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Author Topic: New beekeeper and new hive struggling; Cincinnati OH  (Read 2134 times)

Offline mrtorrence

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New beekeeper and new hive struggling; Cincinnati OH
« on: July 17, 2015, 03:29:25 pm »
Hey everyone,

Very new beekeeper here. I first became interested in trying beekeeping when I saw the Open Source Beehives project. They have some designs for beehives that can be cut out from a single sheet of plywood (CARB Phase 2 certified with non-toxic soy glues only) using a CNC (computer controlled) router. Thus the designs can be shared digitally at zero marginal cost, the hives can be flat packed for shipping, and they require no tools to assemble. I'm also very interested in digital manufacturing so thought this would be a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. So I built one of their top bar hives and found some bees (started with 5 frames of brood, pollen, and honey, no queen though).

Unfortunately my new hive is struggling a little bit. I found at least 5 queen cells about 3 or 4 weeks ago, but have checked the hive a couple times in the last week and found no signs of a laying queen. We are in the beginning of the dearth here in Ohio so an experienced beekeeper said it is possible the queen is doing a good thing by not laying. However, it is also possible I don't have a viable queen for whatever reason. This same beekeeper has offered to sell me a flown survivor queen for $30, or a russian queen that she says has great genetics for $50. She is also willing to sell some frames of brood to boost my struggling bee population.

The other problem I'm having is small hive beetles. Currently the hive is in the shade, and the very first thing this same experienced beekeeper told me was to move the hive to full sun (which is about 50 feet away from the current location) and place a branch in front of the entrance so that the bees will think something has fallen in their path and will begin the process of re-mapping their area. I also cut out part of the bottom board in my hive and installed a mineral oil trap at the recommendation of the novice beekeeper who owns the property my bees are on. However, this more experienced beekeeper says it won't do anything. She says getting the hive in the sun, and boosting the population are the key changes I need to make.

What do people on here think?

Here are a ton of pictures of my hive so people can get a better idea of what the situation is.


Offline ed/La.

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Re: New beekeeper and new hive struggling; Cincinnati OH
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2015, 11:27:02 pm »
I like to put a cage around a few queen cells if far enough apart. Get more then one queen that way, You need more than one hive. A little brood, eggs would be a no brainier if you had them.   $50 for a local queen?  That is to much. If no brood soon you will have to get a queen.   Hive beetle i chase down and kill with stick or bamboo barbecue skewers.  The swifter cloth works some what for hive beetle  Good luck

Offline rookie2531

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Re: New beekeeper and new hive struggling; Cincinnati OH
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2015, 11:50:27 pm »
Mr Torrence, I don't know how this post slipped by. I must have been very busy during that time of your post. What did you end up doing, surely you made a desicion by now. Yes, full sun and strong hive is better than oil trap. 50.00 queen is a little high, but at this time of year, who has them for sale? I would pay an extra 20 for hives survival. If you get frames with it, get frames from same queen and just add with them. That way she will have reinforcement help for acceptance.

Offline mrtorrence

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Re: New beekeeper and new hive struggling; Cincinnati OH
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2016, 10:32:36 pm »
No worries. Unfortunately hive still isn't doing well. Found a local survivor queen for $20 and she seemed to be pretty good for a while, but her laying pattern became sporadic and the hive has been hit by chalk brood, which seems to be have been contained to the one or two frames furthest from the entrance. Small hive beetles have been dealt with for the most part (saw maybe 3 or 4 total during my last inspection).. Population is waaay down, honey stores aren't super strong but not terrible.