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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Parma, Ohio USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Question about hive that did not overwinter

    I checked my hives this Saturday and was dismayed to find one hive completely empty. No dead bees, rather no bees at all. This is puzzling because I saw them flying on a warmer day earlier. The worst part is this was my strongest hive of the two. The hive was deserted, some unhatched brood, pollen and plenty of honey. The sugar board on top was not touched. Looks like the colony just left. I found only one beetle in one of the traps. No wax moths, no evidence of diarrhea or nosema. Some of the wax comb is very dark.

    I had low expectations for the other hive as I replaced that hive in late summer, taking a gamble that they could get ready for winter in time. Again the sugar board was not touched, but this time when I cracked apart the upper box, I was greeted with a loud buzz and could see the cluster down below. They were soon out flying and I fed them some 2:1 sugar syrup via a front feeder

    My first thought was to make quick arrangements to get more bees, but I now feel I would rather split the surviving hive as they seem to be stronger bees and exhibit better survival genes. My question is this…

    I have a hive full of honey, pollen and albeit some dead brood. Do I allow the other hive to use it or should I clean out and destroy all the comb, honey and pollen?

    Thanks in advance…

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,456

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    By all means use it. If there were dead bees in your now empty hive I may be a bit leery to use them. Sounds like they just flew the coop.... why.... I do not know.
    Sounds like a perfect hive for a split.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    416

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    I would say your hive crashed from viral overload from too high mite population. Typical symptoms. Seems like lots of losses this year from mites, maybe last years mild winter, early spring. Monitor mites and take appropriate action if you want to reduce the chances of losses.

    Protect the comb and get some more bees on it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,082

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    I would freeze each frame first just to be safe. Freezing will kill SHB and eggs, wax moths and eggs, nosema and maybe more.

    The only reason you would not want to use them would be Foul Brood or CCD.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Parma, Ohio USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    So I want to keep the genetics of the hive that did make it through, possibly they were stronger or more varroa resistant. To do this I am planning on taking a frame or two of new brood with some nurse bees and putting them in the empty hive. I am hoping they will make some queen cells and go from there. I know the queen will be a virgin and this can set things back a bit. How do I pick the best frame of brood to acheive this?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Olmsted Falls, OH
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    Hey,

    I have hives in Cleveland Heights just next door. I lost a hive due to a bad laying queen. I am just splitting my 20 frames among four boxes and starting four more hives with packages. I have on good hive I am splitting. Are you part of the Cuyahoga Bee Association?

    Jay

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Parma, Ohio USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    I am a member of the Medina Beekeeper's and Greater Cleveland Beekeeper's. How are you choosing what frames are going where? I figure I need brood less than 3 days old to get a new queen cell. I just hope my empty hive does not get infested by moths or beetles once the weather is warmer. I may tape off the entrance in the meantime.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Olmsted Falls, OH
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    I am going to mix two empty, two honey, and one pollen in each box. I will space them out to encourage them to draw out the empty frames more quickly. I am hoping with a decent queen my new hives will pop one box of honey each. My split hive I am hoping to get a decent amount off also. The new hives got me a box each last year.

    Greater Cleveland is the one I belong to also. Did you make the last meeting? It was a decent meeting I thought.

    JAY

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,910

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    If i understand you correctly you are thinking about taking a frame or two of brood and bees and letting them raise a queen? This is likely to result in a lackluster queen at best. You need a strong population of bees to build good queen cells. If you can find your queen and move her to another hive with a frame or three of bees the remaining strong hive is much more likely to build good cells - then when they are capped five days later you will probably have more than one frame with cells on it that you can split into nucs if you want to.
    since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Parma, Ohio USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    Thanks, but what do you mean exactly when you said "then when they are capped five days later you will probably have more than one frame with cells on it that you can split into nucs if you want to."

    When what are capped? The cells form the old hive that would no be queenless?

    Thanks

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,646

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    If your going to split in the hopes of a neww queen remeber you need to wait until its been warm enough for drones to be hatched. do it now it will be a waste of time. you will get a queen, but she will not be mated properly this early.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Parma, Ohio USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    Thanks, That's the second part of my concern, if I can keep the empty hive clean of wax moths or beetles long enough to get the queen inside

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,910

    Default Re: Question about hive that did not overwinter

    Quote Originally Posted by kekulpac View Post
    Thanks, but what do you mean exactly when you said "then when they are capped five days later you will probably have more than one frame with cells on it that you can split into nucs if you want to."

    When what are capped? The cells form the old hive that would no be queenless?

    Thanks
    Queen cells from the queenless hive - The strong main hive from which you removed the queen. You should read this - How to raise a few good queens by Michael Bush
    since '09-25H-T-Z6b

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