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Author Topic: Weak colony needing help  (Read 583 times)
chux
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« on: December 17, 2013, 01:24:52 PM »

I did a cutout very late in the season, in order to keep the bees from being sprayed. They are in trouble right now. Down to 3 deep frames being used by the bees. One is honey/pollen. The other two have brood and honey and pollen. Decent number of bees for those few frames. No honey left in the medium above. I'm planning on putting some corrugated plastic in as a follower board from floor to ceiling above the medium. I'll take one frame of honey from each of my stronger hives to put one frame above each used frame below.

Does that sound workable to you folks? Make them a nuc?

After that, I plan on putting sugar syrup out for feeding in front of the hives. On friday I hope to get some top feeders from a friend. Do you think I should put one on top of this weaker hive with liquid, or solid sugar?

Thanks for the advice.   
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T Beek
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2013, 02:17:33 PM »

Seems like a very reasonable approach.   Reduce the size with followers so they have less to heat and provide some food.  If side frames are empty and its warm enough you could just remove those empty side frames and replace them with honey frames, keeping everything in one box.  I think either will work as long as its not too cold.

Are your bees in cluster?  It could be upsetting if they are.  That would be my primary concern this time of year.
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iddee
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2013, 03:13:47 PM »

You are looking at 60 degree plus for the next few days. Maybe 70 this weekend. Do you have drawn comb you can fill with extracted honey or 3 to 1 sugar water? Then newspaper and dry sugar on top the frames. Reduce space, YES. Starve 3 hives to prolong the death of the fourth, NO. The 3 will need all their stores in Feb. and early Mar. when they have 30,000 larva to feed.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2013, 10:07:31 PM »

You are looking at 60 degree plus for the next few days. Maybe 70 this weekend. Do you have drawn comb you can fill with extracted honey or 3 to 1 sugar water? Then newspaper and dry sugar on top the frames. Reduce space, YES. Starve 3 hives to prolong the death of the fourth, NO. The 3 will need all their stores in Feb. and early Mar. when they have 30,000 larva to feed.

^^^this is more along the lines of what i'd do.  i'd shut the space down and feed sugar syrup. 
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chux
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2013, 08:54:11 AM »

You are looking at 60 degree plus for the next few days. Maybe 70 this weekend. Do you have drawn comb you can fill with extracted honey or 3 to 1 sugar water? Then newspaper and dry sugar on top the frames. Reduce space, YES. Starve 3 hives to prolong the death of the fourth, NO. The 3 will need all their stores in Feb. and early Mar. when they have 30,000 larva to feed.

Since this is my first year, I don't have extra drawn frames. Well, there are the frames I banded cut comb into when I did the cut out. There are a few of them that the bees halfway attached to the frames. None are full frames of comb. I put them in the freezer yesterday to kill off any critters in the wax, before storage. Figured to put them in swarm traps in spring. I'm not sure if they would hold up to the handling of putting syrup in them. I removed the three best honey comb frames from that weak hive and put them in the positions where I removed full honey comb from the stronger hives. I am hopeful that those stronger hives will fill that comb with the syrup I am feeding.

iddee, I decided to take the honey from the stronger hives, hoping that by feeding now and in February, all will have what they need. A master beekeeper made this suggestion. As you know, there are as many opinions as there are beeks. Even among you guys with more and varied experience. I am benefiting from hearing more than one educated opinion, and then deciding what I want to do. All you guys are helping me tremendously. It sounds like you are suggesting that I not use a top feeder on the weak hive, whether with syrup or dry sugar. Instead, are you suggesting dry sugar over the honey frames? Is this to reduce moisture in the hive? Will this also be easier for the bees to reach in cluster? thanks for the help, all!   
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merince
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 12:16:31 PM »

Bees will take syrup if it's temperature is above 50F or so. It also takes them a while to dry it to proper moisture content. If you have couple of weeks or so of weather above 50F, then feed syrup. Otherwise, you'd be better off laying some newspaper on the top frames and piling dry sugar on top. Slightly mist the sugar with water, so the bees don't haul it out as trash. This is known as the mountain camp method. Alternatively, you can make bee candy or bee candy board. My recipe is here: Candy board recipe

Keep in mind that feeding syrup to a week hive will incite robbers from the stronger hives, especially in a dearth. So, if you feed one - then feed all in the yard. Also, stronger hives will be able to process and store the syrup faster than a weaker hive. Maybe this is why your mentor suggested getting capped frames from the stronger hives and then feeding them to replace the stores.
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iddee
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 01:23:38 PM »

The joy of beekeeping is in experimental actions coming from educated guesses and sound advice, even though contradicting, from several sources. I hope you are successful. No one's method is guaranteed successful.

The mountain camp method can be accessed even below freezing area weather. The top feeder cannot. The 2:1 sugar water is about 35 to 40 percent water. They will reduce it to about 18% water.The excess water will rise. If it drops below freezing at night, which it is doing this week, it will form ice on the ceiling of the hive. As it warms the next day, it will drip 32 degree water onto the cluster.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
chux
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2013, 10:05:12 AM »

Right now, the only night it is supposed to get below freezing through next friday, is on Tuesday. It will get down to 29. Other than that, we've got really warm weather. I decided to put a bucket out to feed everybody a 3 to 1 sugar syrup. Hoping this will be quicker for the bees to evaporate down. I'll double check to make sure the top cover is cracked to allow good ventilation for that condensation. Once the bucket is done, I'll go with one of the dry feed methods you guys are discussing. My mentor also mentioned making up a pollen pattie for me. Yum. Thanks again for all the help, folks.
 
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iddee
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2013, 12:05:37 PM »

Chux, is Tia your mentor?
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
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