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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mount Airy, Frederick county, MD, USA
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    150

    Default Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    So I did in-depth hive inspections on every hive today. Even with a ventilated suit, it was a lot of hot, heavy work I use 8 frame mediums to try to help with the weight. It's kinda muggy out today. I do keep my hives in partial shade, for better or worse, with nucs near the house for convenience, since they have to be fed a lot.

    Hive A: first package I hived in April. Has one honey super on still, as I haven't had time to extract and don't have an extractor. I took one super off a month ago and did crush and strain for a few frames as well as distributed some honey between nucs. Looks to be doing very well. I noticed the brood space looks good but is smaller than it was, like the bees are already pushing the queen down. One SHB seen on the cover and squashed, no wax moths. I added a Beetle Blaster to see if any others are in there.

    Hive B: second package. 6 boxes tall, with the top three chock full of capped honey, and it looks like they are backfilling the brood boxes. The queen in here is still going great guns, with bees bearding halfway up the stack all the time. Two SHB seen on inner cover with one escaping the hive tool hammer. I need to extract and/or give goodies to the nucs.

    Hive C: and this is where the problems started. Sigh. This hive had a queen they raised back in May, and she was doing well the last time I saw her, about three weeks ago. Building up well. I've left them alone except for feeding since. But they had three QC, two capped, one with no visible larva in it. No queen to be found. It's a single 8 frame medium, SBB, without all the frames completely pulled out yet (I am feeding them). No eggs. No larvae. Population a bit smaller than it was but still OK. UGH. I saw one SHB strolling across the frames and dropped in a Beetle Jail to try to catch it.

    Nuc 1: my problem child. Has been the victim of off and on robbing since the day I started it, even with robber screens on all hives, moving, etc. I saw the marked queen last night when I fed, and today, all the bees were gone, leaving behind a few capped brood, a few uncapped brood, and eggs. BOO. I am particularly upset at this queen's loss...she was a beautiful local Carni queen that cost me $37! And I love the way her offspring look...a gorgeous dark bee. She was doing ok, despite the constant issues, and I had just switched from syrup to fondant, in hopes of stopping the robbing. Sigh. SHB were seen, but no more than 5, but larvae were seen.

    I wonder if they absconded...DH was outside and came in as I was gearing up to go work the bees saying there were a lot of bees around the nucs, but by the time I got the smoker going and went to look, there was no unusual activity noted.

    Nuc 2: this local mutt queen is the bomb! She has laid up a 5x5 nuc full of hardy bees that are doing well. I fed them and left them to it. No SHB. I did notice the robbing screen has prevented them for removing dead bees...gross. I suppose I should take it off and sweep out the bodies tomorrow, after everyone has settled back down.

    Anyhow....this is what I did:
    I put the frames from Nuc 1 into hive C, which did leave them with completely pulled out frames for them to fill, some capped brood, some uncapped brood and the eggs from Nuc 1. I left two QC in hive C, one capped, the other the uncapped one. I took a frame of capped brood from Hive B and stuck it in Hive C to help bolster populations while they wait for a new queen. I did squish any SHB seen to minimize transfer of parasites.

    I put one capped cell and a cupful of bees in a baby mating nuc as a back up. It's in the garage all closed up for now, and I'll open it on Wednesday and keep an eye on it.

    I'd really like it if they raised a daughter queen from Nuc 1's eggs, but I know if one was raised that it would be 34 days away at best. Sigh.

    But if they succeed in raising queens, will she have enough time to mate well AND get enough brood raised before winter? We usually have a frost in October. I know we would be looking at September for first eggs from a new queen now...isn't that cutting it too close? Would I be better off finding a local queen or combining with nuc 2?

    I did see drones and capped drone brood in Hive A and B. I don't think the drone eradication effort has begun here.

    Sorry for the story..it helped me get my thoughts in order.

    It was such heavy work as I swear I walked back and forth between hives, nucs and the house about 50 times...like I didn't expect to need the baby nuc box...or a knife to cut out QC...or frames...or to have to carry nucs to the hives...LOL I now see why many beeks have a bee truck..
    Newbee with three hives and two nucs, zone 6b

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    863

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    Yes, you have time to raise a queen. The 34 days is used to check and see if you have a laying queen.

    It sounds to me like hive B is your best hive/queen. You may like the way other queens look but, from your description the queen in hive B sounds like your best queen. I would not try and 'save' genetics from inferior queens.

    If you are going to use a newly mated queen to requeen a hive or nuc with a good population you have plenty of time. If you want to grow out a small nuc you probably do not have enough time.

    It sounds like you need to do something with hive B, either add more drawn comb or extract and put supers back on. A surplus population in hive B could help provide resources to nucs or weak hives.

    Tom

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    673

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    I think the big worry this time of year is the possible lack of good drone populations for her to mate with vs. the time it takes to actually MAKE the queen. I may be wrong though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Brazoria County, Texas
    Posts
    106

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    I did some splits back on July 11 here on SE Texas and I checked the brood comb Sat and saw no eggs or no queens. At noon today in both nucs I saw eggs. I immediately did not worry about seeing or marking the queens but closed up shop and left. The foragers were bringing in pollen and nectar from who knows where.
    In 5 days I'll go back in and see what pattern the new queens are laying.
    By far this is the quickest I've seen eggs by at least 1-3 days in my previous splits. The original hives were feral and Russian. I'll watch real close on next inspection to decide to feed to draw some new comb or install several bare brood combs.
    The Goldenrod ain't far off and 1st frost is weeks away also.
    I've got 3 bred Russian queens due for installation in 2 more weeks and this will be the latest I've ever done splits here. Hopefully they do well and we have a late bloom on the Goldenrod.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,219

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    >Hive C: No eggs. No larvae. Population a bit smaller than it was but still OK.
    Do you have capped brood? What's the pattern look like? got pictures?
    Emergency cells in the brood nest or swarm cells at the bottom of the frame?

    >nuc 1: leaving behind a few capped brood, a few uncapped brood, and eggs.
    Got pictures of the brood? Was the capped brood scatter and the open larva inter mixed with different aged brood?

    >But if they succeed in raising queens, will she have enough time to mate well AND get enough brood raised before winter?
    Yes they have time. Still lots of drones out there. (some hives are kicking them out and some are still raising them)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    2,252

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    FWIW...........They are still raising them in up state New York.
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the Varrox OA Vaporizer,
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    863

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    Typically we have drones in the hives well into September. The past few evenings I have passed by the hive in my backyard as the drones have been returning. It is neat to all of a sudden see this big bee zoom straight into the hive.

    Tom

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mount Airy, Frederick county, MD, USA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    It sounds like you need to do something with hive B, either add more drawn comb or extract and put supers back on. A surplus population in hive B could help provide resources to nucs or weak hives.

    Tom
    Yes, but....my area is notorious for having no fall flow. I could certainly extract and should extract (I'm actually very late for extracting around here) but they won't be able to fill it again. Clover is not being actively worked either. From what I'm told, what they have is it for the year. I am thinking about pulling off one honey super and dropping it on hive C, as I'm not sure that they will be able to get enough stores in before frost, even with heavy feeding, and distributing some frames of capped brood as needed to relieve congestion and help provide more workers where needed. And maybe taking a little honey for Christmas gifts for my parents and a few special friends

    Hive C, should these QC produce viable queens, will be raising a granddaughter of hive B. Hive B was slow to get started (not good for this area, as our flow is usually fast and furious and done by June 15) but has really done well. I won't be unhappy at having a descendant though...although I'm not sure of overwintering ability yet.

    I'm really not in this for the honey though Mostly, I just wanted some bees to fool around with, lol. I got way more than I intended already...had only planned to have a couple hives...LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    I think the big worry this time of year is the possible lack of good drone populations for her to mate with vs. the time it takes to actually MAKE the queen. I may be wrong though.
    This is exactly what I'm worried about. You phrased it much better than I did though.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    >Hive C: No eggs. No larvae. Population a bit smaller than it was but still OK.
    Do you have capped brood? What's the pattern look like? got pictures?
    Emergency cells in the brood nest or swarm cells at the bottom of the frame?

    >nuc 1: leaving behind a few capped brood, a few uncapped brood, and eggs.
    Got pictures of the brood? Was the capped brood scatter and the open larva inter mixed with different aged brood?

    >But if they succeed in raising queens, will she have enough time to mate well AND get enough brood raised before winter?
    Yes they have time. Still lots of drones out there. (some hives are kicking them out and some are still raising them)
    I do not have a smartphone or camera with phone, and I'm not taking out my fancy Nikon (my only other camera) and working hives; I'd mess it up. But the patterns were actually excellent...just small. The QC were definitely emergency cells, not swarm cells. If I went on brood pattern, honestly, all my queens have been quite good. Drones always where expected, lovely tight laying patterns in a football shape/spiral pattern. But I guess something happened to hive C's original queen, and they did their best to try to replace her. I'll have a peek in a few days to see what has happened in there, particularly with the remnants of nuc 1, and refill their feeder.

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    FWIW...........They are still raising them in up state New York.
    excellent! I hope I'm able to get a well mated queen or two out of this deal! If they can still raise queens 8 hours north of me, hopefully I can too.

    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    Typically we have drones in the hives well into September. The past few evenings I have passed by the hive in my backyard as the drones have been returning. It is neat to all of a sudden see this big bee zoom straight into the hive.

    Tom
    We had a drone in the house today! LOL. I caught him, practiced marking, then cut him loose. Based on his color pattern, he is an offspring of my lost queen.

    I did poke around and found the guy who produced Nuc 2's queen may still have some mated queens available. I have been happy enough with her production (she laid up a 5x5 in a shade over 30 days...I either should add a third nuc box or move to a hive) that I wouldn't mind getting another one... I'll decide in the next couple of weeks depending on what happens with these QC.

    I wish the problems had cropped up earlier, in some respects, so I had more time and a nectar flow to work with. Now I'm even more worried about bringing these hives through winter.

    Being a first year is so stressful
    Newbee with three hives and two nucs, zone 6b

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    673

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    I just checked a hive we caught as a swarm around June 18. I suspect she was a virgin she returned and started laying like crazy after about a week. And now they are superceding her. It sure seems late, but I'm not going by experience here, just "feeling". They obviously survived last year so I'll have to trust their judgement. Queen rearing has gone from super bad to pretty good this year with two packages building up well and successfully replacing their queens and a third that has perpetually failed. I know a couple of my hives still have a TON of drones, so maybe there is hope. She must not have been well mated or something.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mount Airy, Frederick county, MD, USA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    Oh boo And yeah...sometimes, we have to let the bees do their thing, even if it makes us nervous!
    Newbee with three hives and two nucs, zone 6b

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mount Airy, Frederick county, MD, USA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    Well, as a little update:

    I took some frames today from both hive A and B for crush and strain, replacing them with new frames, in case of a fall flow as goldenrod is starting. Hive B was crabby...there were quite a few bees buzzing and bumping me. It was breezy, so smoking didn't seem to be terribly effective as the smoke just blew away. There weren't any SHB seen in either hive A or B today.

    I got a bit over 5 quarts of a very interesting honey off five medium frames. There is a deep, almost sour undertone to it, and it isn't as sweet as what I took a month ago; I find it very tasty myself. It's darker too. I've already had people begging to buy it after I posted a picture on FB, so I might sell it; I gave a lot of my first round away. Selling a bit of honey as well as wax or products made of wax might help raise some funds for some more nuc boxes...

    I took one full box of honey off hive B and placed it on hive C, so now hive C should have enough for a small population to carry through winter. However...

    I'm not sure hive C has a laying queen yet. The QC was empty, as the queen had exited, but there was no evidence of any eggs. However, they didn't start any new QC with the eggs I gave them, so hopefully she is still on mating flights. I didn't want to go through there too intensely just yet. They weren't aggressive or roaring or anything really, so maybe there is a virgin walking around in there. There were several SHB in the trap and I squashed one underneath the Ultimate Hive Feeder. I forgot to put the trap back in. Bad beek.

    The QC I took out and placed in the baby mating nuc opened some days ago (the fun thing about having one of these is a) it's small enough that one's family doesn't even notice the bees living on the deck, especially if the little box is hidden next to a flower pot, and b) they are so easy to deal with that one can peek in on them daily), but she did not return. I'll dump the workers into one of the hives and store the frames in the freezer.

    I still have the one nuc, and that queen is awesome. The entire nuc was boiling over full, so I actually took a frame of eggs and tiny larvae and a frame of capped brood from her nuc and added a frame of capped honey from hive A, and I started another nuc. I did see plenty of drone brood in hive A and B, so there is still a possibility to raise a queen.
    Newbee with three hives and two nucs, zone 6b

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    673

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    That's good news. We inspected four of our six hives on Sunday and none of them appear to be kicking drones out and are in fact still raising some. In all of those hives some very bright orange pollen (dandilion?) was rolling in as well as yellow (goldenrod?) and what appeared to be white/light blue chicory. I don't know how much of a nectar flow is going at the moment, but at least there is some pollen still rolling in. Everything was going so well and then it just flat out stopped raining and got very dry about three weeks ago. The sweet clover stopped sending new blooms at that point, I think.

    Hoping for a good goldenrod flow. It started blooming a bit more than a week ago, but it's really starting to get going now. Still a whole lot more to bloom.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mount Airy, Frederick county, MD, USA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Is there enough time to raise queens here?

    I'm seeing that bright orange pollen too, and I don't know what it is. I haven't seen bees working much of anything. I even made DH not mow the fields in case they were thinking of using the clover, which bloomed in abundance, but I saw very few bees on it. Finally, I relented on mowing.

    Goldenrod has been blooming the last week or so,. We have a big clump of it in the front pasture, but I haven't seen any bees on it at all. I'm wondering if they only like goldenrod at a certain time of day or something

    We are finally getting a decent rain here (!) today, so I'm hoping something starts up after today to round out the year.

    In thinking about things last night, if I don't see eggs in hive C the middle of next week, I'll give them a frame of eggs from hive B or the remaining nuc and see how that goes. If that fails, I'll combine hive C into A and B.
    Newbee with three hives and two nucs, zone 6b

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