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Author Topic: Russian hives slow build up?  (Read 473 times)
greenbtree
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« on: September 23, 2013, 08:42:02 AM »

I bought 10 packages with Russian queens this Spring.  Started them on drawn comb.  Two didn't take, o.k., expecting that, another went queenless soon after, o.k..  Would check them, would find a small brood pattern, but tight, and solid with capped brood, no "shot brood".  All season kept telling myself "They will take off any day now."  "Any day now..."  "Any ..."  "..." 

Well, here we are at the end of the season and they are still not built up.  One hive was destroyed by robbing before I could catch it.  One I combined with another hive about three weeks ago because it was only two frames worth.  Most of the others are at a half of a deep to one deep.  The best of the lot is at one deep and a medium.

Meanwhile, my other bees have all filled two deeps or their equivalent, and they were all splits, cut outs, or swarms.  Heck, I have a swarm I caught at the end of August that has filled three eight frame medium boxes.

Our goldenrod flow was a bit disappointing, it hadn't rained for a month, but the rest of the season was very good here.  What gives?  And what do I do now?  I have heard Russians can overwinter on small clusters, but how small?  And what kind of performance can I expect next year with this behavior?

JC
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"Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken, or life about to end.  No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend, like the Mary Ellen Carter rise again!"
Joe D
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2013, 08:55:44 PM »

I have only bought 1 Russian Queen,got her this year and she was a last year queen.  She has been pretty good.  I last checked my hives two weeks ago, she had 7 frames, both side, 1/2 to 3/4 covered in brood in a TBH.  One thing that I thought was a little strange, the inward side of the 7Th frame was mostly drones.  I didn't think she would still be laying drones this late.  I have a swarm that I caught this spring that has 2 deeps, and two shallows full of brood and honey.  That hive has 3 frames of brood in the third super.   I have two older hives that have been slow this year.  They only did two medium supers this year.  We did have a not so good year in this area, but the swarm did better.  Good luck to you and your bees.



Joe
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2013, 07:39:19 AM »

A good Russian hive hesitates in the early spring to build up, but usually builds explosively when conditions are right.  I wouldn't blame your current problem on them being Russians.
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Michael Bush
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greenbtree
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 08:54:03 AM »

O.K. not something Russians do sometimes then.  I'll check their Varroa load this week, other than that, I did have a night earlier in the year when I smelled pesticides on the air.  If it is that, about all I can do is change out frames come Spring if they make it through the Winter I think.
JC
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MsCarol
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2013, 10:03:25 AM »

, other than that, I did have a night earlier in the year when I smelled pesticides on the air.  If it is that, about all I can do is change out frames come Spring if they make it through the Winter I think.
JC

Along those lines, are some strains of bees more tolerant to the common pesticides then others?

Too bad they aren't more like cockroaches. I seem to have some of those that are resistant to anything short of a sledge hammer.

Although this isn't a heavy agricultural pesticide use area, there are still too many people that have an aversion to "eewww bugs!!".
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capt44
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2013, 10:10:25 AM »

This time of year when I have weak hives I merge them.
My way of thinking is I'd rather have 1 live hive in the spring than 2 dead ones.
You can split that one hive in the spring as high as 4 ways.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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