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What now? I suspect I just need a summer off... another nail in the coffin of 2020


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So my mate called last week. There was a swarm at their place, he couldn’t track it and I lost it.

 

I thought... oh no, that’s my hive gone. And it was!

 

So end of last year I was late with treatments, and merge two hives to make a strong winter hive with stores. And I had a hive at home. My home hive was robbed/starved over winter (sunny day no activity, lots of debris, lots of dead bees)

 

My winter hive came out strong, and even had a new queen. Turns out it was too strong and because of a working weekend I couldn’t keep up the 10-14day checks... boom hive gone. I was hoping to peal out nucs and recoup my hive numbers this year.

 

And on review today, lots of bees. No eggs/brood at all (big hole in honey where they were) and 2 swam cells empty.

There’s no brood at all to look for AFB, but reassuringly there are no dead cells etc either.

There was no DWV etc to suggest a varoa problem and treatment was done on time this year.

 

I’ve got no access  to a frame of eggs to test for a virgin queen left.(no friends who keep bees etc, hard to convince them to try with all my “successes”)

 

So, what are my options.


A) Have a break from the hobby and start again next year? Clean all the gear and store it, make some candles etc.

B) Quickly get a queen or two, make some nucs from the remaining bees and cross my fingers? When ever I’ve read the advice about taking of nucs you make a viable colony (brood, food, space) and then add a queen. So this seems like a folly.

C) And obviously I could always get some new nucs and merge the existing bees with them, but the M.O.F. is starting to loose interest in my hobby and its costs.

 

Any advice would be much appreciated.

 

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I'm pretty sure you live a few blocks from me.  If you want some help one way or another get in touch.  I have a couple of nucs I don't need. Can possibly sort you with either a queen or nuc

And the prize goes to @dansar and @Gerrit...   Inspected today and found a healthy laying queen with 3 frames laid already (eggs and larva). So probably started laying after my panic last we

Now multiply that by 1500 .... and you got a real headache ?   I got cells coming at the end of the week .... and a nuc in the cell yard I caught off the neighbour that I'd trade for a bottl

You say lots of bees and no brood and empty queen cells. In my view that could mean that the young queen can start laying anytime and it is only early December, so by January your hive could be back to normal and still time to split.

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Not to sound to harsh but are you sure you have time to look after the bees properly ?

Bees don’t wait for you to finish work or have time to look through them.

if you can’t look through your bees on a regular basis is there any point in having them ?

There’s no good reason for a hive in your backyard to starve over winter it seems to me you just don’t have the time or the inclination to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done .

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21 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Not to sound to harsh but are you sure you have time to look after the bees properly ?

Bees don’t wait for you to finish work or have time to look through them.

if you can’t look through your bees on a regular basis is there any point in having them ?

There’s no good reason for a hive in your backyard to starve over winter it seems to me you just don’t have the time or the inclination to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done .


?

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I’d never considered a virgin left behind... that’s a ray of hope. 
 

will check again in a couple of weeks. 
 

thanks for the thoughts
 

I think it was Wednesday my mate called. I’ve been getting AFB warnings, and thought “no way I want to catch a random swarm in that neighbourhood”

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31 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Not to sound to harsh but are you sure you have time to look after the bees properly ?

Bees don’t wait for you to finish work or have time to look through them.

if you can’t look through your bees on a regular basis is there any point in having them ?

There’s no good reason for a hive in your backyard to starve over winter it seems to me you just don’t have the time or the inclination to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done .


i agree, no “good reason”. But this is a Beginner Beekeeper Thread... so probably lots of “typical reasons” at this stage. 
 

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1 hour ago, BRB said:

I'm pretty sure you live a few blocks from me. 

If you want some help one way or another get in touch. 

I have a couple of nucs I don't need. Can possibly sort you with either a queen or nuc. Or happy to help out if your in a pinch


what an outstanding offer, thanks! 
 

I don’t want to give up, I enjoy this hobby.

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1 minute ago, jamesc said:

Now multiply that by 1500 .... and you got a real headache ?

 

I got cells coming at the end of the week .... and a nuc in the cell yard I caught off the neighbour that I'd trade for a bottle of beer .....or two .


@jamesc, another great off of help. Thank you! 

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How nice to see  all the offers of help. ?

We hopefully  learn by our mistakes. If in time you realise Josh,that you just don't have time to check the bees enough,then you may have to let your hobby go? But when we love something,we fight to keep it. So you will find the time you need. Good luck.

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4 minutes ago, Sailabee said:

Please don't try to get up to a greater number of colonies too quickly, finding the time, and keeping too many is often the thing that slows people down in learning the basics.

I struggle for time, but always make time as I know when happens when I miss things.
I enjoy it and have someone to bounce things off, so that makes it easier to make time.

I have 4 hives, and a couple of nucs (for when I #### up) and for me 4 is the perfect number. I know how long it takes to go through them, and have enough gear that doesn't fill up the garage.

 

I don't know how others do it with more hives. I keep notes and at times still cant remember what happened last time I checked.

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2 hours ago, Sailabee said:

Please don't try to get up to a greater number of colonies too quickly, finding the time, and keeping too many is often the thing that slows people down in learning the basics.


I just want 3-4 hives. That’s all I need. And I was doing well for time & checks, but life & work got in the way. And I should have recognised the swarm tendencies that my hive was showing and been checking more

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3 hours ago, Wildflower said:

How nice to see  all the offers of help. ?

We hopefully  learn by our mistakes. If in time you realise Josh,that you just don't have time to check the bees enough,then you may have to let your hobby go? But when we love something,we fight to keep it. So you will find the time you need. Good luck.


Absolutely. I’m a big believer that if you don’t make mistakes, you’re not learning either. I’m very much a beginner still. 

Problem is I got down to one hive & ... got taught a lesson ?

 

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3 hours ago, Josh said:


Problem is I got down to one hive & ... got taught a lesson ?

 

I never like to go below 3 hives  if possible. That means if I lose 1 out of 3 over Winter,(which  won't necessarily happen, but certainly can )I still have 2 to play with in Spring. Slighty more time involved to look after them,but if I get in trouble it gives me options. Also it gives me more bees to learn from.?

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