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pnkemp

House Bee
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
112
Reaction score
51
Location
Gloucester, Glos
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
1
Forgive me fathers (and mothers)) for I have sinned.

So year two and due to weather preventing timely inspections we missed the swarming signs, so our one hive is now 3 hives and 2 nucs. We seemed to be finding a cluster on a tree every 30 minutes for a while.

Decent inspection now they've settled into their new homes gives us the following:
Original Green Hive very depleted unbsuprisingly. No queen seen but very calm demeanor and young larvae and capped brood so not concerned, she's in there somewhere. Eggs harder to see with the older comb
Orange Hive BIAS and should strengthen for the winter, dunno if we will get any harvest off them. No queen seen
Blue Hive Larvae and Capped Brood, probably the weakest. No queen seen
Pink Nuc (chosen by my friend's daughter), First swarm collected off a tree. BIAS and a lovely golden brown queen - looks like it will strengthen fast
Grey Nuc (the final swarm) Larvae and capped brood, didn't spot many eggs or the queen

So all in all, considering how out of control we got it, not too bad. I suspect we will need to unite a couple of the colonies at some point, and if we can keep the nucs overwinter then in the spring we can use them to replace losses or sell off. Probably won't get a huge amount of honey though. Next year we will have to be more ready, and inspect even if the weather is bad during swarming season.
Thankfully they all seem to have inherited their mother's very calm demeanor, not flying up at you or running over the comb so a pleasure to work. Just need to spot and mark all the queens!
 
Forgive me fathers (and mothers)) for I have sinned.

So year two and due to weather preventing timely inspections we missed the swarming signs, so our one hive is now 3 hives and 2 nucs. We seemed to be finding a cluster on a tree every 30 minutes for a while.

Decent inspection now they've settled into their new homes gives us the following:
Original Green Hive very depleted unbsuprisingly. No queen seen but very calm demeanor and young larvae and capped brood so not concerned, she's in there somewhere. Eggs harder to see with the older comb
Orange Hive BIAS and should strengthen for the winter, dunno if we will get any harvest off them. No queen seen
Blue Hive Larvae and Capped Brood, probably the weakest. No queen seen
Pink Nuc (chosen by my friend's daughter), First swarm collected off a tree. BIAS and a lovely golden brown queen - looks like it will strengthen fast
Grey Nuc (the final swarm) Larvae and capped brood, didn't spot many eggs or the queen

So all in all, considering how out of control we got it, not too bad. I suspect we will need to unite a couple of the colonies at some point, and if we can keep the nucs overwinter then in the spring we can use them to replace losses or sell off. Probably won't get a huge amount of honey though. Next year we will have to be more ready, and inspect even if the weather is bad during swarming season.
Thankfully they all seem to have inherited their mother's very calm demeanor, not flying up at you or running over the comb so a pleasure to work. Just need to spot and mark all the queens!
Sounds like a good result. You did well not to run out of equipment.👍
Just think what next year will be like.....🤯🤯🤯🤯🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝
 
The question is - have you found ALL the queen cells - sounds to me as though the original green hive swarmed several times ... I'm not sure that I understand why there is brood in there still but without a time line of when/what you saw we can't be sure. If you can't see the queen and you haven't seen eggs then there is no certainty that there is a laying queen in there - my bet would be on a virgin - how many vacated queen cells did you find ?

I'm not surprised that the original hive is depleted if you (it appears) have lost a prime swarm and three castes then there's not going to be much of a colony left ... if they are very small you might want to think about dummying down the space a bit or even putting them into a nuc.

Beekeeping is a lot about keeping track of when things are found and watching the time lines - I'm terrible at it as I fit my beekeeping around my full time job but - I know my bees and I manage to keep on top of things - you were very lucky to capture all the swarms (or as many as you have !) and I'm sure you will have learned from the experience.

Was your original queen marked - if so - did you find her in the original swarm ? She won't be left behind in the original hive - the old queen is the first to leave - after that it's virgins that go .. one after the other as they emerge if you leave all the queen cells behind.
 
The question is - have you found ALL the queen cells - sounds to me as though the original green hive swarmed several times ... I'm not sure that I understand why there is brood in there still but without a time line of when/what you saw we can't be sure. If you can't see the queen and you haven't seen eggs then there is no certainty that there is a laying queen in there - my bet would be on a virgin - how many vacated queen cells did you find ?

I'm not surprised that the original hive is depleted if you (it appears) have lost a prime swarm and three castes then there's not going to be much of a colony left ... if they are very small you might want to think about dummying down the space a bit or even putting them into a nuc.

Beekeeping is a lot about keeping track of when things are found and watching the time lines - I'm terrible at it as I fit my beekeeping around my full time job but - I know my bees and I manage to keep on top of things - you were very lucky to capture all the swarms (or as many as you have !) and I'm sure you will have learned from the experience.

Was your original queen marked - if so - did you find her in the original swarm ? She won't be left behind in the original hive - the old queen is the first to leave - after that it's virgins that go .. one after the other as they emerge if you leave all the queen cells behind.

Did a VERY thorough check for queen cells now. The original hive had several torn open cells that presumably produced the swarms. The original queen was marked but the workers cleaned her up over a few weeks last year (we will try a different pen this year). We think she's in the strongest swarm and is the one we spotted.
One thing I didn't mention is that when we got a handle on what was happening there was a sealed queen cell in the original hive so looks like she emerged, got mated and has started laying (within the last week on timelines).

We have dummied down one of the hives, but we are fresh out of boxes with all the crazy so limited on what we can do until next paycheck.

A lesson in how *not* to handle it unfortunately.
 
Did a VERY thorough check for queen cells now. The original hive had several torn open cells that presumably produced the swarms. The original queen was marked but the workers cleaned her up over a few weeks last year (we will try a different pen this year). We think she's in the strongest swarm and is the one we spotted.
One thing I didn't mention is that when we got a handle on what was happening there was a sealed queen cell in the original hive so looks like she emerged, got mated and has started laying (within the last week on timelines).

We have dummied down one of the hives, but we are fresh out of boxes with all the crazy so limited on what we can do until next paycheck.

A lesson in how *not* to handle it unfortunately.
It's all a learning curve ... anyone who hasn't been in a similar situation has never kept bees ... it happens... you just have to dig your way out of it and you've done well to keep as many as you have.
 
The original hive had several torn open cells that presumably produced the swarms.

Just a small point but I would tend to regard 'torn open cells' as indicative of a killed virgin rather than an emerged queen. Cells that queens emerge from usually have a very neat circular cap cut into the point, where the queen has eaten her way out. When bees wish to destroy a queen cell they usually go in through the side, giving the torn appearance.
 
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