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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, new urban beekeeper here. I've read a lot here on bees clustering under a screened bottom board and also combining a laying worker hive with a queenright colony, but can't find the answer to this one:
What to do about bees from a laying worker hive we shook out in front of a queenright hive, that are now clustering underneath the hive? We are in an urban community garden in Chicago so space is limited and we don't have other hives to spread the bees among.

The queenright hive was one deep and one medium super they had begun to draw out. This was a 5-frame Nuc installed in early June that had to be moved early July, had a robbing issue, and quite a few bees had died. They had no capped honey and not a lot of nectar (were taking syrup). Population covering 4-5 deep frames, lots of good brood of all ages.

The other hive in the apiary (2 fellow beekeepers) had swarmed June 13, was packed with honey (a full medium super and a lot in the medium super bottom box), but no queen. The date for a new queen to start laying had passed. A check on Saturday found lots of cells with multiple eggs, 4 or more in some. We made the decision to combine by shaking out the laying worker hive and give their boxes to the queenright hive.

That all went well, the bees were amazingly calm. Now there is a good size cluster under the deep. Some seem to be flying up to the entrance and then going back under (the entrance is wide open, no reducer). Would they cluster like that for the laying workers as they would a queen? I can slide the board back in over the screen. But if they stay clustered, we can't shake them into the top as you would bees from the same colony. If covering over the screen doesn't work, what to do?

Bonus question: what will become of the laying worker eggs we put on top of the queenright colony?
Please advice and many thanks. -Lynn
 

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the eggs should be cleaned out. if not, the worst thing is they will draw drone comb. once is capped, I would pull out, and cut the capping off them, then put back. all the mites in those cells, will not me mature enough, and so the bees will clean them out and will reduce your mite population.

do not worry about them clustering outside like that. that usually happen because they can't go inside, yet, so they wait it out outside. once they loose their smell, they will be slowly absorbed by your queen right colony. another explanation would be the heat. if it's too hot, they will hang out under the entrance like that, reducing the no of bees in the hive, making it easier for he other bees to ventilate and reduce temperature.

do not worry about them, just let them be, and they will slowly be absorbed inside. normally the guardians of your queen right hive, will not let the drone layer to enter the queen right hive. sometimes they are too heavy to even fly out of the grass. usually I shake them out further away, maybe at the edge of the yard. they will cluster there for a while, but coming night fall or a day or so later, they will fly towards the only hive remaining in the yard, and beg to be received. they usually are.
I hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That is reassuring. Thank you.
Given our small apiary within the garden, and neighbors very close by, we needed to shake them there. We'll keep eyes on them and put that board in to cover the screen. Thanks again.
 

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you don't have to. if it's not cold outside, leave the screen open. they need that ventilation in the summer.
next time, shake them behind the hive. not right in front. it works both ways, but I think it works better behind the hive, since the bees have to actually go around the hive to ask for permission to enter. be assured all your field force, is already in the queen right hive. a bee with feed on her, being pollen or honey, will be almost instantly accepted in the hive. the rest of them will be accepted by tomorrow, I have no doubt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good to know about leaving the screen open. I have seen other posts recommending closing it to get them to stop clustering there. Maybe a separate issue. My fellow beek checked at noontime and said they were more spread out, about 2-3 bees deep, not clustered in a ball like last evening. It's 85 and sunny. I'll post an update tomorrow.
 

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Do yourself and your bees a favor and do some comparisons between colonies encumbered with those miraculous screened bottom boards and colonies being cultured naturally in natural cavities lacking a gaping hole in the bottom.
 

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Good to know about leaving the screen open. I have seen other posts recommending closing it to get them to stop clustering there. Maybe a separate issue. My fellow beek checked at noontime and said they were more spread out, about 2-3 bees deep, not clustered in a ball like last evening. It's 85 and sunny. I'll post an update tomorrow.
by tomorrow they will be absorbed inside by the colony.

Vance G, my man. give us your insight on this issue, I doubt Lynn has access to such feral hives , so maybe you should enlighten us with your findings on this matter. on my side of the fence, every colony I found in a tree o wall, had some space beneath the frames. they call that air pocket, and also how bees naturally work. they go all the way to the top of the space they intend to occupy and they build downwards.

maybe you have other insight, and I would love to hear about it. maybe start a new topic so we don't hijack Lynn's post.
 

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SBB's make a fine fire if you don't breathe the released phosgene gas of the galvanized metal melting. Bees may SURVIVE them but they do not benefit the bees. Bees are expert ventilators and choose cavities with a small entrance. Since I sell nucs from time to time I need to shut up and let that full 40% of rookie kept bees die and keep generating sales.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Vance G, the learning curve is indeed mighty steep. I'm doing the best I can with the equipment I have. Thanks for the tip.
 

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I live 133 miles south of Chicago on I-57. The weather lately has been muggy, hot, and now wet. The bees are just cooling off imo. Wish I could post pics of some beards for you to see. What you are seeing is probably normal. Give it some Thyme and things will work itself out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Betty,
It is sooo muggy and wet. I think the clump underneath is a separate batch from the rest though. Today at noon I checked and they are still under there, maybe not quite as many. It looks like some foragers are going underneath. House bees were washboarding at the entrance, which was a treat to see. We inspect the hive on Saturday and if they are still there we can move them off.
 

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Take a close look at the cluster and see if there might be a queen in it. I've had small swarms go under a hive and cluster on the screen. Also had them go in the top and cluster on the inner cover that had screen over the hole.
Some times a new queen will deposit multiple eggs in cells as she gets started laying. She usually stops the multiple egg thing after a couple of days and from then on, lays one egg in each cell.
 

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Do yourself and your bees a favor and do some comparisons between colonies encumbered with those miraculous screened bottom boards and colonies being cultured naturally in natural cavities lacking a gaping hole in the bottom.
So you are against screen bottom boards? I have been wondering if they are really a good idea or not! I know that when I have robbing, the robbers fill the oil pans under the hive they are attacking.
 
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