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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had an existing hive for a couple of weeks - so far so good - queen released, laying, frame being drawn out.

I installed two new packages nearby (within a few feet). Both of these hives decided to go and join the existing colony within the first day, leaving only a few attendants to the queens there (still in their cages).

What's the best way to try and resolve this? The old hive is teeming, lots of supercedure cells being built (I removed them).

My thoughts are to take frames with brood and bees from the current hive and move them to the nearly vacant hives to help balance them out before they up and leave. Maybe a couple of frames for each of the new hives...

Also, I suppose I can simply allow the super sized hive to continue and give them more room (with the upper deep, and then the supers). Being a year 1 type of thing for all these three hives, it seems that one should be able to balance out first though!

Any other words of wisdom?
 

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i would balance them out.be carefull you dont move the queen. good luck,mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I can find the queen easily enough - she's marked, and mobile. I also saw a couple of swarm cells on the lower 3rd of a few frames - they built those out quickly since my last inspection.

Also seeing some bearding on the outside - probably due to lack of space inside. I will move a few frames to the 'new' hives and see what occurs. I think putting on the upper deep may help the space problem too and get them back inside to do what bees do!
 

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I'd split them. When you do, you might plug the entrance with some grass to give them some alone time with their new queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. I have a screened bottom board, and they have plenty of sugar syrup. I'll move a few frames from the established one to the barren one, and try it!

;)
 

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I think there has to be enough nurse bees in the hive you are moving brood into. So they can care for them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So basically, what I seem to have is a drifting problem. After analyzing it, I found that two of my hives (installed the same day) decided to both drift to an established hive.

Each of the hives abandoned their caged queen and joined the hive with a free queen.

I think I successfully got one split from the hive - at least i was able to relocate enough bees and frames to one of the abadoned hives, and the bees appear to be clustering around the queen, as well as drawing out comb. So for now, it looks like at least one of the two hives that drifted may be back to normal.

However, when I examined the hive that both had drifted to, in order to see what was going on, I cannot for the live of me find the queen! I've looked several times now, and no dice. She *was* marked, and easy to find before (albeit before my 10000 bees surged to 30000).

Is it possible that the bees would have killed the queen in the now bigger hive?

Since I have one hive that is totally empty except for the queen (in cage) and a few hangers-on (attendants), and if the queen is really gone from the now bigger hive, perhaps I can simply move the queen cage to the larger hive, and let them get accustomed to her for a few days before I remove the candy, treating it as a queen replacement?

What have I got to lose? If there is a queen in the hive and I missed her, and I put a cage in the hive, when they release her, one of them is going to die anyhow, right? All I have to lose is a queen at this point, or might I lose both of them? Obviously if I lose both, and I see no new brood, I can 'requeen' again, but for now, it seems easier to simply put the cage in there rather than try another split on a new hive, which is hard to do without a lot of comb and bees to move around.
 

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do you have a frame of eggs? Stck it int he hive thats queenless, see if they make cells..also, you can put the other queen in there, but be dang sure there isnt another one. I didnt and sentenced a great queen to her death.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I will check. I added another box to the hive when it became a superhive with 3X the bees, so I will check and see if things are happening there. If I can find new eggs, that alone will tell me the queen is there, and giving me the slip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
mid late afternoon - about 2 hours to dusk. Bees were very active after hiving and flying around. In retrospect I probably should have plugged the hive entrance for the night, but hindsight is 20/20.

I did chat with the place I bought them from, and they claimed it's pretty common for immediate drifting to occur with their new packages.

These were the 'all american' bees. My first experience with them.
 

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Right before dusky dark is when I try to install new packages. Next time try spraying the packages on both sides good with 1/1 sugar syrup about 20 to 30 minutes before you start, it'll slow up a lot of that flying around. Also don't use a smoker, at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, no smoke, and I did spray them well before hiving. Might need to do more next time. they were still able to fly quite well. I didn't spray the frames, and I've heard that may help them 'stick' around a bit too.

Screened bottom board, so ventillation isn't an issue. Next time I will dump all the bees into the frames, and close them up for the night - might be the solution!

;)
 

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What would be the problem with useing smoke? The first box I hived was a bit agressive so we did light the smoker for the second box They did leave with the queen about a week later.
 

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Smoking new packages only confuses them more than they already are. Spraying them with sugar syrup is better. The fact that you did use smoke didn't have anything to do with them leaving a week later. I'm sure you left feed on them, right?
 

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yes,m they had plenty of food. The handful that are left are still drawing comb and very protective of it. There is pollen on the next frame in very shallow comb. I am going to open both hives tomorrow (2 wks) and look for eggs and thw queen.
 

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FWIW, I had soame problem this spring. one hive got the better part of two pkgs. The one hive was down to a coffee cup of attendant bees and the queen. Went out near dark and switch the location of the two hives and presto! In 48 hours weak hives was repopulated. 3 weeks later things are going fine in both hives.
 
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