I have lost one of my bee-hives! 🐝

WannaBeHillBilly

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[...]
A walkaway split is that simple. Basically split the brood and supplies into new hive. The bees in queenless half will take several larval worker bees and feed them royal jelly. That turns them into queen bees. There are several good youtube videos. Here's a link to written description.
[...]
Thank you very much for the link. And i have watched several YT videos about splits but still have a couple of questions...
But first, tomorrow is honey harvest day! - Three weeks ago, the honey super was about 60% full, so i assume they're ripe. What i will do tomorrow:
  1. Remove frame by frame from the honey super, brush off the bees and place every frame into an empty brood box with cover, so that no bees can get in.
  2. Remove the empty honey super.
  3. Remove the queen separator.
  4. Inspect the beetle-trap and replace it when it is full.
  5. Inspect the brood boxes for brood and drones: I'm not sure if i can distinguish between worker bee- and drone-cells, but the caps of the drone cells should be bulging outwards. (?) - Also looking for hive-beetles and signs of wax-moths.
  6. Lift and shift the entire hive (two full-size 10 frame boxes) from the base-board to a screened base-board.
  7. As the whole hive will be pissed with at this time it doesn't matter to add a little more insult to about 300 bees by performing a sugar-roll to test for varroa-mites.
  8. Put back the queen separator and the empty honey-super. If there were frames in the honey-super that were less them 30% full, those will go back into the center and empty frames will be added.
  9. Inner cover and lid will go back on
  10. I will run like hell to my garage, where the honey extractor is located…
After that i will leave the bees in peace for at least two weeks and then i like to perform a split. Now i am not sure if i can identify the queen: She is not marked. From pictures I know she is longer than the worker bees, her body should be longer than her wings, but i am not sure that i can find her.
So, my idea is to split the full hive vertically:
  1. Disassemble the whole hive again and move, for example the left five frames from both brood-boxes and the honey super into the left side of a second hive of equal size.
  2. Fill up both hives with five empty frames for each of the three boxes.
  3. Assemble the two hives.
This way each hive should have the same amount of resources, except for a missing queen in one hive. - No matter which one.

Would that work?

I also read that the new reared queen must perform her maiden flight and mate with a drone bee (preferably from another hive). - How do i know if there are drone bees from other hives around in about four to five weeks? Just risk it?

Thank you very much in advance for your help!
 

Margali

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That is a perfect description of a walk away split!

Drone bees are easy to tell because they have gigantic eyes. There is usually a decent supply in the area because honey bound hives are throwing swarms. Worst case if you don't see any new brood in a hive half, you can order a bread queen bee. Dallas- Fort Worth area they are $40 - $75 each.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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That is a perfect description of a walk away split!

Drone bees are easy to tell because they have gigantic eyes. There is usually a decent supply in the area because honey bound hives are throwing swarms. Worst case if you don't see any new brood in a hive half, you can order a bread queen bee. Dallas- Fort Worth area they are $40 - $75 each.
Well, the "honey-harvest" was a total bust! - Three weeks ago there were five fully capped honey-frames super, plus three partially filled not capped. Today there were just two fully capped frames plus four uncapped, partially filled ones, less honey in the super than three weeks ago. Why?

As for the hive inspection and the lift and shift: It was both, a total disaster as well as a success. Short list:
  • I found a large ant-nest straight under the bee-hive and assume there was another one under the dead hive too. Fighting the ants might also has forced the bees to use some of their honey. (?)
  • I haven't found the queen, but i have seen a lot of fat drones.
  • Hive is full of capped brood, larvae, eggs, pollen and honey.
  • Hive-beetle trap was empty, no signs of wax-moths and no ants inside of the hive.
  • Sugar-roll came back with zero varroa-mites. - Most important result of the day!
I thought it is worth to create a new thread with the full-story, see here. Now i don't know if it is a good idea to slit the hive this year. I might wait until spring for that. A single queen is sold for about $35 to $90 around here, you have to pay more for the fancy "Russian" queens…
 
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Field Bee

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Well, the "honey-harvest" was a total bust! - Three weeks ago there were five fully capped honey-frames super, plus three partially filled not capped. Today there were just two fully capped frames plus four uncapped, partially filled ones, less honey in the super than three weeks ago. Why?
Because your area most likely is in a dearth and the bees need that resource to feed brood.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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Because your area most likely is in a dearth and the bees need that resource to feed brood.
Actually nectar is not really that scarce here: The chestnuts are in full bloom and the sweet sap is just oozing down from those trees. Also the staghorn sumac is in full bloom, though these are not big nectar producers. Not to mention the dandelions and thisles on the pasture.
 

Field Bee

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Actually nectar is not really that scarce here: The chestnuts are in full bloom and the sweet sap is just oozing down from those trees. Also the staghorn sumac is in full bloom, though these are not big nectar producers. Not to mention the dandelions and thisles on the pasture.
They may have swarmed then and lost a lot of foragers. Was the queen marked?
 

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Here is a short video of the ant-nest under the beehive, i had just moved the whole hive from the middle of the pallet to one side.
You can see the ants running around and a lot of eggs in the crevisses of that pallet.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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They may have swarmed then and lost a lot of foragers. Was the queen marked?
Unfortunately none of the queens was marked. I don't think they have recently swarmed, both brood boxes were packed with bees and i did that shortly after noon, so a lot of the foragers were away, foraging. Look at those ants in the video above. I also found a lot of dead ants and ant parts on the base-board, there was definitely some fighting going on. I will spray the area again with weed-killer (no RoundUp) tomorrow and will also spray some soapy-water under the hive and on the cinder-blocks and the pallet. I hate ants!
 

Field Bee

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Ants are unsightly and bother the beekeeper more than the bees. You could put some ant bait traps under cans and cups, the ants will get under them and get to the bait. When a hive dies out and ants move in new beekeepers assume the ants caused the hive to fail.
Looking at the video the ants dont bother me so much as the hive population does. To be honest it looks weak. Get your smoker lit, take your time and count how many frames of brood are in the hive. Start at frame 2. Record what is on each frame. Is it all eggs, capped brood, or mixed? What does the brood pattern look like? Spotty or solid? If you see all or mostly eggs on the frames you have a new queen and the colony swarmed 3 to 4 weeks ago and needs to build back up. If you have no eggs and all capped brood, your new queen hasn't started laying yet. Swarming puts a big ding in honey production because even after the new queen completes mating flights and starts laying it's another 21 days before the new round of brood emerges.
 

Field Bee

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Example of a high production colony:
IMG_20220531_103921632_HDR.jpg
IMG_20220501_101104211.jpg
IMG_20220424_172805753_HDR.jpg
 

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