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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    The Laidlaw cage is quite impressive and the ASCII drawing truly a work of art but I think you may be adding work when you don't need to. The push in cage made from wire mesh only takes a few seconds to make and puts the queen on the comb which I think is essential. Is there an advantage with the Laidlaw cage that I am missing?
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Alas my home made cage with soffit screening was not worker resistant enough. When I checked this morning the cage was full of worker bees, cleaning up the comb. By the look of things the cage lasted 2 days.

    I decided that as HRH was either dead and beyond my help, or accepted and running around the hive somewhere, to close it all up and will check in a few days to see if there is any evidence of a laying queen.

    It is so late in the year I am afraid I will have to let this hive die out over the winter and begin again with packages next spring. And be much, much more careful with queen management next year. I think the first thing that went wrong was doing aggressive queen cell cutting out, then having the hive swarm anyway, with no replacement queen in the works. With no other hive to swap out a frame of brood with, I was dead in the water. Next year I will definitely run two hives, more if I can find a place to set up a couple more in a beeyard somewhere.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Mr. Comello, you raise an excellent point. I take it the Laidlaw is deeper than the wire cage you made, to prevent the workers from grabbing at the queen, but you could easily make your wire cage deeper. That's a very nice looking queen in your video, by the way!

    For both cages you need to be using plastic foundation, right? Otherwise the bees could chew in from the other side?

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,337

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    From what I know of the Laidlaw cage it has a wooden perimeter and the advantage of this cage is that it takes a lot longer for the workers to dig out the queen because they have to traverse under the wood border then are halted by a plate steel inner border that would have to be circumvented as well. They are determined little bugs so they will eventually get to her however the Laidlaw gives the queen much more time to be accepted before they do.

    Janet, you had stated that things were calm before the bees got to your queen ( no gnawing or biting the cage ) so there is a very good chance that things are ok with your queen.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio Zone 6A

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    I sure hope so Bill. Without her I will have to get all new packages, instead of being able to do splits off this hive. I will report back when we do my hive check, a local Master Beekeeper (Julia) and another more experienced than I am beekeeper friend (Heather) will be here as extra sets of eyes!

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,337

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Janet, I hope all works out well for you and this inspection would be a good time to mark your queen to make her easier to find in the future. All my best to you.....
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio Zone 6A

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,014

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    WWW has it right. The balling homie bees have a lot farther to dig to try to kill her. They usually get frustrated / tired, and the "invading" newly mated queen has enough time to lay and get her queen substances up to an acceptance level. The Laidlaw cage usually wins. IT IS A FANTASTIC WAY TO RE-QUEEN KILLER BEES WITH AN ITALIAN QUEEN!

    I go to a heating and air conditioning shop that has a sheet metal sheer and ask for the scrap. They gladly cut the scrap into 1" strip for me (I bring honey or mead) but I do it myself with my 18" Wiss metal shears sometimes. I cut 2 pieces of 1" wide strip about a thickness of the sheet metal short of 12" (5" + 7" = 12", right?) and I bend it sharp 90 degrees at the 5" mark using a vise and a mallet. I clamp it on the inside of the rectangle using a vise grip clamp, and staple it. This is not good for you stapler! You could pre-drill 2 holes for the staple if you are good at aiming that thing...I just go with the thinnest size aluminum or galvanized I can get and shoot right through it. PLEASE WEAR YOU SAFETY GLASSES WHEN SHOOTING STAPLES. Thank you. Pre-drilling and small brads also work fine.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 09-11-2012 at 06:02 PM.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    So I was just outside, late afternoon on a warm but not hot, hot day, sunny and there were a lot of bees nasonov fanning on the front of the hive. This is not typical behaviour for the hive in this kind of weather. Foragers also going in and out but more fanners than I generally see.

    Of course I am on tenterhooks wondering if the new queen they released was killed or accepted, but need to give her a few days to settle in if she is ok...any thoughts on the significance of the fanning?

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,014

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    They are fanning the hive in hot weather, throwing Nasanov gland scent while they are at it...why not? Temperature control is the priority, though.

    Out in the Mojave desert, the bees were on Mesquite so thick we thought it was a car coming, then I was sure it was a swarm. They were just feeding on their main and favorite nectar flow. As the thermometer reached 101, the bees disappeared for several hours to go fan the hive. When it cooled back down in the evening, they were back on that nectar flow like Christmas shoppers on a mall.

    Western Wilson - I would make every effort to make a quick and dirty Laidlaw cage - it doesn't have to be perfect - and re-queen that colony for winter ASAP! They deserve a chance, and kill all the drones and drone brood NOW to save honey for the girls. Take empty comb and spray water-thinned honey into the cells if you have to. Frame feeder, Miller feeder, or 5-quart pail on a holey board - all inside the hive feeders - work best. Also give them a hard fondant inner cover. When a hive has laying workers for a long time, they are usually out of food, or severely depleted. Heck, feed them a pollen patty, too.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 09-11-2012 at 06:00 PM.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    I am going through the hive tomorrow with the local Master Beekeeper to assess queen status. Interestingly, the hive is well provisioned as even with all the weird missing queen situations I had, the hive is HUGE and the workers kept putting up honey and pollen. To the point where, since no brood was being laid, they were filling every cell with nectar. I had to open up the (potential!) brood nest area, which I did during the shakeout and requeening by putting in empty frames, some drawn. I have put on syrup and pollen as the weather is turning and I felt if the queen has survived, she could use the boost to get her going before the season ends.

    We have sunny and 65 degrees for the next week or so, and usually have pretty decent, if cooling, weather here till the end of October. When the monsoons set in.

    If we do not find a queen or evidence thereof, I will see if the supplier still has queens and make a final attempt to requeen using a 1/8" wire mesh cage pushed into the comb, as you suggest. Worth one more shot!

    Again, thanks all for your help and advice...it has really supported my decision making process and progress as a beekeeper!

    Janet

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Thankyou all for the help and advice. It was very much appreciated.

    We opened the hive today and on the second frame pulled found a very fat and sassy queen. Gorgeous red rear, big as all get out. What a huge relief!!!

    So the shakeout and requeening, in spite of my fumbles, was successful. I am grateful, grateful, grateful!

    Will check in a week to see how she is laying and hope to see some capped worker brood.

    It is a night for celebration!

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,783

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Yeah! Good for you!
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,014

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Hooray, Janet! Glad to hear re-queening worked. I guess that plastic screen lasted just long enough. I would feed those bees this winter with a Miller-type hive top feeder just as a precaution, and insulate and ventilate the hive as appropriate for your area. Good luck, and I hope next spring finds your bees increasing like a storm!

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    I am leaving the lower hive bodies strictly alone, letting HRM get settled. I have harvested frames in an extra super on top as well as a feeder, but they were starting to store in the frames I am trying to get them to clean, so I will not worry about feeding them for a week...we are on for a good stretch of weather and the bees are flying well and foraging. Pollen coming in too, I see. After that I will take off the cleaned frames and put on a hive top feeder for a while.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,337

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Janet, sounds like you have done quite well with your bees and leaving the lower hive bodies alone is a very wise decision, the bees need this time to set up the hive for winter. I am very glad that everything has turned out ok .
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio Zone 6A

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Well Bill, I am sorely tempted to see if there is new worker brood in the hive, but will limit myself to perhaps peeking at the top hive body frames, and will not pull the hive bodies apart. I have mused long and hard on how to winterize the hive....not sure yet just what approach to take in the rainy Pacific Northwest.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,337

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Janet, If you do a quick peek please let us know what you find, This time of the year the upper box should be loaded with capped honey and the brood nest should be in the bottom box. I checked the lower box on one of my hives a month ago just to be sure it was queenright and it was. At this point all six hives has pollen coming in with bees hurriedly zipping in and out on sunny days which is enough to tell me that things are ok in the hives, pulling frames this time of the year is not for the faint of heart as the bees are very defensive, I find that if I sit for about 20 min. and observe the landing board I can tell a lot about what is happening inside the hives.

    The way that you go about winterizing will be determiner by several factors.

    1. How much does the hive have in honey stores?
    2. How big is the cluster ( do you have bees covering frames in only one box or both?)
    3. How humid is it in your area?
    4. How cold does it get on average in your area?

    These are just a few things to look at, when the temps drop a smaller than normal cluster cannot provide enough heat for itself and could starve to death because they are unable to move to new cells of honey when needed, so if your cluster is on the small side and you are expecting real cold weather for long periods of time them insulating the hive would be in order which would also conserve stores if they are a little lite. A top vent should be provided to vent off excess moisture in the hive, especially important in a humid climate.

    Where I live in southeast Ohio I will be wrapping my hives in 15 pound felt paper, then place a queen excluder on top of the hives, then a 2 1/2" tall shim box with a 1/2" hole drilled through it it for a vent with a window screen stapled to the bottom. I will fill the shim with cedar chips to absorb any moisture, top with an inner cover, then place a 1/2" foam board on top of the inner cover and top it all off with the telescoping cover. ( The foam board is to help prevent condensation under the inner cover ).

    You will need to assess the winter weather in your area and decide a course of action best suited for your hive. Talking with fellow beekeeps in your area can be very helpful as well.

    I wish you the best in your winter preparations.....Bill
    Last edited by WWW; 09-26-2012 at 03:15 PM. Reason: grammer
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio Zone 6A

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Ok I did a peek. I did not pull the boxes apart as I figured the bees should be getting things sealed up for winter.

    I pulled off the empty super that presently holds a hive top feeder (it sits over the ventilation hole in the top inner cover) and pulled the three middle frames from the upper of the two hive bodies. I found tons of densely laid capped brood (which should begin hatching over the next few days or so). At least three and possibly 4 frames were laid on and capped. I saw the queen, she is a beauty, just huge.

    When I put her in, apart from full frames of honey and pollen, she had 4 largely empty, drawn out combs in the centre of the bottom super and another 4 largely empty and not drawn out frames above them in the top super. So she has done a terrific job. The bees are still bringing in some pollen and nectar, with present daytime temperatures of sunny and 60 degrees (17 centigrade), nightime of 47 degrees (7 centigrade) due to continue at least one more week. It has been an exceptionally dry and sunny fall here, but our weather should break soon and our usual winter day is wet, chilly and with night temps just above freezing.

    The shakeout bees are in a spare hive and are busily drawing comb, putting up honey from their syrup feeder and laying drone comb. Definitely a laying worker in there. I will let them carry on and hopefully they will die off over the course of the winter, leaving a fully furnished flat for a spring split off my requeened hive.

    Local beekeepers advise a simple tarpaper wrap. I think I will insulate the non sun facing sides of the hive with styrofoam insulation sheets beneath the wrapping, leaving the east facing side wrapped but uninsulated to catch the weak sun it will get on nice days. And I am thinking about some kind of airy rain shelter as well; it really pours here all winter....possibly a box affair with the east side open, and with plenty of clearance so the air can circulate but wind gusts and driving rain will largely be off the hive.

    Regards,
    Janet

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,337

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Janet, that is fantastic news where your new queen is concerned, your winter prep sounds like a good one, you have thought things out quite well. If you have not considered top insulation yet I might suggest a sheet of Styrofoam be placed on the inner cover to help prevent condensation on top. take care and have a successful winter.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio Zone 6A

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...

    Bill a good suggestion. I can fit a custom cut piece of styro insulation inside the top box, under the feeder against the inner cover. I am using the Bee Smart Designs "Ultimate Hive Cover" and so far like it a lot...although the real test will be how it handles the winter. Just looking at the design it struck me it should help with condensation/dripping issues.

    Now I can turn my thoughts to planning for the 2013 season!

    Thank you all again for the help and advice given this season. I have lots to learn.

    Regards,
    Janet

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