Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a hive that appears to be struggling, even though in early April it was going strong.

A long time experienced beekeep came over this weekend to help me figure out what I should do.

We could not find the queen....there is evidence of a queen, eggs on end in the cell (but not much) and little to almost no brood.

Anyway...we went frame by frame thru the hive, couldn't find the queen, and remember this has become a small population hive. So we went to plan B. We ran the whole hive thru a queen excluder, frame by frame thinking we'd find the queen that way...nope.

We got all the bees down to one box and left it for now. I think I'm just going to combine the hive into another hive but I gotta find the queen first....does anyone have any other ideas I can try??

Thanks!

LaRae
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
53,992 Posts
Now that the are down to one box, they may do much better. Often the queen is laying but there aren't enough workers to take care of the brood in that size box. In a smaller box they can manage the area, keep it warm and they will start rearing brood. I'd put them in the smallest box you can fit them in. Buy a nuc, or build one, if you need one.

It's very possible that the population is low because they were rearing a new queen (which takes 24 days until she's laying) and she's just now starting to lay and hasn't fattened up yet, so she went through the excluder. She may start laying well and they may build back up.

I'd let them have a shot at it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Michael!

How long should I wait to see what this queen is gonna do? She's already laying (there were a few new eggs on end in the cells).

It was pretty surprising to see how many bees were NOT there...hardly any drone either, big change from early April.


LaRae
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
812 Posts
I had the same problem last week with one of my hives. I even followed the same path as you - including the filtering via queen excluder. We finally gave up for the day. The next day I tried again (wanted to do a queen replacement) and found her on the second frame that I pulled. She must have just been running and hiding a lot on the first day.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
53,992 Posts
>How long should I wait to see what this queen is gonna do? She's already laying (there were a few new eggs on end in the cells).

The queen should hit her stride in a couple of weeks. The bees won't rear anymore brood than what they can cover with bees, so if the population is low that may not be much.

>She must have just been running and hiding a lot on the first day.

They tend to be pretty quick and small at first. You need to do some of the standard queen finding techniques (like little to no smoke) but you also need to change what you're looking for with a virgin. With a laying queen you're looking for a bee that is moving slower than the ones around it (at least the ones that are moving), slow and graceful. With a virgin queen you're looking for a bee that is moving faster than the bees around it. Quick and shy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Michael I had another thought...

Assuming this is a superceded queen, wouldn't we have seen evidence in the hive of a queen cell? How fast do they tear them down?


LaRae
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,071 Posts
I have found that putting a swarm into a box they can handle does alot to cure what ails em. I have also learned to be patient with queens that are in hives with low populations. If they still struggle in a smaller box, I will often times switch them with a strong hive, which boosts bee numbers enough that they will take off.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top