Another hive goes queenless

Basic beekeeping, this is beekeeping after the first winter until about the third or fourth year. You are a beekeeper, but you still have a lot to learn. Talk about normal everyday beekeeping here.
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Rurification
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Another hive goes queenless

Postby Rurification » Thu May 25, 2017 12:51 pm

A few weeks ago someone mentioned that when you have a lot of bees and they are making a new queen, they've got nothing to do but make honey. I thought that was great to know and filed it away in the back of my head.

Fast forward to last week. I was gone for 4 days and it was hot here. When I got back there was still a beard under one of the hives, sheltered well between 2 supports. And the beard stayed. All day, all night, in the rain. Not normal. I checked as soon as I could and inside the beard, I see comb. I opened the colony up found 4 boxes packed full of nectar - just starting to cap the honey. No brood anywhere. Didn't see a queen. I'm assuming queenless, so I put a frame of brood eggs in. I'll let them finish capping the honey and then start harvesting it.

Here's my question - This is the second colony of the four that overwintered to go queenless. Am I doing something wrong? Is it just luck - and the trick is to watch, catch it and let them make a new queen?

At any rate, I totally see why nucs are great resources to have. I went to my smallest colony [single medium] and swiped a frame of brood from them.

NEED MORE BOXES. MORE NUCS.
Robin Edmundson
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Michael Bush
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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby Michael Bush » Thu May 25, 2017 1:10 pm

You assume they are queenless. I would assume they are superseding. It seems like a good time to do it, while there is plenty of food to feed the queen etc.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby lharder » Thu May 25, 2017 3:00 pm

Yes nucs are totally useful. My first spring nucs are just coming on line. I haven't seen eggs yet, but any day now. I saw a young queen running around in what I thought was a failure. I was going to use them for a cell builder, but was totally thwarted by queen rightness. I'm sure at least one will fail. I did have a couple that decided to make their own queen, but I couldn't use them either as the queens had emerged already.

So a frame of young brood was a good idea. They will tell you what their queen status is.

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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby moebees » Thu May 25, 2017 3:40 pm

I think I would make some room for them pronto.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Rurification
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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby Rurification » Fri May 26, 2017 7:11 pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I did not find any queen cells or any brood at all... so it didn't occur to me that they might be superceding. I'm not very experienced at this part.

I've got another big box on now. Can't wait to start harvesting that honey. If I could get 3 boxes off that colony while they're making a new queen....
Robin Edmundson
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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby moebees » Fri May 26, 2017 10:25 pm

Sounds like you are going to get plenty of honey this year! :D

Do they have room in the brood nest? The way you described the situation it sounded like you needed to add some empty frames in the brood chamber.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Rurification
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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby Rurification » Sun May 28, 2017 11:18 am

I had considered that when I had them open, but since my assumption was queenlessness, I just put a frame of brood in and stopped at that. I figured when I saw a queen cell, I'd open up the broodnest at the same time.

I'll check them in a few days and open things up, take some honey off, etc.
Robin Edmundson
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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby Rurification » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:59 pm

I checked them yesterday and Michael, you were totally right. A tiny bit of brood, right up top where it had no business being and 3 queen cells. They had just capped the first one.

I set that frame aside and went through the hive to see what they did with the frame of brood I gave them last week. Lots of honey, almost ready to cap. The frame of brood I put in had queen cells, too, not quite capped, so I left those since I don't know if they've already swarmed, and we didn't find the queen. I didn't want to leave them completely queenless if she'd swarmed already.

I took the first frame that I found with queen cells and started a nuc with it.

Michael, you said from the beginning that you'd assumed they were getting ready to supersede. What tipped you off? Why did you think 'supersede' instead of 'queenless'?
Robin Edmundson
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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby moebees » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:44 pm

I don't know what Michael was thinking but I was thinking honey bound. Did you harvest the honey yet?
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby Rurification » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:28 pm

Honey is not yet capped. Maybe another week.
Robin Edmundson
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Rurification
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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby Rurification » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:55 pm

Hive swarmed today. Managed to get out there just in time and get it boxed. I dropped a frame of open brood in there to anchor it.

:D This makes colony #7.
Robin Edmundson
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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby moebees » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:39 pm

Good work Robin! Looks like you may have lots of bees and lots of honey! :D
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Another hive goes queenless

Postby moebees » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:50 am

Hey Robin, I saw the picture of your honey harvest on your blog. Looks really good!
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."


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