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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Eugene, Or
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    97

    Default Too Late for a new Queen?

    My bees swarmed (I think judging from a reduction in bees about a 3 weeks ago). I just opened it up and there are two boxes stuffed full of honey and the third is half full of honey. I did not see any capped brood or eggs in the open comb. No swarm cells noted either. Im not sure they have a queen . I was thinking of introducing a comb from my other warre that has capped brood (probably uncapped as well - I did not look too close. The problem with this is that I saw wax moths and mites (they have always had a few mites) on a few bees during the inspection of the queen-right hive...i suspect this one wont survive the winter.

    Is it too late to introduce a new mated queen (or even buy one this late in the year?)? Should I just wait and see what happens? (I dont want to lose all the honey to robbers if they are in fact slowly dying away). I really liked this hives genetics (wild, small dark colored bees) so Im kinda bummed right now. I did see one hatching bee but she might be one of the last from the possibly swarmed queen.

    Opinions?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Little Rock, AR
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Having been in a similar situation and did nothing. My hive developed a laying worker and ultimately DID get robbed out and I eventually combined with my stronger hive.

    My advice is push it down to 1 "good solid deep" with 3-4 frames of honey, either extract or redistribute the rest....and plan on reQueening that deep. If you need a Queen, reQueen it. If population is down and they are in 2-3 deeps with tons of honey, there is little possibility for it to strengthen enough to a) use all that room again and more importantly b) have enough population to defend from robbers or parasites. I've errored before by giving too much room. There is strength in good population in the right available space. If drawn comb with resources and not enough bees to cover/protect it, it's a loss.

    Best of Luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    I suppose it depends on where you are, as many things do, location is a very critical factor in beekeeping.

    Here I'm still raising queens and nucs (and will likely continue doing so, continuously), while many other locations in the U.S.A. are going into a period of 'waiting', before again engaging in those processes/activities.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    1,779

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Here my perpetually queenless hot hive has a fresh new laying queen who I first set eyes on this morning, and there was no brood except the frame I added, in that hive after the italian was tossed, for 3 weeks. (I suspected she existed when my marked Italian queen was ejected from the hive after having been accepted and laying)

    Not all hives go laying worker. Given fresh eggs bees will make a queen. That's where mine came from. I bought the italian because I thought I had failed and didn't see the hidden queen cup in the foundationless frame's center.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,836

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    And it could be they have a freshly mated queen and ready to lay any day now, from the timing you say.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Eugene, Or
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    The more reading Im doing the more Im seeing people jumping the gun on thinking the hive is queenless. Thinking about it, I think I noticed a big reduction in workers about 3 weeks ago. Making me think they swarmed and I missed it. Im going to give them another week, disassemble the hive again and look for eggs. Not sure what it means but they were fairly mellow during the winter stores inspection yesterday. Lots of bees inside and around, just significantly less then in August. Fingers crossed............

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    1,779

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Queenless bees are rarely mellow.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    The thing I really like about the Warre approach is the hands off part of it. Admittedly I'm probably in a different place than most of you because I'm around to grab swarms when they happen, but my experience that messing with the hive rarely helps and that weak hive die regardless. I prefer to kill/combine a weak hive and fill the box again in the spring. Also my strong hives seem to produce strong hives, so things keep getting easier. I don't feed, medicate, fumigate, inspect, etc. I just take honey and put swarms in new hives.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    1,779

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Must be a lot of rainfall and flowers in Virginia. I don't have to medicate, but I have 3 choices: feed during the dearth, or take no honey, or have dead bees.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Texas is a tough climate and getting tougher. Its hot here but lots of rain, amd weirdly enough, in the inner city a large variety of flowers.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Eugene, Or
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zonker View Post
    The thing I really like about the Warre approach is the hands off part of it. ......
    Me too but swarms are not readily available for me..... work (long days and traveling in the spring and summer) mean that if I have a die out I will probably have to buy more bees to fill the hive. I did see a few bees bringing in pollen yesterday to the hive- always have heard that this is a good sign so that's positive!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    setting a swarm trap takes about 5 minutes, and I'm about to set one now. Because my cutout hive from March has gotten very very numerous over the last couple of weeks. I think I will also swipe some brood from the broodnest and add a medium box AFTER the Dish guy leaves on Saturday. But a swarm trap is a fast easy fix.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Eugene, Or
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Good point Gypsi...I have a few nuc boxes that I will set up next swarm season (here in the PNW we pretty much have a few month window in the spring to catch swarms). I only put out two this last year and struck out - I think more commitment might be the key!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    1,779

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    The swarm you MOST want to catch is yours. If your hive is looking swarmy and hits your swarm trap, get them all settled down, assess queen situation, and combine the 2. Boom - especially if you put a queen excluder over the bottom board or in the entrance and close off the top entrance.. Which is why I am setting a swarm trap here.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    The modern German bee keepers take swarms from each hive every year. They just go in early take 3 pounds of bees (scales sitting right there next to the hive). Add a very carefully bread queen (tests and statistical analysis selection, laboratory artificial insemination, etc.). Treat the whole bunch for mites before adding them to the new hive.

    Maybe we could split our hives (in the warre way) early in the spring and avoid most swarming. (though chasing a swarm is pretty much the most exciting thing I get to do anymore)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Had a package hive toss the queen mid July. They produced another. Mind you, my immediate thought was to intervene, but I opted to let the ladies handle it. They did. The hive has recovered and it is as strong as my two other hives. I'd fight the urge to get involved. If the hive dies off, so be it I suppose. But then again, that's me...

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Eugene, Or
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    97

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Still have not had a chance to open the hive up and inspect but there are VERY few bees coming and going....

    Interestingly though is that the remaing bees have nearly completely closed the front entrance, despite that I have reduced the size for them, with propolis - Im only in my second year but this is the first time I have seen this. I wonder if they too realize they are sitting on lots of stores with not many guards.

    Nothing earth shattering but I thought it was cool so I thought I would share!

    On a different note, I believe I witnessed a queen returning to the hive the in the afternoon - about a week ago. Saw a bee that was a bit too long to be a worker and def. was not a drone land and quickly crawl in! I hope it was her and she was successful in finding drones!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Zonker - I'll second that "chasing a swarm is the most exciting." As it happens the swarm trap I set upthread caught the next swarm, of mine, a day after I set it. Going to steal them some more brood and stores and get a robberguard on them today I hope.

    If there isn't a new queen in the old hive I will recombine, I'll be checking that first.

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Eugene, Or
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Well, still no eggs. No capped brood. Very little exterior activity. When I opened it up they acted kinda strange. They seemed sluggish almost and the 'buzz' was lower and less frantic when I smoked them. A few got upity when I was looting the box and sweeping bees off each frame of honey but I have seen them allot 'hotter' in the past. Strange.

    I reduced the hive to two boxes and there seemed to be alot of bees home but they are really not that active. Not expecting this one to make the winter so I guess I will be on the swarm search big time next spring. Dang!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    1,779

    Default Re: Too Late for a new Queen?

    Can you combine them with another hive?

    I just combined my nucs today. One had a queen cup going but it was a small, emergency queen cup, and no queen for sure. The other still has a queen I think, 1-3 day old brood anyway.

    You saw a queen returning to the hive about 9/28? The bees are mellower? she's giving off Pheromones. Don't jump the gun, they may be just fine.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

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