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Author Topic: My crazy hive  (Read 329 times)

Offline rgennaro

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My crazy hive
« on: October 25, 2019, 11:40:56 pm »
Background: about 3 weeks ago I combined a strong 2-deep queenless hive with a weak 1-deep queenright one using the newspaper method. The bees never chewed the newspaper up. But I suspect they merged anyway ... there were enough slits in the paper for them to get around, and the bees in the stronger hive had to go through the queenright one to go out.

Anyway this week I wanted to combine the 3 boxes into 2 since I knew there were several empty frames in there. It has been getting pretty cold around here and I didn?t want the bees to have to keep so much space warm.

I opened the hive and in the bottom box the queen is still laying! I saw her and there was quite a bit of brood. The top two frames had a few cells of drone brood. I consolidated the hives, removed the less filled frames, and closed it back up. They have some syrup and some patties to feed but I still saw them bringing in pollen even at this late stage.

My main fear is that the hives never really merged and that the queen might be in danger from the bees of the other hive. Next time there is a warmer day I?ll check if she is still in There. As usual I don?t know if I did the right thing, but hopefully things will be ok. It still puzzles me that hey never removed the newspaper.

Online van from Arkansas

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Re: My crazy hive
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2019, 09:54:00 am »
I have seen newspaper combine where the bees did not remove the newspaper too.  The bees just carved small portal openings.  Openings only big enough for the bees to make passage through the newspaper from one hive to the other.

I can?t explain why some bees remove all the newspaper whereas some hives don?t remove any.  I think your bees are ok.

Van
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Offline Acebird

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Re: My crazy hive
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2019, 09:47:40 am »
In general it is never a good idea to manipulate the hive after clustering temperatures.  Feeding syrup is useless in cold temperatures.  If I were a betting man I would bet that this hive doesn't make it.
In your area if you are going to manipulate a hive do it in the beginning of Sept. before the golden rod is over.  The end of October is too late and only makes matters worse.
I hope I am wrong.
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Offline rgennaro

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Re: My crazy hive
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2019, 10:42:03 am »
Well at the beginning of September the strong hive was still queenright so I didn?t need to do anything. I noticed the hive being queenless in late September as I was trying to take a frame of brood for the weaker hive (a swarm that I captured in late June but never really grew) and didn?t find any. As I said in previous posts I suspect the stronger hive had swarmed (I had seen several swarm cells in the weeks leading to that) and the new queen never came back from her mating flight.

So this was a bit of an emergency situation and the fact that the bees kept the newspaper threw me off a bit. I did the combine on Oct 1 and ideally I would have manipulated the hive and consolidated it a week later. But I decided to wait to see if they would remove the newspaper. Live and learn I guess. I am a new beek and I am trying my best and I am super grateful for the advice I am getting here.

I need to get better at swarm prevention I guess, this hive was set on swarming this year ...

Beeks around here have a 50% winter survival rate. Mine survived last year. Just statistically speaking they are not supposed to survive this year.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: My crazy hive
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2019, 11:26:17 am »
Rgennaro, I've done 4 newspaper combines this summer - a very limited sample size admittedly. But, I thought I'd share the results - All 4 were successful in combining Queenright hives/nucs with queenless ones. 2 of them ate out the entire newspaper in 2 weeks. The other 2 only ate/chewed a couple small openings, and used these as highways.

I only mention my minimal experience - to show that they all seemed to handle the newspaper differently. Fwiw.

I hope you hive(s) are able to get things straightened out enough to survive the winter. Look at the bright side: at least you were able to identify the problem(s) early enough so that they at least have a chance ....
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Online van from Arkansas

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Re: My crazy hive
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2019, 05:01:34 pm »
Cool,
you experienced same as I texted above, so I agree.

I have a question: where does the newspaper go with the hives that remove the newspaper in a combine?  I expected to find little bits of newspaper in front of the hive, but no paper to be found.  I expected to pick up trash paper bits, but not a single piece to be found.  Also the newspaper is cleanly cut to the hive body, no jagged edges with the hives that remove the newspaper.  Is this your experience, anybody?

Blessings to All
Van
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Online jimineycricket

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Re: My crazy hive
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2019, 08:50:22 pm »
My experience has been similar to CoolBees--some the newspaper is completely gone, some just passage ways.  Several times I found handfuls of fluffy, ground up newspaper on the bottom board, and maybe a little bit out front of the hive.
jimmy

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: My crazy hive
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2019, 11:50:40 pm »
If you take a sheet of paper.  Completely pulverize it into tiny shreds and dust ... it does not amount to much volume at all. 
The bees carry off clippings, dropping away from the hive area, just like all trash.  Some fibres they actually use by packing it in as filler in propolis.  I rarely see much of any evidence of the removed paper.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: My crazy hive
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2019, 09:18:31 am »
So this was a bit of an emergency situation and the fact that the bees kept the newspaper threw me off a bit. I did the combine on Oct 1 and ideally I would have manipulated the hive and consolidated it a week later. But I decided to wait to see if they would remove the newspaper.
The combine should happen in one or two days if it is going to happen.  In an emergency you can force a combine by shaking the bees from the queenless hive in front of the queen right hive.  It probably wouldn't hurt to smoke the bees heavily first.  A day when there is forage available would be a good time.
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: My crazy hive
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2019, 10:03:41 am »
If you shake the bees out front, I recommend you put a very light amount of lemon grass oil on the entrance. This tells the bees where to go and speeds up the move.
Jim Altmiller

Offline rgennaro

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Re: My crazy hive
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2019, 04:36:41 pm »
So this was a bit of an emergency situation and the fact that the bees kept the newspaper threw me off a bit. I did the combine on Oct 1 and ideally I would have manipulated the hive and consolidated it a week later. But I decided to wait to see if they would remove the newspaper.
The combine should happen in one or two days if it is going to happen.  In an emergency you can force a combine by shaking the bees from the queenless hive in front of the queen right hive.  It probably wouldn't hurt to smoke the bees heavily first.  A day when there is forage available would be a good time.
I definitely waited too long to merge the boxes. Again, as a new beek, I was thrown off by the newspaper still being there and wanted to give them more time. This is the first time I read anywhere that sometimes the bees don't destroy the whole thing but just create passageways. Good info for the future.

By the way, why did you say that at this point feeding syrup is useless? Temperatures are still above freezing here. And this past week we had highs in the 70s. When does one switch from syrup to dry sugar/patties? Thanks.