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Author Topic: Starving Hive  (Read 1539 times)
bassman1977
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« on: September 02, 2005, 09:04:14 AM »

Yesterday I did an inspection.  It's been three weeks since the last one.  Rain from the remainder of Katrina prohibited earlier inspections.  The situation is not good at all.  Little brood, no eggs, no food what-so-ever and the population is shrinking.  Queen was there.  I immediately started feeding.  My guess is that the queen stopped laying due to lack of food.  How long will it take for her to start laying again?  This weather we had this summer was terrible for the bees.  Flows dried up too fast.  Pollen was coming in like crazy a few weeks ago but even that is scarce in the hive.  Have I done all I could for now or is there anything I'm over looking?  Thanks.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2005, 10:00:12 AM »

>Little brood, no eggs, no food what-so-ever and the population is shrinking.

Sounds like they are starving.

>Queen was there. I immediately started feeding. My guess is that the queen stopped laying due to lack of food.

More than likely.

> How long will it take for her to start laying again?

She may or since the days are shorter and the season is late she may not.  Probably she will start laying again.  Maybe in a few days if there's a pollen supply.  Usually they don't let themselves run out that easily of stores.  Had you robbed them not long before?  Is there any kind of flow?  Are they being robbed by another hive?

>Pollen was coming in like crazy a few weeks ago but even that is scarce in the hive.

If no pollen is coming in they will not raise any brood.

>Have I done all I could for now or is there anything I'm over looking? Thanks.

If there is NO pollen (a rarity this time of year) then I'd put some substitute or, preferably, real pollen or pollen/substitute 50/50, on.
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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
bassman1977
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2005, 11:00:50 AM »

Quote
Had you robbed them not long before?


No.  Didn't rob at all this year.

Quote
Is there any kind of flow?


I thought Goldenrod was going but because of how dry it has been, I don't think it developed to well.  The goldenrod at our tree line is pretty pathetic and I haven't seen bees in it for weeks.  If there is a flow, it probably isn't much due to the dryness.

Quote
Are they being robbed by another hive?


No signs of it that I've noticed.  I have another hive that I will be inspecting today (these hives are neighbors).  This hive had a lot more honey in it than the one currently starving, so I would suspect they are running low also.  If not, that may or may not suggest robbing (if it's this hive that is robbing the other).

Quote
If there is NO pollen (a rarity this time of year) then I'd put some substitute or, preferably, real pollen or pollen/substitute 50/50, on.


I was thinking about that.

I don't know what is going on with the pollen right now.  We had some heavy rain for two and a half days.  Is it possible for it to get washed off the flowers?  I noticed bees coming into the hive with half a load of pollen (it was obvious they weren't fully loaded), but there's not a whole lot in stores.  I just ordered some Bee-Pro pollen substitute.  Should be here tomorrow.  I need to get these ladies strong again so they make it through the winter.  I think we have a couple weeks yet that their situation will improve.  We are still having 80+ degree days.  Nights aren't too shabby for the most part.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2005, 06:35:45 PM »

A follow up to the starving bees.

I went out to check on them.  All the the syrup was gone.  Both hives were very active.  I couldn't tell if one was robbing the other or not, so what I did as a precaution, was put an entrance reducer on (large opening) both hives.

Here's a question I have (that was never answered previously).

I read in a post a while back that if there are bees robbing a hive, they will climb up the hive to take off.  How high is this climb typically?  I noticed that there were some bees climbing a couple inches above the entrance to take off.  Again...I don't know where they were headed.

As I mentioned, both hives were very active.  My second hive (a capured hive), is a more aggressive hive than my other hive led my an italian queen. I didn't even bother inspecting this hive today because of how aggressive they were.  But since I didn't put syrup at their hive yesterday, I am hoping I didn't trigger a holy war.  I did put syrup at their hive as well (just in case they were running low on provisions as well.  I will plan to inspect that hive tomorrow afternoon.

My other question is, if they are being robbed, how long should I keep the reducer on?  Is there an approximate amount of days that should deter any honey/syrup crooks?

Thanks in advance.
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2005, 02:08:37 AM »

If your having trouble recognizing robbing, you can sprinkle a little flour or bakery sugar on the departing bees.  Then watch the entrance of the other hives.  If they are showing up "powdered", then they are robbing.  Of course, this doesn't work if it's other bees robbing you.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2005, 03:26:58 PM »

I didn't notice anything coming to and from the neighboring hive so if it is robbing, then it's from a wild hive.  I did check this hive as well finally.  There stores are down to next to nothing as well.  I'm thinking that since this hive is low on provisions also, that it's just a bad summer for getting food.  I got a feeder on the second hive yesterday, but they aren't taking it as much as the first hive is.  I took a peak into the first hive.  They are slowly filling cells with syrup.  Not too much pollen that I've seen.  Once I get those pollen substitute patties, hopefully the queen will start producing again.  Hive 2 has some capped brood and a ton of uncapped brood.  I'm going to throw a pattie into their hive as well.  I'll update again Tuesday or Wednesday.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2005, 10:52:00 PM »

A pretty sure way to determine robbing is to close the hives you think are being robbed up after dark and watch them at first light when they would normally be flying.  If there are robbers there will be a traffic jam.  The bees trying to get in don't live there and shouldn't be there.  A robber screen is a handy device to have around and also gives a pretty good indication.  The robbers will hover a lot.  The locals usually find the entrance pretty quickly.

Wrestling, of course, is a pretty sure sign.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
bassman1977
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Location: Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania


« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2005, 01:12:03 PM »

An update to the status of the hives...

Both hives are again flourishing.  Tons of brood and eggs and whatever cells that are not being lived in are loaded with syrup.  They have been bringing in pollen (both hives) but I put in a pollen patty anyway.  Won't hurt them either way.  I think they will do pretty well for the winter.

Ocean, if you are reading this, I am not going to wrap the hives just yet.  We are expecting temperatures into the high 80s this coming week.  I'm going to wait a little longer, but I'll post pics when I do so.  You might be having similar temps as well, considering you are a stately neighbor so you shouldn't be in too much of a rush as well.  Either way, they will do fine until you do get around to doing it.
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