queen would have just taken a break from laying. I guess if there was a really bad dearth she could have drastically slowed her laying. Was it really that dry for you guys a couple weeks ago?

    Next time you crack into the hive, dig deep for those eggs and let us know. I need closure!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Spicewood, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    I read anything and everything for a year or so when I thought I might be interested in beekeeping. For some reason, the information I studied was always about Langs, and what I read just never gelled. I decided beekeeping was just going to be too much trouble. Then I discovered TBHs, and all the info came together and suddenly made sense. I'm not saying I remember everything or know how to apply everything, but it is hands-on experiences like the ones I'm going through the past few weeks that make everything sink in even further. Like you say, it's the use/exposure that makes everything kick in.

    Yes, it was really that dry a few weeks ago, complete with the burn ban, dead wildflowers, etc. Even once-a-day watering wasn't enough to keep the garden from going into heat stress. Now we're getting rain every day, sometimes 3 times a day. This has moved our area into only a lesser category of historical drought. Yeah, it was that bad.

    I was definitely looking for eggs long ago when I didn't see the queen, believe me. Yes, there was a dearth. Do you recommend that I start feeding again (I feed organic honey) to see if I can get the hive mojo going again? It worked before.

    Per your request, I did dig deep for eggs. What a pitiful show. And speaking of the guards, as I mentioned, they looked like they had given up. After substantially reducing the entrance, however, it looked like the girls were almost getting their groove back. Do you hear the theme song from "Rocky" playing?

    Sondra

  3. #23

    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    You can try feeding, but tread lightly. If your queen isn't putting out, then you risk getting honey bound. I started feeding on my hives about two weeks ago trying to get them to build up (keeping my fingers crossed for a fall flow, or all the rain that we are currently getting) On the first hive, the queen had not started laying yet. They drained the quart feeder in less than a day, and upon inspection that night I noticed all the comb packed with the syrup. If I would have kept feeding, I could have induced a honey bound scenario. They won't pack nectar into a cell with an egg in it, at least no more than is needed to feed the larva. But they will fill up every empty cell. The queen won't lay in a nectar filled cell, thus honey bound.

    Anyway, I moved the feeder (I only have one right now, three on order) to the other new nuc that I new had a laying queen. They did not drain it, even after a full day. This indicates to me, either they don't like it, or they don't have space. Inspection revealed a LOT of eggs, every nearly every cell laid in, which is AWESOME for my queen who was less than a week old! They couldn't take the feed as fast, because they had nowhere to put it. My hope is that the lack of space to store, and space for the queen to lay, will encourage them to draw more comb. After a few days, I moved the feeder to my biggest hive, again just trying to bolster more comb construction. So far, I haven't seen an obvious expansion of any new bars of comb, but they are finishing out the partial combs they had pulled.

    Even with our short drought in the last few weeks, my bees were still foraging somewhere. And even with the rain yesterday, when I got home there was a short break in the rain, and the girls were out. They sure don't waste any time. I guess the one upside to urban beekeeping is having all the folks that water their yards and flowers. The crepe myrtles here a blooming strong, and the bees love 'em!

    So yes, I would feed one jar, and see what they do with it. If the greedy little suckers just stash it, that's evidence that they don't necessarily need it, but rather just want it. My rule is feed sparingly. The bees tend to not want syrup if there is nectar available. That's what mine did back in spring. They just stopped taking the food, and after three days of no change in the jar level I pulled the feeder, until just recently. But if you're giving them straight honey, they might take it regardless of a flow being on. I have been adding just a dash of honey to my syrup, just to encourage the girls to take it.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Great point re: being honey bound. I do think I may have caused a bit of that in the weak hive about a month ago, but as soon as I noticed they weren't taking anymore honey, I stopped feeding them, and haven't since. I'll do a recheck on everything in about a week and see if there's any change. I just feel confident that they're going to be able to defend themselves much better now. But, time will tell. Will let you know what I find in the next inspection.

    Thanks!

    Sondra

  5. #25

    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    I just checked in on my hives and have great news! Of my original splits, two got a queen, and the third I guess the queen didn't make it home after mating. So back then I gave them a new bar of comb with eggs to give them a second chance. I had noted at least one queen cell a few days later. Well tonight, I cracked open that hive, and discovered that there had actually been raised about 4-5 queen cells. They were all hatched out. I didn't spot any eggs, so I searched the comb, and lo and behold, spotted a virgin queen running around! She stood out for two notable reasons. One is how she was scrambling about on the comb. The other more biological detail, is that while still small, her abdomen has not stripes on it, and has more of a pointed shape to it. I'll check back in a week or so to see if there are any eggs. What's funny is how much more activity this hive had. Since hatching queens, the hive has boomed. Much like yours did, I think this hive (first in a line of four) has picked up a lot of foragers drawn in to that new queen scent.

    Of the other two splits, two weeks ago, they both had queens, but one was not yet laying. Upon opening the hive tonight, at first I was scared due to very little activity. No bees out buzzing around, and very little response to my opening the hive. Then I spotted capped brood. There is no way that could be from back when I first made the split. Looking closer I spotted lots of larva. I didn't look close enough for eggs, as I was satisfied with seeing the larva. But I did see the queen. There was a lot of capped brood. This is the hive that I told you I first put the feeder on, and they packed it all in since the queen wasn't laying yet. I suppose they benefited from that now since they had plenty of food to start raising brood with. Perhaps I'll move the feeder back to them tomorrow, just because I'm so happy with them! A little treat!

    So as it stands, I have 3 hives at 100% success, and the last split (queen not yet mated) I'm calling 80%, risking that she might not get back from mating.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  6. #26
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    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    I can't wait 'til I get to see a queen cell up close and personal.

    Sounds like you have found a real passion in beekeeping. I hope to see a book authored by you one day!!! Ha!

    Question: You said there were 4-5 queen cells, all hatched. Does this mean the virgin queen was successful in killing all the others?

    Sondra

  7. #27

    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Two things can happen: either the hatch and are quickly killed by another queen, or they can actually be stung in the cell by another queen, in which case they would die before hatching. Soon after, the worker bees will open the cell and drag her out, and then they'll tear down the queen cells.

    I guess the queens should have hatched on Tuesday, so my guess is that they all hatched and killed each other, aside from the reigning champ anyway.

  8. #28
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    May 2012
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    Moyock, NC, USA
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    207

    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Of topic question... What day did you originally split? I, well my queens are in mating flight days as we speak. I am sooo impatient, can't wait to see new eggs!

  9. #29

    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    My original split was on June 10th. 2/3 queens took on that round. The third hatched out, but I guess didn't make it back from mating. So I tossed in more eggs, and have since hatched out another queen. I'll look for eggs in a couple days.

  10. #30
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    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Hi, everyone:

    Seems I need help again. As you know, I found the queen a couple of days ago. I checked the hive again today. It doesn't look like the queen's laying activity has picked up. Brood is terribly sparse. Now I'm seeing gray things at the bottom of the hive (they look like pill bugs, if you know what I mean), and I'm wondering about chalkbrood, although I see nothing white in any of the cells. I read that chalkbrood is usually exacerbated by high humidity, which we have had for weeks on end, and I also read that one option is to provide more ventilation and hope the problem clears up on its own. But there is nothing white visible in the cells............????
    Another option was requeening, and I'm wondering if I should still do that anyway, because there is an amazingly small amount of brood. I just saw pics of shot brood, and that's exactly what her patterns looks like.
    I saw a bee at the bottom of the hive with a white larva in her mouth. I've also heard of hives which, due to inbreeding of the queen, kill everything the queen lays, and that this could explain why I can see clear through so many of the cells.
    The queen is still alive; I saw her today.
    I still have time to get a new queen.
    I think the shot brood pattern may provide the answer more than anything. What do you think?

  11. #31

    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    If you think you have a large enough population to maintain the hive through raising a crop of new brood, then grab a new queen. If your numbers are getting dangerously low, then just combine them with another, or add a few bars of capped brood from another hive to this one.

    I have no answer on your gray bugs, I'd have to see a picture to even venture a guess. If your numbers are too low, it very well could be pill bugs, scavenging on what's left of the hive. I've never heard of the inbreeding thing, but that's interesting. I'll have to read up on that.

    I was afraid from the git go as you explained how your numbers plummeted and you weren't seeing much new brood that indeed the queen was injured but still in the hive. Since she was still in the hive, the bees didn't raise a new queen. But since she was injured, she all but ceased laying. Maybe when the comb collapsed she bumped her head and forgot that she was the queen.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    I learned about shot brood on this site. Please see what you think about an inbred queen. It causes the members to kill what the queen lays.

  13. #33

    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    I'm aware of shot brood, coming from a queen that is sparsely laying. You want to see a good tight pattern on the comb, as if the queen spent all day on one comb, making sure she hit every one. Shot brood comes from a queen that wanders about aimlessly, just dropping a cell as the spirit moves her. Highly inefficient, and since bees thrive on efficiency, a lack there of is highly detrimental to the hive.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Oh, she leaves anything but a tight pattern on the comb, as opposed to Latifah's talents in my booming hive.

  15. #35

    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Well, take it with a grain of salt, as my experience is no more than yours. But I would have secured a new queen as soon as I didn't see eggs, and I would have pinched her out. I love it, I feel like a mobster boss when discussing killing the queen. I need to practice my Italian accent.

    If you're determined to save the hive, you could do this:
    1)Recombine entirely with queen Latifa's hive
    2)After about two weeks, take a few bars of comb from queen Latifa, 1.5 bars of stores, 2-3 of capped brood, and only one that has some eggs/infant larva. This will keep the bees from raising too many queens and wasting energy, while still having enough bees to maintain the comb. This is essentially what I did with my nuc that didn't succeed with the first queen. I was happy with what stores they had, and the population, so I just traded an empty comb from their hive, with one full of eggs from a queenright hive. That way the queenright hive didn't lose that valuable space for the queen to lay in, and I didn't stretch the queenless hive thin, making them manage too much comb.
    3)Cross your fingers and pray!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Ugh. Shows how much of a BeekWeenie I am. I hate the thought of killing Queen Elizabeth. If she were a scorpion or a black widow, it would be a different story. You don't live that far away. I'll pay your gas, and provide all the beer you can drink. Deal?

  17. #37

    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Possible, if I can find a reason to come that far West. The gas money is tempting just to get to see someone else's hives as well. Maybe I can just ditch the wife at the mall in Austin, but I don't think she could entertain herself that long.

    If you don't have the heart to crush her, just grab her off the comb and take her far, far away from the hive. As I call it, take her to "the farm". My wife hates when I threaten to take her cats to "the farm". Granted I would never do that, but I like to tease her about it when the cat steps out of line. But I digress, we're talking bees here. I guess there are more humane ways of killing a bee. I guess you can soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and toss it in a glass jar. Toss in the queen, and screw on the lid. Walk away for a while (not sure how long it will take). Then she will die in perfect form too, so you could get her mounted above the fireplace or something. Wouldn't that be an interesting conversation piece? Assuming anyone would notice a bee on a plaque on the wall anyway
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  18. #38
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    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Just installed the new queen cage with the replacement, Queen Mary. Will check back in a few days re: her release, and will keep you posted.

  19. #39

    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Good to hear. What did you do with the other queen...? Murderer!

    Glad to hear you are hopefully having some success. I checked my hives again last night, and the one that had failed with the first queen, appears to be queenless again. I spotted a virgin queen in there about a week ago, but did not see her last night, nor did I see any sign eggs. It is possible that she was out on a mating flight, or that she just avoided me. I'm giving them another week, and if nothing then, then I will recombine. The hive has a lot of activity, foragers coming and going, but then I question if it is actually robbing. I saw some fighting at the entrance the other day and so I put on the entrance reducer. But that won't fix my queen issue.

    On the other hand, I'm looking at doing a cutout tomorrow or this weekend, so even if I recombine one hive, I'll still be upping my overall inventory by adding the colony of feral bees. I went and inspected the situation yesterday, and the bees seemed very gentle. I highly doubt there is any risk of AHB, but for some reason it still always weighs on the mind anyway. These bees will be going in my first Lang hive, which I plan to run as a foundationless hive. Wish me luck!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Collapsed Comb, No guards, listless hive, WHAT TO DO?

    Tom:
    I sent a Private Message since my response was a bit long. The Queen Caper just gets more and more strange. I removed Queen Elizabeth, the new queen was balled and apparently killed, and now I find another, unmarked queen in the hive. What the......?

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