Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon, need some advice here. I'll start from the beginning. I'm in my 2nd year and purchased a 3 lb package March 16. I lost my first two hives over the winter. Things seemed to go well at first but yesterday I finally came to the conclusion I had laying workers, multiples eggs in cells, only drone brood and a rapidly declining population. I found a nuc locally and went and purchased one yesterday afternoon. I had done quite a bit of research in combining hives and decided the best method was the shake out the laying worker hive as a "safe bet." I didn't want things to go south and now seemingly they have. I got out about 10:00 this morning and took the laying worker hive 100 yards from the new nuc and shook out all the bees. They were on the new nuc in no time. I was quite surprised at how quickly everything happened. I figured at this point there is nothing I can do so I let it be. I went out and checked them at 3:00 this afternoon and saw quite a few dead bees on the ground in front of the hive and decided things had gone south so I donned the suit and checked on things. When I located the queen the bees were balling her and she was frantically running around the frame with bees latched onto her. I had saved the queen cage from the package I installed in March so ran inside and grabbed it. I delicately picked up the queen and brushed the other bees off of her and placed her in the cage, put a bit of marshmallow in the hole and put electrical tape over it. I put the queen cage in between two frames and put the hive back together.

I'm curious if this was the correct decision or if there were other ways to deal with my issue. My plan is to go back in a few days and see what their attitude towards her is. I'm hoping the pheromones from the open brood will calm the laying worker hive bees down and I really hope things go back to normal so I can release the queen. Any and all advice is welcome.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,558 Posts
Package bees can be quite aged already when you get it. By now they have very little potential lifespan left so very dwindling value to another colony. It is not uncommon to have to give three successive frames of broods to get a laying worker hive turned around. If you put the new nuc where the laying worker hive had been that is not a plus either.

I have become pretty hard hearted about laying workers at that age and stage. I would have done the shakeout miles away and given the frames to the new nuc you bought. My suggestion would be to put the queen under a press in cage on some of her capped and emerging brood so she could continue to lay, rather than in the introduction cage you have her in. I have not been in exactly that position so maybe someone will have some more encouraging advice.

Wishing you luck,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,135 Posts
Shaking out a LW hive is a bad bet unless there are far more queen right bees than LW.

Frankly I would but your LW hive back in place and get your nuc stable again. How big is your LW package now? Is your nuc still a nuc or in a full hive?

After your nuc is normal2-3 days and your queen is laying then you can worry about the LW package.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,558 Posts
It is not going to be easy to undo the previous move; the bees are mixed now, are they not? How to separate?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,135 Posts
Not disagreeing with you about that. Field bees are going to go back in large part. The frames will take more back but that will change quickly.
True cannot undo, just rewind some, how much depends upon how many were house and how many field.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's not a bad idea, putting the LW hive could atleast get some of the aggressive bees back in the LW hives. I transferred the nuc into an 8 frame, that's how it currently sits. I'll go do that now and see what it looks like tomorrow. I'll post a reply in the morning. Thanks for the advice and keep it coming.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,558 Posts
Not disagreeing with you about that. Field bees are going to go back in large part. The frames will take more back but that will change quickly.
True cannot undo, just rewind some, how much depends upon how many were house and how many field.
I made the flawed assumption that the package queen did not get going at all since hiving them on March 16. If that were the case they would all be oriented. There has been no brood though, for a long enough time to progress to laying worker.

It might still be a bet to move the now combined colony to a new spot and put a decoy box at the laying worker old location. Any of those laying workers that could be tricked away from the nuc would be a plus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,649 Posts
The empty box in the original spot is a good idea, except if there was any LW that entered the nuc hive is not going want to leave until that box is shook out too?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,135 Posts
It might still be a bet to move the now combined colony to a new spot and put a decoy box at the laying worker old location. Any of those laying workers that could be tricked away from the nuc would be a plus.
Agree that probably would be an improvement. I would move most of the LW frames back as well, maybe a brood frame with them to start the suppression. I know it would move a mixture of bees but more of the aggression as well. Agree it is not a cure, maybe a help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
I'd just like to compliment the op on the level headedness and quick thinking. After the original issue started, to be able to retrieve an old queen cage, find the queen in that mess, and create some sort of plan, shows that they have what it takes to figure this thing out.

Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I went out and checked the LW hive that I put back in place and only a few bees had returned. The hives are close (within a few feet) so that may be hampering the return. I don’t really want to move the new nuc hive to a new location, I feel that may stress them out even more than they are now and I’d really like this one to make it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,558 Posts
I'd just like to compliment the op on the level headedness and quick thinking. After the original issue started, to be able to retrieve an old queen cage, find the queen in that mess, and create some sort of plan, shows that they have what it takes to figure this thing out.

Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20.
:thumbsup::thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,135 Posts
I went out and checked the LW hive that I put back in place and only a few bees had returned.
An optimistic view is that they are looking for a laying queen, similar to the way a queenless hive will drift to a QR.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,951 Posts
I would just like to note that queens can be killed OR protected by balling. Don't know which condition you observed, but just wanted to interject that thought. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just went and checked on the queen and there were no bees biting the cage and they were acting cordial. I took the liberty to free her on a frame and watch the subsequent events in the case I needed to cage her again. She came out of the cage and the bees treated her like the queen she is. No balling or pulling on her wings like I saw Friday afternoon. She was in good health, with all legs intact, etc. I held the frame for a good 5-6 minutes and there was no aggressive behavior towards her. Feeling much better about the current situation. I will probably go back this afternoon to ensure everything is copacetic.

While I'm here, how often is too often to check on the bees and their progress? I don't want to stress them out anymore than this situation has but I would like to ensure she's still in good shape this afternoon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,135 Posts
Good to hear and thanks for follow up.

Checking will do you more good than her, but it probably will not hurt either. Then leave them alone for a week.

(Purely subjective advice, not based upon squat.)
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,888 Posts
Checking will do you more good than her, but it probably will not hurt either. Then leave them alone for a week.

(Purely subjective advice, not based upon squat.)
Sounds good to me, but then I dont know squat either.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top