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Thread: Help needed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Gilbert, Az
    Posts
    5

    Default Help needed

    Lets get the preemptive and probably very obvious part out of the way. I'm new. Very new. I have the equipment but wasn't planning on having bees yet. There are lots of reasons i'm drawn to it but to tell you the truth the most driving one is I like to watch them. Very strange sentence for most sane people but there it is. I have talked to my neighbors about bees for over a year and they have told me that they have no problems. However, my back yard while very large compared to most urban areas is not farm worthy. That said here is my story and the reason i am asking for help...

    I have shared with some friends that I keep Mason bees in my back yard and how i would like to keep Honey bees. One of them called me and told me that he had a swarm at his house and asked me if I would pick it up. So I revisited all of my books, watch a bunch of youtube videos and went to his house. He had told me they swarm to his water box each year and then leave shortly after. It didn't sound like a likely swarm location and when I arrived it wasn't. They had a hive built inside the water box. The comb was impossible to reach with any type of tool. It was under the lip of the pipes and box well beneath ground surface. He then told me that normally he leaves the lid off and the bees leave. There were clouds coming in and I thought that night may well end the hive. We rarely get rain in AZ but any decent amount would have flooded this spot. I told him I would try to remove the hive and thought I would just treat them like packaged bees if I could get enough. I hoped to get the queen.

    The sun had just gone down and it wasn't a large hive. So I went to work. I cut the comb out. They had very few brood and actually had most of the comb was stored nectar. Again it was a very confined space so they didn't have much to work with. When He had taken the top off most of the combs had fallen off. I Scooped bees out with my hands slowly; after much gradual exploration. They, of course didn't like the experience but didn't attack. I am assuming that this is extremely gentle. I received a total of 2 stings on my hands taking the comb out ( I wasn't able to save it). I then switched to full gloves to scoop bees and was able to retrieve a cluster the size of a large baseball. Again very gentle and although they didn't like the experience they didn't take flight and attack. It was a very difficult space to work with a vacuum would have been ideal.

    I brought them home. And placed them in my hive as described in basically every books/forum in the world. Left them overnight and went to check on them the next day. They had left the interior and now hung on the bottom of my hive stand. I thought that perhaps if I had the queen she may have been one of the few bees that clung to the exterior box and they had left the hive to join her. I also thought that perhaps my stand look a bit too much like a suitable cavity and replaced it with cinder blocks. The next day I placed them back in the empty medium and left them for a day. The next morning they once more clung to the exterior of my hive. Perhaps they were unable to cool the hive body down? I have placed a lot of fresh water 8 feet away. I have a hive top feeder placed on the top of the Medium body to help them survive.

    They are in a single small cluster that I can't see surviving. I do not know if a queen is in the middle and I do not want to harass them too much. Although I must add again they seem very gentle. They still cling to the bottom of my hive body and there are none within. Tonight I slid the top cover slightly over to provide ventilation to see if I can get them to move in without me dumping them inside again.

    Would they clump together without the queen? They start flying and exploring each morning ( 2 days so far). Cluster moves around a bit but not to the interior of the hive.Any suggestions? How can I maximize their chances?

    a final help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    738

    Default Re: Help needed

    My guess is that they are probably queenless. If you have another strong hive, put a piece of newspaper over it, poke a few holes with a toothpick, put an empty box on top, add the baseball-size cut-out bees, and let them eat away at the paper and mix together. Oh, and place the inner and outer covers on as usual.

    Lacking a strong colony with whom to newspaper combine, order an over-wintered nucleus colony and combine them with it.

    Next time you try a cut-out, put the brood into empty frames with rubber bands, and add a few pieces of drawn, empty comb. Move them 10 miles or more from their old location for over a month. Clean out all beehive smelling material from the feral colony's old home, and seal it off.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 05-19-2013 at 08:57 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Gilbert, Az
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Help needed

    Thanks, for taking the time to reply.

    I suspect that the queen is gone as well. I have no other Hives so saving these few is belong the scope of my resources. The only two local men (that I know of) with nucs are sold out. I may ask a local beekeeper if i can give them this cluster to add to their hive.



    I am curious. Why would they cling to the outside rather than move into the hive body? I have seen bees explore but they stay on the exterior.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    738

    Default Re: Help needed

    I wish that I could actually ask the bees that one...any of my guesses are like throwing darts in outer space.

    Handing them off to another beek with a strong hive is a fair idea, but there is the chance of introducing diseases for only a baseball's worth of bees...hardly a good payoff-to-risk ratio.

    If you can get a queen in short order, they have a chance. Otherwise, no use crying for them.

    You could put them in a box and separate them one at a time, looking for Her Royal Long-Abdomen. If she's there, go ahead and put some effort into it. It's early enough in the year, make a nuc out of them and feed them high quality stuff, trying to bring them up in population. That cluster is way too small to make it, so just keeping them alive with the hope of adding a frame of brood or combining them later this spring could work out, IF YOU FIND A QUEEN, that is.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Gilbert, Az
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Help needed

    I am again appreciative of your time. A fair answer that serves to educate me and speaks to the heart of my concern.

    I'm going to have to think about it some more while i continue to feed and water them. This was one of the few times I have entered into something without a well thought out plan. It seems I have killed off a hive of gentle bees in a state that could use some more gentle bees (AFB's in AZ). Although, I imagine the demeanor of the hive may change with many dynamic variables (e.g population, honey storage, sperm from subsequent drones).

    Thanks again for your insight.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,486

    Default Re: Help needed

    I don't think you have anything to loose by trying to shake the cluster back into the hive. There could be a queen in that cluster of bees. If you know someone that sells nucs they maybe willing to sell you two frames of brood make sure one frame has young larva and let them make a queen for you. Two frames of brood with the bees you already have should make a nuc this time of year.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    738

    Default Re: Help needed

    Even AHB can be gentle with no queen and no brood to defend.

    One queen breeder in your state is Joseph Clemens. You could send him a private message and ask his suggestions.

    There's also some pretty good beekeepers at the USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Bee Research Center at 2000 Allen Road, Tucson, AZ 85719. Phone: (520) 647-9107.

    Your state or county bee inspector may know someone in your area, as well as your state beekeepers' association, www.azbaca.org. The Arizona Dept of Agriculture assistant director is Brett Cameron, (602) 542-0984, bcameron@azda.gov

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Gilbert, Az
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Help needed

    Thanks again for all the information.

    I saw Pollen on the legs of 2 bees under the hive body today. Sadly they were still under the hive body. Not sure if that means anything or not. All my knowledge is from books.

    I placed them back in the hive this evening. I am going to watch them a bit more.

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