Hi all, I'm a new bee keeper with a Warre hive which I just filled with bees in May. Everything was going great and the bees filled the first box rapidly, but like other posters here, they didn't seem to want to move downward. Being new, I figured maybe they were shifting their energy into taking care of brood. Soon, my population seemed to diminish, and then UGG! Ants moved in! I put Vaseline, cinnamon, borax, an ant trap (not in the hive, but near where the ants were marching two by two, but nothing seemed to help. (My hive stand couldn't accommodate oil cans, but I've now reconfigured it to do so). Shortly thereafter, what few bees I had decided to swarm. With the help of a more experienced bee keeper I was able to capture them, cleaned out the hive as best I could, and put them in a fresh ant free box, along with any comb I could that was ant free. There was almost no honey and only a speckle of capped brood.Alas, the next morning they were gone.
Fast forward two days. Another bee keeper kindly brought me a cutout around 10ish at night and we hived them as best we could, with an empty barless box now occupying the top of the hive (they were in a foul mood so we thought it best to dump and run). He also brought me some brood comb in various stages of shape, which a day later I placed back in the hive.
So here are my problems, in no particular order: 1) My bees, and the comb they were in are 4.9, and these bees are much bigger. Is this going to be a problem (I really liked my small cell bees)? 2) The keeper who brought them said he hadn't seen a queen, and at this point, despite windows in my hive, I haven't either, but who can tell when there's like a million of them in there?!! 3) Right now what I've got are three boxes on. The middle box has no bars, the bottom a few combs and all the bars, and the top box a large brood comb, a smaller comb, both rather precariously wired in. I need to get bars back in so they don't do that Tower of Babel thing, but they've been so freaked out that I didn't want to disturb them again until things calm down.After reading other folks' posts, maybe having bars but no comb in the middle is a good thing, as it might encourage them to build downward (or upward, depending on how you look at it ) 4Do I requeen? Wait and see? How long?Hope that I don't end up with a laying worker? And if there is a queen in there, will a new queen kill her, vice versa, or a crapshoot? These bees don't seem as gentle as mine, but it might be too early to tell. Help (and yes, opening the hive is a bit scary for me since I'm new and have no second set of hands. Awaiting all your good advice, cordially Laura