Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my hives from last year swarmed 3 weeks ago. I caught the swarm and hived them in a 10 frame box with drawn comb from a hive that died over winter. The hive that swarmed seemed to have a LOT of honey in the brood boxes and I didn't see ANY eggs or brood. I had on a QE and a super of drawn comb but the bees did not seem to use that (on any of my hives). I've since removed the QE's to get them to move up into the honey supers, maybe after they have honey up there they will use it. I also noted that even with smoking, they bees were VERY testy (my bees are pretty calm, IMHO). Did not get stung, but they sure seemed to want to. I closed up the hive hoping if they are honey bound, without the QE they will move some of the honey up to the super to make room for the queen to lay or the queen to move up and lay, either way. If this hive is queenless, I'm guessing my options are to get another queen, or, can I (would it be wise) to let them cap the honey, extract it, then (news paper?) divide the hive, with what bees are left over, onto 2 single deep first year packages to build up those to hives? I've got 9 hives ATM and I'm not looking to expand much past 10-12 hives, so building up a first year package seemed like the thing to do, however, this is only my 3rd year beekeeping.

Second, the swarm that I caught from this hive seems to be queenless too. No eggs or brood but quite a bit of open comb. I could have swarn I saw capped brood a week ago but can say for sure. I also saw an absolute perfect example of a supersedeure cell that I don't remember being there either; it was open. Is it possible that the bees supersedeed her the first brood cycle after swarming and I have a virgin/just mated queen in the hive? This hive, unlike the first one, seemed like "normal" bees to me. Not aggressive, just going about their daily business and when smoked, they went to the honey. I was planning on waiting a week to so to see if eggs/brood shows up but thought I'd pose the question here.

Thanks to all!
Dale
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
One of mine swarmed 3 weeks ago, too. I was 99.9% sure the remaining hive was queenless after checking them twice. (I had a situation where another beek "helped" me by killing my queen cells.) Inspection yesterday: lo and behold, there was a queen!
You say there was no brood of any kind? Not even drones, or QCs hanging between the brood boxes?

In my case, mine were behaving the same way as you described for 2 weeks after the swarm. Yesterday, they were a lot more calm. Even though I spotted a queen, there is nothing going on brood-wise. As described in the forum here, that may take another two weeks potentially.

If it were me, I'd keep looking for a queen in there. As I've learned here in the forum, they are not easy to spot when young & new.
In my case, I ordered a queen, and now have one coming that is one too many for the hives I have, but if you are looking to expand and split up, that may be a good option.

I also saw an absolute perfect example of a supersedeure cell that I don't remember being there either; it was open. Is it possible that the bees supersedeed her the first brood cycle after swarming and I have a virgin/just mated queen in the hive?
You believe this was the queen that the swarm took off with, or that is in the remaining?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I also saw an absolute perfect example of a supersedeure cell that I don't remember being there either; it was open. Is it possible that the bees supersedeed her the first brood cycle after swarming and I have a virgin/just mated queen in the hive?
You believe this was the queen that the swarm took off with, or that is in the remaining?
This was in the box with the captured swarm (so old queen, correct?) The comb I used in the hive was from a hive that died out over winter and I don't remember seeing a huge queen cell like I saw in there. It was 1½" long with about a 1" "depressed" area around it; I'm assuming where they chewed the comb to make the queen cell.

I'll go frame by frame and try and see if I can spot a queen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Went frame by frame in the previously swarmed hive but wasn't able to spot the queen. There were a lot of bees so I could have easily missed her. Still LOTS of open honey in the brood chamber, mostly ALL :(. Over the past week they did not move any honey up to the super of drawn comb either, nor did (if she was there) the queen find the open comb and start laying up there.

I grabbed a frame of open eggs/brood from a nearby hive, triple checked to see if a the queen was on it and put it in the hive to give them some eggs/larva to make a queen if it's actually queenless. My plan is to check for emergency queen cells next week, and if there are none, and no brood (will be 5 weeks from when they swarmed I think), then I was going to A) put a fresh box of frames on the bottom and the 2 deeps of honey above and let them start drawing out a new box of comb or B) extract the open honey, put the empty frames back in the deeps, put on the feeders I have and put the extracted honey/nectar in that above the honey supers hoping they will then deposit it in the supers and not the brood boxes. Or option C), suggestions from someone with a lot more experience than I. LOL

Thanks,
Dale
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,613 Posts
Open up the brood chamber by moving honey bound frames up and replacing them with undrawn or drawn frames. Good plan to give them some eggs. They will use them if they need them, if not it won't hurt anything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay, not sure if I have a mess or not.

First, I don't know what I did wrong this year, but I certainly made mistakes, problem is, I don't know WHAT I did wrong so I won't repeat it next year.

Synopsis of what I have and did.

5 double deep 10 frame hives going into winter, 4 made it through. Had a state inspection mid April and was told everything looked good and that I had 3 strong honey producers this year; one was going to swarm within a week of the inspection (was actually 10 days, we had a cold spell and they swarmed when it warmed up, bee inspector knew what he was talking about LOL) Following the inspection, 3rd week of April IIRC, I rotated the deep bodies, put on a QE, Imirie ring I think they call it, a super of drawn comb and a super of foundation above that on the 4 older hives. Two weeks later, only 1 of the colonies seemed to move up into the super and begin to put honey up there, so I removed all rings and QE's.

Problem hive #1. I posted about my situation being what I thought was queenless on a particular hive and that I had given them a frame of open brood. Today I checked them. All brood from the frames have been capped with a few larvae uncapped. I should have taken a picture but I think the rest of the frame was drawn out to the bottom, I don't remember it being that far drawn down, and I think there are new small larva on that frame but I'm not fully certain. I'll get pictures tomorrow. There was a nice large queen cell on one side, so I'm guessing they would not have done that unless they were queenless and I was infact wrong about the brood being drawn out as much as they were. Or, if the queen is honey bound and not laying, they might be supersceeding her? I don't know. This hive must have 30-40 pounds of honey in each deep, stored mostly center of the box, there is some empty comb towards the outside of the box, however, no eggs or brood. I tried to spot the queen, but did not. Is it possible that the queen was honey bound to the interior of the box and isn't moving to the outside to lay eggs? I also put a super of foundation above them, however, they have not moved up to put honey there and/or the queen, if present, hasn't layed eggs up there either.

Problem hive #2. This hive also swarmed, I think a main swarm and a second smaller swarm. (Side note: I manged to catch the main big swarm and hive that in a deep of drawn comb 2 weeks ago, 6-7 frames full so I put on a second deep on it today, it's doing well and I saw the queen.) The hive that cast the swarms, interestingly enough, was my weakest hive last year and they requeened themselves late, around September. I gave them a frame of open brood and see 2 queen cells...I think. I also moved one super of drawn comb between the 2 deeps, seeing if they would move some honey down and/or if a queen was present, she'd find the open comb and start laying (virgin queen I'm guessing should have started laying from about 2 weeks ago swarming?). Not a lot of honey moved and no eggs/brood present today. Again, a LOT of honey in the brood boxes, I mean at least 5 full deep frames of glossy looking beginning to be capped honey.

Problem hives 3 and 4 (again, all last years hives) are pretty much the same, almost no brood present and the brood boxes packed with honey. Hive 3 has so many bees in it, it's hard for me to check it for the queen and eggs/brood. This is the hive I mentioned earlier that did start to move up into the first honey super, but has not put much honey up there. It seemed to me to be the strongest so I moved a box of drawn super comb to it so it's got 2 boxes of drawn comb on it and a box of empty foundation. Hive 4, to my novice eyes, appears that some of the brood has emerged and there is some (very little, but some) new eggs in it this week. This hive also had a frame of eggs/open brood donated to it which was fully capped now.

I put out a 5 frame swarm trap and actually caught the smaller swarm, so I have a "nuc" to use now to combine with one of the problem hives if it sounds like what I should do.

Given what I've done, does anyone have an idea of what I've goofed up on this year??? At this point I'm ready to just throw the frames in the extractor, put them back in and feed it back to them in feeders above the drawn comb and hope they put it where I want them to and not back down in the deeps. These hives have not been fed this year, so I know if they do store it properly and cap it, it will be pure, unadulterated honey when/if I get to harvest it.

I still don't know what/why there isn't much egg laying going on. There are a few frames of open foundation too that isn't being drawn out.

I guess looking on the bright side, they are keeping the varroa mites down by having a nice long gap in the brood cycle. :|

thanks to all that reply.
Dale
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
It doesn't really sound like you have done anything wrong. You are just seeing the results of not having enough comb to go around during a nectar flow - they fill everything up with honey and there is no space left for eggs, then they swarm - after which they might not draw out much new comb, but swarming is just a part of it. Give any hive that even might be queenless a frame of open brood - which it sounds like you are doing. The only way I have had much luck getting enough comb drawn for 10 honey hives is to have 20 hives work on it for a while. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,433 Posts
Drawn comb is gold as far as beekeeping is concerned. I have three and maybe four supers of honey already this year because I had three available supers with drawn comb from the last couple years to put on my hive. They filled three supers on the black locust flow, which is only a week or ten days, and that would not be possible if they had to draw it from foundation first. I'm going to take better care of what I have, I lost more than I'd like to wax moths last year.

As far as your hives go, I also don't think you've done anything really wrong. It can take a while before a new queen starts laying -- and if you've had our type of weather this year, you probably got a week of cold wet weather right when your queen was ready to mate, so she's behind schedule a bit.

I thought my package had superceded the queen, but I guess they changed their mind and kept the original queen, she's marked so I'll be on the lookout. They made three nice supercedure cells, but I found a hive full of brood much sooner than a queen could have emerged and mated. My brother's package, picked up the same day, definitely superceded their queen about a week ago, he called me today and said it was in trouble, declining bee numbers, no brood, no eggs, and no queen (that one was marked too). Sure enough I found an uncapped queen cell with a curled up larvae in it, so he's a couple weeks away from more brood. He put a frame of capped brood in the hive from the other package (Russian queen) that has nine frames of brood, so he'll be all right.

Chances are everything will work out.

Peter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies...gotta roll with the punches I guess.

I guess I'll see how it looks in a few weeks. The 2 swarms I caught I think will be able to draw out the second deeps by the end of the flow, so I'll put some supers on them and see if they will draw out some super comb for next year.

Any thoughts on extracting the (nearly) honey and feeding it back to them, hoping they will store it in a super rather than the brood nest? Or, with the honey flow in full swing, will they likely not touch it much? Being honey and not sugar water, I would figure that they'd go right to it.

Thanks all!
Dale
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My "big" hive that I was having so much problems with I think is back to queenright. Queen cell appeared to have hatched out and I see new eggs and larva. Eggs are center of the cells and on the bottom, so I don't think it's a laying worker. This hive now has 3 deeps on it and I put a super on to get them to draw it out...plenty of honey in there so I figured I'll at least get some drawn comb for next year.

They are still very aggressive so I'll keep an eye on them for a few weeks, once the new brood hatches out I'll see how they are. My hives are pretty tame, so it was a new experience to open the hive and watch it erupt on me.

One of my other hives that I had problems with seems to have a LOT of dones in them, so I think I've got a laying worker in that one. :( I gave them another frame of open eggs/brood and I'll see if they make a queen.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top