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Author Topic: 2 of 3 Russian hives - bees are gone..  (Read 644 times)
SteveSC
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Location: Woodruff,South Carolina


« on: March 01, 2008, 10:07:21 PM »

I checked my 3 Russian hives a couple weeks ago and all was good - plenty of honey - pollen stores were good and the bees where flying...

Today my plan was to split hives starting with the Russians  - they're located 10 miles from my main bee yard.  When I arrived there was no activity from two hives.  These two hives were empty of bees - but there was honey and pollen left behind in one of the hives.  The third hive ( all these hives are side by side ) was busting with bees.  There were no dead bees in or around the two quite hives.  Whatever happen I suspect it happened with the bees leaving all at once with none left behind.....  The third hive must have robbed the hive that was empty of honey - there was wax cappings on the bottom board where they had taken the honey - the drawn comb was clean almost polished.  The other hive still had plenty of honey ( super was 80% full ) and pollen but also not one bee to be found.  I guess the strong hive not found it yet or didn't have any where to put the honey.

I went ahead and did the split on the strong hive - I had to add a drawn comb super after the split  - the winter super was full on honey - bees covering the inner cover.  it looked like something you'd see in June or July...not the last week of Feb. in SC..  I'll try to give these Russians a fair shot but I haven't had very good luck with them..  I requeened one of my Italian hives last spring after a swarm, I did it with a Russian queen.  I checked the hive today - I found the marked bred queen but the hive never grew past one brood box in size.  This hive is sitting in line with 9 Italian hives that I started splitting today also.  These 9 were more than ready to split - bringing loads of pollen in and had large stores of honey. I split 3 of the 9 Italians today - I'll finish them tomorrow then move to my last group of 5 Italian hives caught from swarms last yr..

Like I said I had just checked those hives a couple weeks ago and now it's like the bees just vanished for no reason....  I hope this isn't a trait of Russians to abandon the hive for no reason and the 1 brood box queen, I don't have a clue.  Any ideas.....
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Steve in SC


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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2008, 11:12:05 PM »

Russians start slow, being a cold weather bee by origin.  They will take of in a month or so and by June you shouldn't be able to tell which was which by measure of activity and population.  Everything else being equal a softball size cluster of Russians will build to the same size hive as a basketball size cluster of Italians by Mid-May.  Slower start, higher top speed.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
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