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Bee Talk

 Hey Dennis,

The two Russian Queens I ordered for Costa are arriving Saturday morning and I'm going to Waller, TX to pick them up.

As I had mentioned before one of my hives is weaker than the other.  You've always said not to expect a honey surplus when you do a split and I'd like to extract again from the stronger hive in July.

When I went to complete the first extraction I had a surprise - the super on the weaker hive has not been filled.  They have barely touched it.  The super on the strong hive was completely full and I've put a queen excluder on the top brood box after doing some reversing and put on a second empty super for them to fill.

My question is this:  What do you think would be best to do in this situation?

1.  Should I just kill the queen in the weaker hive and re-queen?

2.  Or would it be smarter to make a nuc from each hive and put the new Queens that I'm picking up from Costa on Saturday in them and let them remain in the nucs until after the second honey flow?  This might give the weaker hive time  to build itself up.  Then after the second honey flow do a split on the stronger hive and see if the weaker hive could withstand a split.  If the weaker hive can't withstand a split then go ahead and kill the queen and re-queen at that time.

Let me know your thoughts.       Jeanie Davis

Hello Jeanie,

It's important to figure out why that hive is weak. Check the brood pattern. If it's bad, check the food supply. If there is food stored then I would replace the queen. You don't want to keep a non-productive queen. Check your mite level. Let me know what you discover.


Hi Dennis,

 I inspected weak hive further.  The brood pattern is almost nonexistent.  No sealed brood on 2nd brood box I inspected last night before it got dark.  I tried sifting that box to find the Queen.  I was worried perhaps that she had possibly died.  Didn’t have a lot of luck - started getting dark before I could finish as well as I would have liked.  Didn’t get to sift the bottom deep.  Got stung on my ankle (Because I wore tennis shoes and socks instead of my boots!) and once on my arm (through my suit!)  The bees were not happy with me.  I feel like an inept moron right about now.  But lessons learned.

 The quart of sugar water I put on Sunday was just about all gone - so I’m wondering if the problem isn’t two-fold.  Non-productive Queen and not enough resources for them, although I don’t understand why the strong hive is doing so well as they have the same resources available to them.  I’m thinking maybe the best approach would be to re-queen.    Jeanie

Hello Jeanie,

It sounds like a queen issue at this point. It's important to find the queen if there is one. If the hive is queen-less and there are laying workers present, the bees will kill any new queen you try to introduce. Look for the queen again and look in the cells to see if you see any cells that have more than one egg in then or if the egg has been laid on the side of the cell instead of on the bottom.



Hi Dennis,

This is my second year with top bar hives. This hive was full of bees and looking good but on an inspection I saw little brood and evidence of wax moth. I removed a bar and stuck it in the freezer. I can tell about the wax moth but do not know whether the contents of the cells are pollen or something from the moth. I don't know what I am looking at. Should this be destroyed or after freezing and killing all the moths can I put it back in the hive for the bees to use. Thanks,    Karen Barron


Hello Karen,

It appears to be wax moths at an early stage. You can freeze it and it will be safe to use again. Now, having said that, the next step is to find out why the population is not strong enough to keep the wax months at bay. From viewing the frame, it is full of pollen which is indicative of a good laying queen and a nice population to gather it. Sometime between storing the pollen and now something went wrong. You need to locate the queen. Make sure by the mark that it is the same queen you introduced. It could be that your hive just swarmed which would have reduced the population and also would have reduced the amount of brood. Sometimes the queen stops laying a couple of weeks before swarming in order to reduce her body weight for flight. Check each frame for queen cells. If they are present and empty, then chances are good that your hive swarmed. If you’re original queen was marked and you discover a queen that is not marked, along with the other signs your hive probably swarmed. I would reduce the entrance down to two inches. Check for eggs if you can't find a queen. If there are no eggs and no queen, place a frame of larva from another hive into that hive. In a couple of days check to see if the bees are trying to produce a new queen. Look again at that time for a queen and eggs. If no luck, you need to order a new queen and introduce her.

I hope this helps.   Dennis


  This article was sent in by members Chris and Kathy Denison.


  Good Morning,

 I ran across this article today.  It contains an interesting overview of historical issues and some current direction(s) in the search for the answer for CCD related problems.

 Quest for a Superbee

By Charles C. Mann  National Geographic  

Reggie Lepley County Extension Agent-Agriculture/Natural Resources

Walker County (936) 435-2426


Days Gone By