Delayed Inspection

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Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Messages
194
Reaction score
10
Location
Moved back to Fife
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
3 National
Morning,

The weather up here in Fife has been unpredictable, and despite a nice day yesterday, next week is going back down to under 10 degrees.

As I am unsure as to when I will be able to do a full inspection, do you think that there is any benefit of moving the nadired supers above the BB just to give extra space, which may or may not be needed.

Both hives have a very good amount of bees, across all seams (just by peaking under the crown board) and have been building brace comb in the fondant container.

If so should I add a QX too.

Have a good day, many thanks.

Lee
 
Morning,

The weather up here in Fife has been unpredictable, and despite a nice day yesterday, next week is going back down to under 10 degrees.

As I am unsure as to when I will be able to do a full inspection, do you think that there is any benefit of moving the nadired supers above the BB just to give extra space, which may or may not be needed.

Both hives have a very good amount of bees, across all seams (just by peaking under the crown board) and have been building brace comb in the fondant container.

If so should I add a QX too.

Have a good day, many thanks.

Lee
If they are below they will use them if they need them. Leave everything until you can do a proper inspection.
 
I'd move the nadired shallows ASAP, you don't have to open up and inspect to do that. I did mine ages ago in the cold and the wind.
How much lower than 10°C is it going to get? sometimes you just have to crack on regardless
 
I'd move the nadired shallows ASAP, you don't have to open up and inspect to do that. I did mine ages ago in the cold and the wind.
How much lower than 10°C is it going to get? sometimes you just have to crack on regardless
That was not quite what the op asked.
 
It is if he is running out of room but doesn't want to disturb the bees. If he needs more room why take away a box they can use for the moment?
Just thinking about this: if you take out the nadired supers and they have brood in them they need more space (maybe give a 2nd brood box) If not you can probably remove them for now (though may need space elsewhere). Lots of seams of bees under the crown board - maybe the supers would be better giving space there (over a QE) and give them space to put stores above rather than moving the brood nest down. Very little disturbance.
 
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Despite the temp being around 10 degrees, there was only a slight breeze, so I finally made it into both hives.

Hive 1, is looking really healthy with BIAS over 7 frames and ample stores, feels like about 10Kg. They had not used the nadired super for brood, so I have moved the super up with a QX so hopefully they will move the stores up to provide further laying space. Very good temperament, need to find and mark the queen.

Hive 2, was more of a challenge. Packed full of bees, with BIAS over 8 frames, and the nadired super had been used for Brood. However there were 7 capped queen cells around the edges and one sealed supersedure cell in the middle of a frame. Think this is a poorly mated queen, as there are large areas of freshly drawn Drone brood ( about the size of my fist).

As I could not see the queen, I have added a QX above the nadired super which is still below the BB which will possibly provide me with an easier option of finding her., and tomorrow will split the hive into a dummied down hive. So looks like @Black Mountain Honey will be receiving an order for a Buckfast very shortly.

I think that the poor weather here has reduced the swarming possibilities, thankfully I have got in before they absconded, and hope that the split will be sufficient to restrict further swarm preparations.

Thanks for the advise given it was very much appreciated.

Have a good evening.

Lee
 
there were 7 capped queen cells around the edges and one sealed supersedure cell in the middle of a frame.
if there is more than one QC, regardless of position (this nonsense about supersedure cells always being in the middle is false) then they are in all probability swarm cells and as you couldn't find the queen - good chance she has gone with a good chunk of your workforce.
 
The weather here in Fife has been consistently awful, with today, probably being the best, no rain or wind, but still cool. Would they swarm in such unsuitable conditions, or as I believe they have made plans then got stuck at home, as the hive is full of bees, wish I had marked the queen last summer. I did not do a full hunt for her today, as I did not have the equipment at hand to do a split.
 
7 capped queen cells around the edges and one sealed supersedure cell in the middle of a frame
in all probability swarm cells
Yes, this is a tricky combination to read, because the books and the bees differ.

Convention has it that supersedure takes place at the end of summer and is indicated by 1-3 QCs, which are likely to be on the face of the frame and built in hollows in the comb. As the swarmimg season is long past and the bees' purpose is to replace the queen, they can be left to it.

Reality is different: supersedure can occur at any time and if they do so in the swarming season they will just as likely swarm on them (because they can and they're in that frame of mind). Position of supersedure QCs is variable at any time of year, and it looks like yours wanted to supersede, upgraded the hive mind and were strong enough to go for it.

Do you have photos? Did you see BIAS?

tomorrow will split the hive into a dummied down hive
Best way to contain nest heat for both halves is to do a vertical split: leave the SS QC downstairs and and all the rest above. If the weather improves you may save yourself £40.
 
The weather here in Fife has been consistently awful, with today, probably being the best, no rain or wind, but still cool. Would they swarm in such unsuitable conditions, or as I believe they have made plans then got stuck at home, as the hive is full of bees, wish I had marked the queen last summer. I did not do a full hunt for her today, as I did not have the equipment at hand to do a split.
The likelihood that they have already swarmed is high - once the committee has made up it's mind to create queen cells they are usually on course to swarm - regardless of the weather, the scouts will have been out and about and there may well be somewhere they have already located that meets their desired criteria. Yes, they will, initially, decamp to a holding cluster somewhere in the vicinity - we've all seen swarms move very quickly from that initial location to their new home - and we've also seen bees stuck in trees in some awful weather making comb and unable to decide where to move to. I would not use bad weather as swarm prevention - bees will do what bees do and if there are swarm cells and they are capped - odds on they have already gone.
 
did not have the equipment at hand to do a split
All you need tomorrow is a split board: 460 sq. piece of ply with 8mm rims on both sides, and an entrance in one side. If you haven't the time, cut an entrance in a wooden CB and seal the feed holes with a sheet of metal, mesh or thin ply.

Last week I had a strong DBB colony making QCs on a strong flow; couldn't find the queen, had to get a move on before the light went. Took the box with most of the brood above a split board, left a comb of BIAS downstairs (probably some sealed as well, I cannot recall). Yesterday I found the top split held the queen and the bottom had made one lovely big QC.
 
Thanks guys, all your posts have provided me with loads of information, especially the vertical split, which I will investigate further. This is most certainly the earliest I have ever seen swarm preparations, in fact previously I would not really have any concerns until at least mid June! Wont be keeping this Queen or any of her progeny, so will still look at requeening.
 
While the hive may have swarmed, there is a slim possibility that a queen is still in there, but is a supercedure from last year, that is one possibility for not finding her as she is not marked, assuming your queens are marked.
 
If Lee can't locate a Queen, and there are a number of sealed cells, I'm not sure about the merits of splitting at this stage. There is talk of "BIAS" over 8 frames, but did that include eggs ?? If so, I'd possibly be looking at removing all QCs, executing a vertical split in a manner not dissimilar to that already described by Eric, initially shaking the bees into the bottom box with a frame of sealed brood and some empty comb, and all the rest of the brood above a QX, to get the nurses migrating upwards, and then introducing a split board.

There is talk of 'lots of bees', but without seeing this, or (to my point above), the state of the young, open brood, it's a bit difficult to judge properly whether they have actually swarmed or not. Again, the relevance of the 'fists' of drone brood is difficult to judge, without seeing it in context. Possibly less a result of a failing Queen; more likely normal drone production in a colony with reproduction on its mind.

Even if they haven't swarmed, a messy split feels like a fool's errand. Clearly, the OP is not concerned about keeping the Queen - presumably just being interested in salvaging the population. Maybe too late for that - other than mitigating cast swarming.

It's probably lazy thinking on my part, but personally would just take the sealed cells down to one (in which the bees are showing an interest), and would walk away for a few weeks. Write it off to experience. No Biggie.

I would also then be evaluating any new Queen before taking the kneejerk decision to buy in a new one.
 
I guess you could do a version of a reverse a/s vertical split. (This only comes to mind because I've been debating it for swarm control).
Put one or two combs with eggs & young brood and one sealed QC in a new box and fill with a couple of frames of stores & drawn comb or foundation, put on the original floor. Add a double mesh or solid board with an entrance above. Brood box goes next taking down all the queen cells. Then QE and any supers.
All the flying bees should return to the lower box and keep the QC warm to develop. Top box now has no flying bees, no QCs, but may have a Q.
If the top box has no Q they should make EQCs, if they don't they are probably Q+. Look in 3-4 days.
If no EQCs in top box you could then move them away as a split, if there are you can take them down and reunite with the bottom box.

I hasten to add I haven't done this, just trying to think logically! Someone more experienced may be able to point out flaws in my thinking!
 
All you need tomorrow is a split board: 460 sq. piece of ply with 8mm rims on both sides, and an entrance in one side. If you haven't the time, cut an entrance in a wooden CB and seal the feed holes with a sheet of metal, mesh or thin ply.

Last week I had a strong DBB colony making QCs on a strong flow; couldn't find the queen, had to get a move on before the light went. Took the box with most of the brood above a split board, left a comb of BIAS downstairs (probably some sealed as well, I cannot recall). Yesterday I found the top split held the queen and the bottom had made one lovely big QC.
This year I'm hoping to prevent swarms with vertical splits. I've made loads of split boards with mesh on both sides of the hole.

Some (eg David Evans who wrote a nice piece some time ago) say that a vertical split is like removing the queen in a nuc but keeping everything in the one stack. If that's your plan, you would ensure the queen is in the top box.

Others (eg Dan Basterfield who included this in his BeeCraft series last year) say that the queen should be in the lower box.

I'm going for the latter, but I wonder how much it matters.

Maybe it does if you're dividing the brood between both boxes. A few days ago, in one hive, there were open queen cells and I couldn't easily find the queen. I put all the bees in the bottom box below the excluder, and returned the next day to replace the excluder with the split board - by which time the bees had come up to the brood in the upper box.

I want this system to work for me and I hope I have some feel for it in a few months.

Very happy to hear any comments and experiences!
 

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