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Author Topic: Weak hive in two deeps  (Read 2362 times)
Duane
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Location: NE Kansas


« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2013, 01:16:32 PM »

Good news, bad news?  My hive is no longer weak!  I've never seen so many bees.  It's hard to look in the hive without mashing some of them.

Seemed like I just got them down to one box and then I was adding it back after they had expanded across the bottom box.  Now I see bees in the top box and above the escape hole, but they still have at least 4 blank frames in the 10 frame deep.  They even had eggs and now capped brood in the top box!  It looks like they are planning on raising brood.  Right or wrong, I now added a medium super thinking they are running out of space based upon several things.  I believe there are enough bees to protect the space if that is the only issue.

Last year, I noticed what was called a queen cap.  I asked someone about it and they said not to worry as they build them and tear them down.  Last time I went through the bottom box, I saw several of these queen caps.  I even saw some in the top box.  With one in the top box, it looked like they had specially built the comb around it up from the bottom (foundationless) with the cell in the center of the little arc.  Now It has been extended slightly, maybe a quarter of an inch and a bee had it's head down in it.

Should I be worried?  I may be imagining things, but the bees hanging out on the front of the box seem different.  I put the screened bottom board in, but they still hang out and now, instead of densely clustered, they seem evenly spread out doing their little "cleaning" act.  Not a lot of them on the front, but maybe up to half the deep height and a few on the shady side when it's hot.  It's way past apple bloom time, and the sweet clover is blooming good.

I was hoping to catch some swarms this year, but none came, even though they were robbing mine.  So I considered doing a split, but thought it might be good to leave well enough alone.  I have chosen to go with mediums instead of deeps, so not sure how that would work out.  I could not worry and hope if they swarm they'll go in my boxes, or try to do a split attempting to keep the main body of bees together to hopefully make some honey.
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sterling
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Location: mt juliet tn


« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2013, 06:27:49 PM »

>but they still have at least 4 blank frames in the 10 frame deep
You may have to move the unworked frames into the brood nest. Not all at once. They will sometimes have a honey frame at the edge of the brood nest and they see that as the wall of the hive and will go up when they can instead of out.

 >They even had eggs and now capped brood in the top box!  It looks like they are planning on raising brood.
If they do then they are raising brood the planning stage is over. cheesy
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Duane
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Location: NE Kansas


« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2013, 01:30:19 PM »

That gave me some hope until I looked in them today.  The queen cap I was mainly worried about doesn't seem so much, but maybe some others right next to it.  However, in the bottom box, I saw about a third the way down the frame what looked like a queen cell vertically against the comb.  It was about 3/4" long.  A bee was in the way and I kept trying to look in but had problems seeing if there was an egg in it.  I turned it upside down trying to look (didn't know honey would drip out of the frame!), but I could not keep that bee or another away from it. 

I casually looked for the queen but did not see her.  I did see new eggs throughout the box, but some of the empty brood cells in the bottom box did seem empty.  Of course, they may have just hatched out.
How much time do I have to wait and see versus the queen will leave?  I wouldn't say they are crowded, and the reproductive stage should be over, but what if something's wrong with the queen?   Looks to me like she's laying eggs in lots of places.  And I do see capped workers.  Many capped drones in places.  Lot's of pollen, but doesn't seem like much honey.  I just don't know what happens when they swarm.  Will the queen keep laying right up to the time she leaves?
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Duane
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Location: NE Kansas


« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2014, 06:53:21 PM »

Well, I don't think they swarmed and they put honey in the top box.  Last fall on a questionable temperature day, I separated the boxes and put a screwdriver between them to while I tried to lift the box off.  I tried to lift it but that deep full of honey was heavier than I felt like lifting and since I wasn't sure I should be doing it anyway, I just tipped it back down.  Glad I'm planning on going to 8-frame mediums!

This spring, I was quite pleased to see all the bees flying in and out, some gathering pollen from who knows where.   When a day came I could look in,  the top box had bees all over it.  And was still very heavy!  When I looked in the bottom, it was mostly vacated with few bees and some patches of capped honey here and there.  I had looked through half the top box, but didn't know where the brood was.  There was a cloud of robbing bees when I put the hive back together.  I have reduced the entrance to two bee widths.

A couple of weeks later, there was a tremendous drop of bees flying.  I looked in the top box and not many bees on the outside frames.  Looking in the other half of the box I didn't look in the first time, I did see a couple of frames with bees plastered tightly to the sides, which I assume was the brood.  Now, another week, hardly any bees flying even when it gets above 50F. 


I didn't think I had a weak swarm this year, but I don't know what happened.  One thought I had is they had the top filled with honey except for the two frames.  They moved up to there to raise the brood, but when it turned cold again, the rest of the bees couldn't fit there, nor in the capped frames of honey in the top box.  So they were left to the bottom box which had nothing for them to eat.  A large number of bees were carried out in front of the hive.  So many that carrion beetles are crawling through them.

So, same old question, but different, almost opposite conditions.  I could remove the empty bottom box, but if they start building up as fast as last year, there may be no place for raising brood since the top is mostly filled with honey.  I tend to be of the idea to leave them alone.  Since it's been said they naturally move down, and since they are in the top this year, there is plenty of empty drawn brood comb right below them.  Any reason I really should or really shouldn't change something at this point in time?
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Duane
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Location: NE Kansas


« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2014, 09:03:23 PM »

It got above 70 today, so I seized the chance to see what was happening.  The two frames that had bees all over the sides, had much less bees and towards one end.  I pulled them out and saw sporadic capped brood.  Some of the open cells had deflated larva laying on the side.  I stuck a piece of grass in it, but it was not stringy.  I could not find any eggs.  There were more than the two frames with some capped cells, but I did not look close at any of them.  I took the bottom box off.

I'm thinking it's goodbye time for them.  Although, I did see a bee coming in with pollen, so maybe they are more hopeful than I.  I don't know if it's disease or if the mites got them.  I had been seeing dead mites on the slide in board below the screen for some time.  Not so many now.  Not so many anything now.
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Duane
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Location: NE Kansas


« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2014, 05:02:38 PM »

Amazingly they are still alive.  Every once in a while, I see bees bringing pollen in.  I looked today and being this is a month later, had expected to see double the amount of bees.  It looked like fewer bees than before.  They were on the insides of two center frames.  Just a small handful of bees in the top corner.  I did see the queen and capped brood.  I saw one working chewing out a white mature larva.  They have plenty of honey and I see pollen left over from their earlier brood nest.

They seemed to be  doing so well this spring.  I see where they had about a five inch diameter brood nest on several frames.  And then there was a drastic decrease in flying bees.  I had a slide in insert under the screened bottom board and pulled it out and saw about an inch of dead bees on the bottom.  I at first thought maybe disease, but the larva weren't stringy, and so then thought European Foul Brood, but from what I read, I wasn't sure it was that.  Then I thought with all the cold weather we were having, maybe they died from starvation or coldness and then just abandoned the brood.  But after a month, I would have expected an increase in bee numbers.  I didn't get a good look at what brood they had, but the caps looked normal to me.  Just maybe a dozen.

If I had other bees, I would give up on this hive.  But since this is the only one I have, I'd like to save it, if for no other reason than a challenge with how few bees there are.  Anyone have any guesses as to what happened?  Any suggestions as to what I should do at this point?
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