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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Toccoa, Ga
    Posts
    17

    Default Bees spitting out brood

    Greetings all! New to forum and to beekeeping.

    I have a five frame setup that overwintered well in two five frame deeps. I peeked in and noticed they were packed in there and I got the feeling they were about to swarm soon. So i pulled a frame from the top box and it had half capped honey and the rest uncapped honey. On the lower edge it had some brood and several queen cells. When I pulled the frame it ripped apart one of the queen cells and she was 3-4 days from hatching, along with some other brood. This morning I noticed they were doing some heavy duty house keeping and spitting out these dead pieces of larva and pupae. Pretty cool. I added a queen excluder and a five frame shallow to give em some room and there were bees up there this morning. My question is: do I still need to pull all the frames and pinch any other queen cells or will they kill them? I figured I would give them a few days to settle down but don't want a swarm to carry off half my bees. This is only a five frame setup but I have a ten frame brood box or two. Should I move the whole hive into a ten frame? Can I split these and leave some in the five frame box? Like I said, new to beekeeping and want to do the bees right and not be greedy! Free bees sound great but I want to maintain my original strength.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,866

    Default Re: Bees spitting out brood

    What you saw with the queen cells was probably preparation to swarm or just as likely, the bees have already swarmed. If you destroy the queen cells, you may very well end up queenless. Managing bees in small size equipment has a degree of difficulty that makes it very hard on any beekeeper. If it were my bees, I would try to keep them from swarming by splitting the population and brood making sure I have a cells in both. These can be recombined later if you only want one hive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    Default Re: Bees spitting out brood

    1. Your hive is much too small to be able to handle spring growth. They are going to swarm. Your best chance to do something productive about it is to split them up, leaving a queen cell in each of the splits. If you have enough equipment, you can split enough times as you have queen cells.

    2. My view is that pinching queen cells is not a good idea. A couple of things could happen. You pinch a cell, they want to swarm anyway, you may have a hive left without a queen. You pinch a cell and it wasn't actually a swarm cell and the old queen goes unproductive and you again have a hive with no queen. Don't pinch cells.

    3. Queen excluder on a hive that small and they're gonna swarm.

    4. They're gonna want to swarm anyway.

    Conclusion: Do what you can, move them to a bigger hive. Five frame setups are not large enough to keep colonies in full time without swarming problems. Use your bigger hive and split some of the swarm cell frames into the other boxes and then you'll have more hives. Bigger hives swarm less with the right management. Small hives will be prone to swarm because they'll rapidly run out of room all the time.
    Last edited by Solomon Parker; 03-22-2013 at 09:05 AM.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Toccoa, Ga
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Bees spitting out brood

    Thanks Guys! I just walked to the barn and they are still spitting out pieces. I really never messed with them much all year to let them get established. So I quess the comb was connected from the lower frames to the upper and when I pulled that frame out it really gave the comb a rip, killing a bunch of brood.Have you all noticed this before after pulling frames? There is a half a cup worth of white bee parts in front of the hive! The weather has been cold here and I have been afraid of messing with them but it looks like I will split them this weekend. Gonna slip the excluder out in a bit, won't need it if i'm gonna split em or move them into the ten frame boxes. I really appreciate the replies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,244

    Default Re: Bees spitting out brood

    Why do you think you need the QE with just a small hive? I'll probably get flamed, but as a newbie I wouldn't mess with the small hive. I would be trying to get it as big as I could and then maybe take a split for the winter once you have the big one established.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Toccoa, Ga
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Bees spitting out brood

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Why do you think you need the QE with just a small hive?
    Well, untill I did some research, I wasn't sure if I was going to keep adding supers or if I would need to get out the ten frame boxes and split/move some over. i went out earlier and slipped the top box off and removed the qe and put the shallow back on top. Just learning here. They had quite a buzz going while cleaning out the dead brood. Hope they settle down and get to work!
    I do appreciate the input.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,483

    Default Re: Bees spitting out brood

    Quote Originally Posted by jkaup View Post
    ... There is a half a cup worth of white bee parts in front of the hive! ...
    I do not think it is a good sign. You need to check your bees for disease, chalkbrood in particular. I would suggest to ask for help (if possible) from experienced beekeeper. Local bee-club is a good starting point. It is always useful to see some pictures.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Toccoa, Ga
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Bees spitting out brood

    [QUOTE=cerezha;
    Going to bee class in the morning. Will photo too. I figure it is just because I pulled the comb apart removing frame cause there has been no problem with the hive all winter.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Toccoa, Ga
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Bees spitting out brood

    Well, split my bees last Sunday. Stings on the ankle hurt like crazy! They seem to be doing fine for now. Fed them both. The next day I was really windy an cold so I saw zero flying. Then Tuesday it war me up nicely and they were really buzzing about and pooping like crazy. Some diarrhea on the outside of the hives. Hopefully we will get some warm days ahead so they can start collecting again. Found the queen and moved her to the new box. Swarm cells in old box. Gonna leave them bee a few weeks except for feeding and hope for the best! Had a buddy help me and he gave me some drawn comb for each box to help them build up a little quicker.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Toccoa, Ga
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Bees spitting out brood

    Just a quick update. Old queen now in ten frame box is laying like a champ. Split is finally queenrite. Split on 3-24 and checks today found small amount of capped brood and larva. Eggs a plenty. And only one per hole.

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