In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Frederick, MD
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    Default In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?

    This single layer (shallow frame over three deep frames) is in mid-MD at the Earth, Space & Science Lab. Has a marked red queen from this year. It is packed to bulging with bees. All three deeps have large areas of capped brood. Top shallow is full of capped stores. I cannot imagine how this colony will hold any more bees. This morning found a queen cell being worked by many bees. It is on the bottom bar of the middle deep frame. About a three of found days until capped. Staff is looking for more queen cells. It would be three weeks before this new queen would return mated (assuming there are sufficient drones still out there.) I am thinking of going in and removing the frame with the cell along with adhering bees and replace with frame of drawn come. This would remove the cell, a ton of bees as well as many soon-to-emerge workers. I am hoping it will turn off the urge to swarm switch. Is this a good idea? I would not want them to swarm this late in the year. What do you think I should do? )I advised them to stop feeding 1:1 which they have been feeding constantly for weeks and weeks and weeks. The bees go through a quart every other day.)

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,774

    Default Re: In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?

    The constant feeding can be a problem in OB Hives as the queen thinks there is a flow going on. But with only one queen cell, do you really feel it is a swarm, or possibly a supercedure? I like the idea of going in and taking out the frame with the queen cell and giving them a new frame to work on.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Frederick, MD
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    56

    Default Re: In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?

    ruthiesbees, yes, I agree. I overlooked the problems with constant feeding. There is only one queen cell that has been spotted so far. They are still looking. Swarm cells are usually plentiful, so there being so few might be indicative of it being a supersedure cell, instead. I know they know more than I do, but the queen seems to be doing so well! Thanks for the tips.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
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    1,740

    Default Re: In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?

    I have a packed observation hive that has had 2 queens for about 8 weeks now, the white marked queen has not been seen for a few days now and she might have passed on. I am not feeding them as they have stores available but brood rearing seems to have closed down quite a lot. I would remove the frame with the queen cell and get it into a nuc and see how they go and I would replace the frame taken with foundation to give some of the young bees someplace to put their wax other than on the inside of the glass.
    Johno

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Frederick, MD
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    56

    Default Re: In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?

    Johno, I am in mid-MD. Is this a good time of year for the bees to be drawing comb? If we stop feeding, which I think we should, they would not have a source of carbs to make wax, right? I have some frames that are 50% drawn. Maybe it would be a good idea to replace a fame with one of those. What do you think?

  7. #6
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    Dec 2011
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    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
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    1,740

    Default Re: In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?

    Davemal, I would rather the nurse bees had somewhere to put their wax as I have seen them depositing wax onto the glass just from the wax that is oozing out of their belly scales and eventually you can hardly see through the glass. I think if the newly emerged bees need new comb even for brood they will build it but in any case half drawn comb should do the Job.
    John

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    addison,maine,USA
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    122

    Default Re: In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?

    Davemal
    I'm sorry to tell you, you have an short term display hive there. To house a year-round colony you need twice that space. A double-wide 6 deep frame hive is probably minimum for your area and double-wide helps( contrary to some, you will see the Queen often in a double wide).
    My suggestion is keep an extra yard=hive, with queen, somewhere outside and service from it, your inside Display hive often, exchanging brood from the inside hive and adding capped honey going into Winter. You should let your inside hive swarm, maybe twice and when and if it needs something, add it from your outside hive.
    There's a chance your display hive might abscound if it thinks it's to weak.
    Just my opinion.
    Mark
    Bonterra Bees

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,135

    Default Re: In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?

    Small ones can be done, I maintained a 2 frame (one above the other) observation hive for several years in the lounge of my house with the bees coming and going through a tube in the wall. It did have an artificial heat source though.

    I fed it as needed, and periodically removed surplus bees by trapping them out and they would get added to some other hive. The odd time in winter they got weak also, as it was a pretty artificial set up, and I remedied that by adding bees shaken from another hive.

    Essentially, observation hives are not how bees would normally choose to live, and need to be managed fairly intensively.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?

    Oldtimer, can you explain how you trap out bees to reduce the population in an OH? Do you attach a cone to the entrance? Don't bees that leave just cluster on the wall trying to get back in? Do you then brush them into a box and take them away? Also, how do you add bees? I assume you take the colony outside, open the door, tilt it back and shake bees onto the existing frames as best you can, right?

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,812

    Default Re: In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?

    >What do you think I should do? )I advised them to stop feeding 1:1 which they have been feeding constantly for weeks and weeks and weeks. The bees go through a quart every other day.)

    I think you should help them find a hive manager with more common sense.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,135

    Default Re: In mid-MD OBH packed with bees! What to do?

    Davemal yes, pretty much what you said. I used a porter bee escape slightly modified to make it a bit more fullproof, but also because of the bees relentlessly trying to force their way back in I made a little device with a fake entrance hole and trapped returning field bees in that. There was also a hole on top of the hive for feeding via an inverted jar if needed, and I could attract bees out of that if needed.
    To add bees, I just put some bees in a package for 24 hours then ran them in the front door.

    The issue with the hive was that if a full frame of brood hatched the hive overcrowded rapidly. As from your pic, it would seem you have discovered also! It is necessary to devise some way of removing them.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

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