Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi -

Sorry to beg for advice, but it's clear that I'm in over my head at the moment; I just did an inspection, and am trying to think my way towards the golden "what to do". Here's the situation: Colorado front range. We overwintered two hives, both double deeps, one with a 3rd year queen (#1), and one with a queen locally mated from a split we did (#2). My plan this spring was to do OTS: find the queens, split them into small nucs, and probably just go for one or two extra hives for safety, and maintain the "big" hives for some honey (we have kids and friends that "depend" on us...).

However... after five total inspections (not five for each hive), couldn't find the queens (over the past month). A couple weeks ago (5/5), we found uncapped queen cells in the #2 hive. We pulled out a generous split with one of the "nearly capped" cells (both swarm and emergency), and put into a long lang (about 5 good frames of brood, honey, pollen...). Then a tough weekend where I didn't get into the hives. The #2 queen swarmed (~6 pounds) 5 days ago. In the meantime, we did find queen #1, split her out into a 5-frame nuc, and left that other hive with some OTS scratchs. I did a very quick inspection on them yesterday (home made nuc, I was worried that they were overheating), found queen 1, but saw no sign of eggs or fresh larva (I know it's a little early...). So we decided to inspect hive 2 (queenless), to try and thin out any queen cells so that it wouldn't swarm to death. When we went in, we found that one of the queen cells was hatched (I guess - looked like someone came out from the inside!). This made me worried that the virgin queen was out either flying for mating, or loose in the hive where we could squish her accidentally. So we sped up, and my brain stopped trying to work out the smart moves. We left a beautiful swam cell (maybe two? Can't remember), and because I was worrying about our other hives, I cut off some of the queen cells, put them in JZBZ cages with well packed with marshmallow entrances, and left them at the top of the hive. Interestingly, I don't think that these cells are super close to hatching - I accidentally cut one open, the queen was lightly purple eyed, so I'm a little lost on the "bee timing".

So the question I'm facing is: what to do? Can I leave those cells in the cages, hoping that I didn't damage them, and then check back in three or four days to see if they're ok? Or if I leave them, might the hive still think that there are plenty of cells, and still swarm itself dead with the new queen and the two cells we left? Should I split out the frame with good cells into a nuc (but this hive already gave a "generous split" to the long lang... ? Or just pull out the caged queen cells, and let 'em do their thing?

Also, I left a medium super with only foundation on top - they're doing nothing with it, and I only put it back because I wanted to close up quickly and not worry about the few bees in it...


I have to admit that I hoped I'd see the way while writing this all out... but nope! Any suggestions?
Thanks,
Shuka

Here's the hatched cell:
IMG_4470.jpg

Here are the jzbz cages on top:
jzbz.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
323 Posts
If your primary worry is to stop swarming, What I find works very well is bleeding off all of the foragers from the main hive (the foragers are the ones that decide when and where to swarm). So you have the old hive with swarm cells at the original location. Take a frame with a queen cell and put it in a new hive with some capped brood and stores. Move the old hive away from its original spot by several yards and put the new hive in its place. The foragers will go to the new hive at the old location and the young nurse bees will stay at the the new location since they have never left the hive.

As far as the cages, you can store cages above a queen excluder, but there needs to be open brood in the hive or else the workers might try to kill them as they think they are failed queens. See if those queens emerge (and can absolutely not escape or they will kill each other) and if they do, split them out into nucs and see if they get mated. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,526 Posts
yes you can leave them in the hive, you have a few days before the lose virgin is flight worthy my goto for this is pushin cages https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DbA4ENhnVQ
As far as the cages, you can store cages above a queen excluder, but there needs to be open brood in the hive or else the workers might try to kill them as they think they are failed queens
no need for a QE as they are caged . open brood is not needed, The bees will usaly care for the virgins till the new queens eggs start hatching.

if you didn't damage them you should be getting your self some virgin queens, time to build a few mini mateing nucs !!
the marshmallow won't last long, what you want is the JZBZ candy caps.. foil tape could work in a pinch as well
the FR is a big place but if your near me I have the caps, and a few left over mini nuc kits leftover from our webinar that I could gift you

this may help you figger the age
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,761 Posts
depends on how many hives you want.
I think if the cells you caged are 11days or less they could be damaged. hopefully ok.
When they swarm they on purpose make queens of different ages to allow a secondary swarm and some backups in case of poor weather.
I just split a 20 frame hive 4 ways 5 frames each, 1 with a queen and 3 with cells.

You have many ways to go here , up to you , if you have enough splits then leave a couple nice cells in the main hine and get rid of the rest.

why would you do OTS when you have several cells already?
Did you prefer that Gentic? You could have split both hives 3 ways with the cells you already have.

No worries it will all work out, may need to make some more boxes, like 3 each for the ones you want to winter. 2 deep and 1 super.
Pleanty time for a 5 frame NUC to make 2 deeps and a super this summer yet.

GG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Hey you three - thanks so much for laying out some of the options and issues - very very helpful, and I appreciate it a lot. It helped me get my head around where the bees and I are "in the process", and about how quickly or not-so-quickly I need to move on adjusting things for/with them.

Some reactions - 1)Akadamee - Ah! I'm a lazy bum who tries to avoid lifting heavy things, but this makes great sense. I'll remember it for next season.

2) That great picture series from MSL - glad to see this! I think the one I sliced open was probably in the 12/13 day range. I will print this out and leave it in my shed for reference!

2) Foil tape - I have that! My mind instead had gone: do I have corks? No. Do I have marshmallows? Yes. They're pretty stuffed, but I'll check 'em tomorrow and cover with foil tape. Thank you for your generous offer - I'm near Boulder/Lafayette/Erie, but I'll try to make do. My feeling is that I'll learn more by trying to build my own stuff. Thanks! When you say "our webinar" - is this something I can find online and watch "after the fact"? Right now my favorite youtube channel is from the North Western New Jersey beekeepers association ("NWNJBA"), but something more local would be great to see.

3) GG - thanks for the calming tone! I'll post back about how the cells turn out. I tried to be gentle, but I won't be surprised if they are all dead. I'd like to try the Sam Comfort style hives too (simple, small, cheap), so I made a few boxes, and perhaps I'll be able to put a queen or two in that direction.

Best -
Shuka

3)

I would like to get to about 6 hives ( in part to try out a few different styles, and in part for a bit more honey, and mostly for the fun of it), but I'm not really in a rush to get there ASAP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
... Oh, and MSL - thanks for that video. I wanted to do this, but don't have hardware cloth. I had gone to Home Depot, but they were sold out, so I tried the JZBZ cages. I had seen a video from (I think) Vietnam, where the beekeeper had made a bunch of queens from a single hive by cutting them out an putting them in similar cages, but this idea seems much easier/safer. I look forward to trying it.
Thanks,
S
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,054 Posts
......a lazy bum who tries to avoid lifting heavy things.......
Then don't use 10-frame boxes.
Get away from them.
You are just one more case for needing ergonomic hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,526 Posts
webinair is here https://www.facebook.com/FRQueens/videos/2289482097821328/

the cut to the chase youtube of the build is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taf9-oMmF90

if you have made the comfort hives to speck, they take a divider, they are about 1/2 a lang comb so a 2f equivalent per side. You should be able to start each side with 2 cups of bees, your virgin and feed. Store dark and cool for 3 days then open after dark. can be placed back in the same yard..
. I had seen a video from (I think) Vietnam,
Khmer beekeeping in Cambodia !
when I saw your picture I was thinking of that video, not many people know you can put ripe cells side ways.. but the key is ripe, yours may have been a bit too young, days 11,12,13 are the exact wrong time to be moveing cells, time will tell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
MSL - I've been searching for that video, but couldn't find it (after seeing it last year some time). Now I know what to look for to see it again. That video was so impressive - made it look super simple, and lots of queens. Of course your "cage in place" is even easier.

I still have the hive that I notched (where we found the queen). It's coming up on 1 week since the notch (tomorrow...). In that case I should have a better idea of which cells happened when (should I kill off the already capped cells, and just keep the ones that they made from eggs?). I will plan on doing the split tomorrow, but checking in to cage some cells later on.

Also - thanks very much for the "key points" on starting the comfort hive - I wasn't sure where to start, and have so little foundationless/wax foundation comb that I have nothing really to put in it to make it "semi furnished".

GregV - loved your interview with Solomon Parker - thanks for the encouragement. I've just started a long lang this year (and built a top-bar that my wife says is not up to her specs), so going that way.


BTW - I checked the marshmallow state just now - there is still plenty, and I think it will hold out three/four more days no problem. I'll check in two! :)
Cheers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
if you have made the comfort hives to speck, they take a divider, they are about 1/2 a lang comb so a 2f equivalent per side. You should be able to start each side with 2 cups of bees, your virgin and feed. Store dark and cool for 3 days then open after dark. can be placed back in the same yard..
I am eager to try this, thanks again, MSL. When you say "dark and cool" - are they closed up? The coolest place around is my basement... Or just in 100% shade and closed up?

Cheers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
To finish this thread: the hive in question (with the queen cells), swarmed multiple times ( I think at least three times). I caught swarm 1, but then it left the box. I caught and successfully boxed swarm 3, it has a laying queen now. Both landed within 6 feet of the ground on nearby trees. Three of the queens in the cages did not emerge. One emerged, but face-first into marshmallow, and died. The original hive has a queen, and seems to have stopped swarming after loosing 15lbs of bees and honey (I don't want to trust the scale I had the hive on, but see no reason not to). The split that I took out before the swarming successfully finished the cell, and now has a mated queen.

I've got plenty of stryofoam queen mating boxes (my previous question was answered in the video, thanks!), and more confidence for next time. Thanks, all.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top