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Author Topic: Why won't this work (or will it)?  (Read 1250 times)

Offline Tyro

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Why won't this work (or will it)?
« on: July 01, 2009, 01:41:51 PM »
Here is the problem:

I have a TBH established this spring that simply hasn't done well.  It is otherwise healthy by all accounts.  I established it by splitting a 4 pound package and giving it a new queen.  The traditional Langstroth hive that got the other half of the package is doing well.  Since establishment, the bees pulled out only 3 frames of wax and have now dwindled  to the point where there are just enough bees to cover those three frames.  The hive simply doesn't seem to want to increase or draw any more wax out. 

Actions taken so far:

I have just requeened them (working from the first assumption that the queen was weak).  I am hoping that the new queen (I have purchased from this breeder before and the stock has always been highly productive) stimulates more productivity.

Proposed action:

I suspect that, now, the hive is suffering from a lack of work force (to build foundation, keep brood warm, etc.).  I have a couple of other hives that are doing well, so I am thinking about:

1.  brushing a frame or two of bees from my strong Langstroth hive (being careful not to take the queen) into an empty nuc box that I can seal up.

2.  Letting the nuc sit overnight so that the bees inside believe that they are queenless

3.  combining the bees with the TBH.

#3 is the problem - how best to do this?  I have considered just shaking them in.  I am also considering building a follower board with the center cut out and screened.  I can shake the bees behind the follower board, feed them and give them time to become accustomed to each other before combining them. 

I would appreciate any opinions or advice on ALL aspects of this situation!  Thanks


Offline Natalie

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Re: Why won't this work (or will it)?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2009, 01:57:22 PM »
When exactly did you hive these bees?
Are you sure you weren't queenless at one point?
Have you been feeding them?
A new package needs to be fed for a while to build the comb so the queen has a place to lay, with only 3 frames she hasn't got much room to lay to even build up the colony since they use these for food stores as well.
I put 3 colonies into topbar hives this past spring and all of them had between 12- 15 bars built up within the first 3 weeks.
At that point I stopped feeding them and let them forage and they are still building comb.
If you have any other tbhs you should give them some frames of eggs/brood to help them build up.
I don't know about adding the nuc but others will be able to answer that.

Offline Tyro

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Re: Why won't this work (or will it)?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2009, 02:20:11 PM »
The bees were hived approximately 6 weeks ago. 
They have been stalled at 3 frames for about 3-4 weeks.  Our summer here was pretty late (it snowed on 6 June), so that might be another factor affecting them.
I have been feeding 1:1 syrup continuously since that time.  They took it down pretty well initially, but now the blooming has started here, so they don't take it as well.
They were not queenless - I actually banked their queen in another hive, just in case this one didn't take.

Unfortunately, I don't have any other TBH's, so the best option (adding frames) is not an option.

thanks again for replies