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advice for saving queenless hives

 
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mountainbee
Foraging Bee


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

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 1:03 am    Post subject: advice for saving queenless hives Reply with quote

I have two hives that are queen less. the first hive I have had for 3 seasons, it has swarmed 3 times this year and has either been left with no queen or the virgin queen didn't return from her mating flight. the hive has made no attempt at building queen cells. the second hive is a swarm that had a queen when I caught them because I seen her, I imagine that she didn't return from her breeding flight. I can order queens, but I have had the same stock of bees for 5 summers now and they survive the winters and mites and I don't want to take a chance on weakening my stocks with new queens. would it be possible to take some brood comb with fresh eggs and place in these hives and get them to build queen cells?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi.

I find with my hives that have swarmed multiple times, that they then take a holiday. I've had them go 4 weeks without brood at this time of year and just when I've totally given up hope, they start rearing brood and returning to normal. They have done this the past few seasons and I now don't panic about it.
Neither the hive that has swarmed nor the swarm can create emergency queens because they don't have any eggs or young larvae. Most of the brood is capped by the time the prime swarm leaves.
If you are really concerned about them you could give them a comb of young brood from another hive and then at least they have the opportunity to make a new queen if they need one.

Good luck with them
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Beeblebrox
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2010
Posts: 60
Location: UK - north Oxfordshire

PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:14 am    Post subject: Re: advice for saving queenless hives Reply with quote

mountainbee wrote:
would it be possible to take some brood comb with fresh eggs and place in these hives and get them to build queen cells?


Yes, but make sure to shake off the bees n the comb you take BEFORE putting it in the new hive. Otherwise a huge fight starts and you cannot go near the hive for some days as the bees that win are on high alert.

Don't ask how I know that.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1487
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dusting the comb you are moving with icing sugar before doing the move has always prevented the fighting in my experience.
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mountainbee
Foraging Bee


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

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice, I took some fresh drawn brood comb with eggs and placed in my hives. Tuesday will be 3 days since I added the comb, hopefully I can look and see drawn queen cells if they needed a queen. I also switched locations with the weaker hive in place of a stronger hive as it was a small cast swarm.
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1123
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

catchercradle wrote:
dusting the comb you are moving with icing sugar before doing the move has always prevented the fighting in my experience.

I dust a couple of combs either side of the new position of the donated comb too. Maybe that's not so necessary, but the bees seem to like it!
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prakel
Guard Bee


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another twist is to graft a handful of suitably young larvae into one of the combs. This gives the same response as the comb transfer but without taking resources away from the donor colony.
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah... easiest job is a frame/topbar comb of eggs/young brood per week for 3-4 weeks. Dust that comb and the ones you are inserting next to and they will all be great freinds. Just make sure you don't pull out the queen from you donor hive. If the hives needs queens they'll raise them if not the fresh brood may trigger the young queen to start laying. Best of luck.
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