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Author Topic: Weak Hive Question  (Read 1521 times)
Kris^
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« on: February 16, 2006, 07:30:51 PM »

It was a nice day so I inspected my 6 hives.  Three of them were oveflowing with bees, healthy looking queens and at least 3 frames of brood in each.  Two others I found either a good looking queen or a little bit of brood, but about half as many bees.  The last one had maybe two pounds of bees, no brood, and I couldn't find the marked queen.  Not that that means she wasn't there, and the bees were foraging, but it's very weak compared to the others.  There was plenty of capped food left in all the hives.

What does anybody think I might do with this weak hive?  I'm pretty sure it will be a deadout before I can get it requeened.

I found out I had bottom board problems with the other two less strong hives.  One of them had a solid BB,  and I had standing water and syrup in it, right up to the level of the opening in the entrance reducer.  The moisture inside made the candy board drip down and the syrup was all over the tops of the frames and the BB.  The other one had a screened BB, but the slide in board wasn't slid in all the way, and a bunch of bees had gotten under the board and between the board and the screen and died.  Thousands, maybe ten thousand.  A couple quarts of dead bees.  It made me sad.   Sad   It could have been as strong now as the other three.  As it is, it just started laying down brood.   But I learn.

-- Kris
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2006, 07:59:46 PM »

Kris:

Do you have any section of the freen houses that can be warmed while you take a week to merge smaller colones using the newspaper methods between supers?Huh

Mixing full frames (or partly full) frames, weak colonies and a healthy looking queen under warmer greenhouse (even small visqueened off areas over a few days period COULD give you a unique method to say your bees and actually come out with a strong hive or two.

Not everyone has greenhouses available, I'd have to bake mine in the over at 275 for 3 hours until lightly brown  shocked  

PS... How'd you do in the snow - we got a full 11 inches at home 13 measure at the Hindenburng Crashsite ( in flat areas around the drifts)
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Kris^
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2006, 09:58:07 PM »

I'd thought before of putting hives in the greenhouses, but not for this reason.  It sounds interesting, though.  We have the two houses right now, one warmed to 70 degrees and the other to 40 degrees.  Two considerations:  1) people working in the houses, and 2) occasional chemical useage.  Is it possible to keep the entrance screened for the time needed to merge the two hives?  We often keep the doors open to the cooler house and the bees come in to get pollen from the pansies, and they get confused with the sun shining through the covering.  We've taken to propping the edge on the west wall open in the afternoon to let them out.  A dozen or so congregate at a time.  But it would be different with a whole hive inside!  Would it take a full week to get them together?  I've never combined before.

This dwindling hive is a deep and a super.  What I thought of doing was brushing all the bees from the deep into the super, then combining the super with one of the medium strength hives.  There's plenty of capped syrup in the super, and I would hope to get it moved out of there before the natural flow starts in a couple months.  That would leave me with a deep full of many capped frames of food for supplemental feeding of other hives.  Could this be done outside?

By the way, we only got about 6 inches of snow last weekend.  More the drifting with the wind was a problem, with some pretty deep drifts.

-- Kris
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gsferg
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2006, 10:13:15 PM »

>the bees were foraging

What were they foraging for??? Didn't you just get like a foot of snow?

Dunno what to suggest about your weak hive except to say I wish some of my weak hives had 2 pounds of bees :) I don't think there's much if any brood in my hives now- they're carniolans and I wouldn't expect them to be brooding up much even with the warm weather we've been having. A few recent deadouts (from the past 2 weeks) didn't have any brood in them.

Mine were flying today and from the looks of the activity at the entrances there might be a few of the stronger hives that have been raising some brood, but I didn't open them up to check. Often enough, when they brood up too early, they'll get caught in a cold snap trying to keep it warm and end up starving to death. Carniolans can come into spring with frightfully small clusters and still do OK.

>I'm pretty sure it will be a deadout before I can get it requeened.

Maybe. Maybe not. I'd be inclined, if your hives have enough food, to leave them be for now and see what they look like a month from now.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
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Kris^
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2006, 07:29:43 AM »

Quote from: gsferg
What were they foraging for??? Didn't you just get like a foot of snow?


We have a 30' x 100' greenhouse full of pansies and violas, most of them in full bloom.  Since we're trying to keep them cool, we leave the doors wide open most of the time.  Besides, all that snow is melted four days later.  We're knee-deep in mud now!

-- Kris
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2006, 07:57:06 AM »

You can also provide heat with Finsky's reptile heater method.  

I have had success with two nite lights (7W each - equivalent to Finsky's 15W).  I place them under the screen of the bottom board between the screen and slide in tray.  I use this to keep nucs thru the winter.    I have had handful size clusters survive with this method.   In fact a few years ago,I found one hive that I thought was dead and went back the next day (warmer) to clean it out only to find them alive.  They were just chilled to the point of not being able to move when I thought they were dead.   I gave them some heat and they survived.

The heat will help them keep the brood warm. They will move down to the bottom of the frame right above the light bulb to raise the brood.
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2006, 09:39:12 AM »

Get ready Northeast Beekeepers -  Winter is coming again!   Today it's 60 F - Tomorrow it will be 9 with high winds.  We had 18 inches of snow on Sunday and now it's all gone.  

 I did a walk-by inspection yesterday with a peek under the covers and all five of my hives had activity.  I wish I had more time to go into the hives.   Dang work - if I didn't have to work,  I could have been inspecting at noontime yesterday.   Maybe  later next week- it will be warm again.

My observation hive is just about dead.  I would estimate that I have a cluster of about 200 bees  and a queen.  No brood rearing.  Sad.  This colony never got right to start and that is all my fault.
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2006, 09:40:39 AM »

Quote from: Kris^

What does anybody think I might do with this weak hive?  I'm pretty sure it will be a deadout before I can get it requeened.


If you want to play with it, give them frame of emerging bees and larvas. Hive gets new bees and they raise larvae.

Resrict the room with middle wall so that every frame has full bees. Bees start to raise some kind of queen.

If there is unmated queen in the hive it should now raise  drones .
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