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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Cordova, TN, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Need to reboot 2 hives

    Pretty much new here, and a lot to learn. This is our first instance where we need to re-establish a colony. We had 4 hives total, and one absconded earlier in the summer, and one just recently, we believe due to hive beetle infestations. We've addressed this infestation we believe with new screen bottom boards/Freeman traps and BeetleJail entrances on the remaining hives. Seems to have done a bit of good for the 2 remaining hives, as the "Great Beetle Holocaust of 2013" has just occurred in them. Too many dead beetles to count, it seems. For those doubters, there are quite a few dead beetles in the entrance traps, so they are somewhat effective. Over time I'll try to report back on the in-hive populations so as to give a better opinion of the entrance traps.

    To get to the point, we could use advice on how to restart these hives this upcoming spring. We've cleaned up the hive bodies (even repainted them since they were out of service) and will start with new or cleaned-up frames.

    1. Should we get packages with queens, or nucs? A note here, I know we could do swarms but don't the old queens go with the swarms? I'd prefer to get a new queen if possible. Your thoughts?
    2. Given whatever the answer is to #1, what should be the state of the hives when we get the bees? Never done this before, and I have very little drawn comb. I know we'd put new or refurbed frames in there, but would you use foundation, or use those foundation starter strips? I have both, would you alternate them? I'd love to see which one of those they prefer.
    3. If the answer to #1 is to get a swarm, should we re-queen it?
    4. If the answer is to purchase, can someone give a good list of Northeast AR - West TN/KY - Southeast MO sources of bees? I'd like to stay local but above the TN/MS border. MS is quite a bit warmer than here so I'd like to get more cold-hardy stock, if that matters.

    I looked for posts on the above, but didn't find anything quite matching my situation, especially the locale. I know the adage "ask 10 beekeepers a question and you'll get 11 different answers", but surely with something this elemental there would be a good consensus?

    Thanks in advance for all your expert help.
    Last edited by rweaver7777; 10-22-2013 at 11:57 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Need to reboot 2 hives

    You can clean up the frames if not too badly damaged. You will find a lot of suggestions on how to do it on the forum.

    It is kind of late to be starting new hives. I think you'll have better luck finding bees in the spring.

    I've always used packages, so no experience catching swarms. Packages do a lot better on drawn comb, so try to salvage as much as you can.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Cordova, TN, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Need to reboot 2 hives

    Oops, I also meant to say I was restarting in the spring. Post is edited to say so... Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    943

    Default Re: Need to reboot 2 hives

    FWTW my experience with beetles is that any frames that were slimed, the bees do not like and will avoid. It didn't matter how well I cleaned them. Salvage anything that was not slimed, however.

    HTH

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: Need to reboot 2 hives

    To #1. Nucs or packages. There is much more variation between individual packages and within individual nucs than between the methods. If nuc, try to find someone who has raised the nuc the way you will keep your bees. Non treated if you are.
    It may be an old queen, but it is a good old queen or it would not swarm.
    It may be a new queen.
    Should you requeen? Depends on what you see after you see results.

    #2 "I'd love to see which one of those they prefer." Then you have your answer. My guess is one hive may do one thing the other the other.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    534

    Default Re: Need to reboot 2 hives

    If it was me, I wouldn't buy anything. In the spring, once the two remaining hives are building up well, using the other equipment, preferably as much drawn comb as possible, do a new hive start off the existing ones. Two ways to do that.

    a) Move a frame of eggs, frame of honey, and frame of pollen, complete with adhering bees, and an extra shake of bees, into the new box. They will raise a queen. It'll be weak, and get weaker in the time it takes to raise the queen, but once she is laying, they should have plenty of time to get built up over the summer, especially if they have a lot of drawn comb to start with.

    b) To get a faster buildup on the new hive, take a frame of capped brood, frame of honey, and frame of pollen, and the frame with the queen into the new box. Let the original stronger box raise the new queen, and the current queen will start immediately building up the population in the new nuc.

    But, in this process, dont forget one important detail. Over the course of an average year, one hive can give you

    -bees
    -comb
    -honey

    Pick the two you want, you wont likely get all 3 from one hive. In the above two methods, you are asking for bees, so if you want honey, you need to provide them with drawn comb. Method A above, leaves the donor hives strongest with best chances of still producing a decent honey crop. Method b gives the new start a stronger start, but leaves the donor hive in poor condition for a honey crop, depending on timing of flows in your area.

    Both of these methods will get you to 4 hives with small honey production, and minimal cost. But, if honey crop is your focus, then you probably want laying queens into the empty boxes as early as possible, so, pony up the cash and buy packages with queens.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    603

    Default Re: Need to reboot 2 hives

    Regarding SHB's, last year we got slimed in one hive. We then started using beetle traps ad nauseum. This year, no beetle traps, and no sliming. What we did was keep the hives well populated, or slightly crowded. We DO HAVE SHB's, but they are surrounded by bees wherever they are, so they can't do their harm.

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