Rookie split question
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    6

    Default Rookie split question

    Hello folks, my bees survived the winter in Kamloops, BC and I saw some queen cells in mid May. I split the hive by taking every second bar with brood (and the bees on the comb), five in total, including a bar with a queen cell and put them in another top bar hive about 5 metres away. I then went on a three week business trip. When I returned two weeks ago I had a look at both hives. In the new hive I found the queen and everything looked great. In the old hive, there seemed to be good activity and honey production as well as brood. I didn't see the queen in the old hive but assumed she was there. Success!

    And then a few days ago I noticed that my old hive had much less activity around the entrance while the new hive was thriving. So today I went in to have a look. New hive is going gangbusters. Old hive has brood and honey but just seems really quiet. There are only several bees coming in an out the entrance compared to probably 30-40 around the new hive entrance. I didn't see any signs of anything wrong (but then again, I am reasonably new at this).

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Rookie split question

    Forgot to say these are top bar hives.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Byron, Il, USA
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: Rookie split question

    Is the brood in the old hive all drone brood?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Rookie split question

    Quote Originally Posted by AR1 View Post
    Is the brood in the old hive all drone brood?
    I will need to check tomorrow but I don't think so. If it is all or mostly drone brood what does that indicate?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Byron, Il, USA
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: Rookie split question

    If it's all drone brood you probably lost the queen and have a laying worker problem. Maybe when you split the hive the queen ended up in the other half, and they didn't successfully make a new queen in the declining hive.

    Just a thought. Hopefully someone more experienced than me will chime in.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    "Great Green Way", Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    394

    Default Re: Rookie split question

    Quote Originally Posted by Kong View Post
    Forgot to say these are top bar hives.
    G'day.
    If possible upload pix of selective brood frames to
    save a thousand words, as they say :-)
    Attached hopefully is an inline image of the degree of resolution and contrast
    which could offer some sufficient insight in comment.

    To get your pix, remove all bees and find suitable lighting for best results.

    Cheers.

    Bill
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by eltalia; 07-09-2017 at 03:28 AM. Reason: pix_edit

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Rookie split question

    Pics will Surely help. And I am sure beekeepers with experience that Best Mine can tell you exactly what to do from just a few. But be sure to explain EXACTLY what is going on as they will make their determination or a WAG. on what you tell them.

    There are many possibilities here. Since we do not have the dates at our disposal it is imposable to do the bee math and determine the more likely probability.

    It could be a AR1 stated and you moved the queen over to the split. Depending on when in May this split was done. It could be that the parent hive has only recently completed the queening/breeding process and the queen is just getting settled in. Figure 30 days from the split and that would give you the time to develop breed and begin to lay. So basically if the split was done in late May the queen has only been laying since late June.

    The other alternative is as AR1 stated and a queenless situation has occurred. I sort of lean toward the former as removing the queen with the split would have still left eggs in the parent hive. A queenless hive would almost immediately draw emergency supersedure queens.

    We must consider that any hive that has gone queenless for a period is going to go through a cycle of brood hatching out and leaving the hive brood less . All the brood present when the hive went queenless would be gone in 24 days. It would take another 21 days before the first worker eggs laid will hatch resulting in a decline in adult bees.

    Another possibility: (Again without seeing the cells it is difficult to determine weather these may be swarm or supersedure cells) Is that they were swarm cells and the split did not dissuade the swarm instinct. So while you were away the parent swarmed and you are now seeing the decline of aged bees after the post swarm brood break. In any event As long as you have worker brood in both hives at this point. I would not be concerned.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Rookie split question

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts.
    Dates: Split hive on May 30th. Arrived home from business trip June 18th so probably looked at the hives on June 20th and that's when they both looked great.
    Brood: As far as I can see there is worker brood at the moment and no drone brood. I can see large larvae and very small larvae so I guess the queen is somewhere laying but I didn't see her today when I went through every bar. I have about 10 bars that look similar to the ones in the photos, all with worker brood, more or less in the center of the comb. I have about 6-8 bars with capped and uncapped honey and pollen.
    Queen cells: After reading more I realize the queen cells were definitely swarm cells because they are on the side of the comb.

    Hypothesis: Hive swarmed without me realizing a week or so ago, after I had got home. Does that seem reasonable? If so, do I just need to wait this out and the hive will rebuild?

    Thanks again for your thoughts and expertise.

    20170709_105413.jpg20170709_105410.jpg

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    "Great Green Way", Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    394

    Default Re: Rookie split question

    Quote Originally Posted by Kong View Post
    (edit)
    Brood: As far as I can see there is worker brood at the moment and no drone brood. I can see large larvae and very small larvae so I guess the queen is somewhere laying but I didn't see her today when I went through every bar.
    (edit)
    ...mmmmmm
    From those pix and the story?
    Give it a few days for those smaller wrigglers to be capped off and go have another inspection of all frames.
    IF those caps are then drone caps you might seek further help on correcting aTBH laying worker colony.
    My own knowledge on TBH management being in development stage
    I would be hesitant to advise a way forward for a LW colony in a TBH


    Cheers.

    Bill

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Rookie split question

    Your Hypothesis is well within reason. The fact that you have brood in all larval stages would indicate that there was a queen there 4 days ago. It appears as there are eggs in some of the cells in the pic, But could be just a glint. Since you have brood young brood in a good pattern surrounding the capped brood odds are good you have a queen. Although laying workers will lay in worker cells they rarely lay such a prolific pattern!
    My guess is that you will be fine and the bee numbers will pick up once that capped brood begins to hatch. Let us know how it works out!

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Rookie split question

    Sigh. Still confused. It seems that the brood from the previous photos (five days earlier) has mostly been capped and it is worker brood. I couldn't really see any signs of eggs or small larvae when I was out there in the sun with my bee hat on. Now that I can zoom in on the photo it looks like there are some eggs and smaller larvae but it sure isn't much. I went through every comb and didn't see the queen but I rarely do even when I know there is one.

    20170714_123043.jpg20170714_123006.jpg

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hotlanta, GA
    Posts
    764

    Default Re: Rookie split question

    I don't think anything seems that strange. I agree with Tenbears, either you took the queen by accident into the new split or the original hive swarmed even after the split. Either way, the original hive had to wait for a new queen to hatch and get mated to start laying again. Personally I think you missed some QCs and they swarmed, just wait and they'll build back up.
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

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