My hives have some issues and I am lost
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  1. #1
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    Default My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Backstory: Hive #1 was booming. I made a split and transferred the queen to the new hive. I opened the original hive today to look for eggs (I transferred the queen to the split by chance) and found many multiples of queen cells all over frames in the top and bottom brood boxes. The hive had a super with 5 frames of nectar, and another super with the beginning of 2 frames of nectar. I noticed a lot of the empty cells in the brood boxes were getting filled with nectar. Hive #2 has a very spotty brood pattern, which also resembles drone brood. Its not a full bubble cap like I am used to seeing but looks slightly raised. All other available room is being filled with nectar. The hive was full of bees but I found 1 queen cell. I did not see any eggs. Bottom box is nearly all nectar and stores. I placed a frame of eggs from the split into hive #2 with hopes they might make another queen cell from it. I triple checked the frame from the split to make sure I did not transfer the queen into hive #2.

    Do I leave hive #1 alone for 3 weeks and hope a new queen emerges and mates? What about the fact that the bees will continue to fill space in the brood chamber with nectar? Should I pull nectar frames out to make room and run the risk of damaging queen cells? I had issues last year with my hives swarming, then filling up with nectar, then the new queen had no space and swarmed again.

    Do I wait another week and check hive #2 again for QC? Could the spotty brood pattern be to lack of space or a bad queen? If its a bad queen, do I find her, eliminate her, and then place eggs from the split again and hope for a new queen to be raised? Should I pull nectar frames from this hive as well?

    Lastly, should I be feeding the split? Flow is strong right now and I live near a large apple orchard so the bees are bringing the nectar in big time.

    I know that is a lot of info and a lot of questions but I really don't know what the best route is. Thanks to anyone with help.

    EDIT: The split was created 8 days before I checked them yesterday
    Last edited by Johnnymms; 05-26-2020 at 06:14 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    I am not smart enough to help you but do think that if you would put how long ago you made the split, we could see the time line and that may help with possible answers .
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  4. #3
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Thanks for the reply. I edited the original post to show when the split was created

  5. #4
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    I again am not really smart enough to give good advice but give my impression.
    I would wait 30 days from capped queen cells before I got worried. I might wait a little longer even before making any adjustment. I cannot see eggs and so have to rely on big larva or capped brood to know for sure. I also don't find the queen very often.

    I would not worry about feed on whatever hive is sitting in the original location cause that is where the bulk of the foragers will be. I would feed all others. You are a bit colder then me and my hive went though quite a bit of stores till now. We have had lots of rain and poor weather.

    Some hints that things might be going ok will be if you see little circles in the frames where the bees are cleaning cells for future queen laying. They will usually be circles with some stores on the edges.

    If something does not work out you can always combine. It takes a lot of time to be sure of a bred queen and is a hard wait. It might happen earlier but some of mine were 30 days plus before I knew.
    I hope I help more then hurt.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  6. #5
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    I'm lost too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnymms View Post
    Backstory: Hive #1 was booming. I made a split and transferred the queen to the new hive. I opened the original hive today to look for eggs (I transferred the queen to the split by chance) and found many multiples of queen cells all over frames in the top and bottom brood boxes.
    Why would you look for eggs 8 days after you took the queen out? No queen = no eggs. Queen cells are a good thing, if there is no queen there, leave them be and a new queen will be raised. It takes 16 days for a queen to hatch out, then some time to mature, get mated and begin laying.

    Were the queen cells already there when you made the split and removed the queen?

    The hive had a super with 5 frames of nectar, and another super with the beginning of 2 frames of nectar. I noticed a lot of the empty cells in the brood boxes were getting filled with nectar. Hive #2 has a very spotty brood pattern, which also resembles drone brood. Its not a full bubble cap like I am used to seeing but looks slightly raised. All other available room is being filled with nectar. The hive was full of bees but I found 1 queen cell. I did not see any eggs. Bottom box is nearly all nectar and stores. I placed a frame of eggs from the split into hive #2 with hopes they might make another queen cell from it.
    Why would you want them to make another queen cell, if there is already one there?

    I triple checked the frame from the split to make sure I did not transfer the queen into hive #2.
    Just exactly how many hives are you talking about here? Two hives, or three? You are telling us Hive #1, hive #2, and a 'split', which is which?

    Do I leave hive #1 alone for 3 weeks and hope a new queen emerges and mates?
    Yes.

    What about the fact that the bees will continue to fill space in the brood chamber with nectar? Should I pull nectar frames out to make room and run the risk of damaging queen cells? I had issues last year with my hives swarming, then filling up with nectar, then the new queen had no space and swarmed again.
    Leave them alone.

    Do I wait another week and check hive #2 again for QC? Could the spotty brood pattern be to lack of space or a bad queen? If its a bad queen, do I find her, eliminate her, and then place eggs from the split again and hope for a new queen to be raised?
    If you have multiple queen cells on multiple frames in another hive, then you would be better off to take a frame with queen cells from that hive, into this hive, instead of putting eggs in...if you want a new queen. How old is the queen that is there? If it is an old queen, then get rid of it and use a frame with queen cels to replace it- that is a much surer way than trying to go from eggs.

    Should I pull nectar frames from this hive as well?

    Lastly, should I be feeding the split? Flow is strong right now and I live near a large apple orchard so the bees are bringing the nectar in big time.
    If nectar is coming in, then there is no need to feed.

    I know that is a lot of info and a lot of questions but I really don't know what the best route is. Thanks to anyone with help.

    EDIT: The split was created 8 days before I checked them yesterday
    I'm not sure of the best route either, until you can be a little more clear on the situation.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
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  7. #6
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Thanks for the reply. Let me clarify my situation for you.

    I had 2 hives. I split hive 1 to create hive 3 (what i was referring to as the split in my original post). I now have 3 hives.

    When I split hive 1, found the queen but did not have another hive body ready. I replaced the frame, came back with a hive body, but had lost track of her. I pulled frames from a different area of the hive thinking there was less of a chance she would be on there. (I have since learned that you WANT to move the queen when doing a split). I created hive 3 with the thought that I left the queen in hive 1. Did I mention this was my first split ever?

    So when I opened hive 1 I was looking for eggs because I thought I had left the queen in there. During this inspection I discovered the multiple queen cells. Of course I did not find any eggs because unbeknownst to me the queen made the move into what became hive 3. Only after I checked hive 3 did I immediately see eggs and it became clear the queen was contained within.

    Hive 1 has multiple QC and the frames in all brood boxes are filling with nectar.

    Hive 2 has a scarce, spotty brood pattern and is also filling quickly with nectar in the brood boxes. I found 1 QC in hive 2. I pulled a frame of eggs from hive 3 to create space in hive 2 in case the queen just needed more room, OR if she had left/died it would give them some more material for making a new QC.

    Hive 3 I am not worried about. It seems to be growing and coming along nicely. I am worried about hive 1 and hive 2. I am worried hive 1 will become honey bound by the time a queen emerges and mates. I am worried that the queen in hive 2 is either bad, dead, or is going to swarm, leading to a similar situation with hive 2 becoming honey bound. I had both of my hives become honey bound last season and the bees swarmed 2 separate times due to a lack of usable space for the queen. I would like to avoid this happening again if I can.

    Now that you have more information what would your course of action be with hive 1 and 2?

  8. #7
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnymms View Post
    Thanks for the reply. Let me clarify my situation for you.

    I had 2 hives. I split hive 1 to create hive 3 (what i was referring to as the split in my original post). I now have 3 hives.

    When I split hive 1, found the queen but did not have another hive body ready. I replaced the frame, came back with a hive body, but had lost track of her. I pulled frames from a different area of the hive thinking there was less of a chance she would be on there. (I have since learned that you WANT to move the queen when doing a split). I created hive 3 with the thought that I left the queen in hive 1. Did I mention this was my first split ever?

    So when I opened hive 1 I was looking for eggs because I thought I had left the queen in there. During this inspection I discovered the multiple queen cells. Of course I did not find any eggs because unbeknownst to me the queen made the move into what became hive 3. Only after I checked hive 3 did I immediately see eggs and it became clear the queen was contained within.

    Hive 1 has multiple QC and the frames in all brood boxes are filling with nectar.

    Hive 2 has a scarce, spotty brood pattern and is also filling quickly with nectar in the brood boxes. I found 1 QC in hive 2. I pulled a frame of eggs from hive 3 to create space in hive 2 in case the queen just needed more room, OR if she had left/died it would give them some more material for making a new QC.

    Hive 3 I am not worried about. It seems to be growing and coming along nicely. I am worried about hive 1 and hive 2. I am worried hive 1 will become honey bound by the time a queen emerges and mates. I am worried that the queen in hive 2 is either bad, dead, or is going to swarm, leading to a similar situation with hive 2 becoming honey bound. I had both of my hives become honey bound last season and the bees swarmed 2 separate times due to a lack of usable space for the queen. I would like to avoid this happening again if I can.

    Now that you have more information what would your course of action be with hive 1 and 2?
    Ah, now I have a better picture.

    I would examine #2 closely and determine if there is or is not a queen present. If the queen is there, I would get rid of it. Being sure there is no queen, get rid of the single cell. Then, take one or more frames with queen cells, up to half the number of cells present, from #1 and move them into #2.

    Put supers on #1 to give them room to make honey for you while waiting for a queen to be produced and mated.

    If there are plenty of bees in #2, put supers on that one as well.

    With enough resources available and having some nuc boxes on hand, I would go one step further and make up a nuc with a frame of queen cells, two or three frames of brood and bees and one or two frames of honey. This nuc would serve as a back-up in the case of a failure of a new queen being mated from #1 or #2. In the event that both #1 and #2 successfully produce queens, and the nuc as well, you will now have the start of a 4th hive- if you have boxes and drawn comb available there is still time to build it up before Winter. If you have enough boxes but no drawn comb, there may still be time to build them up if you feed the heck out of them.

    If all are successful, and you don't want to start a 4th hive, you can either kill the queen in the nuc and distribute the resources to the other hives, or maybe sell it.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
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  9. #8
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Thank you for the great information. I am going to take another look in hive 2 this friday... I will scour the frames for the queen and act accordingly. One more question for you: If both hive 1 and 2 produce a mated queen, what do I do about the cells being full of nectar? And how soon should I address the problem? I am coming up on 2 weeks since I split hive 1. I would assume at least 2 more weeks until I would see any egg laying activity. Do I wait until then to address the nectar/honey problem? Sooner? Thanks again, you have been very helpful!

  10. #9
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Johnny
    Again, I am no expert and might be wrong. My opinion is that it takes a whole bunch of nectar and honey to raise brood and for the hive to grow, they will need a lot and go through a lot. If the bees are drawing wax, I would add space before I took out the stores. However, if they are not drawing wax and are not covering the space they have really densely I would leave it alone, they will need it.
    Good luck
    gww
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  11. #10
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnymms View Post
    Thank you for the great information. I am going to take another look in hive 2 this friday... I will scour the frames for the queen and act accordingly. One more question for you: If both hive 1 and 2 produce a mated queen, what do I do about the cells being full of nectar? And how soon should I address the problem? I am coming up on 2 weeks since I split hive 1. I would assume at least 2 more weeks until I would see any egg laying activity. Do I wait until then to address the nectar/honey problem? Sooner? Thanks again, you have been very helpful!
    You do not have much time left to accomplish this, it only takes 16 days from an egg being laid to a queen hatching out. Any egg up to 3 days and maybe a few hours more old can be converted to queen status. If any older eggs were used, they would be about to emerge any time now, or very soon. Depending on what time you try to do this on Friday, you could be too late.

    If a queen emerges before you get to them, one of the first things that is likely to happen is that the new queen will try to kill off the 'competition'. I would suggest that you make the transfers *today*, if at all possible. Queen emergence is a known and fairly firm factor, any leeway would be measured in hours rather than days. If you are lucky, perhaps only 'brand-new' eggs were used and you will still be in time on Friday morning, but this is in no way guaranteed, and *I* certainly wouldn't count on it.

    As far as the brood boxes being full of nectar, you will have a little more time to manage that. If the bees do not start moving it up into the supers and you have drawn comb available, you can replace some of the nectar-filled comb with empty, and distribute the nectar to other hives.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
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  12. #11
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    I'm not sure, but from reading this, it sounds like your two original hives have more than one box to use as a brood chamber. If that's true and they are 10 frame deeps, then I think it unlikely that any newly mated queen wouldn't be able to find a place to lay eggs. I say leave all three of them alone and wait for your new queens to emerge and get mated and start laying. Give them space if and when they need it after that.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Quote Originally Posted by roddo27846 View Post
    I'm not sure, but...
    Did you miss the part where he described what sounds like a hive with a failing queen and a single supercedure cell...which may or may not be viable?

    There are a lot of times when I'm in favor of the 'hands off' approach, and letting them figure it out themselves...but in this case, if it were *my* hives, I wouldn't risk it.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
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  14. #13
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Quote Originally Posted by BadBeeKeeper View Post
    Did you miss the part where he described what sounds like a hive with a failing queen and a single supercedure cell...which may or may not be viable?

    There are a lot of times when I'm in favor of the 'hands off' approach, and letting them figure it out themselves...but in this case, if it were *my* hives, I wouldn't risk it.
    Yeah, but what's wrong with letting the bees sort this out? Supercedure may be perfect. He's already put in another frame with eggs. What else should he do? Maybe he could buy a queen and pinch the old one, but I wouldn't. I would leave them alone and see what happens for the time being anyway. It all comes with some sort of risk.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Quote Originally Posted by roddo27846 View Post
    Yeah, but what's wrong with letting the bees sort this out? Supercedure may be perfect. He's already put in another frame with eggs. What else should he do? Maybe he could buy a queen and pinch the old one, but I wouldn't. I would leave them alone and see what happens for the time being anyway. It all comes with some sort of risk.
    Perhaps, if there were a number of likely viable cells. But if there is only one cell and that candidate is the 'best' they had, maybe despite their efforts it isn't good enough, a few hours too old, or even a complete dud.

    Why risk it, and waste time, when you have another hive packed to the gills with multiple frames of more-than-likely viable candidates? It's all about 'risk management', just like business, insurance or gambling. Even if you can't guarantee a 'sure thing', a frame full of cells provides you with much better odds of success.

    If he waits, and lets that single cell hatch out, and then waits some more to see if the result is viable, gets mated and starts laying...and it turns out to be a dud...now he risks that hive going 'laying worker' with a dwindling population, and it will take an additional month or so to get them to raise another queen with donor eggs from another hive. At that point he is now well into the month of July and will be racing against the clock to build up a population big enough, with enough stores to make it through the Winter.

    Why risk it, when there is a much surer solution right at hand with no additional time wasted? A little extra effort enables a much faster resolution, perhaps even with a honey crop in the Fall.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
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  16. #15
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Yeah, not sure what's going on with that one, for sure. I would like to see it for myself -- especially that single cell. Sounds like they may have already swarmed and he is looking at the last of the brood emerging leaving that spotty pattern. Might be a virgin in there already. Who knows? If he has extra cells -- might be smart to use some as insurance.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    So I wasn't able to get into the hives until today. We had showery weather Thursday and Friday and Saturday I couldn't get out to my hives due to a late workday (hives are located 30 min drive away). I opened up hive 3 and its coming along very nicely. Solid, nearly full frame capped brood and frames with solid eggs. They are drawing out 3-4 of the frames on a second brood box that I placed last week. I stacked it back up and moved on to hive 2 (the potential problem hive).

    Here is what I saw during inspection. Can you tell me if all these things are possible at the same time? I am confused yet again by what I saw and experienced. The first thing I was looking for was either signs of more eggs or the queen. I found plenty of empty cells, some capped brood, some larvae in various stages, and I am almost positive I saw some eggs. The eggs I think that I saw were not in a solid pattern. I saw small clumps of eggs here and there, but I was having a hard time discerning what, if anything, were in the cells that I saw as empty. Since I saw larvae in various stages it is very possible that I am just struggling to see the eggs on the frames in this hive. I came across the frame that had the original QC and it had a little "lid" attached but tilted off the end (imagine a tin can lid opened and tilted up). There were more QC on this frame now, and they were mostly capped. Since I saw eggs in some of the other frames, I decided to take this frame with the new QC and place it in a new hive body. I then pulled a honey/pollen frame and placed it in the new hive body as well.

    I scoured each frame for the queen and was down to the last two frames in the bottom brood box. I pulled the second to last frame and held it up to take a closer look and I heard a high pitched whining sound. I followed the sound until I saw what looked to be a bee darting around the frame being chased by another bee. The other bee was clinging to the others leg, almost as if it was attacking it. I didn't know what I should do so I continued to watch the the whining bee drag the other bee around the frame until it eventually climbed onto my hand as I was holding the frame. At this point the other bee left the whining bee alone and she just kind of crawled around my hand. I really had no idea what to do so I set the frame I was holding down and the noisy bee stayed on my hand. I began to observe her and she resembled a queen with the deeper amber colored abdomen, but the abdomen was a regular size and not elongated and fat. As I was watching it another bee flew close, then zeroed in on the "mini" queen. I thought it was going to attack it again but this time the bee looked as if it was feeding the mini queen. The mini queen then flew off my hand and landed on my chest. I eventually got her back on my hand.

    I am thinking this bee was a virgin queen? Why did it look as if a bee was attacking the virgin queen when I first saw her. I thought the whining sound could have been a sign the virgin queen was in distress. The leg the other bee was attached to did seem to move oddly when I observed her on my hand. I decided to put the noisy bee back in the hive, which she quickly crawled down into, and started the whining/buzzing sound again. I took the frames I moved to a new hive body with the QC on them and moved them back into hive 2. My thought process was that if that was a virgin queen and she was somehow damaged by that other bee (or by me somehow) I had better place the QC back into the hive for some insurance if she didn't make it.

    Does it sound like that was a virgin queen? Did I screw up by placing the QCs back into the hive? Is it possible to see eggs, larvae, QCs, capped brood, and a virgin queen all at the same time? I was not able to find a regular queen, though I did look hard. Hopefully I didn't just screw the hive by inspecting....

  18. #17
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Sometimes bees are mystifying. Since there is obviously a queen and maybe several, I think you did the right thing by putting things back like you found them and letting the bees sort it out. I think the queens are emerging after a swarm. They may be fighting for supremacy and the bees were probably getting ready to ball the queen which you found being attacked. She's probably a goner by now. The sound you heard was called piping and I understand it to be a queen calling out other queens when she is ready to fight to the death. The bees will figure this out, at least that is what I think. Maybe some others with more experience might speak on this predicament. I don't see how you could have all pf the things you listed at the same time, although anything seems to be possible with bees. Perhaps this is a supercedure in process and you have a laying mother and several daughter queens which have yet to be mated. I haven't witnessed such a thing myself, but maybe someone else here has. I've seen them ball a queen before but it was in a split that was making emergency queens. It was a fascinating thing to see and there was an additional queen already lying dead on the bottom board. I thought they had gone queenless, and had purchased a queen that I was about to put in, so you can imagine my surpise. Today, they are my strongest hive. I hope you have the same luck on this one.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: My hives have some issues and I am lost

    Unfortunately, I don't know what a 'piping' queen sounds like, I expect it is out of the range of my hearing. I lost some of my hearing in the Army, everything above 12,000Hz is gone completely. It gets better down lower, but I also have bad tinnitus that obscures some of the sounds I might be able to hear if I didn't have it.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
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