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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    melbourne, au
    Posts
    13

    Default need help/opinions ASAP

    hi guys n gals, im over in south-west victoria in australia and has two issues i need some opinions on.

    My first issue is with a hive i have that is around 2.5months old from a wild swarm i captured. I have been away for a month and got back last week and on my first inspection since returning found patchy brood with good pollen stores but no honey/nectar stores. So i have had them on a feeder for 5 days and then i stopped as we are in the summer here and they had started to store it, and also the brood pattern has started to improve meaning continuous cells side by side being used. I have been and inspected them again today to find the honey/nectar stores are getting low again with brood pattern still good. As i watch the hive entrance 80% of returning bee are fully loaded with pollen of all different varieties. Would it be that there is just alot of pollen producing flowers and not alot of nector or am i missing something???

    P.S There not getting robbed




    My second issue is with a different hive that is just as old and also a wild swarm that i captured. Before i left i placed a double deep on the top for them to move into as this hive is strong and doing well, there is a good amount for capped honey with good pollen stores and a great amount of capped brood and larve but very few eggs. Yet on my inspection today i have found around 8 Q-cells 4 of which have larva in them from which they maybe 1/2days from sealing.

    Now in the bottom brood box none of the frames are fully drawn out as i would of expected and they haven't even touched the box above. I can find a few eggs laid but not many which makes me think she is still there even though i could'nt find her today unless she was lost in the last day or two. I know for sure they haven't swarmed yet as the numbers are the same as my first inspection when i arrived back.

    Now as i can not find her i have moved frames in the bottom box in alternate's so i have a frame with drawn comb, then a frame with no foundation or drawn comb and so on. With the extra drawn comb frames i have moved them into the top box directly above the brood area in the bottom. so hopefully if they were planning on swarming they will tare all the Q-cells down with all the extra room they now have. And if the queen has been lost for some reason they are just replacing her and will do so with one they are rearing now!

    Is the much more i can do without splitting them as i dont have a spare hive atm.

    Thanks guys

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    I'm not from Australia but I would feed the hive that is low on stores until they seem to be self sufficient or if they need to winter I would feed the till they cap a bunch.

    On the hive with the queen cells you could make some temporary mating boxes nothing fancy and carefully cut the cells out so they are in pristine conditions or take entire frames with cells on them and put them with another frame of bees into a mating nuc and and so that like 2 more times. You will get a couple queens and you could build some nuc boxes to get the started in. You could always combine them later. and sell one of the queens. There are lots of options. If you don't do anything the hive with cells should re queen itself. Those sound like good queens from swarm cells. You could cut them out and share them with your friends but leave 2 or 3 of the 8 in the hive. Oh I hope you are still seeing drones because they will be needed for these queens to mate with.

    It's late and these are just some thoughts that may help. One hive leads to two and then to three. That is how it went for me so far.

    I hope it works out!!!

    VW

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,070

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    Hi Bradley, it is common in a nectar dearth for bees to still be collecting pollen, it means the bees now have to work flowers that only have pollen and they will do that if no nectar bearing flowers are about. So feed them syrup, yes.

    Egg laying can slow or stop during a nectar dearth, and that will explain why things picked up when you fed them.

    The hive with the queen cells you have done about the best you can do. Bees will not normally swarm with all that spare room but in a nectar dearth like you seem to be in, sometimes they will send out a "starvation swarm", it is a last ditch effort to move to a better location. However it could also be they have decided to supersede the queen, and if that is the case better to let nature take it's course.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    melbourne, au
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    Thanks for the replys. The suspected swarming hive is around 4km away from the other one and i wouldnt say that one is suffering from a nectar dearth as that hive has well capped honey stores. I have been back again this evening and spaced the frames further with alternate frames with 3 frames carrying brood, larve and stored, and the other 5 empty with starter strips.


    Im thinking i will just re-locate the hive that is short on supplys, once they have started to store the syrup again?!

    Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    melbourne, au
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    I havent seen any drones now for a while, i think they all got kicked out afew weeks ago. Im going to give them another day or two and see if they tare down the cells, If not i may have to do a split but i doubt the queen will be much use without any drones being around. So if they do swarm i may have to combine the hive with another. fingers crossed they don't swarm.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Nacogdoches,TX,USA
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    just becouse you dont have drones doesnt mean that there are not drones around if it is mid summer there and not in a long dearth probaly some around

    David

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,271

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    Feed! If there is room in the brood chambers then Feed. It is not as though you will be harvesting that honey. so it composition matters not. when in doubt FEED. you will be surprised how fast a well fed hive grows.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    550

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    are the queen cells in the middle of the frame or on the bottom if on the center there going supersede her and there going to replace the queen.If there on the bottom of the comb there going to swarm once that happens its hard to stop them in that case you can split the hive into many hives with one or two queen cells in each,then pick the best of the queens and recombine the hives into one hive so they can over winter.as far as the one hive struggling don't know if you winter in two deeps or one if in one deep and you winter in two deeps and need to draw out another deep add deep and keep feeding

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    Hi Bradley,

    It is unlikely that the queen cells in the second hive are swarm cells. Much more likely they are supersedure cells.

    Here's why:
    Swarm season has finished.
    They were not crowded in the Brood box, as frames are not fully drawn.
    Can still find eggs.
    Only 4 cells with larvae in them. If swarming they usually have more than 6 or 7 where supersedure can be up to 5 or 6 cells.
    They are only a recent swarm themselves.

    Also, Swarms often replace the old queen once they have become established the new hive.

    In regard to what you have done, it would not stop a hive from swarming once they have built queen cells, it's too late to stop them by then. The most effective way to stop swarming at that stage is to remove the old queen (via a split) and to reduce the number of queen cells down to 2 or 3 (just in case a virgin queen doesn't make it.)

    I would not disturb the broodnest at all, especially considering that this is a new colony. (I have also checkerboarded the broodnest before and it set the hive back enormously.)

    You would be better off putting the drawn combs back so they are all together. The new queen will then have a good amount of comb to start laying in.

    We are going into the summer dearth and they will not have enough resources to build more comb. (Both nectar and bees to build the comb.) It has also been quite dry over the last few weeks, so you may need to start feeding if they haven't got any capped honey left.

    Sometimes it's better to do nothing, (or ask others on the forums first). It's all part of the learning process to becoming a beekeeper.

    Matthew Davey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    melbourne, au
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    Hi Bradley,



    You would be better off putting the drawn combs back so they are all together. The new queen will then have a good amount of comb to start laying in.

    We are going into the summer dearth and they will not have enough resources to build more comb. (Both nectar and bees to build the comb.) It has also been quite dry over the last few weeks, so you may need to start feeding if they haven't got any capped honey left.


    Matthew Davey
    Thanks for the reply matthew, i have been into the hive this evening and theres 7 cells of which 3 have been capped today at some point as they were open mid-day yesterday, a swarm has not left yet so hopefully they are just replacing her, as i believe the swarm leaves as soon as Q-cells have been capped. Hopefully they will all still be there tomorrow in which case i will move the frames back. I have also placed a feeder with each hive now to keep them goin and build stores up.

    I see your from Victoria matt, do you have any idea when the blue gums should be flowering i was told it was january/february?

    Thanks brad

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    melbourne, au
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    Quote Originally Posted by franktrujillo View Post
    are the queen cells in the middle of the frame or on the bottom if on the center there going supersede her and there going to replace the queen.If there on the bottom of the comb there going to swarm once that happens its hard to stop them in that case you can split the hive into many hives with one or two queen cells in each,then pick the best of the queens and recombine the hives into one hive so they can over winter.
    Thanks for the reply franktrujillo, the Q-cells are all on the middle of the frames 7 in total of which 3 have been sealed between yesterday and today. So hopefully they are just replacing here. I have placed feeders with both hives now to keep them going.

    thanks brad

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,167

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    Sounds to me like a swarm that is struggling against nothing to build on and a hive that did what it could while it could and is now struggling from the same lack of flow. That there was in fact a swarm is no indication conditions are good for the swarm. Nature is a hideous beekeeper. I don't have much interest in it's methods. I feed anything that is smaller than 20 frames.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    melbourne, au
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Sounds to me like a swarm that is struggling against nothing to build on and a hive that did what it could while it could and is now struggling from the same lack of flow.
    the swarming hive has got good stores and empty frames to build on if it wishes daniel and there nectar/honey stores and increasing everytime i go into the hive. They also have aload of empty frames aswel as frames with foundation on to get them started when i first caught them.

    Could very well by right about the 2nd hive though. There is a feeder with both hives now.

    Thanks

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    602

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    This past year I had a split that unfortunately was split just as a dearth began. I introduced a new queen around the first of June; the dearth started either the 2nd or 3rd week in June. The queen was very productive, so before long I added a super (I believe in mid-July). By the end of August when I did an inspection, the queen had moved up to the super. The bottom box had fully drawn frames, all empty.

    I started feeding 2:1 syrup, making sure the bees did not go more than part of a day with no syrup. It took a couple months, but the bees back-filled all of the combs.

    Phil

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: need help/opinions ASAP

    Quote Originally Posted by bradleymarson693 View Post
    Thanks for the reply matthew, i have been into the hive this evening and theres 7 cells of which 3 have been capped today at some point as they were open mid-day yesterday, a swarm has not left yet so hopefully they are just replacing her, as i believe the swarm leaves as soon as Q-cells have been capped. Hopefully they will all still be there tomorrow in which case i will move the frames back. I have also placed a feeder with each hive now to keep them goin and build stores up.

    I see your from Victoria matt, do you have any idea when the blue gums should be flowering i was told it was january/february?

    Thanks brad

    I would remove a few of the smaller queen cells while you are in there, just to reduce fighting between virgin queens (and to make sure they don't get any ideas about swarming now they are being fed.)

    Also, I'm beginning to see European Wasps (Yellow Jackets) hanging around the hives. So you should reduce your entrances down to at least 1/3 the width of the hive. Even with a 1/4 width entrance the bees will be happy. This will help them defend themselves from robbing.

    With Blue Gums, there are several varieties and they flower at different times. They also don't flower every year, typically every two years. This PDF has a good deal of information about Eucalyptus trees and their flowering times: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...Me6gaCRrFv02OA

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