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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Do you think this colony has a Queen?

I purchased two packages of bees this spring just to have the more productive colony abscond. In three days that colony had produced three combs and were filling them with nectar.

IMAG3840.jpg

Now after two and a half months my remaining colony has produced only six combs of their own. I placed two combs from the absconded colony into their hive, but my remaining bees will have nothing to do with it... so far.

IMG_3364.jpg

Should I be concerned about the health and viability of my hive? Their numbers seem to be about half of that which I started? I thought by now there would be increased numbers with more activity. Could I be Queenless? I am a bit hesitant to disturb my remaining bees while my unskilled newbie eyes hunt for the queen.

Any thoughts?



P.S. Is it normal to see these small white flakes under the colony? Wax? (see photo)

IMG_3360'.jpg IMG_3359'.jpg
 

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Re: Do you think this colony has a Queen?

If photo #2 is all the comb that they have built after 2.5 months, then yes, I would say there is something amiss.

It sure looks from photo #2 that your TBH has an open screened bottom. If that is the case I suggest that you close it off. Simply screwing a board under the screen is one option if you don't have a closure board already.

I don't know exactly what the problem is. When you installed the bees were you offering syrup to this hive, and did they take it? When was the last time you saw eggs/larva?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Re: Do you think this colony has a Queen?

If photo #2 is all the comb that they have built after 2.5 months, then yes, I would say there is something amiss.

It sure looks from photo #2 that your TBH has an open screened bottom. If that is the case I suggest that you close it off. Simply screwing a board under the screen is one option if you don't have a closure board already.

I don't know exactly what the problem is. When you installed the bees were you offering syrup to this hive, and did they take it? When was the last time you saw eggs/larva?

I thought the screened bottom was to remain open allowing falling mites to pass.

I offered the bees 1:1 syrup from the get go, but they never touched the stuff. After losing one colony and abruptly losing ~half of this colony I have been hesitant to check on the bees. I have been taking a hands off approach until they rebounded... but after not seeing an increase in numbers I have become concerned.
 

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Re: Do you think this colony has a Queen?

There are plenty of reports of new packages absconding from TBHs with open screened bottoms. That may have been why the other package took off.


Screen bottoms with "sticky boards", "count trays", or "oil trays" all separate the bees from whatever falls through the screen but also keep the hive dark and still allow the bees to control their own ventilation. In my opinion 'open' screen bottoms have more minuses than pluses.

Assuming this is your first experience with bees, you won't learn much if you don't inspect the combs occasionally. You don't necessarily have to find the queen, but if you don't see larva or capped brood during this season there may be a problem.

If you don't find larva in the brood area, you likely don't have a viable queen. If your other hive was doing OK you could move a bar with eggs/young larva to the problem hive, but as it is that is not an option.

Depending on the results of your inspection, you could try adding a purchased queen, but it could be that there aren't enough remaining bees to allow the hive to recover.

.
 

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Re: Do you think this colony has a Queen?

I was wondering on windy days how the screened bottom might be affecting the bees... and the issue of light. I'll get on an enclosure tomorrow and suit up and take a peek.

Thanks for your thoughts. I will keep you posted...

John
 

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I was wondering on windy days how the screened bottom might be affecting the bees... and the issue of light. I'll get on an enclosure tomorrow and suit up and take a peek.

Thanks for your thoughts. I will keep you posted...

John
John, PM me if you'd like any help. I'm a first year guy myself, but already done the queenless thing enough and I have good egg spotting eyes. I live in Clinton County and work in Scott. I may even be able to get you some brood. Please let me know.

Also, where did you get your packages? Eberts? Spring Valley?

To answer your question in another thread, it's pretty much prime swarm season right now. Have captured three in the last eight days. What's the overall length on your top bars?

I would be surprised if your bees have a queen, sounds like they are behaving much like my queenless hive did. It seems unlikely that your bees would have enough numbers to raise a queen and probably not many to tend much brood either. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Re: Do you think this colony has a Queen?

Rader, I checked out the hive today. There is definitely brood. You can see photos and videos of each comb here:

http://gdnghtjohnboy.smugmug.com/Other/Surviving-Bees/41731625_PHTQv3#!i=3316993819&k=vrqvbbj

All that was left from the absconded hive were a couple of combs with a little nectar. By the time I thought to put the comb in my remaining hive the nectar was gone... probably ants. The comb wasn't used by my remaining bees until just recently.

If you would, take a look at my photos and videos and tell me what you think.

Do you think dropping a piece of Lauan at the bottom of the hive will be sufficient protection from light and drafts?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
JW...

If you would, take a look at my photos and videos and tell me what you think.

http://gdnghtjohnboy.smugmug.com/Other/Surviving-Bees/41731625_PHTQv3#!i=3316993819&k=vrqvbbj

I did see brood, so I am still hopeful.

I bought my packages from Jason Foley of Foley's Russian Bees, out of Des Moines.

It's late or I would go out and measure the hive, but I know it is just under 4 feet. I am hoping to get out two 22 inch traps tomorrow or Monday.

I would "PM" you if I knew how to do it on this site...I'll look into that tomorrow as well... Thanks!
 

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I can see larva in at least photo 13.:thumbsup:

Just laying a board on top of the screen makes it easy for SHB to find hiding places. The best solution is an oil tray, but that may be difficult to engineer in an occupied hive. I'd screw the luan to the outside of the screen.

To PM someone, click on their member name on the left side of their post, then choose 'Private Message'.
 

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There is brood for sure, and the cells you called dirty are pollen as you assumed. I have a hive started by package about six weeks ago that is much farther along than yours. Do you know if this package superceded their queen early on? Seems like that might be the case. And they don't have enough bees to cover much brood until the capped starts to emerge. They could probably use a bar of emerging brood. I wish I had some to spare for ya. I could swing some eggs, but emerging I wouldn't feel comfortable doing now.

John, do you think you'd benefit coming up and looking through some of our hives with us? I might help give you a better perspective on what's going on in yours. Consider that an invitation, let me know and we can work something out. My phone number is in you PMs once you figure that out today. :)
 
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