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Bees teach me something new.

579 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  canderson1867
We had a very mild winter here in Dothan, AL and in Feb. when I usually start feeding, I found they had not consumed any of the honey left in the hive and the queen was starting to increase laying. I added a medium super of drawn comb and they filled it with capped honey by the end of Mar. The bees were bearding about a foot and a half up the front and in back sides of the hive so I added another full super with drawn comb. I ordered a queen with the idea of splitting the hive since I now had five full size supers and one medium. When I opened the hive to spllit, I found 20 used queen cells with tops chewed off.
I also found about 20 more in the development stage but no larva. In fact there was no brood to be found in any super and only a hand full of drones. No evidence of a new queen in the hive. I went ahead and installed the new queen in the top super and placed an excluder on the top of the bottom super with idea that if the newly hatched queen was on a mating absence I did not want her to come back and kill off the new queen. Today, I checked and the new queen is filling the top super with new eggs and a whole lot of drones were now in the hive. I went down to the bottom super below the excluder and found over 50 drones had died stuck in the excluder and a lot more wondering around the lower super. I also found one frame with new eggs in the bottom super. The eggs were all on the bottom of the cells and not the sides. Not sure if it is workers laying.
I took two full supers off that were below the laying queen and a full medium off above the laying queen. Will check back in a couple of weeks to see what is happing. By decreasing hive size, existing bees can defend it. Since it is full flow on honey, they will begin to die off as they work themselves to death. May have to take another super off as population decreases. If there is a new queen in that bottom super, should I go ahead and split her off with support bees from the good hive? I am picking up three new packages from Rossman in May. I think this is a wait and see game. I have been learning from bees here since 2003. I usually run three hives, but have lost a few along the way. Two to farmer spraying insecticide and one that the whole bee population disappeared. I saved 60 lbs of honey that was left in the hive. No swarm cells, no dead bees. Mystery!
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5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
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IMO if you have eggs centered in the bottom of the cells in the bottom they have a queen down there. If you want increase I would split.
Since you paid for and know the queen you purchased, I would leave her at the old location, move the hatched one away.
Keep in mind overwintered, bees are also a good kind of bee.
IF the Drones hatched in the top with no entrance, they would attempt to get out thru the excluder. That needs be remedied, else the top will fill with drones trying to get out, or the excluder will get blocked enough to be an issue.
Also with 1 excluder the 2 Queens "CAN" sting each other to death, I have seen that before. playing 2 queen games is better done with 2 excluders, 1 of which is wood bound, or place a super inbetween.

Keep up the learning

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10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Gray Goose,
The drones in the upper section came up through the excluder. There were no brood cells at all when I opened the hive three days ago. I will let them settle for a day and then recheck the lower section. If there are more eggs, I will pull it off and set it in another location. There is plenty of honey in lower super and room for new brood. A split should be easy and let them do what they do naturally. Have fun. I have never used an excluder before so this is all new experience. Thanks again.
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