I just killed both my queens, am I crazy? - Page 2
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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
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    2,897

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by mchrist152 View Post
    I could split both hives since I have the equipment. That would give me 4 queens and 4 chances for a successful mating flight. I'll have to think about that.

    I still think an August queen might save the day if needed. There are eggs and brood in both hives. They should hatch out later this month. That means there will be young bees in the hives at the beginning of August. Given a 6 week lifetime they should make it to Sep.
    IF there are present eggs - you maybe OK then.
    Eggs are good to have right now.
    Sounds like you have a good, workable plan.
    Once you see capped QCs - you have about 1 week to make up temp mating splits.
    Few days ago I was splitting myself too - while the new queens were already hatching - trying prevent unwanted QC destruction and improving my recovery chances (a queen-less hive, potentially).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,768

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    It’s good to have some nucs around. Then if you want to make a hive queenless you just pull the frame of brood with the queen and another frame of honey and put them in the nuc. Then if they don’t succeed in raising a new queen and getting her mated, you can always put her back. If they succeed you can always keep the queen around for spare parts or you can drop her in a jar of alcohol for swarm lure.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,763

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Ruth, do you notice the return rate improving as it gets later in the summer? After my dismal mid-summer returns last year, I got about 75% late August. Too bad that is not really a good time to be making nucs, but I was able to get so so queens in all the queenless nucs after combining them. Most suprising was a mid Sept. swarm that produced a mated queen. I caught that one and had the daughter too.
    I've had them successfully well-mated into Oct but I don't know if my percentage really improves over the summer percentage. I keep a queen castle going April to Oct and try and let my newly mated queens lay for a couple of weeks before I pull them and add another cell. Unless I'm supplemental feeding, the cell building isn't that great in July/Aug so I tend to let them go a bit longer in the queen castle before pulling. Supplemental feeding in the hive in July/Aug can cause robbing, so I just tend to slack off the queen rearing. I would not make a ton of queen cells in Sept around here because I've shifted focus into building up the overwintering nucs so they are the proper weight and population. I only have one or two going then, just to see what my return rate is, but that doesn't make for a good "data set" to let you know if it gets any better.

  5. #24
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Hot Springs, AR, USA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Locate the closest club, these are local beekeepers. Usually someone in the club will have queens or know someone who does. Also clubs are a great place to get 40-50 more opinions about how to do something.

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Portland,Tennessee
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    I have used Mel's OTS method for several years. Works flawlessly for me but I don't kill my old queens. I believe Mel suggests using old queens to make up nucs. If you don't want to increase, kill old queen AFTER new queen is mated & laying to your liking.

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    563

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by mchrist152 View Post
    This is really useful input, if only I had posted before I killed the queens Anyway, the only plan B I can think of is to buy a new queen if I'm not seeing any eggs by Aug. Now i don't know how hard that will be since I've never tried to buy a queen at that time but I may find out. Barring that, if the worst case scenario happens and I have no viable queens and cannot purchase one, I start over next year a little wiser and a little poorer.
    Yes I would post for feedback and ideas on improved plans prior to killing the Queens. It is difficult to take good advise post incident.
    You will find out what happens this way. When queen hatching and mating I put something colorful on the lid of the hive. Kids toys are the current trick, a blue sand pail, a green turtle, a red car. Something to help mark the spot for her to return. If your hive is white then add something for 2 weeks to help the new queen with orientation. Once she is laying it is no longer needed.
    GG
    GG

  8. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Windsor, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Thanks unstunghero! I have joined a club and it has been very beneficial. But there are a ton of different opinions and, so, in the end one has to pick some that make sense and try them. Especially pick opinions that address problems encountered in the past - like mites. That is what I am in the process of doing and I have talked with beekeepers in my area that have killed the queen and notched the comb in early July with good results

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Windsor, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Thanks beemantn. Mel talks about dispatching the queen but doesn't really explain what that means. He also tries to rationalize killing a queen after only about a month of laying so I equated dispatching a queen with killing her but I may have gotten that wrong.

  10. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,733

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    You got it right, dispatch means kill. Mel however, has more than two hives. You need to adjust some of the advice to fit your situation.

    Regarding the opinions at your bee club, if it is anything like mine, there are really only a few experienced folks there. Most are newbees or beehavers that really do not have much to offer other than what they saw on Youtube. To help separate wheat from the chaff, do not take advice from a beekeeper that has to buy bees every year, or complains of high losses year over year.

    Most things in beekeeping do make sense and you knew it when you felt guilty about killing your productive queen. Listen to those insticts.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Windsor, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Just an update: I went in today and split both hives. One hive had 5 queen cells. I left 2 in the original hive, moved 2 to the new hive and dispatched one. I also decided to split the other hive to increase the number of mating flights and thus increasing the odds of a successful one. The second hive had only 2 queens cells. I left one in the original hive and moved the other to a new hive. BTW, the bees didn't use the notches I created at all. They instead created beautiful queen cells all by themselves. Things are going as planned so the real test will be how many well mated queens, if any, I end up with in Aug. Thanks again everybody for your wisdom and thoughts.

  12. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Koeru, Järvamaa, Estonia
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    That is a good idea to lower your risks like that. Provided you manage to keep enough bees in each new split to take care of the brood, the queen and defend from robbers. I had issues with European Hornets harassing my smallest split (the original queen of the hive). things looked hairy for a bit since I did not notice it straight away. Luckily I had provided enough emerging brood for them to bounce back and bolster their defenses after a couple days.

    As it stands now, I'm waiting anxiously to be able to get into the main hive again. The second split with queen cells was ok when I checked them a week ago - the Queen had just started laying. The original nuc is doing great as well, lots of fresh capped brood. Main hive however had no eggs yet. We've had a lot of rain over the past week, so have not been able to check again. Hopefully there'll be a clear break in the next few days so I can take a peek. If there are no eggs, I'll either combine the hive with one of the nucs, or alternatively split all the resources between the two.
    EU Hardiness Zone 5-6

  13. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Windsor, Colorado, USA
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    14

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Here's another update, yesterday I had one of my hives swarm. I think it had to be one of the one's with 2 queen cells and i think I know which one since I saw some bees on the ground in front of that hive. Anyway, I caught the swarm in a nuc box I made since I have no more full size hives. I will leave them there as insurance against a failed mating flight in one of the other hives.

  14. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    431

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Great luck that you saw it and caught it! I worked so hard to catch a swarm, headed by a breeder queen who was faltering (but they decided to swarm instead of supercede, there were lots of bees in that hive). THen the next morning, less than 24 hrs later, the bees were NOT IN THE DANG HIVE!!! they had absconded after I spent an hour trying to get bees on the ground into the hive with various cockamimie techniques. (I missed the box a bit when I swung the branch down).

    That swarm may well be headed by a virgin queen. You'll know soon, because either there will be eggs in less than 5 days (especially if you can offer resources, if there is no nectar flow or low stores in nuc u made up). Or there won't be eggs for at least 10, because her majesty has to go out and mate, then start laying. It's OK to decide you want a certain number of hives, and to "return" the swarm to another location - once that queen is back mated, or it is 3 weeks from when the swarm emerged and no eggs/brood. It's really not possible to find a virgin queen in a hive, unless it's pretty low in bee pop - she is smaller than when she's laying, and moves faster.

    And I miss queen cells if I don't shake off every ever-lovin bee off the comb when looking. I try to leave one, maybe 2, in a strong hive, to minimize virgin queen-headed swarms. Stinkers. Good luck!

  15. #34
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Windsor, Colorado, USA
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    14

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Here's an update:

    First the good news: hive 1 looks great with a mated queen and plenty of eggs, larva, capped brood, and honey and a great laying pattern. The nuc hive that I caught a swarm probably from hive 1 has a queen and is growing well. It has eggs, larva and capped brood. Although the brood is small celled the cap appears to be domed so I'm not sure if it is worker brood or drone brood and, consequently, if I have a fertile queen.

    Now the bad news: hive 2, 3, have no queen or sign of a queen. Plenty of honey but that is it.

    Now for the ugly: hive 4 appears to have laying workers as I see multiple eggs per cell in a random pattern. If anybody has suggestions on what to do with this hive I would very much appreciate them.

    I'm thinking I will combine hive 3 with 1 and the nuc with hive 2. Probably leave the laying worker hive alone until I figure out what to do with it. Advice welcome.

  16. #35
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    431

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Yes.... fun with queen rearing, right?

    For the nuc, the domed cappings are not a good thing to see, as you are aware... now, are worker cells being converted into domed cells? that's the clincher right there. I have seen a young queen lay drone cells IN drone comb, but that was a patch that was ALREADY drone comb, not worker cells converted to drone comb. That queen may be hard to find; give them a frame of eggs from hive 1, see if the nuc tries to supercede?

    And since WINTER is coming (with you being in CO), great point about combining queenless (but not laying worker) hives now with queenright ones. I'm not sure you want to combine 2, 3 and nuc with 1 though. I would definitely not do it on the same day if so!

    So, you have 1 queenright hive. There is just enough time to try to get a queen mated before frost, yes? Why not add a frame of eggs/larvae to each of your queenless hives (not the laying worker one)? 3 chances at a mated queen.

    DO NOT BUY A QUEEN AND INSTALL INTO ANY OF THESE HIVES.... if the hives with honey only are actually on their way to becoming laying workers, they won't accept a new queen. Wait until they take a frame with eggs/larvae and make queen cells - then they would be ready to accept a mated queen.

    Laying worker hive: if you can, add a frame with young larvae (like, tiny, not worm-sized) once a week until they build queen cells.

    So, some options. Just remember that unless a given hive makes queen cells, it is not going to be able to accept a mated queen. And the hives with "just honey" might be further along the laying-worker path that you'd expect, and give you a nasty surprise if you try to introduce a queen... I had that happen this year!

    Once the laying worker hive is "cured", redistributing the resources is easy. Try to freeze the frames now, to kill the brood, so they aren't ruined by being turned into drone cells. Maybe put them into the nuc?

  17. #36
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Windsor, Colorado, USA
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    14

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Thanks trishbookworm,

    I've basically combined hive 1 (the queen right hive) with hive 3 which definitely did not have a queen. I had a barrier separating them (since I don't have any newspaper) but have since removed it and they appear to be getting along fine.

    I've also combined hive 2 and the nuc. I think the nuc has a mated queen but not sure. I will have to watch this one carefully. The combine seems to have worked well as I'm seeing no fighting or contention of any kind. But is the queen mated well, that is the question I need to answer.

    Regarding hive 4 (the potential laying worker hive) I'm leaving it alone for now. Most of the cells look normal with one egg laid in the middle. Only a few cells have multiple eggs in them. From my research, the multiple eggs could also be caused by an inexperienced queen just learning how to lay properly. So I'm going to look at this one again in a week to see if it has capped brood and, if so, is it drone or worker brood. If I find worker brood then I should be ok. We will see.

  18. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Koeru, Järvamaa, Estonia
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    If it's only some cells with 2-3 eggs in them, I would not worry about it. It's most likely just a new queen getting the hang of it. I had one of my two queens do the same for a bit at the beginning. She's just overperforming

    In laying worker situations there are usually dozen or more eggs in each cell.
    EU Hardiness Zone 5-6

  19. #38
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Windsor, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: I just killed both my queens, am I crazy?

    Hi Thucar,

    I'm hoping that is the case. I'm a little reluctant to jump to conclusions on any of this until I 99% sure. I may lose some hive that way but I think it's the best way to learn.

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