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  1. Kia ora koutou I was alerted to a 'swarm' today, and when I turned up to collect it there were only a few handfuls of bees. I think someone must have gotten to it in the hours it took me to arrive. I have left the box on the ground, and so far, I have seen bees consistently making their way in. My questions are: 1. Am I right in assuming that I am unlikely to have a queen with the bees? 2. What is the minimum amount of bees needed to start a hive? Would the recommendation be to purchase a queen, or gift these to an existing hive (I currently don't have a hive, I was hoping this would be my next lot).
  2. I have 1 hive only. The queen failed (no eggs in hive many grubs) and was culled last Sunday under supervision of my mentor an experienced commercial beekeeper. A day later my mentor brought eggs and placed these in the hive adjacent to several bud queen cups. I checked the hive yesterday and found at least 18 supercedure cups either capped or being raised. ( count inaccurate, I was a bit shocked) I have split frames and honey pollen stores into 2 brood boxes and 1 nuc until I can make a better decision. Queen culled on Sunday 14 Oct at 4pm. Egg and capped brood frame added at 6.30pm Monday 15 Oct. 1 day after queen was culled. I checked the hive yesterday Saturday 20 Oct at 12noon. Day 4.5 days after eggs added to hive. My questions: Are these images showing pauper cells? The time frame for capping a queen cup is about 7.5 days are the 16+ capped queen cells (on 5 different frames) viable queens? are the two uncapped queen cells the only viable queens being raised. Images here are from one frame? there are at another 6 queen cups on 4 other frames The images here show 11 supercedure cups on one frame adjacent to where the eggs were placed. I suspect the cups may have beeen loaded with grubs not eggs? There is another frame with two uncapped Queen cups with royal jelly and a small grub in them, are these the only two queens being raised from the eggs?
  3. One hive has an escape with two boxes above it and another has just one above it. They have been on for 24 hours and the bee numbers seem the same as when the escape went on. They are up the right way and seem to work ok on testing. What am I doing wrong?
  4. Markypoo

    NZBF Strapping hives

    Since all the commercial hives I have seen seem to rely on a rock on the lid to hold the lot together, do I need to bother with Emlock straps or anything for my hives? I have yet to see a commercial hive with straps on the,
  5. kia ora koutou. I have 2 hives which unfortunately did not do well over winter. One has died from varroa, and the other is almost there (with an unhealthy dose of wax moth also). I have a few questions. Hive 1 Died a couple of months ago from suspected varroa. Plenty of honey left. quite a bit of mould. Question: How do I prepare this hive for new bees? Hive 2 Is on the way out. Very little activity but a few bees still sticking it out (probably a handful at the most). Plenty of wax moth for the bees to compete with. Question 1: Is this a gonna? Is it even worth trying to treat the max moth? My gut is that it would be a losing battle. Question 2: How do I treat the wax moth to prepare for a new batch of bees? I have a large freezer which I imagine might be handy.
  6. Jess

    NZBF Bumblebees

    Hi, I think a colony of bumblebees near my hives have been displaced and are now trying to get into my hives. There is always at least a couple trying to get in and a couple always dead outside the hive when I check the hives. Is there anything I can do to deter them? It seems too hot and busy to put the entrance reducers back on Thanks
  7. cBank

    NZBF Grumpy bees

    I have a grumpy hive. It isn’t terrible but has an edge to it when you are working it. Bees follow your hands and chase ether hive tool. They stand on the frames doing that grumpy posture they have before launch, and I get a sting or 2 each time I work them. Before this bad behaviour they were queenless for about a week, then the queen they grew hatched but never returned to lay. I merged them with a small nuc and there is now a mass of brood and they have merged well. But they are still grumpy (this would be a month in now). How long does it take before the new queens influence take over? Until or the old bees die or should it happen as soon as her pheromone gets about? I’m not clear on what gives the temperament.
  8. Hi all, I have managed to successfully graft some queens to requeen my hives, should I dispatch existing queens and add cells in the hair roller type cages to the hives or let them hatch and introduce then as virgins. I have enough resources to have a couple of mating nucs but not enough for the 5 cells I have. Three of my hives are strong enough double box hive that I could temporary split and then add cells of virgins to the temp boxes as full size mating nucs and then when mated dispatch queen. Just coming into main flow should I split and depower? Should I risk dispatch of existing queens before having mated replacements? thoughts?
  9. Has anyone experimented with warped frames? Where is the distortion? The outer structure or plastic foundation? I’m thinking if I cut out the centre leaving a 25mm strip at the top the frame may sit true and the bees can draw out/down.
  10. Hi all, I’m very interested to start keeping my own bees; I’ve read the practical beekeeping book, spend some time with a beekeeper, spend quite a few hours on the internet looking at Trev’s videos and the bee equipment companies and on this forum. One thing I haven’t really come across is when it is the best time to start? Spring? Or does it not really matter as long as you don’t expect a lot of honey the first year? Thanks!
  11. Philip Allen

    NZBF Adding a Nuc

    I lost my queen somehow recently, and have just added a nuc box using the paper method to separate it from 2 lower boxes of very active bees. Hopefully not aggressive drones. I will leave it for a couple of weeks then hopefully see a happy hive. If that's the case, do I then move the brood with the queen and brood lower down the hive, or just leave it where it is? Thanks
  12. Hi, I bought a single box hive yesterday. The super, mat and floor were in bad shape so have replaced those with new ones. I pulled out the old 2 frame feeder and culled a old wood frame that was mostly drone and holes. So now it's on a original hive doctor floor, new super and has 3 new frames to replace the culled frame and the gap where the feeder was. If I close up the hive doctor dial entrance and strap it all together will the hive doctor base vents give enough ventilation for a 4 hour drive? If not I have a spare hive doctor base I could invert and use for a lid? Or matchstick's under the mat? Just me in the car and drive will be at night. Also how does one ethically dispose of an unwanted crappy old plastic frame feeder?
  13. Hi all, I thought I had done well not having a hive swarm in my first two years, then yesterday happened. A couple of weeks ago in an average hive with room/space available I saw what I thought were supersceedure cells in the top box towards the lower half of the frame, I thought cool the hive is going to replace the queen that wasn’t doing so great ( compared to my other hives) so I left them. Anyway they swarmed yesterday 25m up a Norfolk pine, managed to recapture after a panicked rush around to make something I could use. Ive got a couple of questions about what happened. If they had room and the cells were not on the bottom of the frames why did they swarm? I have a weak hive that I was also going to requeen, could or should I dispatch that queen and combine the swarm with the weak hive, still with the intention of requeening? I already have 6 hives (4 more than ever intended to have) so I don’t need another.
  14. Hi everyone, I wanted to start this topic as a “this is my plan”, and see who wanted to come along for the ride and offer me much needed advice as I go. The benefit of this is that I wont spam this great forum with multiple threads every time something pops up. A little background, this is my first year with 2 hives from purchased Nucs. I will refer to the hives as East and West. They were installed from Nucs on the 9th of November, and this will be me and my journey. On pickup of the Nucs I stood back let the owner move them into my boxes, looked at the decent brood patterns happily and left back for Wellington. My first inspection of the hives happened today, the West hive has been strong from the day after I got them, lots of activity. On inspection today the West is working steadily to drawing out all of the first box, and I spotted the unmarked queen. Lots of eggs, lots of brood and storing honey. The East hive has been the opposite, less activity. On inspection there is capped brood, no eggs, no visible queen and less bees. There are 4 emergency queen cells, 3 of which are capped. The uncapped one looks more like it was never capped with no jagged openings etc. So I have diagnosed the East hive as queenless, and here is my plan. I am ordering a mated queen, and will introduce her this coming week. My preference is to invest in the hive, rather than take the chance on an average emergency replacement. So my questions on my first post, if people are keen to help a new beek out! When transferring a nuc do you personally check for eggs? It was a quick process, and while there was obvious brood, I feel there may well not have been a queen. Was it my mistake in not being more readily involved in checking and moving the Nuc? This new mated queen will not be here until mid next week. Should I remove all of the emergency queen cups now? I think it would be a good idea, but am concerned about encouraging a worker to lay if I remove there “only hope”. On the other side of the coin I am worried if I leave them be and the virgins appear they will kill this new queen on her arrival next week. Thanks, and for those interested I will try and update this thread frequently, not necessarily with questions, but with my journey and always open to critiquing (I have tough skin).
  15. Long time lurker, I have been reading and readying for my first season since a swarm appeared in my lemon tree last year. Sensibly I rang the beekeeping club for my area then and they took them away. Less sensibly I started watching videos, reading books and have become hooked. As my property is relatively small I have gracious in-laws who are more than happy to have the bees hosted at their much larger property. I picked up my Nuc's last week and the hives have transitioned well. Unfortunately the planting around the area for them was not ready. The gardener (contractor) was originally OK with bees, said he often worked around them prior to signing onto the job. Now he has the job he has come out saying he thinks we need to move the hives now for the planting. At the end of the day one must keep the mother-in-law on side, so I am looking at my options. We live in an suburban area. A) Move the 2x single full depth hives to my place 1.3km away we are on a slight hill vs them being on the flat. There would be hundreds if not thousands of houses between the properties. Do this using the entrance reorientation method of sticks etc they need to climb over to encourage and reorientate to their new surroundings. B) Move them further away (I have possible options 15+km away). I prefer not to do this as it makes it harder for me to check in on them, and I would need to go through talking to the potential hosts etc. vs A) is a goer Note: Once the gardening is done they will be moved back (7 days) approx and so I would plan to do the same in reverse. Can I get away with method A) without losing many bees, or do I just need to bit the bullet and go with a complete 15+km move? Thanks in advanced for your advice
  16. Hi Everyone, I've got 10 hives situated on our block and I am looking to expand to about 20 this year. My question is are there any extraction facilities in the Manawatu area that would process such a small amount? I have considered getting registered myself, but don't have the outlays this year to make it happen. Is there any ideas of the cost to get them processed? Thanks in advance Shaun
  17. The hive I have been given by a family member looks like it is slowly falling apart (I have been moving the hive approx 1m every night to get it where we want it, which probably isnt helping). How can I transfer the bees to a new box with minimal disturbance? Is it as easy as just moving the frames they currently use, into the new box? What about the bees that get left behind if this is the method? Any advice is appreciated ?
  18. Hello, Have noticed my bees are clustering at the front of the hive like in the attached photos. Could somebody please advise what i should do, or whether this is just fine. Thanks
  19. I'm a total newb at beekeeping. We caught a swarm 3 weeks ago that landed on one of our pots. We got it into a 10 frame box using 2 drawn out frames from a family members hive. 2 weeks later we added a super and a queen excluder (they arent going up there any time soon I dont think). They have some Verroa strips on frames in the bottom since 3 weeks ago. Both boxes FD Is there anything else I should be doing? I checked them on Friday and they've been busy capping honey and have pollen but I didnt notice any capped brood and would like to check properly when the weather has picked up. I would love to eventually have 2 hives going ? I've been reading this forum for about 2 weeks now ? So much to learn! And all the lingo Ps how do I make pictures small enough to upload?
  20. This will be my 3rd summer of keeping bees and for the first time I thought that I had the population increase timed just about right. I also want to migrate over to all 3/4 boxes so have 4 hives that have FD brood boxes that they over wintered in, and have added 3/4 above that. All been going great, have manged to stretch the brood out horizontally and have had 2 3/4 above that full of brood with Q's going great guns. (Apivar came out this weekend after 8 weeks) This weekend when I have looked through to check for swarm cells and space I have seen that on 3 of these hives the top 2 x 3/4 boxes have lots of empty cells where there was once brood, but no eggs or larvae. There's some (just a few) capped brood cells yet to emerge but the rest is mostly just empty cells. (I saw the start of this trend the weekend before, but thought that I would ponder on it for a few fdays Being concerned I have looked all the way down to the FD box at the bottom and that does have capped brood, larvae and some fresh eggs but maybe not chocka full. So I do have a laying Q in all 3 hives, but am concerned that brood production is slowing right down for some reason and so population will be lower than it could be over the next few weeks when I have made 90% of my honey in the last couple of years. My guesses are: The willow flow shut off like a tap about 10 days ago, this has caused the Q's to slow down The Q's are running out of gas (2 were mated queens installed in March, 1 was a supercedure a week or 2 later) bands of honey that have come in with the willow flow are discouraging the Q's from moving up. (don't favour this guess as the bottom box is free, but the box above is 'sparse' as described) Looking forward to your opinions and advice.
  21. Markypoo

    NZBF Honey bound hive

    A bit of a long winded introduction to set the scene. One of the carnie hives at school was way slower than the other. Noticeably less bees and less brood. I guess the bees lost patience with her as I found a couple of supercedure cells in the middle of some brood frames in the top box. I had a look through the bottom box and found a little virgin queen running around. I split the hive leaving the virgin in one and the cells in another. The cells have hatched and I saw a little black virgin bee running around today but she hasn't started laying. She hatched last monday or tuesday at the latest as I would not have missed seeing them on my weekly inspection. The virgin already there is now laying and vastly bigger. However she is in the single FD box that stayed on the original site and kept all the workers. The frames are packed with nectar and pollen. There are also 3 solid frames of honey. I removed one and delivered it to the catering suite to the delight of the students there, Most who have never seen comb honey. I put an undrawn wooden frame in the middle of the box. There is not a lot of room for laying. My plan was to take a queen to replace the nasty queen at home, then merge the 2 FD boxes back together using the newspaper method. But since the other one isnt laying yet I don't want to take the laying queen and risk the virgin not coming back or something. Should I put a honey super on to give them somewhere to store the nectar for the time being? Or any other recommendations. I am pretty chuffed that none of my hives have swarmed (home or school) and I have even managed to capture a large one of italians belonging to someone else.
  22. Markypoo

    NZBF Adding supers

    When do I add supers? When the previous one is fully drawn? 50% capped honey? Are there any general guidelines I should follow. The local gardens are in full bloom and the flow is on. Checking regularly is not a problem as they are at work.
  23. Hi, Hoping someone can please offer some advice? Sorry it’s so long but I thought more info would be better than less :) Thanks in advance!!! My bees are building comb all over the place. They’ve built it on the underside of the lid and started filling it with honey. They’ve built comb all over the queen excluder (both sides) and all down the sides of the boxes. I’ve also got comb in between the 2 brood boxes. When I lift off the top brood box the top and bottom frames are all glued together with brood comb. I think from the size of the pupae they were drones. My instinct would be that they don’t have enough space? Do they just prefer building it in inconvenient spots? I feel bad for killing the brood when I pry the boxes apart. And I’m scared of squishing the queen!! The thing is that there are empty frames in each box. Some of the plastic ones haven’t been drawn out at all and the wooden ones have really old (brown) comb which is untouched. The plastic frames did not have any wax (foundation?) on them when I got them last year. Should I move some of the drawn out honey frames down to the broodbox for them? Or buy some new pre-waxed frames to give them a better start? Or just leave them alone to do their thing? Otherwise the hive seems Ok, lots of bees, good honey stores and all stages of brood including eggs though I couldn’t spot the queen. The brood pattern is a bit patchy but seems healthy. Lots of drone comb.There’s lots of pollen. Varroa strips have been in and taken out recently. I’ll have an experienced beekeeper round soon for my AFB Inspection but would like to be pro-active in the meantime. I don’t want a swarm or for them to be unhappy. My set-up: I have 2 brood boxes, queen excluder and then 1 honey super (full-size box). The super has plastic frames, one brood box has old wooden frames and one has plastic. I’ve had my bees for a year, my queen is a year old. The plastic frames were new a year ago, the wooden ones look really quite old and were part of the hive when I got it (from a large scale commercial honey company)
  24. I found 2 swarms today in my apiary, about 1 m apart, one larger than the other, both low down and on easy to cut branches. I put them into seperate Nuc's. The larger one had an unmarked queen which I caught and transfered to the nuc box before shaking in the bees. I'm not sure whether the second swarm had a queen. A few hours on, both seem happy in the nuc boxes. My first swarm captures ? Swarms top left (ball), bottom right (along branch). Q1) Would the swarms likely be from the same hive, or separate?. Q2) is it likely that the swarm(s) came from elsewhere - not my apiary?. With both swarms being on the edge of my apiary, I naturally thought that they were swarms from one or two of my hives. I can think I have alabi's for each hive. I have: 1) 1 x FD with autumn (marked) queen laying well - so the larger swarm was not from that queen. 2) 1 x FD which had 12 Queen cells a week or two ago - I kept 2 in the hive, created a few 2 frame splits in my queen castle, and removed the rest. 1 or both queens would have emerged a week ago. Although I'm leaving them to themselves for now, I had a quick peak today and there are loads of bees and stores in the hive, similar to when i checked two weeks ago. So I don't think the volume of bees could come from that hive. QC) Queen castle with 4 x 2 frame splits 2 have new laying queens, 2 had queen cells, will leave for a few weeks before knowing if they are queen right. Had too few bees to be either swarm, and entrance activity is similar to the last few weeks. Nuc 1) An early spring split, queen laying well, still with the same amount of bees. As always, thoughts and advice much appreciated...
  25. I found a punnet full of dead bees below the hive today. I hope my assumptions about possible cause is not too far off the mark. Any feedback will be helpful. My objective is to have a better idea of what I’m seeing here. I have searched forums but came to no conclusion. Possible causes for a pile of dead bees? Most likely cause of death-Contact with a horti spray -local avocado orchard spray regimes just 1km down the road. We live in the heart of Katikati horticulture territory so occasional field bee loss is absolutely to be expected. I had a similar bee loss during seasonal spraying earlier in the year. Another possibility-Spring Varroa Treatment -on Sept 29. MAQS Mite Away (FA) used as per instructions, after finding varroa shamelessly wandering about on culled drone comb. Mite Away is what I had on hand but I’ll use Spring Apivar/ Autumn Bayvarol treatment, now that I’m better informed about how to best begin as a beekeeper. I can see that the formic acid may have affected my queen, but it doesn’t explain why 18 days after FA treatment I suddenly see a pile of dead bees out the front of hive, does it? To explain, this previous Sunday I inspected my hive with my beekeeping mentor, something I’m doing at key points in this my first full beekeeping season. As a result we culled my hive’s queen. Since my last weekly check, the queen had stopped laying. We found healthy grubs in uncapped cells, many capped cells, but no eggs in brood cells, no backfilling, no swarm cells and a good colony size out growing its one brood box and drawing out and filling a 3/4 super fast with nectar. My formerly magnificent 6 month old queen was found, she had shrunk, looked a bit worst for wear. The workers had capped a supercedure queen cup using a grub not an egg, so that was culled as well. My mentor put 1 frame containing eggs into the brood box in position 4 between two frames with supercedure bud cups adjacent. No signs of disease found, no DWV, naut wrong other than my queen was probably compromised by the FA. Many valuable lessons learnt. Another possibility-Feed? Starvation, Kowhai, Karaka. I don’t think it’s starvation, there’s more than 2 frames of capped honey and more nectar coming in. The two young Kowhai on our driveway haven’t yet flowered so deaths can not be linked to this . But yes the karaka is in full flower on our driveway. Couldn’t see in fieldbees working the karaka. Another vague possibility- -Robbing? Can’t obviously see robbing, but did see one pair brawling at the hive entrance. My one hive knocks off wasps so perhaps they have murdered a whole bunch of thieves. Probably not. Good sign-Bees coming in with pollen and nectar. No longer roaring now they have eggs to carry into bud cups -so house bees should be busily working on queen cups as I write. - Was 12 degrees overnight. Surely that can’t be it? ...a cold snap killing the wee girls. In the image attached the bee at the top is dead and appeared small. The bee at the bottom of the image is near to death. It was wiping its maxillary palps with its forelegs, it’s other two sets of legs were not moving. Hard to watch. I couldn’t see its tongue ‘out’ though. Many of the dead look fluffy and small.