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Hive blown off roof, queen dead

 
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 582
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:29 pm    Post subject: Hive blown off roof, queen dead Reply with quote

Some of you will know Clair Meachem. Her hive was located on a garage roof on top of her garage. Unfortunately the hive was blown off the roof recently. The combs were all broken, but more importantly, she has found the queen and she is dead.

I assume there is some brood in the hive, and it's possible that they could raise an emergency queen, but I can't see how it will mate at this time of year.

She has suggested she just merges the bees into one of my colonies. Is there are any other viable alternative ? Has anyone else experienced this kind of mid-winter disaster ?

Thanks,
Adam.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1486
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bees in there now will live for another 3-4 months so it isn't urgent - you could wait till it warms up a bit more before merging them.

As you say, a queen raised now would be unlikely to mate and so would end up laying drones so my idea of best way to approach it is to wait another six weeks before merging and then do it when things are a bit warmer. However not something I have tried so I am only going by theory and as I have pointed out a time or two, my own bees have proved time and again that they haven't read the book.
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Barbara
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Dave, the risk of merging them now when the weather is cold is that they may fight with or at least disrupt the other colony and break cluster, causing potential demise of both. Better to leave them until we get a half decent spell of warmer weather before attempting to combine. Obviously they will need comb and stores to cluster on in the mean time, if some can be salvaged from their hive, maybe via rescue bars.

Good luck with them. I know the heartbreak of this situation as it happened to me a few years ago but sadly I was unable to salvage them.

Regards

Barbara
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Henryderek
New Bee


Joined: 06 Feb 2017
Posts: 3
Location: Manchester

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies - I will take the advice with gratitude! Presumably I am waiting until we have a few days of warmer weather and they start flying again? I have already managed to rescue some comb - hence finding the queen - so hopefully they will have enough. Fingers crossed!
Thanks to Adam also, for posting on my behalf.
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Barbara
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Yes, you are looking for a few days when it is reasonably comfortable to be outside in a t-shirt and the bees are flying. To combine them, open the recipient hive and make a gap where they are clustering, dust into the gap liberally with icing sugar and then dust the bees to be added with icing sugar and tip them into the gap(obviously not the comb they are on, just the bees). Place a cover over the gap leaving a smaller gap where stragglers can get in and close up a bit later when they have all gone down. Be aware that you may get a slightly hostile reception opening a hive at this time of year even on a warm day, so do wear protection.

Putting the bees in the back of the hive will almost certainly cause them to just stay clustered there and not integrate, so you will need to actively combine them in my opinion.

Good luck

Barbara
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Barbara
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thinking about it, it might help with integration if you are able to put some of the comb from the broken hive into the recipient colony ahead of uniting them by a few days or even a week or so, so that the scent of the new bees will not be so alien when you add them.
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