Queenless colony

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Alerion
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Queenless colony

Unread post by Alerion » August 1st, 2017, 4:34 pm

Hello, todays question is below, but first I captured 3 swarms this year in mid June.

None have really built up enough honey for me to harvest.

2 of the swarms have a queen and seem to be building up the colonies

1 colony appears to be queen less , there are drone cells and nothing else, no other notable brood. So I'm guessing the queen died. This colony was bringing in new honey but sometimes it just looks like the bees are standing around on the entrance with only a few bees coming and going. Unlike the other 2 colonies that have lots of bees coming and going.

I think it is probably too late for this colony. Should I empty the hive and see if they will take up with the other 2 queen rite colonies? or just let them continue until they eventually dies off.

I'm located in Alberta Beach area.

Robert

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Allen Dick
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Re: Queenless colony

Unread post by Allen Dick » August 1st, 2017, 4:39 pm

Personally what I do with poor colonies is is just stack the brood boxes up on each other and see what results. Usually they find the best Queen and get to work and Carry On and winter.

I pick a nice day and I don't use newspaper or vanilla or anything. I do not look for Queens or worry about drone layers. The bees know how to deal with all these things better than we do. I just stack them up and let them have at it. If it's decent weather and there's a bit of a honey flow on they don't fight. They just get to work.

The colonies don't have to be equal at all. Sometimes I stack a weak or quenless or drone layer colony on a good colony. It always seems to work out.

Try it. You'll like it.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
51° 33'39.64"N 113°18'52.45"W
http://www.honeybeeworld.com/Allen%27s%20Beehives.kmz
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Alerion
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Re: Queenless colony

Unread post by Alerion » August 1st, 2017, 5:15 pm

Thanks Alan I will give it a try.
Robert

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eltalia
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Re: Queenless colony

Unread post by eltalia » August 1st, 2017, 5:25 pm

As we are talking maybe 50days of growth(or not) for each colony the numbers will not be so great any loss is going to be significant, so yep Allen it probably matters little where a rough cobble of boxes leads whatever resulting colony.
However, given folks usually capture swarms with a view to expansion. then it defies the logic to cobble boxes and leave the bees tuit.

Robert...
An inspection will determine which of the queenright is strongest in progress.
The queenless group could be stacked to the lesser colony using at least 2sheets of newsprint peppered with pinholes by darning needle. .inspect after 5days to remove the remnants of paper.
If queen restrictors are not already fitted then best that be done.
Given northern winters pending it may pay to combine all groups over the next weeks.

Cheers.

Bill
ASK not what your bees can do for you.
ASK what your bees cannot do for you.

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Allen Dick
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Re: Queenless colony

Unread post by Allen Dick » August 1st, 2017, 7:09 pm

I usually combine anything that looks marginal in early September (or whenever I find a few) and I never use newspaper or anything because if you need that you're probably choosing a bad time to do combining at least in Alberta.

As for whether it's worth chasing through the boxes and trying to trying to guess better than the bees do, it depends on your perspective and what your time is worth. In my experience it's never been worth the bother and the resulting colonies are usually pretty good.

Of course my perspective is from that of a commercial beekeeper and successful commercial beekeepers don't waste time on losers.

Losers are a distraction and time is precious. 20% of the hives can easily use 80% of your time if you let them, and it is another 20% of the hives make 80% of your profit. Those are the ones that are worth your time.

IMO anyhow.

YMMV .
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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Re: Queenless colony

Unread post by eltalia » August 1st, 2017, 7:49 pm

Trying to keep my CBK hat in the cupboard as the question was on domestic nuc(s), I agree CBK management hinges on outgoings to break into profit. Part of that is monitoring/auditing... it's a base cost.
As you would know Allen, building conditions for mass hysteria amongst a few hives in an apiary costs production, so taking precautions in cobbling one colony from groups makes for savvy management.. or at least that was how my mileage varied, others of course may well be happy on fixed net incomes and far less work :-)

Cheers.

Bill
ASK not what your bees can do for you.
ASK what your bees cannot do for you.

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Re: Queenless colony

Unread post by Allen Dick » August 1st, 2017, 8:12 pm

Agreed.

The thing is in my area I have almost never seen the mass hysteria that takes place in some other regions.

We make of nucs without any fear of robbing under most conditions and I don't know how many colonies I've combined without any sign whatsoever of fighting. In fact I can only recall one case of fighting when hives were combined and that was probably 40 years ago back when we had the dry years.

Of course if there's anything more than light robbing we don't do these things and we watch for any sign that things might start to avalanche.

We pull frames from one hive and stick them in another without much thought at all on a routine basis. Of course we work mostly without much protection so we're doing this on days which the bees are friendly.

If people dress up in full regalia and are insensitive to what's going on in the bee yard there should be worries about combining, but in my many years here in Alberta as a beekeeper and as an inspector I just don't see much worry about robbing except in spring and fall and during obvious dearths in the summer when nobody in his right mind would attempt such a maneuver.

Where the bees are kept will have a big influence too. I recall Andy Nachbar saying that if you took gentle bees from California over to Arizona they would become extremely cross and if you took them back they'd be gentle again. I've seen that same effect to moving bees from Eastern Canada to Western Canada. When I loaded hives in Eastern Canada I needed to be well-dressed to handle them. Later, in Alberta, I was working them in shorts without a veil.

Years ago I had some Australian bees here in Alberta and I was finding them a little bit testy. The breeder's son happened to be coming to Canada for a tour and he dropped by to take a look. He said he didn't need a veil and then he was amazed when they chased him out of the yard.

They were really good bees by the way and even years later I noticed that the hives that had had them installed we're still among the top producers. They seem to gentle down too after a while.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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Countryboy
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Re: Queenless colony

Unread post by Countryboy » August 2nd, 2017, 7:59 pm

Where the bees are kept will have a big influence too. I recall Andy Nachbar saying that if you took gentle bees from California over to Arizona they would become extremely cross and if you took them back they'd be gentle again. I've seen that same effect to moving bees from Eastern Canada to Western Canada. When I loaded hives in Eastern Canada I needed to be well-dressed to handle them. Later, in Alberta, I was working them in shorts without a veil.
I remember Dewey Caron saying that when they took Africanized bees in South America up into the mountains at high elevations, (5000 feet elevation sticks in my mind) they became as gentle as European bees. When they moved the hives back down to lower elevations, they became mean again.

What is the difference in elevation between Alberta and Eastern Canada? Ontario is supposed to be 1500 feet or lower. Alberta has some of the Rocky Mountains. Any chance it has more to do with elevation than location in regards to bee defensiveness?
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio

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