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Discussion Starter #1
A few weeks ago I noticed one of my hives was queenless ( I think - only drone brood, bottom middle frames in deep barely drawn, a lot less bees), so I combined with my other hive by placing newspaper on top of supers, and then queenless 2 deeps on top of that. So it was 2 deeps, 2 supers, 2 deeps.

Well I went to consolidate the deeps and harvest what honey was in the supers and treat for mites (apilife var). Well this hive is booming and constantly bearding (big beards). I'm in Connecticut so it's getting cooler, but they're still on the outside a lot.

So the top 2 deeps have capped brood, and the supers had some drone brood in them. Did the "queenless" hive that I combined on top actually have a queen? What are the chances the queen from the bottom 2 deeps crossed both supers and then starting laying in the top 2 deeps?

I couldn't even inspect the bottom 2 deeps as the bees were boiling out and mad that I was shaking bees off the super frames and my smoker ran out of fuel.

So....I removed the supers and put a queen excluder between the 2 top and bottom deeps so maybe I can figure out where the queen is.

Also, I treated with twice the amount than suggested. I put four quarters of the cookie on the top deep, and four quarters on the 3rd deep. I figured I have 4 deeps so I'd use twice the amount. Did I screw up doing that?

Should I just leave the 4 deeps alone and not worry about consolidating? There are so many bees I'm afraid they might swarm. Too late in the year for that?
 

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For Conn yes it is way to late for that. two things you can tell if a hive has a queen based on sound, if they have a queen they r quite humming if they are loud and seem upset they more then likely do not have a queen. As far as is it possible if you did not have a queen excluder anything is possible. Did you see any digging at the entrance because a animal could have gotten them pissed off. As far as what to do i cant say because i am not there.
 

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For Conn yes it is way to late for that. two things you can tell if a hive has a queen based on sound, if they have a queen they r quite humming if they are loud and seem upset they more then likely do not have a queen. As far as is it possible if you did not have a queen excluder anything is possible. Did you see any digging at the entrance because a animal could have gotten them pissed off. As far as what to do i cant say because i am not there.
What? I didn't question whether there was a queen. There's a million bees and capped brood. I'm questioning whether I screwed up with the way I combined and the amount of apilife var that I used. And wondering if I should just overwinter the 4 deeps or attempt to consolidate them more. Is it possible for a hive to be too big?

I couldn't go into the bottom 2 deeps because I ran out of smoke and they were just boiling over. They were pissed because I was taking long and running out of smoke and shaking bees off of super frames, it was windy and coolish and not very sunny. Thanks though for not telling me what to do because you aren't here.
 

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hindsight is 20/20, but it's not too late.

let's assume the odds are better that the top part wasn't queenless when you combined and you have a 2 queen hive.

why not set the top part on another bottom board dividing the whole works back in two, reload your smoker, and see what's going on below the excluder.
 

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"Did the "queenless" hive that I combined on top actually have a queen?" You did ask. Me saying it is too late was talking about your swarm statement. When i say too late i am saying they shouldnt swarm but they can if they have no space. Yes a hive can be too big, that is one of many causes for swarming.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
hindsight is 20/20, but it's not too late.

let's assume the odds are better that the top part wasn't queenless when you combined and you have a 2 queen hive.

why not set the top part on another bottom board dividing the whole works back in two, reload your smoker, and see what's going on below the excluder.
I could do that, but I'm still going to ultimately keep it 1 hive until spring. But I don't know if I should isolate the queen and then remove 1 or 2 deeps or just leave all 4 on.
Also, did I use too much Apilife?
 

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no experience with apilife so i can't say. i do think it's possible that the strong odor from it could of been part of why the bees got riled up.

also no experience wintering two queen hives, but generally speaking the use of excluders during winter is not recommended because the queen can get separated from the cluster.

tim ives in indiana overwinters with 3 deeps.

i'm in alabama and overwinter with 1 deep and 3 - 4 mediums.

if there is a problem with having too much space over winter we haven't seen it.
 

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"Did the "queenless" hive that I combined on top actually have a queen?" You did ask. Me saying it is too late was talking about your swarm statement. When i say too late i am saying they shouldnt swarm but they can if they have no space. Yes a hive can be too big, that is one of many causes for swarming.
Thank you. I combined it with a queen-right hive so I know it definitely has a queen now. I'm just wondering if the "queenless" hive actually did have a queen and she's somehow laying in the top deeps or if that's not likely. Seems odd the top deeps now have capped brood in them as there were two supers in between them and the bottom deeps and the bottom queen would have had to make a trip to get to the top deeps.
 

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after rereading i see you don't have an excluder in place, sorry.

not likely you have a 2 queen hive.

rearrange so brood is on the bottom and stores on top.
 

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if the upper part was indeed queenless there may have been a nice supply of unused beebread up there and that may have enticed the colony to move the nest up.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
after rereading i see you don't have an excluder in place, sorry.

not likely you have a 2 queen hive.

rearrange so brood is on the bottom and stores on top.
I do have an excluder, actually. I just put it on today between the 2 lower and 2 upper deeps so I can have an idea where the queen is if I decide to consolidate to less than 4 deeps. That way I'll be sure which deep(s) to eliminate.

I'd hate to mess too much with it as it's getting too late in the year to have to worry about killing the queen. Maybe by the 3rd treatment in a couple of weeks I'll have a better idea of the situation.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Queens will cross the honey barrier to lay. Had it happen to me last year. Pulled some frames out of a second super only to find out a few days later they were full of (now dead) eggs and hatched larvae.
 

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Queens will cross the honey barrier to lay. Had it happen to me last year. Pulled some frames out of a second super only to find out a few days later they were full of (now dead) eggs and hatched larvae.
What do you actually do with that? Still extract? Scrape off as much as the eggs and larvae as possible and then extract?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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The super did not have much honey in it at the end of June. That is why I was pulling frames that I thought were empty. Now when I find larvae in the supers, I put the qe on and let them emerge. And, I learned to check all the frames, not just the ones in the bottom super.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The super did not have much honey in it at the end of June. That is why I was pulling frames that I thought were empty. Now when I find larvae in the supers, I put the qe on and let them emerge. And, I learned to check all the frames, not just the ones in the bottom super.
That makes sense. I'd be leery of trapping the queen in the supers with the excluder because I haven't located a queen in quite some time. It was easy when they were marked, but I haven't found one in the past couple of years to save the life of me.
 

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No, not too big as long as they have the Honey. And make sure your Top Box is full going into Winter. Also need a good insulated Top. Don't want the heat from that population hitting a Cold top, creating condensation, which is the absolute biggest killer.
As far as the Apilife question, I have no experience with any kind of treatments.
 
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