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The Hive sitting saga.....

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Dazzabee 

House Bee
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Thurrock, Essex
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Hi all,



I thought I would let you all know about my recent saga. You never know it may help someone else one day (but i doubt it):)

A friend of mine was going on holiday and asked if I would ‘bee sit’ whilst he was away. No problem I said and there was my first mistake………………
2 Days after he left and 8 days since his last inspection I opened up his hive to find 8 qc’s some of which were capped! Immediate AS was my first thought and I proceeded to search for the queen marked in green. After searching each frame in the hive twice I realised she had already gone (capped cells were a clue but I thought he might be lucky!) and so now what…………..:willy_nilly:

I walked away for few mins to think and then decided to split this full hive (his only one) into two thus doubling his chances of getting at least 1 mated queen. The colony was still strong with lots of bees & stores etc so I planned to make 2 equal splits and make up the BB with drawn comb and new foundation. He had also mentioned on a previous occasion that he wanted to expand to 2 hives so I thought lets try to make good out of the situation. If he only ended up with one mated queen we could always reunite at a later date anyway.

I checked the qc’s again and selected the largest & best looking ones (in my inexperienced opinion) and destroyed the puny looking ones. This left me with 4 good looking qc’s across 3 frames. I placed 1 frame with 1 qc in each of the hives and split the brood/stores. This still left me with 1 frame with 2 good looking Qc’s on it. I had a dilemma………what to do with these ones? I then suddenly remembered that I had a small nuc box in the boot of my car! What if I create a small nuc as a back up I thought! I placed this last qc frame and one other of hatching brood into the nuc and made up with 2 x other half drawn out spare frames. I planned to add a frame or 2 of my own hatching brood from my apiary later on should it be needed.

I reduced all the entrances (especially small on the nuc) and gave all three a quick feed for a few days to boost their stores and get them drawing out the frames of foundation I had had to use.

I am keeping an eye on them all daily (from the outside at least) and I’ve not noticed any wasps around his apiary so all seems to be going well at the mo. Queens have now hatched in all three of the units and we are waiting with fingers crossed for a couple of weeks to see what happens.

I did leave the 2 x qc’s in the nuc as I couldn’t decide which looked best. When I made a quick check on it I found 2 new virgin queens running around on separate frames! I didn’t have any more spare equipment to separate them so reluctantly I decided to leave them to it.

If anyone has made it through to this sentence of this long winded post, I'll update in a few weeks and let you know how it goes.:cheers2:
 

kazmcc 

Queen Bee
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It's always the way, as soon as you agree to a favour, you can't bet things won't go smoothly. I should think he is grateful to have someone who knows what he is doing taking care of them for him, and doing the hard work he would have had to do if he hadn't gone away.

Keep me updated on how it goes :)
 

Hombre 

Queen Bee
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Fact of life Dazzabee, sit on your butt in your own bubble and the world goes happily by. Agree to help someone and reap a monster crop of grief that makes you wonder if it's all worth it.

But you know that it's what makes you a better person in the long run . . . :)

Cynics aren't born that way you know . . . LOL I look forward to your updates and I hope your mate realises the effort you have gone to on his behalf.

If he asks about his 2010 honey crop though, don't forget to bust his lip for him . . . ha ha. Keep up the good work.
 

Dazzabee 

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Thurrock, Essex
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Update

Ok so here is the update so far………………

One of the original splits has a very golden coloured queen and three frames of newly laid eggs! Success………. so far anyway, let’s hope they develop into workers and not drones. ;)

The 2nd split was a bit weird. I couldn’t find any queen present (not abnormal I know) but there were just three eggs in adjacent cells in the very centre of 1 frame and that is it? Only 1 egg in each cell. We decided to leave this one another week and check again. Any one got any thoughts on this? Could it be that she is just getting started a bit intermittently? Maybe we inspected just as she started to lay? The QC left in this hive was also the first to hatch on approx 13/14th July.

The nuc I made up using the last QC’s now also has a very dark brown looking queen and 1 frame of eggs! Success it appears here too, so if we do have trouble with the 2nd split above the backup queen from the nuc will come in handy.

I know its early days, but my friend and I are very chuffed at the success we (or should i say I) appear to have had on our very first attempt to rear and mate our own queens! He wasn’t even that bothered about losing the honey crop, so I didn’t have to split his lip!:sport-smiley-002:

Hopefully if the 2nd split comes good and all goes well on the next inspections it looks like I might even end up with another colony for my troubles so everyone’s a winner.:party-smiley-050:

I'll make another post next week for the final update
 

garethbryson 

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I'm also "bee sitting" at the moment, My friend has gone for a weeks holiday and left me to look after his bee's. Before he left his queen vanished and he had a load of qc's. he had removed them all but 2 on one frame. i had a look in this evening and one has hatched and the other must have been taken down by the bees. I didnt see the virgin queen though.

But the best bit was when 2 of the blighters got into my veil and one of them decided to sting me on the cheek. Thats gratitude for you.
:mad:
 

Skyhook 

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The 2nd split was a bit weird. I couldn’t find any queen present (not abnormal I know) but there were just three eggs in adjacent cells in the very centre of 1 frame and that is it? Only 1 egg in each cell. We decided to leave this one another week and check again. Any one got any thoughts on this? Could it be that she is just getting started a bit intermittently? Maybe we inspected just as she started to lay? The QC left in this hive was also the first to hatch on approx 13/14th July.

Well done you! if you are as inexperienced as you claim, I'm well impressed!

Speaking from my own inexperience, But I wouldn't have that that was unusually long for her to come into lay?
 

Dazzabee 

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Hi Skyhook, I am a new beek honest! Scouts honour and all that....

My friend and i got our first nuc's in June last year with new 2009 queens. We didn't have to worry about swarming last year as they were too busy building up, thankfully.;)

This years been a different story tho, I placed a prime swarm in a nice new home only for it to abscond the next day while I was at work. And this above mentioned saga was the first swarming problem for my friend too.

We've also had to call out the Bee inspector and all sorts this year! :banghead:

But we seem to have come through it all (so far at least) and I still LOVE beekeeping. The challenges of so much info and different theories/practices to try out and adapt to suit you is just great. And then just when you think you've got it all figured out the girls throw something new at you and you have to race back to the PC to search this vast database of experience to get answers. Its just fantastic...............although my wife see's it differently and she says bloody bee's AGAIN! :cuss:

A big thank you also has to go to Thurrock bee's on here who has helped us out quite a bit this year by letting us help with his inspections etc to gain more experience. He also supplied me with a very calm & easy to handle full size colony at a very reasonable price which helps!:biggrinjester:
 

Dazzabee 

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Thurrock, Essex
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Final Update

As promised here is the final update.

The last hive has now also come into lay. :hurray:
The Q must have literally just started to lay at the last inspection as they are just starting to cap over the first brood in this hive.

The other 2 units which had eggs already present last week now have brood at all stages and are going really well.

So that's a 100% success rate! We are both very happy, my friend now has his 2nd hive and i get another colony for my troubles!:cheers2:
We now just have to get them through the winter. The larger 2 units should be OK but the nuc is my only worry. We'll see how quickly they expand but maybe a Poly nuc will be a good investment?
The local bee inspector was also present for this inspection and all three units were given the all clear for diseases.........double bonus!:party:
 

Skyhook 

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:iagree: Fantastic result- thanks for letting us know. What a result!:hurray:
 

margob99 

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Just read this; what a nice story!
 

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