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BEEKEEPING LEARNING CENTER => GENERAL BEEKEEPING - MAIN POSTING FORUM. => Topic started by: rgennaro on September 22, 2019, 03:31:27 pm

Title: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on September 22, 2019, 03:31:27 pm
Last week when I opened my main hive I took a frame of brood and honey to put it in my small colony (the swarm that has been struggling all summer). I was a bit concerned because of 10 frames in the top box only 2 had brood and not that much of it and all capped (again this is the main hive). So I went back in today to check the entire hive and this week, no brood at all, neither open or capped. Lots of honey and pollen stores. Didn?t see the queen (she is marked so I should have seen her). No queen cells either (well there is no brood ....)

Last week I assumed the queen was slowing  down, now I am worried the hive is queenless. I am pretty sure I didn?t take her to the other hive but even if I did there would have been some brood in the hive since it?s been about a week.

Suggestions?
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: iddee on September 22, 2019, 05:38:42 pm
Cut a 2 inch square of comb out of a frame in the middle of the cluster. Cut an equal square of comb with eggs from a frame in the swarm hive and install it in the main hive. It won't be enough to weaken the swarm hive. Then wait 7 to 10 days and check the main hive again. If you have a virgin queen now, she should be laying at that time. If it is queenless, you should have 1 or more queen cells..
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: Oldbeavo on September 22, 2019, 06:38:22 pm
If you do the sums, a queen last laid in the hive more than 21 days ago, as all the brood has hatched. So if they used one of the last laid eggs and the new queen hatched at 16 days you should have seen a queen cell last week or just hatched.
So I would say you are queenless. Do you have time in the season to hatch a new queen and for her to lay. If she lays 25 days after you put the eggs in and 21 days to hatch you don't get a new bee for 46 days and 7-10 days to start working.
Should you buy a mated queen and add her to the hive to catch up 25-30 days?
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: iddee on September 22, 2019, 07:09:14 pm
They did not start a queen cell with an egg. They started with a day old larva. IE: 4 day egg. She emerged 12 days later. She can start laying anywhere from day 21, "5 days old, to day 35. Possibly later.  Counting the days until your winter bees will be born is important, but the bees you have now will still be foraging for 45 days or more, with the exception of normal attrition.
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on September 22, 2019, 07:37:30 pm
Assuming it?s queenless can I just newspaper combine with the other one? That one has the odds against it anyway. Thanks
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: iddee on September 22, 2019, 07:45:33 pm
YES, whether it is queenless or not. They will sort it out and either keep both or choose the best one.
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: sawdstmakr on September 22, 2019, 10:00:55 pm
Being you are in New York, there is a good chance the bees have shut down the queen and she is not laying. If there is no flow, there is a really good chance she is shut down.
Jim Altmiller
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: incognito on September 22, 2019, 10:28:16 pm
Being you are in New York, there is a good chance the bees have shut down the queen and she is not laying. If there is no flow, there is a really good chance she is shut down.
Jim Altmiller
Jim,
I saw larvae and capped brood this week at hives in Manhattan and Long Island. OP is about 200 miles northwest at higher elevation. I am not disputing your theory, just sharing some observations from southeast NY (where the weather is noticeably moderated by ocean temperatures.)
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on September 23, 2019, 02:55:09 am
Jim that was my question: does a queen shut down completely or just slows down? That said, We have had some near freezing temperatures at night last week but it?s pretty warm now and the goldenrod flow is on.
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: sawdstmakr on September 23, 2019, 08:33:27 am
With the cold nights she may have shut down. With an Apiary full of hives, half may shut down and the other half may still be laying.
I would not give up on this queen being in the hive. If you did what Iddee said it would prove whether she is in there or not. If they make queen cells, she is missing. If she is in there, they may even clean out the cells.
Jim Altmiller
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: saltybluegrass on September 23, 2019, 08:46:21 am
Jim that was my question: does a queen shut down completely or just slows down? That said, We have had some near freezing temperatures at night last week but it?s pretty warm now and the goldenrod flow is on.

Ugh near freezing and I?m hanging a hammock near WEST PALM BEACH good luck oh northern partner
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on September 23, 2019, 12:00:17 pm
Of course my real job gets in the way and I am away at a conference all week. I will be back on Friday.

There is a couple of empty frames in the hive that I pushed toward the middle (since there was no brood that could chill). If she starts laying again there should be space for her to do so.

My hope is that my experienced beek  friend comes over while I am away or right after I come back and helps me out

The small hive is already kicking out drones btw
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: Ben Framed on September 23, 2019, 12:44:06 pm
Jim that was my question: does a queen shut down completely or just slows down? That said, We have had some near freezing temperatures at night last week but it?s pretty warm now and the goldenrod flow is on.

Ugh near freezing and I?m hanging a hammock near WEST PALM BEACH good luck oh northern partner

You ole rascal!  Must be nice at West Palm Beach anytime!!  I bet you do not miss Kentucky in the winter?  :grin:
A few weeks ago, I was in the middle of a dearth. I could not find one egg or one capped brood cell or the queen in two of my hives, and I am talking about summer.  I was concerned that the queens might be dead! That is when I completely made up my mind to mark my queens. Now they are again right back at it. I am anxious to hear the answer to your question also.
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: Oldbeavo on September 24, 2019, 08:54:17 pm
We are in a climate that has no snow in winter, frosts but a cold day is 10C.
We don't find fully shut down queens till mid winter, queens vary in their response to winter, some maintain a small patch while other may have brood on 2 frames, while a few totally shut down. The shut downs are not in strong hives, probably the reason their not strong as the queen has slowed down early in the season.
If there was any type of a flow they would not shut down totally here.
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: Ben Framed on September 24, 2019, 10:29:47 pm
Last week when I opened my main hive I took a frame of brood and honey to put it in my small colony (the swarm that has been struggling all summer). I was a bit concerned because of 10 frames in the top box only 2 had brood and not that much of it and all capped (again this is the main hive). So I went back in today to check the entire hive and this week, no brood at all, neither open or capped. Lots of honey and pollen stores. Didn?t see the queen (she is marked so I should have seen her). No queen cells either (well there is no brood ....)

Last week I assumed the queen was slowing  down, now I am worried the hive is queenless. I am pretty sure I didn?t take her to the other hive but even if I did there would have been some brood in the hive since it?s been about a week.

Suggestions?

I have a question, have you checked this hive for mites?
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: Ben Framed on September 24, 2019, 10:30:56 pm
Cut a 2 inch square of comb out of a frame in the middle of the cluster. Cut an equal square of comb with eggs from a frame in the swarm hive and install it in the main hive. It won't be enough to weaken the swarm hive. Then wait 7 to 10 days and check the main hive again. If you have a virgin queen now, she should be laying at that time. If it is queenless, you should have 1 or more queen cells..

iddee, this is a great idea. You are always coming up with good ideas. Thanks, Phillip
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on September 25, 2019, 04:41:45 am
I have a sticky board on this hive which has consistently show little to no mites. This past weekend when I checked there were 2 mites and the board had been in there for a long time (I had forgotten it :). I don't think mites is the issue here.

I find it difficult to believe that the queen might have shut down. The cold snap was in between the two inspections and in the first one there was already very little brood and all capped, so if she shut down it would have been before that and it wasn't that cold and there was food (again the goldenrod is in full bloom here). Add to it, that I didn't see her (and she is marked). But it is a possibility I am not discounting. If she is gone it's a shame, she was laying like a champ while she was around.

I am away so I can't do the 2" square of brood test that idee suggested until I get back. It requires finding eggs in the small hive, which I am not sure I can do ... but I'll try. I'll keep you all posted.
Title: No brood?
Post by: TheHoneyPump on September 25, 2019, 01:55:51 pm
There is quite a bit of look-loo experience to support that queens do not shut down completely.  They do slow substantially and take pause a day here a day there.  However, there is always some brood/eggs on the go 24/7/365.  It may be very little, as little as 50-100 cells mid dead winter, but there nonetheless.  When looking for evidence of queen in fall/winter; first figure out where the centre of the tight cluster is.  Look there. The queen will not be roaming about the hive.  She will be huddled centre/centre.  Do not expect to easily see the few cells or the queen under the mass of bees.  In a healthy well organized hive ramped down for fall and drifting into winter, both will be there. (queen and a small brood patch)

Complete absence of brood/eggs means either there is no queen, or there is a queen which is virgin or defective.

Perhaps just as a comparison or reference at this point in time (Sep25).  Here in the north, my queens have slowed down.  When I look in the hives this week I see 2 frames with palm sized patches if eggs/larvae both sides.  I also see between 3 and 4 peppered frames left of matured emerging brood. A week ago those ones where -sheets- of brood covering 70% of the frames both sides. Now as a bee comes out, every cell is being backfilled with the syrup being fed.  Point being, your hive(s) should still be raising new palm sized patches of brood on 2 to 3 frames at this time. The main mass winter bee brood cycle should emerging/emerged and the bees promptly backfilling the nest as those cells come open.
 .... completely broodless means queenless or a dud queen regardless of season, imho.  I do not believe your issue is the season.

Hope that helps! ... in some way.
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on September 27, 2019, 04:17:24 pm
I am back home. Still no sign of brood in the main hive. I could not find eggs in the small hive so I couldn't do what idee suggested (not because there weren't any, but because I couldn't see any -- there was plenty of brood open and capped and I saw the queen in the small hive).

I have a theory that the main hive actually swarmed. In the weeks leading to this I had  removed several swarm queen cells from the bottom of the frames. And the number of bees in the hive looks smaller than usual. If that's actually what happened, there might be a virgin queen in there. Also the bees were relatively calm today. Are there tell-tale signs of a swarm that happened recently?

There were 8 mites on the sticky board which has been in there since Sunday. This has been the highest number I have seen the whole season. I am thinking of dusting the bees with powder sugar to take advantage of the lack of brood at the moment.

I am leaning towards a newspaper combine given that both hives have issues ... but I am nervous that if there is a virgin queen in the main hive, the mated one from the swarm will be killed and then something happens to the virgin one during her mating flight ...
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: TheHoneyPump on September 27, 2019, 04:28:45 pm
Suggestion:
At the location of the small hive. 
Put the queenrite mated queen on the bottom, then newspaper sprayed with honey bee healthy syrup, then queen excluder on top of paper, then queenless/virgin hive on top. Close top entrance and hole in cover - or at least screen them to prevent traffic and possible virgin escape.  Reduce the bottom entrance to medium size.  3/8 x 3. If there is a very large difference in colony size, use 2 sheets of paper. 
Leave alone for 7 - 10 days minimum.
If there is a virgin upstairs she will eventually be abandoned, balled, perish, after the hives  have joined and allegiance to the mated queen below.
In 3 weeks remove the excluder. 
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: iddee on September 27, 2019, 04:43:36 pm
I would choose the frame with the smallest open larva in the small hive, brush the bees off, "do not shake",and add it to the main hive. In 6 days, you should have queen cells. Then do as I suggested with a cell or 2, rather than an egg. or order a mated queen.
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on September 27, 2019, 04:48:19 pm
Thanks for the advice.

THP: For purely logistics reason can this be made to work by bringing the queenright small hive to the location of the main hive? Two reasons: 1) much easier to move the smaller queenright swarm hive 2) the location of the main hive is where I am setting up my apiary (the queenright small hive is right next to the barn where the swarm had taken residence).

Idee: I thought of moving an entire frame today but then since I am leaning towards a combine anyway I decided not to do it.
Title: No brood?
Post by: TheHoneyPump on September 27, 2019, 04:51:52 pm
Rgennaro.  Yes
Iddee.  Perhaps look at the calendar and location (NY).  Given the status of both hives and timing. The only practical choice is to combine.
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on September 27, 2019, 10:36:34 pm
THP: so I was planning to move the small queenright hive on top of the main queenless and just put newspaper in between. I want them locked in so they don?t drift back to the old location. Would the mated queen still be ?favored? over the virgin one?
Title: No brood?
Post by: TheHoneyPump on September 27, 2019, 10:57:26 pm
Not if you put her on top.  That will only perpetuate the situation, imho.  A VQ will happily hang out and roam around below, just waiting for the opportunity for a battle royale.  Putting the laying queen on top, The exercise would likely end with a bigger hive that still has no laying queen.
The purpose of the arrangement described is least disruptive way to isolate, quarantine, and have the bees ultimately dispatch the possible VQ above.  You want the bees moving through the brood-nest of an actively laying queen to get to the entrance/exit.  That is why I am recommending she go in the bottom box. Putting the laying queen on top, fewer of the bees will see and know her, more bees will see the VQ.
The alternative is for you to shake all the bees of the main hive through a queen excluder, you find and you pinch the VQ crawling on it, then do the newspaper combine any way you want.
No matter which way you go, you are going to loose bees to the drift back.
I suggest that however you decide to combine them, that you maintain a queen excluder between them for 3 to 4 weeks or until you are absolutely confident there is only one queen present and she is laying and is the one you want to keep around. Whichever comes first.

Pick your preference.  Decide.  Then just get it done, soon.  Not much time left in the calendar for them to have a remote chance of recuperating a brood nest for winter.
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on October 02, 2019, 07:10:19 pm
Update: I combined the hives on Tuesday. We moved the small queenright hive on top of the large queenless hive at the location of the latter. We (my local experienced beek friend who came over to help and I) decided that there was no queen in the large hive, not even a virgin one.

Everything went smoothly, except that when I checked in the afternoon I noticed that there was a small hole in the small hive that bees were using to come in and out. I closed it with duct tape, and went to check the original location, which was right next to the barn where I keep all my beekeping supplies including drawn frames and the old nuc box this hive was originally housed in. There were several bees there and they were not just hanging out by the place of the old hive but they were also going into the barn and flying around the old nuc box. So I decided to give them a home. Put a medium box with drawn comb frames and a top feeder with sugar water. The main goal was to get them out of the barn, which worked.

I also noticed lots of robbing activity by yellow jackets at both hives. The big one should be strong enough for now to take care of them.

If by the time the two hives are combined, the drifted bees are still alive, should I try to put them in (do another newspaper combine)?

thanks everybody for the help.
Title: No brood?
Post by: TheHoneyPump on October 02, 2019, 10:26:43 pm
Best not to put anything there. Leave the bees to wander and they will eventually find their way to beg into a nearby hive.
If you do put something there then each evening at twilight take the box of drifted bees over to the main hive and shake them out onto the entrance landing board. As the days go by there should be fewer and fewer bees in the box.  That is, until it the capture box is discovered and switched to a robbing site. Putting a feeder on will certainly encourage so.  Then the box will suddenly seem full of bees, wasps, moths, and beetles.
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on October 06, 2019, 12:06:01 am
I looked at the combined hive today, there was no newspaper shreds outside but a small pile of dead bees. I lifted up the top box and the news paper was mostly intact. I made a few slits with my hive tool and closed everything back up. There was a small pile of dead bees outside the hive and a small pile of dead bees on top of the news paper.

How long does it take for them to shred the paper? I put them together on Tuesday ...

Thank you as usual
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: sawdstmakr on October 06, 2019, 07:31:04 am
Usually they start shredding it within a day. Within 2 days the paper is mostly gone.
Is the top box full of bees?
Jim Altmiller
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on October 06, 2019, 08:54:37 am
I didn?t look. I?ll try to look today it?s supposed to be in the 60s but with showers. If there is a break in the rain I?ll open the box. Thanks
Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on October 10, 2019, 01:26:48 pm
So we finally had a nice day and I was able to open the hive. The newspaper was still intact.

The top hive (1 box which was small and queenright) was fine. The queen was there laying, nice patches of brood at all stages, not a lot of bees but pretty much the same level as when I moved it to the present location to combine. There has been a substantial driftback to the original location (still today) so I was afraid it?d be empty.

THe bottom hive (2 deep, lots of bees and apparently queenless) seems to have gone LW. There were small patches of only drone brood (raised caps). Did not see a queen. Did not see multiple eggs either but either way a queen in her right mind would not be laying drones now, no? So it?s either laying workers or a drone layer queen?

I am not sure why they did not eat the news paper and combine ... any clue?

I think that THP was correct in that I should have confined the larger queenless hive above the newspaper, so I decided to do it now. I moved the queenright hive at the bottom, put newspaper above it and put the other 2 boxes on top. There is a feeder on top with 2:1 syrup as well.

Let me know what you think.

Title: Re: No brood?
Post by: rgennaro on October 12, 2019, 11:01:44 pm
Ok I am ready to give up. Today, 2 days after I rotated the boxes and out the larger hive on top, still the news paper had not been touched. What?s going on? The large hive has no other way to get out, and we had nice warm days. I lifted the box and made more slits in the news paper.

Another question: currently there is a top feeder with 2:1 syrup which the bees are not really touching. It?s full of drowned yellow jackets. And there is a fuzzy mold growing on the inner cover on top of the feeder. Should I throw that syrup away? It?s been in there for about 10 days.

Thanks

R
Title: No brood?
Post by: TheHoneyPump on October 13, 2019, 12:43:06 am
Usually the bees do not remove all of the newspaper right away. They will just open up enough passage ports that they need to move around. Only when the populations are fully merged, work tasks reallocated, will they get to thoroughly clean house and reorganize.  This usually takes 2weeks, undisturbed.  You have been messing with them alot.  Perhaps leave them alone for awhile.

Same principle of time to reorganize applies to them using the feeder.  Until they have merged and figured out who is who in the bee zoo, they are disorganized.  My advice would be to remove the feeder.  Dump the rancid syrup of course.  Leave the feeder off for at least a week, for reasons given.  In the meantime You can forage feed (open feed) by setting up a station 20 yards away from the hive(s).  If you cannot open feed, then do not feed at all, for the time being.

Hope that helps.