Quantcast

It was all going so well...

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

malawi2854 

House Bee
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
202
Reaction score
0
Location
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
4
My bees which I installed as a national 5-frame nuc in May have been doing very well - expanded to 10 14x12 frames, with just 1 National frame left to replace once the brood hatched on it.

As some of you will remember from my previous post about bees massing in the entrance, I was concerned they might swarm.

A few days after that, they calmed down immensely - and have been very well behaved since (even with a giant stump grinder working not 8ft away from them).

When I heard this, I feared the worst, that they had swarmed, but hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, on my inspection today, I found it was the worst. My bees (with my SUPERB queen, who was prolific, docile and generally very well behaved) had swarmed. I've narrowed it down that it must have happened on Tuesday morning, as they were bonkers on Monday night, and peaceful by Tuesday morning (around 8am) - so must have gone in the early hours.

I'm very disappointed - I inspected the rest of the hive - they have absolutely masses of stores - a full super (although only partially capped so far), and approx. 4 full 14x12 brood frames of capped honey. So, starvation shouldn't be a problem.

There are still a fair number of bees in there - but nothing like there were a week ago.

I must have missed a couple of queen cells on my inspection last week, as there are 2 cells in there that appear to be capped, with at least another 8-9 with larvae in, being fed up.


Just wanted really to find out if there was anything I should be doing, other than keeping an eye on them? The colony appears to be operating normally, apart, of course, from being queenless. There are still a few bees out and about returning with pollen, and plenty of sealed brood, and brood at various stages of development (although no eggs, obviously!).


Thanks! :banghead:
 

Chris B 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
2,205
Reaction score
0
Location
Bromsgrove, Worcestershire
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
300
There's a fair chance they might swarm again with a virgin queen. To prevent this my approach would be:
1. Remove sealed queen cells ASAP, leaving unsealed ones unmolested.
2. In 1 week exactly, destroy all remaining queen cells except one.
3. Leave alone for a couple of weeks before checking again.
 

MuswellMetro 

Queen Bee
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
6,526
Reaction score
27
Location
London N10
Hive Type
14x12
Just wanted really to find out if there was anything I should be doing, other than keeping an eye on them? The colony appears to be operating normally, apart, of course, from being queenless. There are still a few bees out and about returning with pollen, and plenty of sealed brood, and brood at various stages of development (although no eggs, obviously!).


Thanks! :banghead:
how much did you feed, and went did you stop feeding
 

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,628
Reaction score
27
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
malawi2854,

Looks like your bees were massing on the front of the hive as they were getting ready to swarm.

If you have not got a copy of Robin Dartington's book on 'modern beekeeping in a DLDH' it might be useful to get one and read it.

A better operating regime than you are following explains quite a lot and perhaps would have fore-warned you. The Dartington/beehaus has space for rather more brood frames.

Your hive was 'full' but should not have been!

Regards, RAB
 

malawi2854 

House Bee
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
202
Reaction score
0
Location
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
4
Sorry, RAB, I don't understand?

I know you can extend the Beehaus beyond the 11 frames - is this what you mean? That I should have been on more than 11 frames by now? To be honest, I had been a bit blown away by the speed at which they'd spread across the 11 frames - and as they were storing so much nectar in there, I assumed they were quite happy with the size as it was. Apparently not!

MM - I can't remember what quantity I fed - but it equated to about 4-5 frame feeders - 7kg of sugar at 1:1 seems to spring to mind, but I stopped feeding them by the end of May - as they seemed to be doing just fine without my interference!


Chris B - the hive is at my parents' house - I tend to visit each week to inspect and do anything else - I found they'd swarmed yesterday - so should I go over this evening, and take out those 2 capped queen cells?
Just out of interest - what's the problem with leaving them in? What would make them swarm again so soon?



Thanks all for your help thus far!
 

malawi2854 

House Bee
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
202
Reaction score
0
Location
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
4
Sorry to reply to my own thread - but am a bit worried about this!

I don't really understand why I should take the capped QC's out? What's the difference between these, and the uncapped ones?

Not questioning your opinions, just trying to understand!

I had hoped not to deal with a swarm until at least year 2!!! :confused:
 
T

Tom Bick 

Guest
the bees sometimes make queen cells with nothing inside by choosing one that is open you can look inside and confirm it is full of royal jelly and grub.
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,655
Reaction score
3
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
The difference is time.

Your bees have swarmed, and not in the early hours of the morning by the way.

They have a right dose of swarm fever and depending on strain how strong a dose.

By removing the CAPPED cells you are making them wait another WEEK before the virgin hatches. Time for them to cool down. More time that is.

PH
 

m100 

Field Bee
Joined
Jun 7, 2009
Messages
821
Reaction score
0
Location
Yorkshire
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
Enough
I'm very disappointed - I inspected the rest of the hive - they have absolutely masses of stores - a full super (although only partially capped so far), and approx. 4 full 14x12 brood frames of capped honey. So, starvation shouldn't be a problem.
It's just after midsummer, you're in the south of England in the best beekeeping year for half a dozen years or more, starvation shouldn't be a problem, there is probably nothing wrong with your bees or the quality of local forage, feeding them and not keeping an eye on what they are doing with the feed and nectar is an observation issue that should be addressed every time you go through the hive.

The main problem you have and will continue to have is a hive where there is by design, regardless of the use of 14x12 frames, a restricted vertical space that unnaturally forces the bees sideways. Until that fundamentally changes, either with a huge pile of plastic omlet supers or you dump the lot and get a wood or poly hive then your bees will continue to swarm or produce bugger all honey. Some of my hives are surrounded by greenery on a windswept hill 500ft up in the North of England all year round. Currently one 14x12 brood box that has already lost a prime swarm this year is topped by four very full supers and the bees are hanging out the front. I'd have five supers on if I could but until I bought an extra one yesterday I had run out. If I can't extract early next week then I'm probably going to have to buy yet another super and start taking a stool to give me enough height to remove them.

You're in the sunny south, presumably not on a windswept hill with four seasons per hour. But imagine a Beehaus with 12 'half sized supers' The legs would bend even more, maybe failing completely, the hive would look even more ridiculous than it does already. But you couldn't just buy 12 half sized supers you'd need another 12 on the other side to enable the roof to fit. By then the wind loading would be such that the hive would topple over in a light breeze.

The standard Dartington / Beehaus 'solution' is to split the hive. Splitting the colony doesn't return anywhere near the same honey surplus, you might get zero surplus and even have to feed for winter with two half sized colonies.
 

Latest posts

Top