Sunday, September 30, 2012

Robbing causes Absconsion

The previous swarm was in fact Melissa absconding.  Robbing broke out in the apiary while i was capturing the 'new' swarm.  The next day, when everything had calmed down, the hives were checked.  Melissa was empty except for a few remaining robbers.  All the honey & nectar was gone.  Sadly several frames of capped brood were abandoned.  A loaded double deep with twenty frames of bees was lost.

Did the robbing cause the absconsion or vice versa?  There was robbing taking place a day before the 'swarm' showed up.  At which time all the bottom entrances were reduced.  the opening were only big enough for a bee or two.  Enough for the inhabitants to easily defend.  So i thought.  The robbing had begun again the next day when the swarm appeared.  We didn't see it come out of anyone and thought it might be wild.  Many wild swarms move through the yard in Spring & Fall and i couldn't check the hives because of the robbing going on.  I think the bees of Melissa left when all the stores were gone.  Many dead bees were on the bottom of the hive.  

The next question was what to do with the small swarm; remnants of Melissa.  She had been hived in a medium nuc.  A small colony like that will have a trouble getting through Winter.  I assume she has a mated queen but have not see it yet.  If she does then they need stores & some pollen immediately.  If she doesn't then it's over and the bees go towards boosting another hives population.

Meanwhile Gumption is believed to be queenless with a laying worker or two.  Her population is low and getting smaller all the time.  No mated queens were available to help her.  She's on her way out.

So, i combined the two; Melissa & Gumption.  If the queen in Melissa is present and healthy all will be fine if the combination takes.  It was a simple newspaper combination.  The one box of Melissa's 'swarm/absconsion' on top of the existing two boxes of Gumption.

Newspaper Combination
We might name the colony after Melissa since it is her line that will be continued if his all works out.  We might also give it a new name since both colonies failed (or their beekeeper did).  For now we wait to see what happens. 


No comments: