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I had a new hive (Im a hobbiest just starting up..its my first hive) that for whatever reasons up and left the hive after 4 weeks. this was 3 days ago that they left...two nights ago I went out and put lemon grass in in the hive and yesterday by noon I had bees all over the hive...so I am assuming that I either a. caught my own bees back...or b. caught someone else.s swarm.

The hive had one body and a honey super on top (I actually think that largely the reason they left The mistake of putting a honey super on before they had built out the body had them building all the comb and storing all the pollen and honey in the honey super meanwhile the queen was in the body with very little comb at all to lay and no access to the food stores..rookie mistake but their it is)

My question now though is considering that I caught SOMEthing with the lemon grass oil...what do I do now?

How long do I need to wait to let them settle in before I crack the hive and verify that we have a laying queen? I dont want to chase them off by opening up their new home before they settle in but at the same time Id like to verify that I have a queen in their too.

Also.. I had that honey super on top and while most of the in and out activity is occurring in the bottom entrance..some bees are using the ventilation hole in the inner cover and the space the outercover provides for ventilation (and of course in another rookie mistake I didn't so anything with the honey super yet so that small opening is also being used as an entrance..my concern is that the queen may have set up shop in the honey super).. its where all the honey was stored I mean right now I have a hive body with maybe 2/3 of a frame of comb in the body and no honey stored..but the honey super is FULL of comb and about 1/2 full of honey..Im assuming as an option for the queen the honey super would be a much better alternative to set up shop than the body itself...(or is that ventilation hole too small for the queen)

Bottom line for me is..I want to make sure I have a queen and find out if she is in the honey super and the body..and if she IS in the honey super Id like to get her moved before she goes laying eggs all over the place and destroying the honey with brood everywhere...if this is the case and she is in the honey super...what is the best approach to moving her..would I just take the frame she is on and even though its a little short..place it temporarily in the body(maybe until the body fills out and the remove the shorter frame and replace with e normal body frame).

Once I verify that the queen is in their..what do I do about the fact that the hive body still doesn't have much comb and most of the working bees are storing everything above the queen in the honey super which she cant get to...should I remove the honey super until they fill out the body? I am kind of stuck between wanting to correct my initial mistake..which was to put the honey super one before the body was filled with comb...and not wanting to just remove the honey super and wasting all the comb and honey which would be a good food supply I would think for the bees..I also don't want to disrupt their environment too much since they just came back.. Or should I just remove the honey super (once I verify that the queen isn't in it) and force them to only work with the hive body...or would that risk chasing them off again...

as a new beekeeper with a vast amount of inexperience I just find myself wondering what the best approach to take here is with the hive..the mistakes I've made and the fact that I've obviously enticed bees back into the hive. I suppose I should add that this is a northern climate (Minnesota) if that makes a difference on what I should be doing.
 

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Leave them alone for a week. If the queen is in the bottom box and laying there, remove the super. If she is in the super and laying there, reverse the super and the deep box on the bottom and let them build upwards. If you were using a queen excluder remove it. If you feed them well in the fall, there is good chance you will be able to get them through the winter in a deep a medium. If you want the honey super back, there is a good chance it will be empty in the spring as cluster moves up over the winter.
 

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There is also a possibility "C" which is the lemongrass attracted local bees and they are robbing out the honey left in the box. Hopefully this is not the case.

Assume there is a swarm in there. Don't worry about the queen "destroying" the honey super. You mention that "The hive had one body and a honey super on top." I am going to guess that you are calling a 10 frame deep box the hive body and a smaller box the "honey super." Your bees are going to need both of these and more to get through a Minnesota winter. Don't try to force the queen to lay in only the bottom box. They will swarm and they won't build up the population they need to put stores by for winter survival.

If you have a queen excluder on, remove it immediately. Your queen need all the room she can get. You don't have "honey supers" until the bees have filled enough boxes with brood and winter honey stores.

You will be needing some more equipment. You might plan on two deeps, or a deep and two mediums. For now, I'd leave the boxes just as they are and let the bees build out the lower box as they need it. Some will suggest reversing the boxes but I don't believe it to be necessary.


Wayne
 
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