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  Sunday, 30 December 2018
  2 Replies
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I have an observation hive. When I moved last Fall I installed a small nuc colony into it. The weather turned cold quickly but they had stores and they got to work reorganizing the hive. All looked good. In early December there was a massive die-off. They literally all came out of the entrance and died. There are about a half dozen bees still wandering around on the comb but not doing anything in particular. I thought I saw her once before but today I definitely saw the queen running around on the comb looking lively and healthy - with no attendants. Somehow she is eating and getting along. Without any bees in there, I don't see a path forward for her but it pains me to see a perfectly good queen going to waste. If it were closer to Spring I could perhaps steal a frame of bees and brood from one of my outdoor hives but I certainly don't want to disrupt any of those clusters right now. I'm wondering how to keep her going until that is possible. I'm also wondering how I could get some bees in there and if I did would they just kill her? None of this is practical but we're not talking about practical - just possible. Any ideas?
3 years ago
An interesting turn of events. I devised a connector with some inhaler hose and a funnel and plugged it into one of the air ports on my observation hive. I had a small five frame nuc at a friend's house and I've been feeding it because they don't really have much food. Yesterday I decided to go grab it and I brought it in and connected it with the funnel over the hole in the inner cover and guess what happened? Nothing. A few bees went through the tube and looked around but basically nothing happened. Until tonight at about 7:00 pm and then the bees poured into the observation hive and ran around frantically (and indulged themselves on the stored honey). I watched for awhile and then put the cover on. Several hours later things seem to have calmed down but it appears that some of the bees have returned to the nuc box while others have formed a cluster in the observation hive. So - perhaps they accepted the old queen that was hanging around the observation hive and split themselves and their queen is still in the nuc box? Or - they simply annexed the space and left an occupying force to hold it while the rest of the colony is in the nuc box. The pheromones were pretty intense in the room while they were running through the hive but now that things have calmed down the scent has dissipated. It reminded me of a swarm. Perhaps going from cold to warm triggered something? Maybe they were just happy to find a supply of real honey instead of bee paste? It seemed like the whole nuc had emptied out originally but now I can definitely hear bees in there as well as in the OH. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Any guesses?
3 years ago
Sheri Englert of Vermont Beekeeping Supply typcially brings an observation hive filled with bees to the Farm Show. She keeps the bees in a heated area at her business. Maybe she can offer some assistance or advice. vtbee.com
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