Monday, May 21, 2012

Bee S.O.S!

I had my first emergency call on Saturday!  My friends Mike and Monica have/had 2 hives that are in trouble. They lost one and called me for help with their remaining hive.  They think the hive they lost was due to Small Hive Beetles. The hive just declined over a period of time and the health and vitality plummeted!  When I saw it there were lots of larvae present in the honey - an unpleasant, nasty mess !It's very sad and I know what they went through.  A couple of years ago I nearly lost a hive the same way, but managed to catch it early enough to do something about it!

So their other hive is currently queenless. I'm not sure why, but they had tried to introduce a new queen but this was not successful, so I was asked if I had any frames of eggs and larvae I could donate in order to stimulate the bees to rearing new queen.  I think we hit on a good solution. Mike and I checked on my observation beehive (the 5-frame nuc) - we found the perfect frame! Eggs (I think - it's so hard to tell) and lots of larvae - all uncapped.  We found the queen on this frame so I am fairly confident there should be eggs present.  Also, removing this frame of eggs also helps me manage my observation hive as it helps to keep the number of bees in the nuc under control. If this tactic fails I may just let them start a new colony using the queen and frames in the observation hive.  At least I won't have to worry about how to overwinter this hive!

Anyway, they will leave their hive alone for about a week, and then check for emergency queen cells.  If cells are present then it should be another week or so before a queen emerges and then another couple more weeks before she gets mated and starts to lay. I think if they inspect the hive this coming weekend and find cells they should leave the hive alone for at least a month.

I am looking forward to seeing what happens!

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