Requeening

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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Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:40 am

I bought two russian nucs from the same local beekeeper. One is going great it has two boxes of brood and a deep super full of honey as well. The other only has 7 frames and can't cover those. I noticed a while back that it had low numbers, but the queen was in there laying, so I thought I would give her a chance. I looked today and the numbers are even lower. There were lots of Larvae and the queen was still there. I am considering requeening this hive. Any thoughts? I do not know why numbers are low. I suspected a skunk, but I see no evidence and the other hives are doing fine.

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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:57 am

Is it too late in the year to raise a queen myself?

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Re: Requeening

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:45 am

Did you consider a possibility loosing a swarm there?
If a lost swarm case, this is what left of it and it is an OK case (for next year). There is nothing to do and just let them be.
Otherwise, who know..

For SW MO, not too late to do the re-queen.
Drones should be available - why not?
Flying drones - that is the main limiting factor for the new queen raising.

What I would do with the weak hive:
1)pull the queen into a holding nuc just to keep her on stand-by and also to still keep her working for the weak hive (she is in a helper role now; take brood away from her if possible to prop);
2)move a egg frame from a strong hive into the weak hive;
3)notch the transferred egg frame (see OTC method) so they start emergency QCs exactly on that frame (if any QCs on weak hive brood started - remove those)
4)if any luck, you'd have a new laying queen in the weak hive in about 4 weeks; give her a chance to build for the winter; she should have the strong hive traits
5)the helper queen nuc will be combined back into the weak hive (minus the queen); if any extra brood in the nuc, use it to boos the queen-less hive while in transition.

Something like that.

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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:02 am

I think I found my evidence. I had smelled a slight skunky smell a couple of times around the house a while back. I believe these to be wads of bees from a skunk.

In the mean time, I will give them a frame of capped brood to boost the population.
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Re: Requeening

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:10 am

I'll be darn!
So the skunk decided that hive had the tastiest bees?
Or the entrance was the easiest to get to?
What kind of an entrance is it? How other do hives differ?

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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:26 am

They are all the same. Traditional bottom entrance. This particular hive is on the front corner of the group, which may make it easier and safer to get to. It is the front left corner hive in the first picture

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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:28 am

This is what had me confused. Every time I would look into the hive, I would see lots of brood but very few bees. So the queen was laying well, but the skunk was taking down the numbers

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Re: Requeening

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:29 am

BTW, while back I stopped trapping rabbits/racoons in my backyard because of fear to catch a skunk (there are around).
I just don't know how to handle a skunk in a trap in a suburb.
The darn thing will bomb the enter neighborhood; people would hate me...

What is a practical skunk plan for suburbs?

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Re: Requeening

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:30 am

Grappling Coach wrote:This is what had me confused. Every time I would look into the hive, I would see lots of brood but very few bees. So the queen was laying well, but the skunk was taking down the numbers


Wow!
I honestly did not know skunk could do so much damage.

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Re: Requeening

Postby moebees » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:33 am

The trap line is set and revenge will be sweet.
.

Wow. How about being smarter than the skunk instead of exacting revenge on an animal that is simply exploiting a resource you have provided. I can assure you the skunk is not out to get you.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:38 am

Lay a blanket over the trap and skunk. Look on YouTube

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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:40 am

Didn't mean to offend

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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:46 am

Michael bush said this was one of the reasons he went to a top entrance. I need to look up some pictures and see how this is done. Also, how to reduce an upper entrance and utilize robber screens

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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:28 am

I looked at Michael Bush's website concerning top entrances. I like the shim idea, but do have a question. With the honey being at the top closest to the entrance, is robbing more of a problem?

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Re: Requeening

Postby Dustymunky » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:35 am

I have a hive in an outyard that has been harassed by a skunk too. Blocked off a big chunk of the entrance and used some screen to keep the skunk's paws out. He was also trying to dig under the hive too so layed paver stones around base. Hive is still booming. He damaged a few combs but the bees moved away from the bottom of the hive.
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Re: Requeening

Postby Salvatore » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:39 pm

Requeening:
GregV has offered up the right advice. Never just squish a queen until you know the replacement queen is worthy.

Dealing w/ skunks:
Consider making a tack pad or an un-welcome mat for your skunk troubles. This is merely a piece of wood with nails driven thru it and then placed in the front of your hives with the exposed nails facing up. Another option would be to place a small roll of fencing in the front of the hives thus preventing the skunk from getting to your entrances. At night skunks will scratch at the hives entrance to cause bees to come investigate and then will quickly rake in a mouthful of bees chew them up, sucking out their sweetness and spitting out the remains leaving evidence of their presence. Exactly what you have in the pictures. Because of this the skunks have to get close to the entrances. Creating a buffer may help.
DustyMunky's screened entrance is a good idea as well. Whatever works.

Top Entrances:
I run top entrances on all of my full-sized colonies and some robust nucs. I do keep a bottom entrance reducer on some colonies and open entrances on others dependent upon colony strength and temperatures. I have not had problems with robbing on strong colonies only nucs throughout my 6 years of beetending. In my yards (2) young 8 frame colonies are kept with a solid top, but as soon as they appear to be capable of defending themselves I switch to my homemade top covers with shims as indicated by Michael Bush. [img]
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From a different perspective; I went to a talk by Ross Conrad, author of the "Natural Beekeeping" book. He talked about keeping all of his colonies with bottom entrances left wide-open year round as well as a upper entrance. His upper entrance recommendation was a hole drilled into one or more of the supers near the hand hold on the front. Some of his recommendation was for ventilation as he is in the North East US and with winter snows has issues with condensation. When asked about robbing he claimed that if hives are too weak to defend themselves then let'em go. Just for what it's worth.
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Re: Requeening

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:29 pm

When asked about robbing he claimed that if hives are too weak to defend themselves then let'em go. Just for what it's worth.


I hope he makes a difference between natural colonies and manmade ones. :)

If he means nature I´m with him but if I create a weak hive I will rather protect it.
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

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Re: Requeening

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:21 pm

SiWolKe wrote:
When asked about robbing he claimed that if hives are too weak to defend themselves then let'em go. Just for what it's worth.


I hope he makes a difference between natural colonies and manmade ones. :)

If he means nature I´m with him but if I create a weak hive I will rather protect it.


Agreed.
I got about 6-7 nucs (same as weak hives) as we speak.
These are all parts of my expansion plan and I better protect them if I am to succeed.

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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:00 pm

This hive is not weak because of a failing queen or bad genetics, but weak due to predation. Therefore I will try to save it.

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Re: Requeening

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:04 pm

+1
Totally protect it and save it.
Nothing wrong with the hive.

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Re: Requeening

Postby Rurification » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:57 pm

I use screens from old bee packages for my robber screens. I attach them with thumbtacs to the box. I can always tell when a skunk comes around because the screens are clawed. The screens keep the skunks out, though.
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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:24 am

Rurification wrote:I use screens from old bee packages for my robber screens. I attach them with thumbtacs to the box. I can always tell when a skunk comes around because the screens are clawed. The screens keep the skunks out, though.


I have robber screens on now, but there are usually bees hanging out on the outside

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Re: Requeening

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:15 pm

If you let the bees decide on a home they pick one with a very small entrance. Doing cutouts I often find booming colonies with an entrance only big enough for one bee to get through at a time. A lot of our robbing problems are because beekeepers are fond of large entrances. Bees are not so fond of them...
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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:00 pm

I busted the skunked hive down to a nuc so that they could better cover the frames. I then turned the telescoping tops on all my hives into top entrances and covered the entrances in the robber screens This should solve my skunk problem. I am curious to see how long it takes The bees to figure out the top entrance. It took them a few hours to figure out the robber screens. The top entrances may take longer
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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:28 pm

I will reduce the entrances after they find them

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Re: Requeening

Postby GregV » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:23 pm

Grappling Coach wrote:....I am curious to see how long it takes The bees to figure out the top entrance. It took them a few hours to figure out the robber screens. The top entrances may take longer


They will figure it out quicker even than the robber screens. A couple of hours, if that.

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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:15 pm

I am not so sure. There are more bees trying to get out of the screen than trying to get in. There is not much flying. I think the screens have them confused. I may have to pull the screens off and completely close off the bottom. I will see tomorrow.
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Re: Requeening

Postby GregV » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:39 am

Oh! I can see the logic in this issue.
Yes - you need to completely and totally close the bottom entrance.
Take the screens of and plug the entrance hole.
The partial way out/in is no good - only adds to the confusion.
The change should be radical (not a half way).

In my recent swarm trap re-hiving I swapped a tall trap with the top entrance to a low hive with bottom entrance (with the bee screen too).
Well, that was some commotion there. :D No worries. I did not even bother watching (same old), collected my tools and left.
Next day came to put up those skunk screens and nails - they were working with the screens as if nothing ever happened.

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Re: Requeening

Postby Grappling Coach » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:52 pm

Well Greg, we were right. Within a few minutes of removing the screens and blocking the bottom entrances, there was was a steady march up the face of the hive to the top entrance. It was actually pretty cool to watch.


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