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Author Topic: Bees not expanding  (Read 1017 times)
Steel Tiger
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« on: July 22, 2013, 07:22:57 PM »

 It's been nearly 3 months since I installed my nucs. Each nuc was installed into a single deep. The bees filled out the 5 new frames in each hive. Mediums were added and only honey was stored. Another medium added and again only honey was stored.
 Both hives are active and well stocked with bees. I checked the brood box and 1 or 2 frames may have almost no brood while 5 or 6 frames has a solid pattern. It's the same situation in both hives. I'm starting to wonder if certain breeds of bees rather have a smaller hive population. Both hives are producing a lot of honey but the population is much smaller than I would have thought after 2 3/4 months.
 Could the queens be timing their egg laying to keep the hive a certain size?
 Both my queens are hybrids,  bred from Russian, Carniolian, Purvis Golden, and Canadian Buckfast.
I think I'll start going into the brood box every 3 weeks and marking the frames to see if there is a pattern. If there's an empty frame, mark it. next time I go in, check that frame for brood. If there's brood, look for an empty frame and mark it... and so on.
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 07:47:53 PM »

Russian and Carnies are both very conservative in expansion.  Unless abundant pollen is present they will not expand. This is a highly adaptive trait. Italian bee are the opposite-  can breed themselves into starvation, and a robbing frenzy.   I think for your landscape, you are better off with a "conservative, careful" bee than one with a larger nest size that will simply crash and starve out.

Remember unlike offensive American consumerism, bigger is not always better.  We don't all have to live in Texas.

 I have no idea how you hybrid mix has changed temprament and behavior- but the projenitors in the Russian and Carnie strain have been selected to only build when conditions are at their peak.
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cdevier
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 07:48:57 PM »

I assume that you mean "5 or 6 frames has a solid pattern" of capped brood .  That sounds real good to me.  Was there any open brood around the edges?  Were your origional queens marked? Timewise, if the first queens were superseeded; then these queens have started laying.
  Check back in a couple of weeks for more open brood and eggs (if you can see them).
Charlie

13 hives  zone 5
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 08:33:28 PM »

The queens weren't marked. One hive has a queen cup that's been there for a couple months. My first fear was that they were honey bound. After micro managing the other boxes and failing to lure them into expanding the brood into a medium, I'm figuring that they want to keep a tight brood nest.
 My plan was to get rid of the deep next spring, but if the bees prefer a single deep brood box, so be it. Why mess with something that works. I'll keep the medium that I put under them, just in case they change their minds. The bees have been drawing comb in it... and I replaced all the completely empty frames with frames that had partly drawn honey comb. I won't be checking those mediums for another 2 1/2 weeks.
 If the combs are empty, I'll move the box and put the brood back on the bottom.
 There is still a lot of pollen coming in. One medium is completely full of honey. The rest of the mediums are getting heavy.
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 08:58:27 PM »

A recent paper - Functionality of Varroa-Resistant Honey Bees  when used in Migratory Beekeeping for Crop Pollination --
has demography data taken from hundreds of hives.
Observe the chart of brood frame coverage:


data on total bee coverage is similar


At 5-6 frames of brood, you are within the margin of error for commercial hives that are survivors from the year before.   Russian bees  (RU on the charts) winter over in smaller clusters.
Also note: Bees peaked in number on May 28, and decline as the summer dearth takes hold.


Source:
Functionality of Varroa-Resistant Honey Bees (Hymenoptera:
Apidae) when used in Migratory Beekeeping for Crop Pollination

Author(s): Robert G. Danka, Lilia I. de Guzman, Thomas E. Rinderer, H. Allen
Sylvester, Christine M. Wagener, A. Lelania Bourgeois, Jeffrey W. Harris and José
D. Villa

Source: Journal of Economic Entomology, 105(2):313-321. 2012.
Published By: Entomological Society of America
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Jim 134
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2013, 09:34:47 PM »

Russian, Carniolian do run smaller brood nest when a dread comes on unlike Italians. and New England goes into a dread about this time a year usually the next big blossom for me is Japanese bamboo and then goldenrod so you're brood nest will begin smaller I do know goldenrod in my area is about seven days early and I live in north central Massachusetts your description for this time a year sounds good to me.



                          BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2013, 12:44:21 AM »

It's been nearly 3 months since I installed my nucs.

brood + 2 mediums?
.
 Both hives are active and well stocked with bees. I checked the brood box and 1 or 2 frames may have almost no brood while 5 or 6 frames has a solid pattern.

I would say that brood amount is very small. Have the hives been too tight and queen has had enough space to lay?
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2013, 02:12:13 AM »

Have the hives been too tight and queen has had enough space to lay?
The queens seem to think they have enough space. They were filling the deep with honey, so I added a medium. They drew out comb and filled it with honey. I added another medium and they worked on the comb and was filling them with honey. They also either used or moved the honey out of the deep to give the queen more room.
 I added an empty box under the brood. They moved the honey from the two frames I added to those boxes and built no new comb. Last week I moved the two frames of empty comb to the center of the box and added 8 frames of partly drawn comb that they were filling with honey.
 Will the queens move down to start laying in the two fully drawn frames of empty comb? Or will the bees move the honey from the partly drawn frames and leave that box as a dead space?
 I will not be checking for a couple more weeks. I figure 3 weeks is enough time for the queens to decide whether to start laying in the bottom box, or to ignore them. If the boxes are filled with empty comb, I'll remove that dead space and either put the boxes on top to be used for honey or freeze the frames so that I have some drawn frames for next years splits I'm planning on doing.
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Finski
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2013, 03:05:00 AM »


They were filling the deep with honey, so I added a medium. They drew out comb and filled it with honey. I added another medium and they worked on the comb and was filling them with honey. They also either used or moved the honey out of the deep to give the queen more room.

That is what I thought. So they do in good nectar flow. I have big hives 7 boxes and 4 box hives. They fill all places with honey and nectar.  But that will not continue for ever. When riot is over, I arrange the frames.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2013, 03:09:40 AM »

Sometimes the bees are reluctant to move up and expand their brood nest.  Sometimes the population growth is held down by varroa.  Sometimes they get honey bound and swarm.  Sometimes the genetics seems to play a role.  Sometimes they don’t do as well in the shade.  Sometimes they swarm and the bee keeper doesn’t know it.  Sometimes they expand faster on larger combs.  Sometimes it’s just anybody’s guess why they’re growing slow.

I won’t refute JWChesnut’s generalization about Carnis, but I’ve had massive Carni hives in the past (all summer long and winter long) here in Michigan (NWC genetics).  I know they can grow huge if conditions are good.  I lived in Durham some years ago and if memory serves, you really should have pretty good bee conditions in southern NH.  Lots and lots of white clover in bloom here.  Bees everywhere.  

The bees (the queen that is) will move up into your mediums if (or when) the population of bees in the hive gets large enough.  For some reason the population growth seems to be stunted.  The queen usually doesn’t lay in the outer frames of the deeps in the summer, so that isn’t unusual.  
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Finski
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2013, 03:16:27 AM »

.
I looked Steel Tiger's earlier posts. He has worked quite much with hives. I think that as a beginner he has not known what to do. Too much operations disturb the colonies badly.

I saw in a picture natural combs, which seemed to bee all drone cells.

Steel, how much you have drones and drone brood in hives?
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2013, 03:59:51 AM »

 I did have a good number of drones. I opened the top of the hive about a month or so ago and a few dozen drones came bubbling up. When I went through the hive last week, I only saw a few drones in the entire hive. I did have one side of one frame that was almost all drone brood early on. Later there was drone brood scattered with worker brood. Last week I saw no drone brood, only worker brood.

 Here's a screen shot from last week. This frame was from the bottom box under the brood box. It was full of honey but they moved it and it is now empty comb.


 As you can see, there's not many drones left.

 Here's a screen shot, after I put the hive back together. Plenty of pollen coming in as of last week...

« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 04:13:42 AM by Steel Tiger » Logged
JWChesnut
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2013, 09:39:06 AM »

The bee in your flickr image:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/61977973@N04/8713555725/#in/photostream/
has DWV. 

DWV (transmitted by mites) will drag the colony. DWV is easy to detect so it is a good proxy for a host of other virus diseases spread by uncontrolled mite infection.
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2013, 10:17:50 AM »

The bee in your flickr image:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/61977973@N04/8713555725/#in/photostream/
has DWV. 

DWV (transmitted by mites) will drag the colony. DWV is easy to detect so it is a good proxy for a host of other virus diseases spread by uncontrolled mite infection.

 That was taken in the first week or so after installing the nucs. There were a couple of opinions on the cause. Here's the thread.
 Since then, I haven't seen any bees flying out and dying like these were. I'm more incline to think that it was caused by wind draft from the move. I've been trying to keep my eyes peeled for signs of mites every time I go into the hives. It'll be two weeks or so before I go in again. At that time I'll put sticky boards under the hives and see what I can find.
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beryfarmer
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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2013, 09:09:27 AM »

I have bees from the same source except mine were April packages. Very Very slow growth.  I bought two packages. #1 finally went to a second deep 10 days ago.  Went in yesterday and population finally doing well with good tight brood.  Hive #2 is still in one deep!!!  Was barely hanging in there... not growing for a couple of months.  Finally gave them a frame of brood from hive #3 (Russians) and the brood numbers are finally increasing.... started feeding both hives about 2-3 weeks ago and I think that has helped.

I compare this to my #3 package hive (Russians) who l installed one month after #1-2,  they exploded!... put on a second deep 2 weeks ago-- population is still exploding with great brood pattern.  About a week ago there were more bees in hive #3 than Hives #1-2 combined even though those hives were 6-7 weeks older.

So bottom line for our bee strain... I think they just need time and feeding to stimulate them.  Hive #2 is finally laying more with a good pattern and may put on second deep in a week or two.

They do seem to be good bees--just a bit slow.

Not getting many stores even with feeding...trying to get enough stores for winter.....
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2013, 09:34:33 AM »

I have bees from the same source except mine were April packages. Very Very slow growth.  I bought two packages. #1 finally went to a second deep 10 days ago.  Went in yesterday and population finally doing well with good tight brood.  Hive #2 is still in one deep!!!  Was barely hanging in there... not growing for a couple of months.  Finally gave them a frame of brood from hive #3 (Russians) and the brood numbers are finally increasing.... started feeding both hives about 2-3 weeks ago and I think that has helped.

I compare this to my #3 package hive (Russians) who l installed one month after #1-2,  they exploded!... put on a second deep 2 weeks ago-- population is still exploding with great brood pattern.  About a week ago there were more bees in hive #3 than Hives #1-2 combined even though those hives were 6-7 weeks older.

So bottom line for our bee strain... I think they just need time and feeding to stimulate them.  Hive #2 is finally laying more with a good pattern and may put on second deep in a week or two.

They do seem to be good bees--just a bit slow.

Not getting many stores even with feeding...trying to get enough stores for winter.....
Glad someone has the same breed that I can compare to. One thing I can say about mine is that they're storing away massive amounts of honey for their size. I just walked out to look at them 1/2 hour ago. It's 62 degrees and raining and both hives are active with bees coming and going.
 Since the queens don't want to leave the deep, I may trick them into expanding into another box. I'll wait and see if they do it on their own. They have a medium under them with fully and partly drawn out comb. I'll be checking it in two more weeks to see if they're laying in it. If not, I'll either put that box on top of the brood and move 2 deep frames up so that they're hanging partly into the brood box, or, I'll just put them on top and let them fill them with honey.
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Finski
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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2013, 10:20:34 AM »

.
Do it! Put box on top and bottom.
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2013, 11:00:29 AM »

.
Do it! Put box on top and bottom.
I did, a week ago.
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