Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fountain, NC
    Posts
    26

    Default Hive issue- disease? partially fertilized queen?

    So I have this hive that is basically just moving along 'slowly' and I am left with many unanswered questions. I was unable to prevent loss of my original queen in this hive back during swarming season and lost the original queen, which was a heavy layer. The queen to follow wasn't in the hive long and my wife viewed a second swarm. -bummer- I discovered shortly thereafter this was due to not having room for this new queen to lay. -reason- Honey in the brood chamber..."I know, I know, bad mistake. Out of town and just too busy."

    Anyway, I do not have anymore available deep frames of empty drawn comb. So I did what I could and exchanged a few of those honey filled frames in the lower deep with some fresh frames of foundation. Hoping that the nursers would draw out some new clean comb to create more room. There was a third queen that eventually did surface in that hive with a good population caste.

    A week or so ago I visited that hive and discovered there was some freshly capped brood and some new eggs. Yippeee right? Well not really. There was not any work towards drawing out any new comb or any noticeable wax development of any significance that I saw. Well, today I visited the hive again which has been about 7-10 days since last visit.

    I did notice some capped brood and eggs. But still no advancement. I had fed them over 2 gallons throughout the course of about 12 days, a 1:1 sugar water mix attempting to provide sufficient resources for drawing out comb. They apparently just packed this in some of those same lower deep frames.

    • I am beginning to think what I had originally thought was fresh capped brood is actually older capped brood that might have been left since that second queen departure. Not 100% sure.
    • Second, I am wondering if there is a particular disease that has struck the hive that is hiding out of plain view. I have not seen many varroa mites, other than 1 today on the thorax of one worker and two hive beetles. The bee's wings look healthy and overall all of the bees have a healthy appearance and behavior. No signs of dysentery anywhere near hive entrance.
    • Third, I am wondering if perhaps the queen was only partially fertilized, thus there is a huge break in the caste of bees? In essence, simply not enough bees to complete all the jobs that need to be done. Perhaps ratio of foragers to nursers is way out of proportion brought about by the second swarm leaving more workers to bring home the groceries than there are children to create space in cabinets.


    Not quite sure what to do.

    I had thought about combining the hive with a stronger hive but if they are indeed sick would not want to distribute it abroad.

    Any thoughts regarding chem free, preventative maintenance that might aid in recovery? ? ?

    --> experience <-- please shout out!

    Thanks, Chris
    Quacky Calls
    Custom Duck and Turkey Calls - Eastern NC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Hive issue- disease? partially fertilized queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Truefire View Post

    In essence, simply not enough bees to complete all the jobs that need to be done. Perhaps ratio of foragers to nursers is way out of proportion brought about by the second swarm leaving more workers to bring home the groceries than there are children to create space in cabinets.

    Not quite sure what to do.

    I had thought about combining the hive with a stronger hive but if they are indeed sick would not want to distribute it abroad.
    I think you have found your answer...

    With two consecutive swarms from a hive, a lot of the foragers and nurse bees, are gone...it will take a while to build back. It is possible that there were more than 2 swarms...

    What I would do...If anything, I would reduce the hive so that the bee population that is left, has a good coverage of the available space. Also, if you have another strong hive around your bee yard, you can steal a frame of brood and give it to this "weaker" hive.

    It is amazing what a frame of brood with the young bees on it can do to a weaker hive. That new queen will need the right kind of "staff support" so she can ramp up the laying yet at the same time those newly emerged larvae are well fed and cared for.
    That is how your hive will slowly rebound. And yes, continue feeding it.

    The other option would be to combine it with a stronger hive...your choice.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Ash Grove MO. USA.
    Posts
    535

    Default Re: Hive issue- disease? partially fertilized queen?

    I agree with with Apis with one modification.
    I would only feed enough to keep a honey band on top of the brood frames. I wouldent let them backfill the broodnest.
    A frame of capped/ emerging brood can be amazing!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fountain, NC
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Hive issue- disease? partially fertilized queen?

    Thank you Apis and Wolfer. Cool... I guess I will just add a frame of capped brood from another hive and feed the hive a little at the time. Things have just been tight and I didn't want to risk losing yet more bees. My main concern was if there was possibly some underlying disease creating this?

    This practice brings up yet another thought. I have always wondered how the nursers and queen respond to a newly introduced frame of brood from another hive outside of itself. Just wondering about the pheromones from the 'other queen' lingering across the face of that brood? Or does it even?

    chris
    Quacky Calls
    Custom Duck and Turkey Calls - Eastern NC

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Hive issue- disease? partially fertilized queen?

    I would first address the idea of a weaker hive due to multiple swarming.

    Underlying disease? Possible, but why not try to address the most probable cause, which from your description seems to be a hive that lost a lot of bees and it's trying to get back on track. If there is a plus in the fact that they swarmed, it is that they got a brood break, which will, for sure help with your mite situation...chem free that is.

    How much time has passed from when you noticed the presence of the "third" resident queen in this hive? Because the eggs you saw, will have to be from a current queen...also, any uncapped brood would be from her also.

    A new queen " partially fertilized" ? Maybe, but it could be too early to tell. Are you seeing eggs? Small patches or large patches of comb areas with eggs? Any uncapped brood at all at this time in this hive? How many frames in the hive are completely covered with bees?

    If there is no complete coverage of bees, then reducing the hive to a smaller space will definitely help. So, if you are concerned about a "disease" lurking in the background, don't do the combine with a larger hive. Just reduce the bees into a 5 frame nuc, provide a nice frame of capped/uncapped brood and the covering bees and see how it goes from there.
    A queen, in any hive will lay as much as the bee coverage (nursing, feeding and care) allows it. So, here again, adding some young bees will address that issue.

    Uncapped brood on its own carries a complex load of pheromones. Whatever the combination, it makes it irresistible to bees...any hive, queen right or queen less would immediately accept/adopt that frame and provide complete coverage. Even swarms, up on a branch, when presented with a frame of uncapped brood would literally blanket it in bees in a hurry.

    And fear not, for a strong hive, giving up a frame of uncapped brood with the adhering nurse bees is no big deal. Also, if this "weak" hive we are talking about, has a sub par queen...by providing a frame with uncapped brood and maybe eggs and very young larvae, could provide the resources for this hive to at least attempt to make a new queen.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fountain, NC
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Hive issue- disease? partially fertilized queen?

    Apis Maximus, outstanding information. Thank you so much for your help and for easing my concerns. Thanks, thanks, thanks for expounding. You have excellent composition and grammar, so easy to follow. I do greatly appreciate your time and help.

    chris
    Quacky Calls
    Custom Duck and Turkey Calls - Eastern NC

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads