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Author Topic: Comparing Hives  (Read 515 times)
Palouse
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Location: Pullman, WA


« on: May 03, 2013, 02:00:54 PM »

 I started two packages on new equipment on 4/15. I'm feeding 1:1 sugar water via Mann Lake top feeders, and both are taking it. It's been wet and/or cold, so I've been reluctant to open things up too much to check for a queen, but both were alive when I installed the packages. Yesterday was the first day I'd call warm, and it's supposed to stay that way over the weekend, so I'll be opening the hives tomorrow to look for the queens/eggs.

From the get-go, the west hive (WH) seemed to be more active, and it's still that way. Lots more burr comb, sorties (for lack of a better word) in-and-out of the WH are about three or four to one against the east hive (EH). I think the WH had some robbing, but that's stopped, and the workers are bringing in quite a bit of pollen. What concerns me is that the workers in the EH don't seem to be bringing back any pollen. My question, is, is this normal?
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D Coates
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Location: Lee's Summit, MO


« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2013, 03:18:59 PM »

I'm not there, it does raise some red flags though.  Hang in there, you'll be a whole lot smarter when you open the hives.  This is exactly why 2 hives are recommended for newbees.  When I was a newbee one of my packages failed, having a properly functioning hive next to it helped me realize it.  There was nothing I could do except buy another package but it kept me excited to at least have one succeeding.
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Steel Tiger
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Location: Southern New Hampshire


« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2013, 09:22:17 AM »

My west hive is also more active than my east hive. In the morning, the west hive is the first to wake up. By the time any bees start coming out of the east hive, the west has a lot of activity with bees going in and out. I'll be peeking in both hives today to check on their food. I might do an egg search to make sure the queens survived the trip home.
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10framer
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2013, 11:10:03 AM »

i wouldn't worry until i got into them.  just because you haven't seen them brining in pollen doesn't mean that they don't.  i had two very similar hives side by side near my deer stand back in the winter.  when the sun came up one hive had bees flying while the other one didn't start until a few hours later.  when i went through them one day when it was in the 60's i found that the bees that were slower to get moving had a lot more stores and an equal amount of brood (queens don't usually stop laying down here).  in march i was able to split the "lazy" hive into two single deeps and a 5 frame deep nuc.  one of the singles is now a double deep.  my point is that you may find you're judging a book by the cover.  you need to get into them before you let what you see from outside worry you.
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Palouse
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Location: Pullman, WA


« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2013, 11:00:37 AM »

Many thanks.

I'll be digging into the hives tonight. Things have leveled out, but I really, really need to get in there and see what's going on.
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D Coates
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Location: Lee's Summit, MO


« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2013, 12:19:59 PM »

Please let us know what you find.  Pictures are always good too.
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WarPonyFarms
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Location: Kennewick, WA


« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 02:11:13 PM »

With the strange weather we've had here, it's been difficult to get in and see whats going on.  Either you jump in during a weather break or you wait another week hoping for the next one. 

My nucs that I thought weren't performing as well as others were in the process of royalty replacement.  Yesterday when I finally got to do a deep examinations I found virgin queens and cells in almost all the nucs I was worried about.

I've had packages from the same supplier that one package required pollen supplement, while another wouldn't touch it.

Great call starting with more than one package.

Let us know what you find.
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Palouse
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Location: Pullman, WA


« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2013, 12:01:07 AM »

I finally got into my hives. I pulled off the Mann Lake Feeders and generally cleaned things up. The underside of the feeders were a mess--filled with comb and sadly, capped and uncapped brood. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle those particular feeders in the future, but I need to make something so there's not so much room for them to hang comb because I'm not doing that again. Lesson learned. I am second guessing myself in thinking I maybe should have left the feeders on so the brood could hatch. Too late now, and I hope to mitigate that from happening again in the future, but what should I have done?

I got a little too focused on what to do with the feeder on the first hive that I later realized that the queen may have been in with the bees that were attending the brood on the comb in the feeder. I don't think she was, but I never did see her, and I sure hope I didn't kill her. I did find the queen laying eggs on the second hive, which was reassuring. It got too late to go back to the first hive and open it up to look for the queen, and tomorrow we may have thunder storms, so it may not be until mid week before I can get in there again.

One thing that kind of threw me was on one of the Plasticell foundations in the middle of the hive was comb that was sideways; that is, the comb extends off the foundation the same distance as the rest of the comb, but the cells run parallel with the foundation *and* parallel with the top and bottom bars of the frame. There was bee space on either side (on the end-bar sides on both sides) so the bees could enter the cells. Other than that strip of oddly placed cells in the middle of the frame, everything else is normal. My guess is that it matched the comb coming off the feeder, but that's an afterthought and there's no way to tell at this point.

Despite the strong scent of bananas, the bees were remarkably docile, and everything I'd worried about was unfounded. Lots of capped brood on the frames, and I'm just about ready to add a second box. The bees are doing their thing. I just hope I didn't kill the queen in my west hive.

Sorry for lack of photos. It was all I could do to remember where I'd put my hive tool much less take photos.
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capt44
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2013, 01:27:15 AM »

I setup 2 hives and installed packages with queens on the same day.
I noticed the next day one hive was way more active than the other.
What I found and believe happened is most of the bees went to the other hive making it stronger.
The weaker hive was queenless and I found 2 eggs per cell and a lot of capped drone brood.
That told me I had a worker bee laying.
I had to take the hive to another spot 200 yards away and brush all the bees onto the ground and put the frames in another box with a top.
The laying worker and nurse bees have never been outside the hive and will be confused and can't get back to the hive location.
I went back to the original hive location and there were bees waiting for me.
I setup the hive and put the frames back in the hive.
The next day I installed a new queen.
That hive took off then and made a very strong hive.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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