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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over a week ago I was dealing with my first laying worker. I'm sure I made a few mistakes as a newbee is prone to do. I would appreciate any input on my actions and any advice as to what to do next.
I shook all the workers into the grass in front of my other hives in another pasture and replaced all the frames with 4 frames of brood and a couple of food with workers from other hives in the original location. 2 days later I placed a new queen with attendants in a queen cage into the hive with what I thought was an enormous candy plug. I went back yesterday (a week later) to find the queen dead in her cage.
I can think of a number of reasons why this happened. One bit of advice I did not heed was to leave the corks in until I could see how the bees were treating the queen before removing the cork. How would I know how she was being treated? They all seem to cluster around the cage - hard to tell if they are being nice or not.
The "what now" question is the important one. Do I attempt re-queening again maybe keeping the queen corked for a little longer? or do I cut my losses and try to combine (using the newspaper method) with another queenright hive that was a little slow to start? Or...something else?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nope she never made it out of the cage (unless they killed her and put her back in!:D)
And yes I only took out the cork from the candy end. I'm thinking that I shouldn't have even done that at least for a few more days.
I'm leaning toward doing the combine with my other least productive hive. I just hope that they don't kill that queen!
Maybe I'll use a whole newspaper!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everybody!
I think that the combining hives is my best option. If my other 11 hives weren't new this year and if I hadn't already taken brood frames recently from my strongest, I would certainly try to let them raise another queen by giving them frames of open brood. I'd like to keep my strong hives strong and I've heard that trying to get a weak hive to raise a queen is a little iffy.
I'll post again here to complete the thread with the results.
Always learning!
 

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I've had real good luck with combining hives. Then you can split when everything has been straightened out. I don't like dropping queens in with attendants, I feel the bees in the hive will fight with them and possibly get the queen. Just my $0.02.
 

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Thanks everybody!
I think that the combining hives is my best option. If my other 11 hives weren't new this year and if I hadn't already taken brood frames recently from my strongest, I would certainly try to let them raise another queen by giving them frames of open brood. I'd like to keep my strong hives strong and I've heard that trying to get a weak hive to raise a queen is a little iffy.
I'll post again here to complete the thread with the results.
Always learning!
If you want to add another level of acceptance (repress the laying workers before combining), you could put a double screen board on top of a queen-right colony and your LW colony on top of that for few days before doing the newspaper combine. I just had to deal with a buddies very subborn LW colony that would not respond to adding frames of open brood. Doing what I suggested above seemed to have solved the problem in less than 4 days (as indicated by no eggs layed in empty drawn frames and they started making queens with larvae we provided). Though, because we had been adding open brood for 4 weeks and we had no controls, the test was not very scientific. But I'm pretty sure that if one frame of open brood can fix some LW colonies, an entire colony with many of frames of open brood is bound to do a better job (if airborne scent, not physical contact, is the driving factor).

If you try this I'd really like to know your results; especially if you test the laying worker status before the newspaper combine.
That thread is here: http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=241568

~Reid
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Reid,
I think I might go that route. I also am pretty sure I took care of the LW situation but the dead queen was a little fishy. I'm going to have to fabricate a screen but that's not a problem. I just posted a new thread asking a few questions about combining. Even using the screen, the questions still stand. Does the top hive get an entrance? And do I continue feeding the top hive (with a top feeder)?
Thanks for your input!
 

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. . . Does the top hive get an entrance?
Yes. There is no reason at all to restrict their access if you're going to give them a few days above a double screen board. If you're just going to do the newpaper combine, then no, you need nor want an entrance for the LW colony on top. Side Story: I once tried to "encourage" a hive to use the top entrance I put on by closing off the bottom entrance they had been using. The next morning their frustration was audible some distance away even though an equivalent entrance was only 20 inches above them. They never did use that top entrance. Creatures of habit like the rest of us.

I don't know what sort of double screen board you were planning on constructing, but if it's just going to be a simple 1/4-in. sheet of plywood with two big missing rectangles and fly screen on both sides, then just build and attach a simple 3/4 (or so), 3 sided riser, like a bottom board. If you want to get more complicated, though at this stage you might not have time, you could build a Snellgrove-style double screen board with nifty swing doors: http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/double-screen-board/
And do I continue feeding the top hive (with a top feeder)?
I'm sure you have nice flying weather and something blooming down in Calif., so if they have any capped honey at all I wouldn't bother feeding them during this short process (or at all). Like some of these wizened old beeks on this site say, "I have yet learned to enjoy feeding my bees". I'm in the same boat and avoid it unless I've done something unnatural to them. And then only do it until they have something capped. Sugar water in any form is no substitute for honey.

~Reid
 
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