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Ever had one of those good days that turns sour?
Saturday afternoon my colleague and I set out with the task of locating and marking queens.
We found the queens in his hives, after a great deal of searching and made for my recently purchased hives to continue the search.
I had bought three hives in early February from a retiring beekeeper. The Hives themselves were in poor condition, the foundation was old and black. In February, on a nice day I had transferred the bees from one hive to a new hive with 12X14 frames. I transferred 3 frames with brood on and two with honey and pollen stores. I started to feed fondant.

I did the same with another one 2 weeks ago. I have checked weekly to ensure there is fondant left and stood for long periods of time watching the bees go in and out.

On Saturday the first hive had only a few bees, no brood and no queen. I put this down to my own ineptidude an assume that the move had caused the demise of the queen.

The second hive still had a lot of bees and some capped brood. No uncapped brood or eggs and no queen.

The third untouched hive had a lot of brood and almost certainly a queen in place.

Despondent and cross with myself I trudged home and rang 2 queen suppliers on the off chance I could get a queen in short time. I was prepared to move brood from my other hives to keep one going for another week to get a queen.

yeaterday my gloom turned to delight when one queen supplier e-mailed to inform me I can have a queen by the end of the week. his suppliers have sent some queens a week early. Joy Oh Joy.

Does anyone have any advice or comments for me. I must make use of this queen. Should I feed syrup? Should I add more frames of brood? Help me my fellow beeks, please.:confused:
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Before reaching for the Visa card, are you 100% sure for the reason of the queen loss?

It is an expensive and pointless lesson to just keep throwing imported queens at a hive.
 

jon 

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Before reaching for the Visa card, are you 100% sure for the reason of the queen loss?

It is an expensive and pointless lesson to just keep throwing imported queens at a hive.

If for some reason there is a queen present which has stopped laying or not started laying it will kill any new queen you try and introduce. Was there any sign of a supercedure cell?
 
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Thanks for the advice. I will check again closely for a queen. There were no queen cells or any attampt at them. Just the last patches of capped brood that would emerge this week.
I will check very carefullyfor a queen. I have a bee inspector making a visit tomorrow p.m. and will get them to look through the hive with me.
 

Heather 

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Best thing you can do - get the bee inspector involved.
They can teach as they look. I have had 2 hives where the queen just failed to kick start, and the hives failed. I think it was possibly my mismanagement as I am not yet experienced enough to recognise problems looming.
Good luck - and have to add - my queens from Easybees are still the best hives I have:hat:
But this year I am trying to rear my own from my stock....:cheers2:
 

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On Saturday the first hive had only a few bees, no brood and no queen. I put this down to my own ineptidude an assume that the move had caused the demise of the queen.

The second hive still had a lot of bees and some capped brood. No uncapped brood or eggs and no queen.
Dont blame yourself as I dont think its your fault,I have one hive that has done the same.

I think it is more a case of Roger Patterson syndrome(you will find him in charge over at the BBKA forum),were the queen who has been laying just goes walkabout never to return.

Have a read of THIS
 

Poly Hive 

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Brian can you put a frame from your good hive with some young larvae and eggs in it into your suspect colony to TEST that there is not a stale virgin in there. If they raise a queen cell then well and good it is queenless if they DO NOT then there is a queen of some sort there.

The TEST FRAME is a highly important tool.

PH
 

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I agree with the PH post above,thats what I did late yesterday,will return in a couple of days and see what they have done if anything.

The other bonus with a test frame is if like my hive there is no brood left to emerge then the extra frame will help them along until suchtimes.

Its a shame because the bees cover 8-9 frames with zero brood,and went off like the clappers in February leaving my other hives well behind,I even had my eye on the queen for some queen raising expansion.
Its not like a failed Nuc with 2 or 3 frames of bees.

I will get it sorted and get the hive back into production asap.
 

Polyanwood 

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No one will have mated British queens for sale yet though.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Is completely the opposite. It's an overloaded and unhelpful reply. He said nothing about whether the queen was imported or not.
May be it was overloaded, but for good reason!

1 As polyanwood stated 2009 UK mated queens can not possibly be ready now!

2 If we had never imported bees in the passed would we be in the situation we are in now?

It IS a stated fact that people (present company accepted) are jumping to beekeeping and the new band are cash rich knowledge poor.

So it was not an unhelpfull reply! If you had quoted me full you would note I did state double check for a queen first.
 

jon 

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I was prepared to move brood from my other hives to keep one going for another week to get a queen.

I wouldn't do this at this time of year as you will ony slow down the build up of your one good hive.

If you are 100% sure there is no queen, I would unite what remains of this colony with the stronger one.

You will still have the spare equipment and it will be easy to make up a couple of nucs later in the season when your remaining colony is very strong.

It is usually better to think about starting new colonies rather than trying to save failing ones.

Not meaning to be too critical, but February is much too early to be transferring bees. Companies which sell nucs don't supply before April or May or even later. How strong was the colony which has now died out. Did it have 6 or more frames completely covered with bees or was it much smaller than this?

last week I had to move a strong nuc into a bigger box and at the same time I transferred a colony in an 11 frame brood into a 5 frame nuc as it had very little brood and was not building up. The queen is fine but there was only a couple of sides with brood. If it picks up and develops a much larger brood area I will transfer it back to a full size box in 3-4- weeks.

The critical thing is the amount of bees (and brood). If the colony is small, it needs a small box so that it is easier to maintain the temperature of the brood area. It should be transferred to bigger quarters as the colony grows.

Did you by any chance transfer the two colonies into larger boxes as this would not have been helpful in February?
 
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Polyanwood 

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I liked this post! I liked the advice. :cheers2:
 
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Some success

Today I inspected both these 'queenless' hives again. In the stonger one I found fresh brood, Yippee!!! It appears some of you Sages were right, the queen had taken a break from laying. We suspect, but wait to be corrected, that there was so little food left in the hive she put laying on hold until stores built up. We have checked and it does not at this time appear to be drone brood.
The other hive we are sure there is no queen. On the advice of the Bee Inspector, a most helpful lady, I have moved some frames from another hive that were building queen cells. I have moved these frames out, culling most of the queen cells except for one which was a good size and sealed. I have created more space in the donor hive and in transferring the brood, some stores and the queen cell, also took across a large number of house bees. I dussted all the frames and bees liberally with icing sugar, recommended to me by another bee keeper. At a stroke I increased the hive strength by 100%. I am told that by the time they have cleaned all the icing sugar off each other they are all going to smell the same and believe that this is their hive. I have witnessed one or two dusty fliers returning home this evening.

As there are drones plus drone brood in my other hives and my colleague's hives I believe, weather permitting, that we may sucessfully raise a new queen.
 

FROGDOGDIVER 

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last week I had to move a strong nuc into a bigger box and at the same time I transferred a colony in an 11 frame brood into a 5 frame nuc as it had very little brood and was not building up. The queen is fine but there was only a couple of sides with brood. If it picks up and develops a much larger brood area I will transfer it back to a full size box in 3-4- weeks.
I am having a similar problem. I have a colony which was small going in to the winter but made it through and is not building up well at all. Only two patches of brood on either side of one frame. I suspected nosema and am awaiting the test results back. Only thing is there is no listlessness of the bees nor is there any signs of dysentery so unless it is nosema cerana which can have a noticible lack of dysentery in an affected colony, (so I read anyway), I am stumped. The queen is present. Going to try and put them in to a nuc this weekend to see if it helps. They have plenty of capped stores.
 

admin 

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Is the queen a Cordovan ?
 

jon 

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Only two patches of brood on either side of one frame.

They have plenty of capped stores
Has the queen got room to lay? How many frames of bees are there? I have taken a couple of frames of stores out of most of my colonies and given drawn comb to make room for the queen to lay.
 

Hebeegeebee 

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One of my colonies was very slow to start a month ago so I slid an 8 w heater in there to help them along; it's built up rapidly since then. It's now got a super on. :) :)
 
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