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Discussion Starter #1
Late last year I met a man who does bee removal for his living. He offered and I accepted cutouts - as many as I wanted. This year started and I had three or four hives already established that had made it through the winter. I figured that I could take the cutouts and increase my number as high as I wanted. I have a decent property with a back acre that houses my row of hives. There has been typically plenty of natural forage for them to grow.

Well, long story short, most of my cut-out started hives have failed. It was a bit of a dearth this spring as far as rain goes, but this is still a pretty lush climate here in SE texas. Many of the cutouts had no queen, and when I realized this, I combined them with other successful hives. I've had no problem in the past doing combines, but this time I frequently wound up disturbing the established hive enough that the entire hive failed. Some of them with queens established themselves, but remained small, only to fail some time later. I have fed them, but found that during the spring & summer months, they didn't usually take the syrup (1:1), preferring the natural forage. In the past, once I had a hive get as big as a few frames of drawn comb, they would grow.

This year, mostly failures. I don't know how much might have to do with cutouts put in the yard that didn't have enough stores to get going and ended up robbing those other hives. I put entrance reducers on them during the summer when I suspected what was going on.

I gave the new hives brood when I had time and brood to spare, but frequently I had neither. I'd feed syrup right away, but that didn't usually satisfy them.

Recently, I had the guy give me brood from the cutout as well, but my 1st two attempts to give them this brood still wasn't sufficient. Both had absconded by the end of the next day.

I got in over my head apparently. I wouldn't have guessed that this year would have turned out like this. I'll be lucky to get 20% of the yield I got last year. I've got two decent hives as of now.

Massive failure on my part.
 

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These failures are well beyond mites.
I had no idea that there was such a thing. Mite collapse will cascade throughout the yard.
Although they may not have all been mite driven, my guess would be that unmanaged mites were the main problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry to be so dismissive. I'll check for mites. I certainly don't intend to discourage any help with my problems.

I've had mite issues before and they were just very different than these rapid changes to hives I'm having this year. Those were more gradual, and I didn't wind up with sudden queenlesness with mites. The time between introducing new bees to an otherwise healthy hive and the hive either going queenless or taking off was usually very short.
 

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A few questions and thoughts.
Did you get just bees or bees with their own brood and honey on frames?
Were these bees sucked up in a bee vac?
Could some of these cut outs have been treated with pesticides?
Could the bees have overheated during transport?
Unlike bees in a swarm where the bees have engorged themselves with honey,bees from a cutout need to be fed immediately in a
non hostile environment (no robbing,isolated from other colonies)

Success with cutouts (ie: colony survival) takes skill and time, and some suck,scrape,get the check and run.There is not much money in the bees so not much care is given.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A few questions and thoughts.
Did you get just bees or bees with their own brood and honey on frames?
Were these bees sucked up in a bee vac?
Could some of these cut outs have been treated with pesticides?
Could the bees have overheated during transport?
Unlike bees in a swarm where the bees have engorged themselves with honey,bees from a cutout need to be fed immediately in a
non hostile environment (no robbing,isolated from other colonies)

Success with cutouts (ie: colony survival) takes skill and time, and some suck,scrape,get the check and run.There is not much money in the bees so not much care is given.
Initially, no brood. Recently, I told him I needed the comb he cut with the bees. Since then, 2 failures, 1 possibly still hanging around. I know he has a vac, but don't know if it's used every time. He's fairly concientious with the process. Overheating varies, some have been in worse shape than others. Generally they're in decent shape when he delivers them, but I can't always get to them until the evening. I feed & water the ones that have to hang around in the ventilated bucket (in the shade). I've gotten better with all of this over time, but am still lacking. They have not been isolated from the other colonies. That's part of the problem, I suspect.
 

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I was under the impression you were doing the cut outs.
So he is doing the cut out and handing the bees off to you.
Sounds like a set up for failure to me.
I do 15 to 20 cut outs every year and have a good success rate. It takes time and patience to get the brood comb and bees all settled in. Still using three robo type bee vacs that I made many years ago. Over heating is a big problem in the hot summer months. If the shop vac is turned off the top is opened immediately and even cool water sprinkled on the top bars. They will be able to stand the cool water better than the heat. Too much suction will also kill or break the bees in half. If they are absconding after you get them set up it is possible that bee gone (or some other type of bee moving chemical) was used in the cut out and then introduced into the bee vac.

I would tag along with the fella that is doing the cut outs and see just what is going on. Some are just in it for the bucks and could care less about the bees. Hose them down with poison and scrape them out into a garbage bag, wasting everything.

You need the brood and the bees, the queen is a huge plus but sometimes she will run and hide. With eggs they will make a new queen.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was under the impression you were doing the cut outs.
So he is doing the cut out and handing the bees off to you.
Sounds like a set up for failure to me.
I do 15 to 20 cut outs every year and have a good success rate. It takes time and patience to get the brood comb and bees all settled in. Still using three robo type bee vacs that I made many years ago. Over heating is a big problem in the hot summer months. If the shop vac is turned off the top is opened immediately and even cool water sprinkled on the top bars. They will be able to stand the cool water better than the heat. Too much suction will also kill or break the bees in half. If they are absconding after you get them set up it is possible that bee gone (or some other type of bee moving chemical) was used in the cut out and then introduced into the bee vac.

I would tag along with the fella that is doing the cut outs and see just what is going on. Some are just in it for the bucks and could care less about the bees. Hose them down with poison and scrape them out into a garbage bag, wasting everything.

You need the brood and the bees, the queen is a huge plus but sometimes she will run and hide. With eggs they will make a new queen.
I appreciate the response. I've known him for a while, and he's one of the more consciencious ones. I think that the problem lies on my end, particularly with not knowing how to start taking care of them. I have had a couple of the latest cutouts establish themselves successfully, so the brood did help. I know it'll be hit or miss, but the problem lies mainly on my end. I'll start doing better.
 
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