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  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Greenwood, Indiana
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    Default I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    I am 100% sure that both my hives would be better off today if in April I had installed the two 3# packages/queens in two of my four hives, put the lids on the hives, and not looked at them again until next spring.
    As it is now, thanks to my too many examples of "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" stupidity, both my queens are dead, half of the combs collapsed, hive beetles' larva by the thousands in three combs that I burned, and a filthy mess of dead bees that I had to clean up, ... ad nauseam. Yesterday I ordered two more mated Minnesota Hygienic Italian queens; they will go out tomorrow UPS overnight delivery. Hopefully, the bees will recover somehow. Two things I will do, try to eliminate hive beetles and feed them all the sugar water they'll take, but that's it. Hope they're still alive next year.
    I also ordered two 3# packages/queens for my other two empty hives; they will (hopefully) arrive April 1, 2013. MAYBE I've learned my lesson... whatever that is.
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    Last edited by Hoosier; 07-22-2012 at 06:27 PM.

  2. #2
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    May 2012
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    Rockford, MI
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    2,605

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    This (as well as life in general) is all a learning process from day one to the last day.
    You LEARNED whether you realize it or not. That is important.
    I left mine go after a few inspections. I inspect once a month now.
    Although mine was from a very large swarm, maybe 6 lbs. They had a real good start.
    Don't beat youself up about it too much.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Greenwood, Indiana
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    182

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    This (as well as life in general) is all a learning process from day one to the last day.
    You LEARNED whether you realize it or not. That is important.
    I left mine go after a few inspections. I inspect once a month now.
    Although mine was from a very large swarm, maybe 6 lbs. They had a real good start.
    Don't beat youself up about it too much.
    I like your "...inspect once a month..." philosophy. We who have top bar hives might think of what YOU did and consider what would have happened to your 6# swarm and our new packages of bees if they had first entered a wall of an old, empty building. Betcha they'd've been there for years if nobody knew that they were there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Spicewood, Texas, USA
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    232

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Dear Hoosier:
    I'm confused, though. If you were inspecting that often, didn't you see signs along the way that things were going so south? Or are you saying, looking back, that every time you intervened you made the wrong decision? Please elaborate.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2011
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    Greenwood, Indiana
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    182

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Quote Originally Posted by SRBrooks View Post
    Dear Hoosier:
    I'm confused, though. If you were inspecting that often, didn't you see signs along the way that things were going so south? Or are you saying, looking back, that every time you intervened you made the wrong decision? Please elaborate.
    Yes, I'd worried quite a while about the one weak hive. The grand finale was when I moved bars with sealed brood from the strong hive to the weak one and also inspecting all the combs looking for the queens in both hives. This was done on a very hot day, and combs collapsed in both hives... falling like dominoes. As far as I could tell, there was not any newly-laid eggs in either hive then or this weekend, but I'd bet money that there were newly-laid eggs that I just didn't see in the strong hive before the combs collapsed.
    ETA I'm pretty sure that the queen was dead for some reason in the weak hive and that the other one was killed when the combs collapsed.
    Last edited by Hoosier; 07-22-2012 at 02:33 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    1,693

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Sorry about the loss, Hoosier. I do feel bad for you. I haven't had anything like that happen to me in 3 years of beekeeping.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenwood, Indiana
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    182

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Thanks, westernbeekeeper. It really doesn't have me down though; it's best that I learned a good lesson early. If everything goes awry this year/winter, I will undoubtedly have a much better second year with four all-new hives because of this year's bad experience(s). I just have to accept that 99.99% of the time they can do very well without me. :-(

  8. #8

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    This is my philosophy,
    Low Interference Hive. The bees do what they are best to do and that is to Bee a Bee

    I can see throuhg the window that they started building cross combs and Im seriously considering not to open their condenser space which they balance so nicely to keep the brood healthy and parasites at bay (high humidity, acid fumes from honey production, queen scent, right CO2 and Temperature levels).

    It seems as if frames would help make a quick inspection especially when making a split or checking if the newly emerged Queen have started laying eggs. This is the issue Im having

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenwood, Indiana
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    182

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Quote Originally Posted by Che Guebuddha View Post
    This is my philosophy,
    Low Interference Hive. The bees do what they are best to do and that is to Bee a Bee
    I can see throuhg the window that they started building cross combs and Im seriously considering not to open their condenser space which they balance so nicely to keep the brood healthy and parasites at bay (high humidity, acid fumes from honey production, queen scent, right CO2 and Temperature levels).
    It seems as if frames would help make a quick inspection especially when making a split or checking if the newly emerged Queen have started laying eggs. This is the issue Im having
    Four hives on piers.jpg
    Che, that's my philosophy from now on... Low Interference Hive.
    Ideally, one can/should interfere only at the very beginning to make sure that the 1 3/8-inch bars for the new brood chamber start off straight. My four hives (two have never been used) each have 17 stained brood chamber bars and 14 unstained 1 1/2-inch bars for honey storage.
    My plan for the two empty hives was to "make a split" or catch one of my own swarms from the two hives with bees, and that would be a good idea IF I were working with Langstroth hives with easily moved bars/frames.
    "A little knowlege is a dangerous thing." From now on I will not "... open up the brood chamber..." or plan to "...make a split..." because a 3# package w/queen does not cost that much if one does not want to wait for a natural swarm to occur. After all, not many hobbyists have more than one to four top bar hives; all they (I) need are one or two tbh swarm traps if they (I) want to expand. Personally, I wish that I had bought four 3# packages last spring to begin with, and to hell with all that "maybe it'll work" mess that does work with Langstroth hives but only makes innumerable problems for a tbh natural way for the bees to live and for the "bee keeper" to help them live the way they would in a tree or walls of a building.
    From now on, my efforts will only include feeding them in emergencies and permanently getting rid of all small hive beetles that arrived from the South with my two packages this spring.
    Last edited by Hoosier; 07-23-2012 at 05:50 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,200

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Unless you had someone elses hives to work, how would you learn anything about what goes on in a hive and how to handle the bees and equipment. Too bad your two queens are dead. I hope you have better luck w/ the two queens you ordered. Be prepared for the bees not accepting them. Chances are they won't.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Greenwood, Indiana
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    182

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Unless you had someone elses hives to work, how would you learn anything about what goes on in a hive and how to handle the bees and equipment. Too bad your two queens are dead. I hope you have better luck w/ the two queens you ordered. Be prepared for the bees not accepting them. Chances are they won't.
    Thanks, but why on Earth do you think "...Chances are they won't"? From everything that I've ever read, when a queen shows up in a hive that's lost their queen, the bees become so overjoyed that you'd think it was Christmas.

  12. #12
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    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenwood, Indiana
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    182

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    My wife and I just now went out to check the condition of the especially weak hive before the queens are delivered tomorrow. It's lucky that we did; five bars/combs were crawling with small hive beetle larva, and one was slimed. Those five bars and shb larva are now in the freezer. I'll wait a few days before I put them back in to (hopefully) have the bees clean them up.
    All four of my hives have top entrances on one end. At the bottom of each end I have removable 5 1/2" X 1 1/2" doors; they really came in handy. I ran water from a hose through one end to clean out all the dead bee larvae the shb larva had replaced plus the hundreds of shb larva that were on the bottom floor board... disgusting. We caught all of that crap in a plastic bag and put the bag in the freezer along with the box holding the five bars/comb with shb larva.
    Last edited by Hoosier; 07-23-2012 at 08:46 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Dunlap, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Makes my heart sink to hear of your losses... I lost one colony early this spring due to the girls deciding to swarm (which I didn't catch) 2 days after the queen was released. Tried requeening with a laying worker, didn't work, learned volumes throughout this first year as a beekeeper. I wish you all the best with the queens!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Belfast, Ireland
    Posts
    396

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    If you recently killed your queens they will more than likely have made a new one from available eggs or young larvae. If there is a virgin queen in the hive anything you introduce will be killed.

  15. #15
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    Aug 2011
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    Greenwood, Indiana
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    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunham Bee Farm View Post
    Makes my heart sink to hear of your losses... I lost one colony early this spring due to the girls deciding to swarm (which I didn't catch) 2 days after the queen was released. Tried requeening with a laying worker, didn't work, learned volumes throughout this first year as a beekeeper. I wish you all the best with the queens!
    Thanks, Dunham Bee Farm, sounds like you've been there too. Ironically I was just out looking at the better-condition hive and noticed they were bringing in pollen... made me think... hmmm, possibly I have a laying worker. Ah, wellllllll, there's always next year... :-) THE BEST LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEN GO OFT' AWRY.

  16. #16
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    Aug 2011
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    Greenwood, Indiana
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    182

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathan View Post
    If you recently killed your queens they will more than likely have made a new one from available eggs or young larvae. If there is a virgin queen in the hive anything you introduce will be killed.
    Jonathan, I was hoping that there would be eggs or young larvae, but my wife and I checked both hives closely; there were none of either. BUT, I just saw the best hive's bees bringing in pollen; that makes me think I have a laying worker. Ya never know though, there just MIGHT be a virgin queen in there now, and that'd be okay and much better than a laying worker. I'll lechano.
    Last edited by Hoosier; 07-23-2012 at 11:25 AM.

  17. #17
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    May 2012
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    Rockford, MI
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    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Remember to leave the queens caged up in the hive for three days or so. I know you are aware of this, but just wanted to make sure! lol

  18. #18
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosier View Post
    Thanks, but why on Earth do you think "...Chances are they won't"? From everything that I've ever read, when a queen shows up in a hive that's lost their queen, the bees become so overjoyed that you'd think it was Christmas.
    Statistically, even when nucs are made, a certain percentage of queens are not accepted. Ten to 25% is not uncommon. In your case, your bees have been w/out a queen for long enough that they may well have workers who have started laying eggs. In that case, your bees "think" they have a queen. So, any queen you install will be killed, balled by the bees.

    How long have your bees been queenless, as far as you can tell? What's your best guess?

    If I were you, and had access to frames of brood, I would put two frames of capped brood and one frame of open brood w/ eggs into each of these hives, letting them raise their own queen. Then you wouldn't waste your money trying to install a queen in your hives. That's what I would do.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Last year I put two three pound packages in hives with built out comb.

    Two weeks later I found a half dozen swarm cells in my only survivor from the winter before and split into two other deeps.

    Did near nothing for any of them.

    The packages died. The splits made honey and their offspring replaced the packages.

    I'm thinking dice are as good as the best books.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: I'd've been better off doing NOTHING from day one

    Yeah, but what can dice tell you?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

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