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What to do?

 
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mountainbee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Feb 2009
Posts: 182
Location: Harlan, Ky

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:14 am    Post subject: What to do? Reply with quote

I have a swarm that appeared queen less, it was a small swarm and had didn't have alot of bees, fresh eggs, brood, and only a small amount of capped brood. I added some comb with eggs from another hive hoping they would make a queen and switched places with a stronger hive to build its numbers. I looked into the hive yesterday and they hadn't built queen cells but there was plenty of bees and I could smell a lemon scent coming from the hive so I hope that means there is a queen in there just didn't have enough bees to do what she needed. I inspected the hive that I had switched it with and found that it now has very little bees, no brood or capped brood, and has 2 queen cells, so I switched the hives back to there original places. I don't know if the queen cells didn't hatch or are about to hatch so I don't know if I should strengthen the weak hive that I think has a queen, let the one with cells perish, wait out the queen cells to see if they hatch.
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you cant switch hives like that, switching places is for when you do an artificial swarm, but unrelated hives, your just sending bees to their death
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mountainbee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Feb 2009
Posts: 182
Location: Harlan, Ky

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have did this before, switching a weak hive in a strong hives place without any fighting or issues. I have also read and watched videos were this is a common practice.
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It had a young queen, virgin, that took off with the cast swarm.

It needs some time until she lays.

By adding brood and swapping places you harm that process and young queen...
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

In my opinion you are trying too hard to do what you think is right, but causing the bees problems in the process.

I wonder what made you think the swarm was queenless in the first place?

Quote:
it was a small swarm and had didn't have alot of bees, fresh eggs, brood, and only a small amount of capped brood.


If it was a swarm and it had some capped brood and eggs, then it can't be queenless.
By switching hives around, you are messing with the coherence of the colony. Bees communicate by scent and vibration. Foragers from another hive will smell different and whilst they come bringing gifts(pollen and nectar) and will be accepted, they will not be as "in tune" as with their own sisters and this can make a hive more at risk of disease and robbing.

There is no problem with a swarm being small. Just give them time to grow. Some grow fast and some grow slowly, but it really isn't a race. There is still plenty of the summer left and they really only need a few combs to over winter on.

Patience is a very beneficial attribute for a beekeeper and having faith in your bees an even greater one. The latter takes time and experience to accept, but I can assure you that the bees know what they are doing a lot better than you or me. They have a plan and most of the time the beekeeper keeps thwarting it, albeit with the best intentions.

My advice would be to not feel that you have to fix things for your bees and instead just enjoy having them and let them get on with building their home at their own pace.

Better to do nothing and in the worst case scenario the bees die, than to cause their demise by trying to help them.... I nearly did that to one colony last year and believe me my fingers are still metaphorically burning from that mistake.

I appreciate that natural beekeeping covers a vast spectrum of principles and ideals but I think your bees might benefit from you taking a step or two closer towards the hands off end. I understand that you want to learn and I encourage new beekeepers to handle their bees, but I think perhaps you are a little too keen to fix things that are not amiss in the first place.

Quote:
I have also read and watched videos were this is a common practice.


There are lots of things that are "common practice" in conventional beekeeping that are not helpful to the bees and are contributing to their decline, which is one of the main reasons why this website exists.... to offer a less intrusive and more enlightened bee centred approach.

I'm not sure I can advise you on what to do now with your hives other than leave them alone to sort it out themselves as I really don't know what they are planning. If they are preparing new queens, then you need to leave them in situ so that you don't lose the new queens when they go on their mating flight. Monitor activity at the entrance and maybe inspect them in a couple of weeks to see what has happened.

Wishing them luck

Barbara
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mountainbee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Feb 2009
Posts: 182
Location: Harlan, Ky

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am to fast panic and worry over things that seem bad but generally are ok. I have placed the bees back in there original place and and let them be in charge. I started out in this trying to bee hands off but it was just hard to do. Im going to have to lay back and calm down and let them do there thing.
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mountainbee wrote:
I have placed the bees back in there original place



these bees won't know whether they are coming or going Crying or Very sad
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stop moving them!
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