Newsletter

June 2015

Remember that the "Cletus Calendar" page will tell you what you should be doing this month, and the "Archive" page contains all of the previous months of the "Newsletter and Cletus Calendar".

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dennis@lonestarfarms.net

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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.
Dennis
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.
Dennis

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.
Dennis
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.
Dennis

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.
Dennis
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.
Dennis