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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, no Lions, but I do have a couple questions.

My neighbor sighted a bear in the neighborhood two days ago, so I think I need to move my hive inside the garden fence. Problem - new location is about 75 yards away from current - what's the best method to relocate (can't do 3 feet every night)

Also, different neighbor told me that my bees swarmed a couple of days ago, and he saw them heading out... Told him to call me next time - havent had time lately to keep a close eye on them. Question: If I wait four days from the swarm, and see if I have fresh eggs, that will tell me if I have a laying queen or not, correct? Question: Why did they swarm? They still have four and a half frames to draw in the upper deep, but the upper seems to have nothing but honey in it. Problem? Is this somehow the cause? What to do?
Thanks!
 

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no gaurantee the replacement queen will be laying on the 4th day. Open it up and start looking for queen cells, taking note of any hatched cells. If there is a hatched cell (open on the end) and dead cells (open on the side... queen killed from another queen's sting), then you may be in luck. (although they don't always kill the other queen cells)

Gotta give that virgin a few days to mature, mate, and start laying. Could be a week before you start seeing eggs.


And as far as bears are concerned; Unless that garden fence is electrified, it isn't going to do much. Pick up an electric fencer, some wire, and some posts. If you really want to move them; close them up in the evening when not flying, move them that night or early next morning, leave them closed up for the day (but give them lots of ventilation... use screen), then remove the covering and put some branches, grass, etc around the entrance to force them to re-orient to the new location. You will still likely lose some bees, and have grumpy bees in the yard for a few days (or a week).
 

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1."...move my hive inside the garden fence..."
watch the forest service videos of them tearing a door off a car and you'll HOPE a good electric fence will help.
2."...see if I have fresh eggs..."
you likely have a virgin that hasnt started leying yet
3."...Why did they swarm..."
sounds like they got crowded-no room for the queen to lay.
4."...upper seems to have nothing but honey in it..."
its called "honey bound"
5."...What to do..."
perform more frequent inspections to keep better tabs on the bees. i'd do one now and see if you need to divide this hive into 2
good luck,mike
 

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I second the need for an electric fence. I have used one the last three years and after initial incident have had no problems. I run the wires as one hot and one ground and put them a couple to few inches a apart. This way when nose goes in and touches both wires they get the full charge. I keep low to the ground and seems to have stopped the raccoons and skunks also. I keep charger inside fence also. Using solar out here in sunny colorado. Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info everyone!

Mike - I thought that maybe they got to crowded, but the upper deep isn't nearly drawn (though what is drawn is full of honey), so should I move some of the empty frames in, and down into the brood area? Will they draw and lay in them quicker?

I'll research a "split" tonight - any wisdom? I would think that I should try to keep them working on this hive to build up and fill comb for the winter? No?

Thanks again
 

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If there is a flow on, moving a couple of undrawn frames down, and a couple of drawn frames up will get things going. If there is not a flow on, then feeding some sugar syrup will aid them in drawing out the comb.
With regard to your question about why they swarmed, everyone has an opinion. My opinion/theory is that newbie beekeepers, myself included, have to struggle at first because as well as having not enough experience to judge the state of a hive we also don't have enough drawn comb to ease the pressure of bees filling the brood nest with honey. Bees seem to want to use the space they have, and once they start backfilling the broodnest unless you can break that overhead cap of honey they're off. I'm hoping that in subsequent years as we have more drawn comb and experience, both broodnest and honey super, the available space will change the dynamic.
With regard as what to do next. Be careful. If you destroy queen cells and leave one to requeen the hive you must ensure you can get it back into the hive without damaging it, they are often at the bottom of the frame and easy to damage. Been there done that.:doh: If you are short of drawn combs the best thing to do may be just to leave it and let the bees sort it out. There may be several afterswarms, but at least they can't take the comb with them! Check Michael Bush's website and calculate when it is safe to go in and check that the queen is laying. They almost certainly will requeen this hive succesfully without any intervention on your part.
As for the bear. :eek:
As for the lions, well you're in Washington State keep looking behind you.
Good luck, this hobby is fascinating, and everyone has to learn how to deal with swarming issues. Adrian.
 

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i dont have any wisdom, but i can point you to some that do. check out michael bush's website, and do a search here for "checkerboarding"
good luck,mike
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey Mike, I read Michael Bush's website and his timetables for a new queen laying. If I read correctly, a swarm will occur when the old queen takes bees and leaves just before a new queen emerges? Is that correct? If so, according to Michael's timetable, I should see new eggs about 14 days after the new queen emerges (roughly 14 days after the swarm)?

Make sense? Should I PM Michael Bush?

Thanks again,
Andrew
 

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"...about 14 days ..."
give or take...depends on a lotta things. she might get eaten on her mating flight... or just be a slow starter. they are living creatures, so there are no hard and fast rules.
good luck,mike
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So I went out and pulled apart the hive today, moved three undrawn frames down into the bottom deep, and moved three fully drawn and somewhat vacant drawn frames up. I did find a queen cell on the bottom of one frame in the bottom deep, with the end of it nicely cut open with a little flap.

If the swarm left a week ago today, if I go back in in a week or so, I hopefully will see eggs, correct?

There were a few other queen cells that were not so neatly opened - were these most likely the ones that did not emerge on their own?

Thanks,
Andrew
 

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Hey Andrew,

As Mike said, there are no hard and fast rules. I would be looking for eggs in about 10 days from yesterday IMHO. This way you give her plenty of time to get mated and to check out the new digs and to get to laying....most of the time if the cells havent emerged on their own, i almost always see them torn into from the side...but thats just me and what i have noticed.
 
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