Author Topic: Update on BeeWeaver bees  (Read 432 times)

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Offline Wandering Man

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Update on BeeWeaver bees
« on: April 03, 2019, 09:40:01 am »
We made it through the winter with strong, aggressive hives. They started getting aggressive about the time of the robbery in February, or maybe a little before.

When we were finally through with radiation in March, it had been too long since we’d had an inspection. The hives were full of bees. They had started greeting us as we approached the yard.

Our first big inspection was on March 19.  Hive# 1 had a lot of queen cells. We cleaned them out and removed 2 frames of brood, placing them in hive #3, the one that had been robbed. We spotted the original queen while lookin in hive 3. We also removed 1 queen cell from this hive. We never saw the queen in hive 1. Bees in both hives were pretty aggressive. Bananas were apparently on their menu.

We had bees in a swarm trap on March 24, but all 3 hives still looked full.

March 27 and the bees were still aggressive. I got stung through my gloves 3 times while in hive 3.  I thought both hive 1 and hive 3 had poor brood patterns. I saw plenty of capped brood and larvae, but no eggs. On reflection the next week, I realized the problem was the bees (and us), not the queen. The bees were filling the brood frames with syrup &/or nectar.

We split hive 1, taking 2 frames of brood and one 2 frames of nectar, placing the 4 frames in a Nuc along with a frame feeder on March 28. We moved the bees in hive #2 into the newLong Langstroth hive. We didn’t see the queen, but found some queen cells.  We cut the comb out of the medium super and rubber banded it to deep frames. A messy job. I left the frames in a tub in front of the hive for the bees to clean up. I got 2 queens to install. One for the Nuc, and one for hive 2. We decided to stop feeding the bees.

March 28: we put a queen in the new Nuc.  We went through hive 2 and found no queen, no eggs, but did find capped brood and larvae. We destroyed the queen cells and queen cups. The bucket in front of the hive was full of bees. When I lifted a frame, I realized it was a swarm. We moved the bees into a Nuc.

March 30: We tested hive 2 for acceptance of the queen, and felt they weren’t ready. The bees are now greeting us even further down the road.  When we finished with hive 2 we looked up and walked into the swarm I posted earlier. The bees had left the Nuc. But it also appeared that some of the bees from hive 3 were joining them. We managed to hive the swarm again, but this time I put them in a 10 frame box.

April 1: we found another swarm. I captured it and put it in a 10 frame box. I’m now worried about having enough equipment and need to order more queens. We still have aggressive bees in the yard.

April 2: we installed the queen in hive 2. As we were preparing to leave, we spotted another swarm. This one was out of my reach. I placed a Nuc under the limb with frames if foundation and a squirt of swarm commander. I sprayed my 2 remaining and empty swarm traps.

I am not requeening any hives with the BeeWeavers.




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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2019, 07:32:56 pm »
We went through hive #1 today, frame by frame.  Standing in the midst of very angry bees.  I ended up with four inside my suit with me.  Fortunately, everybody stayed calm (me and the girls). I didn't get stung by those bees, but I did reward their hard work by squishing them inside the veil.  I got two quick stings through my gloves.

But enough about me ...

The hive had no queen.  We killed several queen cells.  We saw no eggs.  We saw very few larvae.  We saw a lot of capped brood.  We also saw quite a few of those "greasy bees" - chronic bee virus - bees in the hive.

I've ordered two new queens from Gretchen Bee Ranch in Sequin.  We'll pick those up on Friday, and requeen hives 1 and 2 on Saturday.

The swarm I saw in the tree yesterday is gone.  Now I think it was the second swarm that I captured.  I must not have got the queen.  Or she was able to slip through the queen excluder.  I suspect the swarm I saw yesterday was the second swarm.  This is actually a relief.  We are now back down to four hives and a nuc.

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Offline tecumseh

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2019, 07:41:59 am »
I suspect reports of aggressive behavior by BWeaver queens is more about their ability to resist varroa (which I have tested against other kinds of purchased queens) and the state of their nutrition.  Actually I have been actively looking for a true africanized hive for a research project at the lab and consequently I have been collecting samples and having a mitochondrial DNA test done by our lab person.  At this time yes some of the BWeaver queens are seasonally hot but none have proven to be africanized.. they do seem to have a common linage at least on the material side of their DNA < basically an Italian X Occidental cross.

In your area any supercedure at the wrong time of year is likely to result in a africanized cross < the bee folks have done long terms studies at the Welder Wildlife Refuge and data from there would suggest the likelihood of this happening.
   
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Offline tecumseh

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2019, 07:49:28 am »
At least for me the very things I want to know about purchased queens is who produced them, in what area and under what circumstance? More importantly is the firm simply acting as a reseller? < It seems one promenade name here is Texas is doing exactly that. I should add here queens brought in from other areas are fine but you do need to keep in mind that all states do not have bee inspection services. For example (to my understanding) queens produced here you can not ship into North Carolina... and I wonder if the same is true IDDEE for bees that come from Georgia or Florida? < There are documented cases of africanized bees being present in those places where they grow queens and produce packages..   
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2019, 08:39:54 am »

In your area any supercedure at the wrong time of year is likely to result in a africanized cross < the bee folks have done long terms studies at the Welder Wildlife Refuge and data from there would suggest the likelihood of this happening.

Supercedure is likely in hives 1 and 2. We spotted the original queen in hive 3 a couple of weeks ago. I suspect she is now gone. 

The chronic bee paralysis was the reason (we think) for bee aggression last Spring, causing us to move the bees away from our home. We have noticed over the year that the bees have removed larvae. I noticed the same hairless bees in two of our hives recently, although not in the same numbers as a year ago.

Since new queens didn’t totally remove the virus, I’m wondering what else I could do. I suspect the new queens won’t change things. Maybe I need to replace the brood comb? That’s going to be a huge set-back for the hives. And me.
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2019, 08:44:43 am »
More importantly is the firm simply acting as a reseller? < It seems one promenade name here is Texas is doing exactly that. I should add here queens brought in from other areas are fine but you do need to keep in mind that all states do not have bee inspection services.

Gretchen does not raise their own queens. This batch is from Lamb’s Honey Farm:

https://sites.google.com/lambshoneyfarm.com/lambshoneyfarm/home

They are raising these bees:

https://vpqueenbees.com/vp-breeding-program/breeding-strains




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Online iddee

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2019, 09:32:55 am »
This is what I found on selling bees in N.C.. I think queens are allowed, but hives are restricted to prior inspections. An email or phone call to Don Hopkins would give you the details. His info is at the bottom of the article.

https://www.ncbeekeepers.org/resources/selling-buying-bees
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Offline Lburou

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2019, 09:42:16 am »
Much of honey bee genetics is beyond me.  But I can share the observation that Bweaver bees are usually less aggressive in subsequent generations (most noticeable by the third generation) .  The VP breeder queen I had produced aggressive queens, but they settled down by the second and third generations  in my bee yard.

My bees were stinging and attacking my neighbors four years ago, so I moved them away from the house (brought them back over the following two years).  I brought one NUC hive home this January that had a first generation (F-1) queen from my VP breeder queen in it four years ago.  The interim owner didn't do anything to it.  Didn't look in it, or even remove a frame.  No treatments. 

They are still fine. I'm sure they swarmed out, it is really the subsequent queens you want, the ones adapting to your local area.  In my view, I'm really buying genes for my apiary when I buy a queen.  JMO  :)
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2019, 09:52:23 am »
Much of honey bee genetics is beyond me.  But I can share the observation that Bweaver bees are usually less aggressive in subsequent generations (most noticeable by the third generation) .  The VP breeder queen I had produced aggressive queens, but they settled down by the second and third generations  in my bee yard.

My bees were stinging and attacking my neighbors four years ago, so I moved them away from the house (brought them back over the following two years).  I brought one NUC hive home this January that had a first generation (F-1) queen from my VP breeder queen in it four years ago.  The interim owner didn't do anything to it.  Didn't look in it, or even remove a frame.  No treatments. 

They are still fine. I'm sure they swarmed out, it is really the subsequent queens you want, the ones adapting to your local area.  In my view, I'm really buying genes for my apiary when I buy a queen.  JMO  :)

Some of the local beeks remind me that we are in a high-density Africanized gene pool down here.  One of them (a ranch manager who is only in it as a past-time) has told me that his 2nd and 3rd generation BW bees became more aggressive.  A second (a professional beek) has told me that he likes Danny Weaver, but he won't keep his bees because of their aggression. 

Because I keep getting the sick, hairless bees I may go back to BWeavers in a year.  I suspect the gentle Italians won't manage them like the BW's did.  I'm just hoping for a break; being able to walk into the bee yard without my jacket or full suit on.  Right now, it's like an all-out war everytime we go into the yard.  All I have to do is walk by the entrance to a hive, and I get a face full of bees and banana smell.

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Offline Lburou

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2019, 06:06:06 pm »
In the fine print at the BWeaver website, they offer to work with you when you get aggressive bees.  You may consider calling them and describing your experience with their queens.  :)
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2019, 07:26:55 pm »
In the fine print at the BWeaver website, they offer to work with you when you get aggressive bees.  You may consider calling them and describing your experience with their queens.  :)

I’d not read the fine print. It’s too late now. We’ve got new queens. I may go back to them next year, depending on how well the new queens do.

We went through hive 3 today. No queen. Lots of queen cells. Lots of capped brood but no open larvae or eggs.

I accidentally released a queen from her cell. Both queen and comb dropped into the grass. I couldn’t find her. We are hoping she can’t find her way into the hive.

There were fewer bees in the box than the last time we looked.
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Offline tecumseh

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2019, 06:42:59 am »
as a matter of full disclosure I will add these facts..

BWeaver rub up against me to the south.  The owners (Danny and Laura) are personal friends and I on occasions do a bit of work for them.  I have also sent them, via the Texas A&M Bee Lab, one of my mentees who is now the operation manager of their bee keeping business. Much of my own stock in BWeaver with a tad bit of Minnesota hygiencic tossed in just for good luck.

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2019, 11:23:34 pm »
We've got new queens in all three hives.  We put queens in our split and in Hive #2 on Tuesday, then got queens into Hives 1 and 3 yesterday.  Hive 1 looked like it was ready for the new queen yesterday.  Even though 3Reds and I were engulfed in clouds of angry head butting bees, they treated the queen with respect.  So he attached the cage to a frame and left.

I used a push screen for hive 3, because it looked like the bees were a little too aggressive when we laid her cage down on the top bars.  I could have been wrong, but decided the push cage would be better than the standard procedure.  And then we had to second guess ourselves because we let too many bees into the cage with her.  We sprayed everyone with sugar water and watched.  It was hard to see into the push cage.  We finally just crossed our fingers and put the frame back into the hive.

The only hive left needing a queen is the swarm we captured on Monday.  We'll give them another week and a half and then we'll give that hive a new queen.

It is amazing what a difference there is between yesterday and today.  We each had a few bees trying to harass us, but they weren't nearly as aggressive.  I could walk by hives without picking up 2 dozen bees bumping me and stinging my gloves.  Today was the first time in weeks I didn't smell bananas/alarm pheromone just because I walked near a hive. 

I think this means all of my queens have been accepted.  But I'll wait for visual confirmation before doing a victory dance.

We went out to the bee yard to check on the split and to move a swarm out of a swarm trap today.  The queen in the split has been released and is doing her thing. 

3Reds and I have been disagreeing about us having captured a swarm inside the swarm trap.  It is one of those flower pot looking traps and I've been seeing bees go in and out for a week.  In preparing to remove this new swarm I started watching YouTube videos on how to remove it.  The first thing I learned was that I had installed it sideways.  I put it in the tree with the hole down and the lid on top.  According to everyone else in the world, it is supposed to be installed on it's side.

In any event, I set up 10 frame hive box, we brought a gallon of syrup to help them along and added that into a frame feeder as well.  I put the queen excluder between the box and the bottom board.  We had rubberbands and empty frames at the ready.

Then I crawled up the latter, closed of the entrances, and carefully brought the hive down.  We stood over the hive box debating the best way to release the bees.  3Reds asked if there were bees in there.  I opened the lid to the swarm trap briefly and slammed it shut as a swarm of angry bees tried to escape.  I told her there were a lot of bees in there and comb.

Okay, nothing to do but open the lid and pour the bees into the box.  3Reds' job was to slide the cover of the Langstroth onto the box as soon as the bees were in.  One Two Three GO!

...

There were maybe a baseball sized group of bees, a cute little bit of white comb about the size of a large man's thumb, and no queen.

I think I can still hear 3Reds laughing in the other room.

But, I am declaring this disagreement a tie.  Yes there were bees in the trap.  Just not a whole colony.

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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2019, 11:43:26 am »
Slow internet has kept me from publishing this before.  Here's the video of 3Reds and I requeening the long lang hive.



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Offline Lburou

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2019, 05:16:54 pm »
The video speaks volumes about the  temperament of those bees!  Requeening is a good idea in my view.  :)
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Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2019, 07:41:25 pm »
WM&3REDS,
All I can say is God bless you ! Both.
Bee's that hot I can't imagine. I've seen hot before , but not like that. Yesterday




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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2019, 10:43:06 pm »
WM&3REDS,
All I can say is God bless you ! Both.
Bee's that hot I can't imagine. I've seen hot before , but not like that. Yesterday




Thanks Mikey. We’ve been dealing with their increasingly aggressive nature for enough months that it was starting to feel normal. I needed to hear that this was out of the norm.

All of the hives have new queens now. While we still have bees in our faces, we aren’t getting bumped, stung and smelling bananas just because we walk by the entrance.

We went into hive 2 and 3 today to check on queens we’d installed. We didn’t see the queens, but we saw eggs in #2, and both hives were calmer. Neither of us came home with stings in our gloves or veils. I’ve not come home without a stinger since December.
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Offline tecumseh

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2019, 04:53:43 am »
with bees I never knew there was such a thing as normal!

In the past week the bees here (both my own and at the lab) have gone from angry to kittens, back again and then again back to kittens.  The first real flow kicked in about a week ago, then we had a rain front blow thru for 2 days and now back to sunny with a flow.  Over the past several weeks (up until the first flow kicked in) I had numerous reports from club member about angry bees. Much of this reporting of angry bees I suspect was about bees listing towards starvation and of course the indirect consequence of robbing during such a period.

It will be interesting Wandering Man to see how those bee do with a new queen and with a flow. 
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2019, 09:20:05 am »
Tec,
The bees are already calmer, but not quite there. My main concern is that almost every cell is still full of nectar (or syrup from our earlier feedings). We’ve added frames with foundation and they have drawn fresh comb, but those frames are full of nectar, too. Maybe we should steal some of those frames?
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Re: Update on BeeWeaver bees
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2019, 08:29:12 am »
From the new Honey Bee Health publication (thanks Bakers):

Quote
. To prevent infiltration by Africanized bees:
• Markallqueenswithpaintornumberedtags.
• Regularly check hives.
• Don’t let swarms move into empty hives.
• Properly store all bee equipment.
• Watch out for parasitic swarms (Africanized bees can invade a colony of European honey bees and take over the nest).

A fellow beek suggested this could have been what happened to my hives. 

I wonder?
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