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Author Topic: Robbed or Weak?  (Read 702 times)
Lazy Bear
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Location: Wisconsin


« on: September 11, 2005, 04:09:44 PM »

I started with one hive last year just to see if this was for me.  I was hooked and thought that "if 1 hive was fun, what about 2?"   So this year I have the 2 but I made some changes that I'm not sure about.

Hive 1 was originally 2 deeps, excluder, super, covers.  I found that I had trouble lifting those deep frames when they are full of brood or honey.  I followed some advice from a local beekeeper and split this hive up this last spring.  Now I have 2 hives that consist of 1 deep, 1 super, excluder, super, covers.  

In April, some crummy creature knock over one of the hives.  No bear tracks but possibly a racoon by the prints left.  What a mess.  I set it all back up but could not find my queen right away.  I waited about 5 days and checked again. I found new eggs but I have always had a hard time finding her highness.  In hind sight, I probably should have replaced the queen but I just don't have years of experience to fall back on and everything I've read seems to contradict each other.

As summer progressed, Hive 1 did really well.  Hive 2 (the one that was pushed over) did not.  I tried feeding brood boosters, pollen substitutes and using the hive top feeder with sugar syrup.  These stubborn little girls just didn't respond.  At harvest, Hive 1 produced more than 2 supers full, Hive 2 didn't even draw out more than 1 frame of comb in 1 super.  Very disappointing to a somewhat new beekeeper.

Now winter is looming and I don't think Hive 2 will make it.  Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated as I would really like to have them winter over.   Is it possible?

Thanks
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2005, 05:35:46 PM »

Does hive number 2 have a queen?  How many frames of bees?  How much stores?  How many in your other hive?  If the other hive is strong enough you might be able to steal from it, but usually weakening a good hive to help one that can't take care of itself is a waste.  Maybe you should requeen the failing hive and make sure it's starting to prosper before you waste  any more resources on it.

I'd probably requeen the weak one and see how it does.  Maybe give it some honey just to help them get on their feet but I probably wouldn't waste anything more on it.  If requeening seems to have headed it in the right direction, then maybe try to equalize a bit and see if it makes it through the winter.  Otherwise, if it doesn't perk up and if there are no other obvious problems with it, you could just combine and split in the spring.
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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
Lazy Bear
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Location: Wisconsin


« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2005, 09:11:57 AM »

Hive 2 has a queen and they have 1 deep and 1 med super of sparsely distributed bees.  They have very little stored away for winter.  Hive 1 has 1 deep, mostly bees, 1 med super of a lot of bees plus honey and 1 med super of stored honey.  I'm not sure this hive is strong enough to rob to help Hive 2 and I'd really like to start next spring with at least one good hive.  

I live in WI and autumn colors are already here.  If I requeen the failing hive would she have enough time to make a difference or would I be throwing away good cash that I could use to purchase a new package next spring?  

Either way, I'm going to try feeding them sugar syrup and put a harvested super on top that has good drawn out comb.  Perhaps they will be able to store some food away if they already have the empty drawn comb.  I guess I just don't want to give up on them just yet.

Here's hoping!
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Energy and persistence conquer all things.
Benjamin Franklin
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