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paul 

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I am a new beek and have been learning from this forum since before I got my first bees, a swarm which descended on my newly painted national on midsummer day last year.

So thank you to all who have contributed to the forum and my learning.

My question is; at what point do you know that your colony inspection is agitating the bees so much that you decide to put everything back together and leave.

In particular, would you press on regardless with making an artificial swarm if you saw queen cells or would you, at some point, judge that it would be better to leave this job for tomorrow?

I look forward to your replies.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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My question is; at what point do you know that your colony inspection is agitating the bees so much that you decide to put everything back together and leave.
If I have spent more than 10 minutes looking at the hive. A normal hive inspection should be about 5 minutes (if that)


In particular, would you press on regardless with making an artificial swarm if you saw queen cells or would you, at some point, judge that it would be better to leave this job for tomorrow?

I look forward to your replies.
I assume you where looking for the queen to do the AS? Is she marked? Are you sure she is still there? Is there evidence she is still there (fresh eggs) or that she has gone (sealed QC's)

You do not need to find the queen to do an AS!

To do it without finding her

Take new brood box with new foundation and ideally one frame with drawn foundation (for her to start laying in), and place in original hive location)

Empty/brush ALL bees into this new box, and when all in place a QX on top.

Then take the orginal brood box (now empty of bees) and place it on top of the QX in original brood box location(with eggs brood etc in) , with crown board supers etc as normal

So you now know you have the queen in the base section on new foundation (as you want for a AS)

Very quickly the nurse bees (non flying bees) will move upstairs to nurse the brood and you QC (s)

Next day, move this top section to a new location as a new hive.

Bingo AS without messing about looking for the queen and completed in about the same time it has taken you to read this.
 
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oliver90owner 

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I have done that in the past. But if there are queen cells the job needs to be done.

What is the problem and will it be different tomorrow? Did you do it or close it up and have left it?

There are ways to make manipulations easier if you are uneasy handling the bees for too long. Sort yourself out first and have all the kit you might require (make a list) ready to hand.

Not knowing any further details it is difficult to advise on how best to go about the job, but separating the bees into a couple of other nuc boxes would likely make the job a lot easier. Moving the old box and replacing it with another will avoid flying bees returning and causing grief. Giving them half an hour to lose a lot of those flying bees can help.

Give us some info and you might even get some useful suggestions.

Regards, RAB
 

Poly Hive 

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What Jim is saying is of course correct.

I doubt his time span though. I couldn't do in in one minute.

It is however NOT to be done in a garden with neighbours. I shudder to think of the consequences.

PH
 

paul 

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Thanks Jim I'll remember that quick method for the future.

Thanks RAB, Just to clarify, I pressed on and completed AS so job done.

BUT it took a good half hour to finish and the colony was unhappy with my presence from the outset.

I took a good few stings to my arms and hands in the process and had a beard of bees on the bottom half of my veil. You can imagine how many were in the air!

On reflection, I am wondering whether I was right to ignore the obvious distress of the colony.

So my question is really more philosophical than a request for practical advice.

That is: is there a point where it is better to leave the bees for another day rather than carry on regardless?
 

Poly Hive 

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Yes there is.

I have walked away many times on the basis I was doing more harm than good by being obstinate and taking I can stand all these stings as I am a beekeeper.

If you are getting hammered then the best thing to do is to close up and leave it unless of course it is a time critical o peration in which case you are stuck.

The only time critical ones for me are finding a virgin about to hatch and moving grafts from a starter box or ripe cells from a super.

PH
 

jimbeekeeper 

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What Jim is saying is of course correct.

I doubt his time span though. I couldn't do in in one minute.

It is however NOT to be done in a garden with neighbours. I shudder to think of the consequences.

PH
Depends how fast your read Pete? OK maybe a little bit longer than you can read it, but less stress for you and the bees looking for the queen.

PH is correct this is a "bees everywhere" situation, so make sure you do a full Risk and Method statment and correct PPE:beatdeadhorse5::beatdeadhorse5:
 

paul 

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Thank you PH. You have set my mind at rest.

When you have an upset colony how long a rest do you give them before trying again?
 
T

Tom Bick 

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Paul sorry to look at your question from a different angle are you saying you have a slightly aggressive colony and they react during inspections all bees react but some more than others and can be upset for a bit of time after.
 

paul 

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Hello Tom,
The colony is not always aggressive.
My reading of the situation is that they were preparing to swarm and had no intention of letting anyone get in their way.

On previous inspections their mood has varied from being a bit tetchy when brood frames are disturbed to positively lamb-like.
 
T

Tom Bick 

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That sounds reasonable I dont know if you have your bees in your garden but if you do then aggressive tendencies are to be watched and perhaps not to be tolerated.

For me if you have allowed your bees to re queen you watch that hive very close or even consider the purchase of a queen from a breeder of gentle bees.

The temperament can change considerably in a few weeks and take up to eight weeks to get things back to normal and an aggressive colony is bad news in a built up area with big stress to the bee keeper and is not for the faint hearted.

So I wandered slightly off topic regards your first question as someone who is just starting out and good advice I got was if you at the time dont know what to do close up the hive and go away and think about it and return later with a plan and hopefully that will be a few days later or on your weekly inspection.
 

BKF Admin 

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24 hours is often enough.
Sometimes the weather can upset them long before we realise a low pressure is on its way.

The end of a flow can also signal a time they are going to play up.

I find talking to them seems to calm them down a little,my take on it is if I chat in a calm manner then my stress level goes down and seems to calm the bees a little as well as they sense it.
 

Poly Hive 

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PPE is personal Protective Equipment which in beekeeping is boots and a beesuit c/w veil.

As ever google will aid you in such queries. ;)

PH
 

BKF Admin 

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Off topic: I have been hearing that "Bing" is the new Google..
 

paul 

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Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

It's good to get the perspectives of other people.
 

Mike a 

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Let us know how they get on after your next inspection. :boxing_smiley:
 

margob99 

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This is useful info; thank you. I find it hard to take only 5 - 10 minutes to go through a National brood-and-a-half. In fact, the longer I use that structure, the more I'm hating it.

My bees in my primary hive have been incredibly aggressive ever since the first swarm on 19 May. 3 inspections since then (including one in thundery weather on Saturday) and still no end in sight. In an urban garden. My neighbours have been incredibly understanding, and no-one (except me) has been stung yet. But if their bad temper doesn't end soon, I'm going to have to do something about this colony!!!!
 

Mike a 

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Avoid thundery weather at all costs. All the foragers will return home if they sense the weather is about to turn and if the roof is off the hive at the time then they can become a box of fireworks.

Do you know much about your queen?

Its possible they will calm down in a few brood cycles if the queen mated with a bad drone.
 

winmag270 

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not saying anymore in case SWMBO reads this... ;o)
Avoid thundery weather at all costs. All the foragers will return home if they sense the weather is about to turn and if the roof is off the hive at the time then they can become a box of fireworks.
:iagree:

guess who didn't realise a weather front was rolling up behind him a couple of years ago, till he got eleven taps on the finger as a warning.....!!!

:ack2:
 

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