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Author Topic: Help! Need to requeen? (Pictures)  (Read 1121 times)
FrogPond
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Location: Hocking County, Ohio


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« on: July 03, 2005, 11:27:23 AM »

First, for the images to this posting, see my bee blog by following this link: http://frogpondbeeblog.blogspot.com/

I started three hives this spring and two of them a really doing well. Hive #3 however seems to have been a laggard all year. Now I am beginning to think I have a queen that is a "dud". I need some experienced opinions based on what I have observed and the pictures I have posted.

1. Open Brood Pattern
  The brood pattern in Hive 3 is open and there are many cells not in use. When the frames were fuller a couple weeks ago, there were a lot of skipped cells. There are larvae and capped cells, so I left them alone. Now I am not so sure.

2. Slow Comb Development
  These girls are now almost one full deep 'behind' the other two hives in comb development. They have barely drawn any of the second deep.

Now...
 smiley  Should I buy a new queen or let them make a new queen? I have not seen any evidence of supercedure cells.

 smiley  Should I move frames of brood from my stronger hives in to this hive? Would that help equalize the colonies or detract from the strong colonies?

 smiley  Might there be something else affecting this hive? I see no evidence of mites or other pests. So far I have applied no medication

  Thanks for your advice... I want to make sure I go in to the fall and winter with three strong hives! You can learn more about my farm at my web site - I don't have my bee blog integrated in to the web site yet, but I will try to get it done soon. I have learned a lot here and hope to contribute some time soon!
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Charles Fry, Amatuer Farmer & Entremanure
Frog Pond Acres   -    http://www.FPAcres.com - come by for a visit!
bassman1977
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Location: Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania


« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2005, 12:16:21 PM »

Here are my two cents.

If they haven't produced a lot of comb in your second box yet, just wait. Mine was the same way until just recently. I don't know what is going on your way as far as weather is concerned but I'm sure it's the same for you as it is for us (PA/OH neighbors). The bees will have a harder time finding stuff to gather when it's dry like this.

As far as your brood goes, I don't know. Your pictures looked alright from what I could tell. If the queen is slacking, that could explain slow frame production too. I'm sure it would be suggested by a more experienced person to add a frame of brood to your weak hive. Personnally I wouldn't requeen just yet. Your bees know when you have a worthless queen and will replace her when they are ready. No sense in killing what could be a perfectly good bee if it's all weather related.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2005, 03:13:11 PM »

When you assess brood patterns, don't confuse emerging brood with newly capped brood.  The new capped brood should be pretty solid with only some that are about to be capped left.  Emerging brood is often spotty because some has emerged or the bees have chewed out some of the mites.  Pepper shot brood is when the queen is too inbred and laying fertile (haploid) drone eggs in worker cells.  the workers, knowing they are not viable anyway, eat the eggs leaving gaps.  These gaps will be there when the brood is mostly all just capped.

A lot of times a hive just has to reach a critical mass of bees.  Once they do that they can explode in population.  Until they do that, sometimes they struggle.

I'm not saying it is or isn't the queen.  But there are other factors.  A queen can be a great layer, but if there isn't enough bees to care for the brood it doesn't matter.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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