Forum Replies Created
Thanks, Susan. I intend to attend your presentation on the 26th. The problem is that, right now, I cannot risk getting stung at all. Unfortunately “part of the picture” for me is being dead, which I would rather not be. So I have to get my Rx for epinephrine auto-injectors filled, and discuss the situation with an allergist before I go near my hives again.
Thanks so much for writing. David B. had kindly offered to take my hives away to Topanga; but I had really hoped to keep them here and your message has given me hope. I would love to learn how you nuclearize your suit (and gloves? I have been stung a couple of times through my gloves) and also prevent post-suit-removal stings. I will admit I was a little unnerved to learn about your reaction during therapy but I have to assume there is always a chance of it.
Like you, I went a year with no issues. In fact, from catching my swarms exactly a year ago until last December I never got stung. Then, between a small barely-felt-by-humans earthquake and the rainy windy weather this winter, I got stung three inspections in a row. But I then went three more inspections with no problems and was feeling pretty smug until I took my suit off Friday!
Anyhow, thanks again for a beacon of light in all this darkness.
Best, Ronni (I did try your email address but the message kept bouncing back)
Hi, Greg. I’m not sure my Santa Monica yard qualifies as an “urban area” but my son was an art student (and is now an artist), so I’m certainly willing to help you out if I can.
Thanks for the bluebeard tip. I definitely am going to check that out. My two most popular plants are the Catalina/hollyleaf cherries in the spring (California native, I haven’t watered them in years) and the California native sunflowers which are just now slowing down and reseed themselves every year. Bees all over them all the time.
Nan, what size did you get in the Mann Lake? I’ve been wearing a hand-me-down suit in Small (I assume men’s sizing)in 65% poly, 35% cotton and it is definitely too small for me, though probably too big for you, Roxana. I’m 5’7″, 133 lbs and I can get into the suit okay but if I bend over it is tight against hips, elbows, whatever.
Okay, in case any other newbies are facing this issue, this is what I wish I had learned before I put my tiny hive beside my bigger one: any significant disparity in size can trigger robbing of the small, weaker hives by the stronger. Many beekeepers put robbing screens on their nucs and smaller hives as a matter of course. Some keep them on all their hives all the time. Others only do it during dearths. Michael Bush emphasizes that if you see robbing, you have to stop it right away. http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm.
I had worried about my first hive being robbed because at two boxes, it was still relatively small. That’s why I had originally ordered the robbing /moving screen back in April (shipping was delayed for several weeks). It hadn’t occurred to me, those girls would be the bullies. I’m just grateful the screen arrived this week. Almost thirty-six hours after I first noticed them, the robbers are still clustered on the screen and flying about the hive. I feel bad when I see the pollen-laden workers amongst them, still unable to figure out how to get back into their home. The combination of a new hive location and now a new entrance must be confusing; but I have confidence they will figure it out.
Got it. I will call Ruth Askren now. Thanks.
Paul only has deep frames of brood and I only have medium frames so “exchanging frames” wasn’t going to work. Also, his inclination was for me to just “watch and wait”. One of his own moribund hives had recently rebounded. With a capped queen cell, he felt there was a chance I would have a new — albeit virgin — queen any day now. Though of course it could also be not for a week +, with no eggs for two more weeks after that (studying my Michael Bush Bee Math!)
What do bees do at night?
Rob asked me to keep the forum updated on these swarms so here goes. I had planned to keep them in the backyard behind a 7’ high piece of MDO that would push them up into the air and over our heads. I had built a stand there and as I mentioned, hurriedly built a fence around the area to keep my new puppy from bothering the hives. But the neighbor closest to the hives became agitated about their nearness to her pool and grandkids so I decided to move the hives to the opposite end of my lot. This meant not only getting the swarm box out of the tree but also getting the bees reoriented to their new abodes.
I moved both hives on the night of March 30th. On the 31st, despite the grass and leaves in front of the entrances, it was clear many of the foragers were returning to the original hive sites. I put empty boxes there and that night, plus the next two, ferried bees from the old site to the new.
My esteemed mentor Susan Rudnicki came yesterday, April 1st, to help me do my first actual inspection of the hives. I had been aware from early on that the tree hive was much stronger than the hive at ground level and when we opened up the hives, we found out why The tree hive had a queen, eggs, capped and uncapped brood, pollen and nectar plus empty center cells from which a new crop of workers had already emerged. That the girls had accomplished all this in exactly three weeks was pretty astonishing to me, especially since with foundationless frames, they had to build the comb first.. Susan was impressed by the variety of sizes and colors in the bees. She told me I had a promiscuous queen, which was a good thing. Lots of genetic material floating around.
The weak hive, however, was interesting in a totally different way. There was a fraction of the amount of comb as in the strong hive, but that comb contained a minimum of five queen cells, at least one of which was capped. We saw no evidence of a queen and assumed she had died at some point after the swarm moved in. The bees themselves were also much fewer in number than in the strong hive; and the foragers from that hive seemed to return to the original site in greater numbers. Susan felt there was no certainty this hive would survive and suggested I set up a baggie feeder to at least give the bees a food source while they were devoting so much of their energy to raising queens.
This evening, around sunset, when I was returning the confused foragers to their hive, I found an enormous number of bees sitting on the baggie feeder. It seemed a little strange to me. Shouldn’t they have been busy doing something? Or did they really have nothing to do until their queen emerged? Or do bees even in a queenright hive settle down in front of the TV for the night? Every day something new to learn!March 27, 2016 at 2:54 pm in reply to: Very interesting study on the sperm usage of queens #10294
Actually, Susan, they said “we artificially inseminated seven virgin queens with 3 ?L and seven virgin queens with 12 ?L of semen according to a previously developed protocol (Schley 1987).” Unfortunately, the Schley paper is in German, so I was unable to read how Schley came up with the amounts.
Oh, thanks so much for the idea about the red head lamp! I will get one tomorrow. Of course my smoker is hardly old and well used, but in all honesty, it hadn’t occurred to me to use it at all in this context. So much to learn!
Is festooning an indication of a queenright or a queenless hive? I got the hive in question onto its new Pierce Mieras stand this evening; and also at Tom Skinner’s suggestion, removed the entrance reducer I had bought at a HoneyLove meeting. The bees were so calm about everything, including my clumsy attempts to level the hive on the new stand, that I was tempted to open it up and check on them. Now I know I can, I will do it as soon as I can get the tree hive down. Those bees are making it very hard to tape screen over the opening because they fly in and out, in and out, even after sunset.
Thanks for the clarification. I have seen a few bees bringing pollen into this “weaker’ hive so I’m more optimistic than I’ve been. Should I wait until I’m all set up and you’re here to open it up and check?
Thanks, Steven. I definitely have two different hives operating now. I am planning to head down to Pierce Mieras tomorrow to buy a second set of boxes so I can get the first swarm out of the tree. The second swarm still doesn’t seem to be functioning on all four cylinders though, so if it turns it out that it lacks a queen, I will probably combine it with the first. I am almost positive they both came from the same “mother hive”. If it does have a queen, though, I will have double the fun! I was under the impression “newspaper combines” weren’t recommended during swarming season.
Uh-oh. I guess this comes under the category of being careful what you wish for. I went out this morning to figure out how to build some sort of fence around the hive stand where I want to merge the bees in my colonized 8-frame tree trap with the empty 8-frame box already on the stand… and discovered some other bees are either seriously considering moving in to the “empty” or else already have. There is nowhere near the frenzied activity in and out of the box on the ground, so I’m thinking these are just scouts (or maybe real estate agents, this is Santa Monica after all) but by the time I get some sort of protection up (for the new puppy who was just spayed Thursday; and for the neighbors behind us who have a pool and grandkids) I might not have an “empty” anymore. I am guessing it would be a really bad idea to merge two different swarms, right?