Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm a second year beekeeper. Last year I bought 2 packages. One thrived immediately, while the other was slow to start with patchy worker brood and ultimately turned into a laying worker hive. Paying big bucks for a new queen that would ultimately be balled didnt strike me as wise and I wasn't about to take open brood from my still new but thriving hive, so I combined the two. The hive wintered awesomely (which is amazing since I live in the one of the coldest areas in Idaho) and I purchased another package at the end of April.
5 days after installing my new package, I went to check to see if the queen had been released. When she wasn't, I pulled the sugar plug and set the cage back in (mistake). No capped brood with my check last week...and now I'm booming with drone brood. Super bummed.
I really don't see combining the new package with the original hive as being a good idea because it seems to be a hairs breath away from jam packed in there as it is. I took a frame with few capped brood, marginal amount of larva and quite a few eggs on the outer sides of the frame. I know I should do this every week, but am confused. Do I keep placing brood frames until they begin building queen cells? Or for 3 to four weeks even with queen cells? I don't plan on depleting a hive all summer that I could potentially get my first honey off of, so if this is going to take longer than 3-4 weeks I may throw a righteous hissy fit.
Also, I feel as if I may have shot myself in the foot by taking a frame from a hive that I was content to just let be. What if I didn't see my queen on the frame and then violently shook and brushed her back into the hive...or worse? (Ok it wasnt violent but seriously...when your worried about a queen bee thats been a "cash cow" up until this point it makes you dramatic) I'll have to go through this for over a month? She was long gone right?!?! The eggs were small but visible, laying down flat as well as on the edges of the frame so I need somebody to reassure me she was long gone...PLEASE!!
Finally, it may sound so silly but...Is there anyway that the location of my hive could be ruining my attempts at multiple hives? It just seems so weird that I would have almost the same problem for 2 years running and the only similarity would be the location. (This location is a foot away from booming hive by the way...I'm not claiming to be smart!)
Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,404 Posts
Laying worker hives are the pits. I started just like you did last year. I wound up with one good package and one laying worker hive.

If you can spare a frame of brood once per week, for 3 weeks, then you could likely introduce a queen if they haven't drawn queen cells. I know none of that from experience, only from reading Michael Bush's website.

I only posted to let you know that I quickly figured out how to eliminate having laying worker hives from package bees. Stop buying package bees. Buy a nuc instead. I will NEVER buy another package of bees unless something goes horribly wrong at my site, and no nucs are available.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
That is excellent advice and I wished I had thought of that before now! If I have to combine my hives again I will absolutely buy a nuc next year. I spend alot of time on Michael Bush's website as well as honeybeesuite.com. Bush's site was were I found the "frame of brood" idea. I'm hoping it works right away because I really don't like ripping up my good hive.
I also just read something about putting the whole hive in a wheel barrow (leaving the bottom board) and trucking everything 100 yards away and shaking it all out, making sure that the frame is completely clean of EVERY bee. Then putting clean frames back in the deep and replacing both lids and walking away with your empty hive. Then you put the empty hive back on its bottom board in its original home. The laying workers cant fly that far, leaving the faithful foragers to return to a hive minus the "fake" queen pheromone from the layers. The original article said that this is the ideal time to re-queen with a purchased queen. I'm thinking I may do a few more weeks of moving brood frames from my good hive until I see queen cells, then I'll do my shake out... Unless anybody advises me not to!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,404 Posts
I've read about doing the shake out as well, and I've also been advised that it doesn't work.

This is hypothetical, meaning that I haven't tried it, but it might work, maybe... I have a nuc that didn't raise a queen and I think I will try this on it, although I've got several hives, so the bees are going to get scattered out.

THIS MAY NOT WORK, BUT I THINK I WILL TRY IT ON MY HIVE:

I've read that shaking them out and letting them beg their way into another hive will work. Supposedly the laying worker or workers will get balled and killed by the queenright bees. Take 3 frames of brood (one dark capped, one light capped and one with open brood) brush all the bees off it and put it in a new deep hive body above the current good hive, and above a queen excluder. Then take the laying worker hive away and shake it out. The good bees from the laying worker hive would be accepted and the laying workers would be killed. The next day, remove the frames of brood and bees on them from above the queen excluder and put them in their own hive. Remove the QE and return the good hive back to its normal status. Later that day or the next, add a caged queen..... You still use 3 frames of brood from the good hive, but you get the laying worker colony fixed quickly????

Any experts care to chime in on how effective you think this would be?
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,108 Posts
>and I wasn't about to take open brood from my still new but thriving hive, so I combined the two.

That's where you went wrong. I would never do a combine with a laying worker hive with much confidence. Better to shake out the laying workers and let them drift to other hives than to do a combine.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm

>and I wasn't about to take open brood from my still new but thriving hive, so I combined the two.

But it WON'T work right away. It will take three weeks of open worker brood pheromone to set things right.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm#pheromones

>I also just read something about putting the whole hive in a wheel barrow (leaving the bottom board) and trucking everything 100 yards away and shaking it all out, making sure that the frame is completely clean of EVERY bee. Then putting clean frames back in the deep and replacing both lids and walking away with your empty hive. Then you put the empty hive back on its bottom board in its original home. The laying workers cant fly that far, leaving the faithful foragers to return to a hive minus the "fake" queen pheromone from the layers. The original article said that this is the ideal time to re-queen with a purchased queen. I'm thinking I may do a few more weeks of moving brood frames from my good hive until I see queen cells, then I'll do my shake out... Unless anybody advises me not to!

Quite simply it does not work. All the laying workers will return. Every last one of them. I guarantee they CAN fly that far and they know where they live. Sometimes, however it will disorient them enough to get them to accept a queen, but not often enough that I would waste my money buying a queen. A frame of open brood a week before introducing a queen would have better odds of success, and a frame of open brood every week for three weeks would be even better.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfallacies.htm#shakingout
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Sorry for the confusion! I combined my laying worker hive and my queen right hive last year. I did do a shake out but it was directly in front of the queen right hive. I put the deep and all the empty frames (from the laying worker hive) directly on top of the queen right hive. It worked great!
This year however, I have another laying worker package... I say package because my new bees never had a queen make it long enough to start laying (my bad :-/ I thought five days was long enough to set her free) My queen right hive over wintered so well that I'm hesitant to combine again this year as we are already at maximum capacity. The only issue I have with transferring frames from my good hive to the bad hive is the potential threat that it poses to my "Lady Luck" of a queen in the good hive.
The "hundred yard away" shake out (if I do it at all now that it doesn't sound like such a good plan) was only going to happen if my hive decided to build some new queen cells from the transferred brood frames or if I decided to buy a new queen. But buying a new queen is only happening if transferring brood weekly doesn't bear any queenly fruit. I don't know... I'm kind of flighty and may decide not to chance the odds of my virgin queen getting gobbled up on her mating flight.
If nothing works I will combine hives again, but I won't be happy about it...especially if they swarm and I miss it. But I will defiantly be buying nucs from now on.
Thanks so much for your help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,127 Posts
Are you focusing on the weak so much that you are missing the strong? If your strong is that strong are you running the risk of swarming? Moving brood may be the best for both hives, either to a fresh split or just to make space fast.

Same package supplier?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
You know what?!? I never even though about it that way. I do make two or three trips a day to watch that hive for suspicious swarm behavior. You should know that I have a tendency to smother things, but the fact that swarming is on my radar stands for something at least.
I'm sure by now the cats out of the bag and anybody reading this thread has come to the realization that I am a class A worry-wart. My main concern is my good queen and if I could put her (with her feather boa and bon-bons) in a bubble I would. I made a promise to that hive to be as minimally invasive as possible in return for their good behavior. One of us is making good on that deal, and it's not me. But SaltyBee... You are absolutely right. It's going to be good for both of my hives. As long as my newbee bumbling doesn't bring down society as we know it... I'm pretty much Godzilla.
I have gotten more out of posting this thread than by hours of reading, and to that I am so appreciative. Putting yourself out there on the forums is very daunting so thanks to ALL of you for giving me the confidence to bring my questions here instead of google ;)
And yes. These packages all came from the same supplier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,127 Posts
Your watching your two, I'm visiting my brother's, so you doing something right. Do an inspection, will not hurt them at all. Close them up, walk away and then decide what to do.

Dang, I should have....., instead of....., happens to me 1/2 an hour later too often.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Also another thing I haven't thought about. With my hive last year I did though. I figured that by doing a shake out in front of my good hive, if for whatever reason that good for nothing, drone layer made it to the entrance she was gonna get her cummupins... and I was oddly comforted.
With this current problem hive, I'm at a loss. It sounds like the best game plan is to just keep introducing new brood frames until the problem is taken care of. I have looked for the queen in the hive but to say that she's not there 100% for sure would be asinine. So, maybe I should just do the "100 yard" shake and if there is a drone laying queen she'll be somebody's dinner. But in the meantime I will keep introducing new brood frames (both pre and post shake) with the option to purchase a new queen then introduce her to a reformed colony that won't kill her... knock on wood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,127 Posts
Get a good look inside your strong hive first. If you find swarm cells or backfilling the whole game changes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
ive had success by taking the laying worker hive and combine it down to a single deep. Then take it and shake them out over a 100 yards away from the hive. Everytime ive done it it was toward evening. The bees will come right back to the original hive location instantly most of the time. I will put the hive back and let them all go back in. There will always be a small ball of bees left on the ground at the shakeout location. Ive always wandered if they are the laying workers. But then I take the single deep from the laying worker hive. Go to a strong queenright hive. Two deeps in size with no honey supers on it. Take a screen board. Mine are just a single layer of screen not two layers. The screen is window screen on mine alot smaller than #8 hardware cloth. Put the screen board on top of the queenright hive then set the Laying worker Hive on top of the screen over the queen right hive. Then put on the inner cover and lid and lock the laying workers in for a couple days. But I make sure they have some ventilation. My inner covers have about a two inch knotch in them with screen over it. I will leave them like that for a couple days or maybe longer. Most of the time I will just pull the screen and combine them and it has worked every time. After a couple days. Or I will give the upper box an entrance out the back of the hive. And let them set there for several days or longer if you want too. You could leave them for weeks with an entrance out the top rear of the hive. Ive done this several times and after a couple days I just pull the screen. But When i do that I always want to make sure the Queenright colony is alot stronger than the laying worker colony. Ive tried adding frames of brood for three weeks and have still never been able to introduce a queen or get them to raise their own queen. I think most of the bees in the hive are too old to raise a decent queen after they have been queenless for a long time, and hte number of young bees is just not there to raise a decent queen. Ive had them make queen cells and the queens die right in the cell. After trying all these other methods thats when i Just decided to do something different. Maybe it was weather conditions or time of the year or something as to why adding the frames of brood once a week didnt work for me. I found it was alot easier and quicker just to set them on top of a strong two deep hive and get them combined over a few days then split them back off after awhile.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Ok so, you combine the hives then make a split! That seems pretty straight forward and I like that. I have never had to make a split before and honestly never even considered it so I'm going to have to do my research there. But I think my good hive could take it... Unless I killed my queen yesterday transferring brood. Thanks for the idea!!
SaltyBee, I didn't see any backfilling or swarm cells on my check yesterday. It actually looked pretty textbook. Love that hive.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,449 Posts
I just had this happen....laying worker hive and not enough brood frames to sacrifice from the good hive....I took the hive away from the others, about 60 feet or so, and shook them all out.
Not one bee came back (waited about an hour) Saw clumps of bees like you did and was advised to step on them (that hurt) Then it started to rain, covered them with a box and they all climbed up into it. I then found out I shouldn't have done that, so I ended up shaking them back into their hive. When I inspected again, there was NO brood or eggs at all, just a lot of bored bees. I bought a queen frame, that is the only way I can describe it; it sits in the hive like a frame, it is screened most of the way across, and there is a place at the end where you put a queen cage. You remove the cork and put the queen cage into its place on the frame, and the queen can walk back and forth the length of the frame. It allows her to run from any bees that might want to ball her and allows her pheromone to permeate the hive. It is from a Brushy Mtn. And I bought from a local bee supply. One of the owners tried it and it worked for her. Now I am not sure if this hive would be considered queenless since there are no more laying workers.
We'll see.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
I just had this happen last year. Except it was a swarm that I made it home with and apparently had no queen. After about 3 weeks and nothing but drones being hatched. I bought a queen and hung her in hive they balled her as soon as they got her out of cage, I tried to save her and put her back in cage, same thing happened. I bought another queen and shook out the hive and some did not return to hive, they hung out on side of my house for about 3 days and I built the new queen a push cage on the frame with comb. She started laying about the fourth day and I released her in the hive and did great. Sadly it was to late in the year so not enough stores for winter. Call it a fluke ... maybe but it did work..
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top