Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I started a new hive with a package bee delivery with a mated queen on April 12. The hive never seemed to grow, and today I found no sign of eggs, larvae, or brood cells. We searched and searched and couldn't spot the queen (who was marked). We were planning to do a powdered sugar test for varroa mites, but there were so few bees we only managed to grab up about 100, with a great deal of difficulty. Long story short we moved about 50 yards away from (and out of sight of) the hive to do the varroa check and I'll be ****ed there was the queen, and SHE FLEW AWAY. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think even if a mated queen was procured in the next two or three days, there is not enough time for this hive to rebound.:(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes she was clearly marked with a red paint dot. We saw some brood in May, and since the install was 9 weeks ago, undoubtedly there was some reproduction. They only drew out 3-1/2 or 4 frames, but they do have some capped honey cells.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,540 Posts
Wow, that's a remarkable sequence of woe. It may not be worth the cost of a new queen, for such a small amount of bees. A mated queen should be very easy to find at this time if year, however, if you want to go that route. If they are disease-free perhaps you can do a newspaper combine with another colony?

But I am really curious why you move 150 feet away from the colony to do the sugar roll?

That seems unneccessary. When I do one I first collect a frame and shake it off into a large litter box (checking it for the queen 6-ways to Sunday, both on the frame and after I've shaken them into the litter box!). Once the bees are in the litter box, I tilt it up and bang one of the corners sharply down on the ground so that the mass of bees in the box tumbles into the corner. Then I place the collection jar on the top of the frames while I dump the bees from the litter box into the collection jar until the bees look to be slightly above the line on the jar. (Any overspill during the dumping process fall, unharmed, down into the hive. ) I put a lid on the jar (just resting on it, not screwed on) and then I slap the jar hard on my knee to drop them all down to check for the correct volume of bees. If there are too many, I slip the lid off a bit and let a few out, check again, etc. If not enough (<<sigh!>>) then I will smack the corner of the litter box down on the ground again to see if I can eke out enough from the remaining bees in the box. If you've gotten the right-aged bees they will largely be nurse bees that won't fly out of the litter box, because they aren't oriented, yet. Foragers, which you don't want to test anyway, will fly away immediately.

Once the jar is filled just right, I dump any remaining bees in the litter box right down on to the tops of the frames and they scurry back down inside.

The remaining steps, rolling, resting and shaking out are down right at the hive. As soon as you have shaken all the sugar out, you just open the jar and dump the tested bees (all covered with sugar at this point) down on the frames and immediately close up the hive. I don't bother to count the mites until the hive is squared away. The mites aren't going anywhere, so getting the hive closed up is the primary focus of my attention.

I have seen sugar roll instructions that suggest dumping any surplus bees, and then the tested bees, out on the ground in front of the hive, but this is not a good idea because they may not be able to get back into the hive and get safely cleaned off. And by definition these should be your nurse bees, so they are very important to the hive.

I am a softy about bees, so if I didn't have another hive to re-home these now queenless bees, and if they didn't have the resources to re-queen themselves, I'd probably buy them a new one and consider if they should be moved down into a nuc box-sized space while they grow themselves back up again. (And you'd have a short brood break for a quick one-shot of OAV, if you have equipment to do so.)

Try doing the sugar rolls the way I describe -I think they are much easier that way.

Nancy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
It was our first sugar roll and we couldn't get the bees rounded up properly because there were so few of them. We decided to put as many as we could get into a Tupperware container that I then chilled in the fridge for a few minutes so I could get them into the jar. I wanted to do this away from the hive (well because that's where my fridge is and) because I didn't want the pissed off test bees anywhere near the hive. I already had a very bad sting on the corner of my eye this year and although I was all suited up today I'm still a bit skittish. I have a regional beekeeper meeting Tuesday night and I'll see what they suggest. I don't want to give up but this year has had its share of tough lessons.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,016 Posts
Do you have another hive? I would probably combine at this point and if the other hive gets strong enough, maybe do a split later. Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but if you had been doing your Varroa check next to the hive, the queen probably would find her way there.

If you have a queen fly off near the hive, I would do this:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenflying.htm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thank you very much. Someday if I ever get the hang of this bee thing I can brag that I got all the mistakes out in the first two years...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,928 Posts
B Ryan, mistakes are to be expected when you have never done something before. If you follow Nancy's advice you will see that there is no need to chill the bees. If you shake the frame so you have mostly nurse bees, you will find that they are very docile and easy to scoop up. While the bees you shake off sure seem pissed off, they rarely sting. It doesn't sound like there are enough bees that can be saved by a new queen. Whatever you do, you need to satisfy yourself why this hive did not survive before you get another. Best of luck. J
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top