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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You can read the full details of the cut out here:
http://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...(tree)-should-be-simple&p=1077066#post1077066

But the skinny of the deal is the hive seemed to be a massive feral hive that was on its way out.

Comb was useless and riddled with hive beetles, no brood to save and a HEAVY mix of drones.

Vacuumed most of them up and now the are trapped in three 8 frame mediums (foundationless) and are being fed 2:1 syrup.

Vac'd and put in place last night, screen still on openings... Supposed to rain today, guess I need to open that entrance and let them go about doing what they are gonna do right?

Any suggestions? Sorry for the essential double post, just figured lots may not read through the old trap out thread vs this new more to the point post.

Advice please!
Gilligan
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
60 degrees breezy and 30% chance of rain all day (temps dropping all day long).

I opened the screen about an hour ago... they immediately started coming out and orientating.

Now I went look and they appear to be bearding... they have the 2.5" hole stuffed with bees just all clustering around it.



Sorry, I think the photo is upside down.
 

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Try to get them a queen from someone, or put a frame of open brood and eggs in there and they will make a queen. At least you have a lot of bees, that's a great start.
 

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I agree. See if you can locate them some brood, a queen or even a queen cell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Try to get them a queen from someone, or put a frame of open brood and eggs in there and they will make a queen. At least you have a lot of bees, that's a great start.
I sent out an SOS to the club I'm a part of via email list... but I'm not sure how "progressive" they are in their understanding of modern bee keeping. I also simply asked for possibly an unwanted queen cell that someone might be destroying anyway.

I'm still puzzled by this bearding as it's 60 degrees and dropping, no way it's too hot in there right?

I have my plywood cover from my vac that has two holes in it, one I put the feeder over the other is screened (a little over 2" hole), which then has a medium on it and the inner cover (which didn't have a notch in it) and I put some large shims to keep a decent gap for ventilation through it.

I'd like to put a screened bottom (which I have)... but I'm not really looking forward to disturbing that colony after yesterdays trauma.
 

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It was best to start a new thread. I will chase you over here to add info. There was drone brood or just drone comb? Smaller hives will take a new queen better. Split at least one box off to try any introduction and I would use an excluder to separate the bees for that split. You may have a drone queen or laying workers in there. Maybe someone has a weak hive that you could share and then divide later. Maybe you are already in your spring?
If they are really stuffed that could be why the bearding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah I have NO idea how many bees I have in there.

We are definitely in spring, they had pollen and nectar the hive.

Oh, to answer your first question, lots of drone brood, capped and uncapped.

Not following the queen excluder part.. but when the time comes I'll split them apart.

I just hope they make some wax, that's half the reason for feeding.
 

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If you use an excluder on top of the hive and put another body on that the drones and any queen will not make it to the clean hive. Laying workers will though. Just workers will be in that clean hive because they will go to the feeder.
If the drones are from LW they are not even good as drones, just useless mouths to feed and I would not hesitate to off them after you separate them. If no excluder they will die off anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So someone in my club has come to my rescue.

Now it's a new dilemma, he thinks he should give me two frames and just make me a split. He said he would give the frame to stick in my current situation but hates to see a frame go to waste if this colony is a bust.

What are you guys' thoughts?
 

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I agree with him. If they are LW that is a hard cure. Get a functioning queen and hive first and add on to that.
Search for LW posts here for a multiple view of solutions. Dumping them and letting them join other hives is not an option unless someone else works with you or you get a nuc. Someone with nucs who needs bees to expand and would split with you later would work.
You will know in a few days if you have laying workers. If they make comb they will lay in it quickly, multiple eggs is LW. It is not impossible that you have a functioning queen and the removal hid that. Swarm prep with all those bees is possible, queen cells in crushed comb/ drone comb/ sawdust is easy to miss.
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I would go for a small nuc to start QCs and then adding in your bees slowly as an overall plan.
If you could get a laying queen and brood going above a screen you could suppress the LW and combine. Then use the lbs to make new splits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have read about laying workers (I love research when one can't do or just before one does). They are the one problem I dread the most it think... Seem like no fun to sort out.

Just devil's advocate, IF the colony had a LW, isn't likely that I didn't get her since I left thousands of bees behind? Other thoughts are, we found no eggs or young larva. I am wondering if it wasn't a failing queen situation, they superseded and she failed to get mated or was eaten. Could that explain the building of so much drone comb and the failing queen may have only been laying drones at the end? I'm totally guessing though.

I will likely do as you suggest though.

My game plan right now is, see what is happening. They were taking syrup well today and it started to rain at about 8pm so I put on my red led headlamp and went check things out. I've been a bit nervous to get too close (no protection), and looked in the hole. Some debris and dead bees, clustering on bottom of frames (I'm three mediums tall right now). Handful of dead bees about the immediate 2' of the entrance... I'm guessing the house keeping bees are trying to do what they can but everyone is so jammed up in that entrance that they can't get it all done easily.

Soon as it warms up, I'll set up a real bottom board (screened) which should help the congestion.

Then start checking frames for comb and see if we have any eggs/LW. Not really looking forward to rocking and rolling with a large queenless hive. In the process I will see how many bees I have and implement the queen excluder system that you recommended. Should I put any frames of drawn comb into the higher box and maybe shake them off if it seems drone heavy before moving them up?

Oh, and then assuming they are not looking like a major bust, I will do a queenless split as discussed and maybe grab a queen cell, assuming there are plenty made and toss it in the feral hive and see ifi can't get them going that way.

What do you think?
 

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Only a couple of comments; it is called laying worker, but it is workers. 5% to 20 % is what I recall reading. It is brood that suppresses LWs, that is why a smaller hive works best, it does not get thinned out by as many bees. It is generally 3 weeks of a new brood frame every week before QCs started. Ideally if someone had extra virgin cells you could split into 3 hives now and have 3 chances. A piece of ply and sticks makes a temp bottom and ply works as a cover as is.

It is easy to miss what is really going on in a hive with removable frames, yours was being ripped apart by an excavator.

Definitely split to a smaller hive before trying any kind of introduction, it just has better chances of success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok cool.

I have 10 medium boxes (4 assembled), I'll be ordering more, but they were severely back ordered last time (budget boxes) and I think Mann just made me happy/right and sent me whatever they had as they were flawless.

I only ordered one top and bottom as I knew I could make those, just wanted to see first hand a telescopic and SBB w/ drawer.

So I can easily break this apart this week. Should I do this as soon as possible or wait I'll I have the cell/frame and do it all at once?
 

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Two things working and they are not working together. 1 Hive will make more comb. When you split many bees will go back to the first location, the longer you wait to split the more will go back. Until they fly they do not orientate, so rain is good.
You can split 3 ways and leave none in the original location, some would move the main and put the new split in the original location but that gives you field bees who are harder to introduce to.
You can get really crude with temp gear. 3/4 scrap on ply makes a bottom,it can stick out but not in. Ply and nothing else makes a top.

Your post 12 is sound. Smoke them some(it does not take much) wait 5 and move smoothly and evenly. If you think you belong there the bees are more likely to believe it too.

I would probably choose to split off the top box before they fly much no matter what. 2nd choice 2 to 4 hours before introduction, if many bees leave, add more and use the screened bottom and close it up for 4 days. You do not know if they are all field bees or some young ones too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That could be an issue... if I don't really have any nurse bees around who will take care of the new eggs/larva?

It is looking like low 60's for the next few days, but sunny tomorrow. I'm guessing that is the day to do this... which means I have to assemble some boxes/boards/lids tonight! 60 Isn't too cold to do these splits is it?

One caveat, I don't have a lot of yard to work with. Everything is taking place in about an 8' area along the back of my shed. I could probably set up a temp one on the back of my house but the yard guy will be coming soon to mow (we have a very laxed relationship)... I'm sure that will not be a good location for them when he is mowing (maybe I should say, not a good location for HIM!) ;) Even then, that is only 10' from where they are now.

I'm on the back of a subdivision and don't really want to put them out front for everyone to see... I'm already suspecting neighborhood kids will be tempted to mess with them where they are and plan on putting up some security cameras as a deterrent and then proof if there is any vandalism/tom foolery.

Oh and I looked this morning and for a second I thought they were gone.

At 9:30 am 53 degrees they were dead quite and clustered up high in the top box (out of 3). I took a pic with the flash on my phone and could see a bit of the empty frames in the second box so I'm assuming they are all hanging together in the top box tightly. They were on my screened hole pretty tight on the feeder board and they were very active in the feeder.

Surprisingly minimal dead bees on the floor from the vacuuming job, and few dead bees outside the hive (I don't think they were able to get much house keeping done because of the traffic at the entrance). I'd estimate maybe 50 bees easily visible so maybe double that for what I can't see on the ground or carried off further? Not bad as I thought the suction was a bit too strong and I'm certain I crushed some in the process of scraping the walls with the nozzle.
 

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OK, not a Texan, mine would fly in lower 40s so 60 is almost summer. Probably feed more than cold has them bunched. If they are in one hive you are probably not overcrowded so split is not as urgent. If you split you can have them side by side, reversing will cut down on the drift of bees that have not oriented yet.

When you are not jar feeding you can use a bottom as a top and stack vertically. Michael Bush used to have a photo of that on his site. Pain to handle though not bad with a couple. Check out pallets of bees, as long as they are similar sized it works.

How are they when you feed them? Fly at you or pretty calm?

They can take care of brood and raise queens even if older, not a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've only ventured about 10' to the hive from the front and a bit from the side (how I got the bearding pic) so far. No real issues.

I haven't been in any gear so I've been wary and the sound is intimidating right now. :)

Just got a call about a swarm that is FIVE minutes from me! I'm ON IT!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Well, swarm capture was successful!

Pretty certain we got the queen by the way they were acting and clustering.

I let my buddy take that one home since I'm not really setup, got enough to deal with and he helped on the tree removal with no reward.

Again, NOT as easy as they make it seem on tv (YouTube). I go in there thinking I'm Billy Badass with no gloves and start trying to rake them in off the tree trunk... POP! On the finger, had the brush in my back pocket, switch it it and POP! On the wrist! Grrr, throw the brush down in frustration and retreat to the gloves. :(

Granted the way they were hugging the trunk of the tree in the middle of the branches I thought we should have vacuumed them from the get go.

We actually got the queen with the scooping and half the bees, then vacuumed the rest after that.

20140324_175431-1.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Oh, and to get the beevac all together again, I needed the bottom and top.

That went surprisingly smooth, pulled the bottom board and a few bees went airborne, put new bottom board down. Then pulled the feeder and top off and they remained calm, could see some comb, but we didn't mess with them as we were focused getting the vac parts and getting that swarm.

BUT, I'm super confident in going in there and messing around with them tomorrow!
 
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