It’s November 2018 and I’ve deleted this post from 2010. I was freaked out because I looked inside one of my hives and didn’t see any brood and thought the queen was dead. But I would have calmed myself down if I had happened to read this entry from the 1947 edition of The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture:
No brood in the hive by October in Newfoundland is not uncommon. Some queens lay well into the fall (probably Italian queens) and some stop as soon as it gets cold (probably Russian queens). No big deal.
God save the Queen
We mean it man
We love our Queen
– Sex Pistols
I’ll give the bees in Hive #1 another day or two. Then I’ll check them again. Who knows, maybe they created a new queen that just hasn’t started laying yet. Though I doubt it.
The plan now is to combine the two hives. From what I’ve been reading at http://www.beesource.com/forums/, the basic method for combining goes something like this:
1) Reduce queenless hive to one brood box — one deep super.
2) Place a piece of newspaper with a couple of one-inch slits in it on top of the good hive’s second brood box.
3) Install the queenless box on top of the good hive, so the newspaper acts as a divider.
4) Put the inner and outer cover on as usual, but block the inner cover’s entrance so the queenless bees can’t escape — they have to combine with healthy hive.
5) Place a pile of branches in front of the entrance, so the new bee (and the regular ones too) will be confused when they exit the hive and will immediately re-orient themselves to the hive. This prevents the queenless bees from returning to their old hive location.
6) Unplug the inner cover’s hive entrance a day later.
All of this is done around dusk when most of the bees are in the hive for the night. Some people smoke both hives to disguise the scents so the bees don’t fight it out as much. But usually, the newspaper keeps them separate long enough that by the time they chew through it and combine, they’ve gotten used to each other and they’re one big happy hive.
Did you call Andrea or Page just to be certain that they cannot provide a queen. They may have a few week hives they are recombining leaving them with an extra queen or two. Rather than squish them they might be able to help you out.
You have me all nervous about mine now.
On a separate topic the bees were out in full force today seaching for nectar and pollen. Unfortunatly the flow is really over. You can see the bees flying around the house looking for flowers, yet there is nothing to be spotted. They were even landing on me around the yard today and sticking there tongue on me. Intersting to watch.
I guess this little warm spell put them full speed again into the collecting busness but there is nothing to be found right now. Maybe a few Bok Choy flowering. The frost early last week did in the sun flowers and everything else still in bloom.
I saw Aubrey today. I knew how I would combine the hives. He confirmed my plan. I will check for the queen one more time tomorrow. Then I’m adding a bee escape to get the bees down to one box. Then around Tues or Wed, I’m adding the single box to the good hive. Eventually, though I’m not sure, I’ll reduce the hive down to 2 boxes for the winter.
Andrea and Paige rarely return my calls. Their business number does not seem to be the number to call. I called them right away and emailed them. No word yet. Aubrey said it’s too late in the season to requeen anyway.
I’d still check, I have a cell # if you want it.
Then again Aubrey would know what your options are.
I think my hive is good but I want to check to see if they are buildign wax on the last frame. But I’m afraid something like that may occur and as you say this late in the season.
If you combine the two hives you should have a good strong hive for the spring. Get them started early and you;ll be good for splits.
Does aubrey do any splits? Why does he maintain just 40 hives?
Iâ€™d still check, I have a cell # if you want it.
Can you email me their cell number? I never get a live person when I call their business number. I doubt there’s anything I can do, but who knows. They may have an old queen they can give me to hold me over for the winter. It doesn’t have to be the greatest queen in the world as long as it holds the hive together for the winter. I can requeen first thing in the spring if I need a new young queen for the hive. Anyway, send me their cell number if you have it. I’d like to make direct contact with them if I can.
Unfortunately the flow is really over. You can see the bees flying around the house looking for flowers, yet there is nothing to be spotted. They were even landing on me around the yard today and sticking there tongue on me. Interesting to watch.
I noticed that too. They’re getting desperate. Mine are still bring back some pollen, but not much. The bees in Hive #2 are extremely active — mostly from taking syrup from the frame feeder I’ve installed over the inner cover. That’s working like a charm.
The bees in Hive #1 are doing their best without a queen, but they’re pretty slow going.
I think my hive is good but I want to check to see if they are building wax on the last frame. But Iâ€™m afraid something like that may occur and as you say this late in the season.
If they’re taking syrup, then they’re probably building on the frame. Aubrey said the bees will stop taking syrup once they’ve finished building or storing food. There’s a chance the queen could become honey bound, but it’s less likely if they’re still building comb. After talking to Aubrey, I have a much better idea of how to feed developing hives and established hives. Anyway, I think you’re probably safe to leave them be. My plan for my nucs next year is to leave them alone most of the time. And I’m ordering marked queens with my nucs. I’d like to learn how to spot my queens and mark them myself. Inspections can be a little unnerving when replacing frames and trying not to squish the unseen queen.
If you combine the two hives you should have a good strong hive for the spring. Get them started early and you’ll be good for splits.
That the one good thing about combining. I’ll have a nice strong hive for winter.
Does Aubrey do any splits? Why does he maintain just 40 hives?
Aubrey only has 20 hives. He sometimes goes up to 25. He said more than that is too much to manage. When I saw him yesterday — I just dropped in unannounced to return a wintering inner board he let me borrow so I could figure out how to build one myself — he was removing a wheelbarrow full of empty frames from the extractor. He said if he has more than 25 hives, he’d too busy extracting and processing the honey into all the various products they make (they make them all on-site).
He said doesn’t sell nucs. He does splits and nucs for himself to manage the hives, but never bothers going over 25 hives.