Requeening...
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Thread: Requeening...

  1. #1
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    Question Requeening...

    I looked through the Queen forum and I really didn't find what I was looking for. Most subjects on that forum were pretty advanced! How late in the season in PA can a new queen be introduced into a seemingly weak hive?...

    Thanks...1/33rd

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    It really depends on "why" they are weak and how many workers are still there. A queen "could" be introduced in the dead of winter in PA and be accepted, but if there are not enough workers, the hive is still doomed. It would be best if the hive can get a couple rounds of healthy brood emerging for the winter bees before the queens shut down brood production. And she won't lay a lot if they are lite on stores or there are not enough nurse bees to care for the larvae.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    It really depends on "why" they are weak and how many workers are still there. A queen "could" be introduced in the dead of winter in PA and be accepted, but if there are not enough workers, the hive is still doomed. It would be best if the hive can get a couple rounds of healthy brood emerging for the winter bees before the queens shut down brood production. And she won't lay a lot if they are lite on stores or there are not enough nurse bees to care for the larvae.
    I believe the "why" is the colony swarmed about a month ago. I had many many bees and then "all of a sudden" I noticed not many at the entrance. I looked the other day and there are bees in the hive, but not so many...

    I thought if they swarmed, there might not be a queen...

    I didn't look into the bottom deep (I have 2 deeps)--maybe I should have. But I probably need someone with much more experience to look at it with me...

    Guess I'll wait to hear other answers, or just hope for the best this winter. We do insulate the box and we do feed occasionally during mini-warm ups in the winter months...

    Thanks...1/33rd

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    I'd strongly recommend that you take a look in the bottom 2 brood boxes this weekend and get a few photos of the frames of bees/brood to post here. If the bees did swarm, they usually leave behind queen cells, and a virgin queen will mate and take over the colony. It is getting kinda late for that sort of thing.

    However, we see a fair amount of absconds this time of year due to high pest pressures in the hive. Also you might see a reduction in worker bees and brood due to high mite loads. If you take some photos and upload them on this post, I'm sure there will be plenty of armchair beekeepers willing to give you advice on your status of your hive.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    I'd strongly recommend that you take a look in the bottom 2 brood boxes this weekend and get a few photos of the frames of bees/brood to post here. If the bees did swarm, they usually leave behind queen cells, and a virgin queen will mate and take over the colony. It is getting kinda late for that sort of thing.

    However, we see a fair amount of absconds this time of year due to high pest pressures in the hive. Also you might see a reduction in worker bees and brood due to high mite loads. If you take some photos and upload them on this post, I'm sure there will be plenty of armchair beekeepers willing to give you advice on your status of your hive.
    Pretty good way of killing a thread ... ?
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    little john; I thought about a similar reply but then decided that Ruth did not intend the derogatory connotation to the "armchair" beekeeper description. Other than that it seems like good advice given: if it was intended, then indeed, sickem!
    Frank

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    there was nothing derogatory intended when I said "armchair beekeeper". I'm sitting here in my blue lazy boy recliner browsing beesource. The OP was hoping for someone with more experience to go through the 2 bottom boxes with him.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    there was nothing derogatory intended when I said "armchair beekeeper". I'm sitting here in my blue lazy boy recliner browsing beesource. The OP was hoping for someone with more experience to go through the 2 bottom boxes with him.
    Yep, that's what I wish could happen, but not too likely in my area...

    So, a few pics might help with more experienced people looking at it...

    This I'll try, but it's pretty difficult to take pics and do the removing of the super and top deep. But, it seems it might be best for me to attempt it...

    Thanks...1/33rd

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    1/33rd

    You do seem to be in a bad spot. It is late in the season to be discovering this situation. Some people may be wondering why, yet not wanting to be the bearer of bad news or seeming to interrogate you about details of what your management of the hive has been.

    You have not given us much information to work with regarding your age and stage and the history of the colony. Any mite treatments or treatment free?
    Frank

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    The hive is in its 2nd year and I did get honey in July…

    It was a very strong hive until a couple of months ago…

    I admit it has not been treated for mites—this is my fault. I had hoped to see this done, but never could hook-up with someone to observe. Would it be too late to treat for mites now?...

    So, I reckon I will just try to get to the bottom deep sometime in the near future or just hope for the best. Maybe feed them as fall advances into winter to try to get them some stores…

    I did insulate the box last year and feed them during warm spells in Dec., Jan., and Feb. They did well…

    I certainly would advise a person just starting out to have an experienced beekeeper to get advice from, possibly hands-on help, if an “emergency” begins…

    But, so far we have learned quite a bit and we now have all of our boxes with many frames of drawn comb. So, maybe in the spring if this colony doesn’t make it, we can get a swarm or a split from someone…

    Live and learn as is much of life…

    Thanks…1/33rd

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    MITES the one word answer to your problems. I think the conventional "wisdom" that some hives abscond in the fall is a fallacy. Almost all the fall absconds fit textbook varroa crash way more than they would the bees abandoning their hive in fall making the death of the colony inevitable. Fall absconds don't pass the smell test imo. Treat for mites even if it turns out its queenless and you are going to add a queen. Winter coming mites need to be destroyed!

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    Well, just got my hive treated by using OAV...

    The guy that is showing my how to do this indicted it should be done 2 times more on a 10 day cycle...

    Hopefully, this will help to let the hive get through winter, if mites is the problem...

    Thanks...1/33rd

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    I would still post pictures of you open and capped brood. A picture's worth a thousand words.

    But it is likely mites.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    Just took a look at my hive and there is activity at the entrance and within a radius of about 25 feet from there…

    The bees are flying away from the hive, circling, and then returning to the front area of the box…

    I don’t see any leaving and going in a direction to forage—they are staying in the immediate area…

    I wonder if this has to do with the OAV treatment I did yesterday?...

    I’ve never seen them do this before…

    Any thoughts?...

    Thanks…1/33rd

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    Sounds like cleansing or orientation flights to me.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    Orientation of new flying school bees! I would wager that if you try to follow individual bees path you will find that most are flying a figure of eight course. I have not seen any disruption of the bees business beyond a few minutes after vaporization. OA dribble might cause longer disruption but I have no experience with that process.
    Frank

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    1/33, you MUST get into the hive and see what is going on. Watching the bees from the outside tells you very little. Even if the weather conditions are less than favorable, you need look at both boxes to see what is happening inside.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    1/33, you MUST get into the hive and see what is going on. Watching the bees from the outside tells you very little. Even if the weather conditions are less than favorable, you need look at both boxes to see what is happening inside.
    I agree and I am working with an experienced bee keeper to have him look at it with me. I am sort of at his “mercy” as to timing…

    I could “tear” the hive box all apart and look at each deep, but in all honesty, I would not know exactly what I was looking for. As is known in life’s trials and tribulations, lack of experience in any situation can be a problem and lead to unfortunate outcomes…

    I have read several books, watched many videos and talked to other bee keepers in my area, but until one has actual “hands-on” experience that is watched by a journeyman, it can be time wasted and wrong decisions made…

    The other day, a keeper came and showed me how to OAV and now I have the tools ordered and will do the 2nd and 3rd treatment…

    Time teaches, but sometimes time runs out…

    But so far, we have kept things going for 18 months and have harvested ~50 pounds of honey and we are looking forward to our 2nd hive next spring. Hopefully, we can nurse the present hive through our sometimes-harsh PA winters…

    Thanks…1/33rd

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    Well, I registered the hive with The Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Some may cringe on getting a government inspector involved, but at least I got a fairly in-depth look into my hive by an experienced person…

    There is almost no honey in the one and only super on top of the 2 deeps. The inspector indicated it looked like they were taking that small amount of honey and filling in the empty cells in the 2 deeps. There were maybe 20% of the cells in the deeps not filled, but it appeared they did contain some nectar. Pollen cells were also noted. No queen cells…

    I did an OAV about 5 days before the inspection and the inspector did a sugar roll test. We did find mites. Today I do the next OAV and then the final one 10 days from now. I have read that is the method…

    He suggested I start feeding them to try to help them get some reserves for winter—this I am doing…

    Should I remove the fondant before I do the OAV? Will the oxalic acid cause problems for the bees as they consume the fondant?...

    The inspector stayed about 2 hours and I think he gave me good advice and at least I got to look into the bottom deep. We didn’t really look for the queen though…

    Moving forward. I reckon if we can get this colony through winter we will continue the hobby. If not, then a decision will need to be made…

    Thanks…1/33rd

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Requeening...

    " Today I do the next OAV and then the final one 10 days from now. I have read that is the method…"

    Where did you read that you should wait 10 days between OAV treatments? The label recommends every 7 days but many feel that only 5 days between treatments is advisable.
    Frank

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