1st year beekeeper in a drought

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by reidi_tim, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. reidi_tim

    reidi_tim New Member

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    It's been a bad week for me ( my mom has been in ICU since Wed. and they have no clue to what is wrong with her ) so why should I expect anything to go right during the inspection this week. The temp has finely given a little break mid 80's with 100% humidity, so I went all the way thru the hives today. Nuc 1 was a split 5 weeks ago from my Russian hive, I placed 1 frame from one of my stronger Italian mut hives and two from the original nuc, well they made a queen, but not a Russian queen :frustrated:. I split that nuc to stop from swarming and they had queen cells capped. The Russian nuc are the nicest bees I have. Checked the orginal nuc and on the first go around saw very few uncapped, but plenty of capped cells but did not see the queen great they went ahead and swarmed. So I went on to hive one 2 deeps and a shallow, 6 frames on the shallow drawn out, I'll take that considering the heat. top deep honey, capped brood, no eggs or larvae just alot of empty cells. bottom deep same way but with a few eggs and uncappped ( wonderful another hive getting ready to revolt, they where really pissy the usual flipping cigar buts at me and dive bombing ). Hive 2 same way except they had very litttle comb drawn in the shallow but the deeps looked the same as the first. Hive 3 is just 2 deeps and they were in the same shape as the other to hives. Went back thru nuc 2 and found the queen :grin:. So my thoughts are to pull the shallows off 1 and 2 and start feeding to see if I can get the queens to start laying for winter ?? My guess is that because of the drought pictures attached there is not much they are finding as far as food or pollen. Pretty sure we are going to be replanting 30-40 acres that we replanted last fall. So is there anything I should be doing to help the bees???
    drought.jpg drought1.jpg drought3.jpg split.jpg split2.jpg split3.jpg
     
  2. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    good queens shut down the egg laying for the most part during long periods of no pollen/nectar, thats a good thing, dont force the queens to start laying now cause they have nothing to forage for and you will just end up feeding even more, I would just move some food frames around to the lite hives from the heavier till the fall flow starts or you get rains and some wildflower action gets going , only feed if they are going to starve, and be careful cause feeding 1 can start other robbing, hive top feeding would be best if you have to.
     

  3. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    tim,
    your russian hybrid queens will completely stop laying when there is no nectar or pollen coming in, and will conserve stores, and will start throwing drones out. most likely your bees are 'pissy' because of the nectar dearth, routine hive duties cease, for example, the bees are not 'employed', nurse bees have no brood to care for, etc, so the hive becomes restless and cranky. italian queens keep laying, and the bees will consume the stores as if there was no dearth.

    i would pull the shallows off, bees will not draw foundation with no nectar flow in progress. zookeep has some good advice, to feed or not to feed, don't let them starve, looks to me from the pictures and your description, you may have to start feeding in the very near future. as zookeep pointed out, if you feed, be careful as this will set off robbing, you may have to feed them all to prevent it, and use a covered hive top feeder of some sort. bees are hoarders, so even if they have some stores and find a weaker hive with stores or feed, they will rob the hive of the stores and sugar syrup, and sometimes during robbing the queens are injured or killed.

    hope your situation improves, i came very close to feeding my hives a month ago. fortunately we received some rain, and the nectar flow started.

    btw, i sincerely hope the docs find out what is wrong with your mom, and wish the best for her and you and your family.
     
  4. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    Hi Tim. I too started my first year of beekeeping in a time of severe drought down here in Texas. We had temps in the 100's for about 2 months solid with absolutely no rain. The ground was powder dry and I lost several very old trees on my property. But, I found that if I kept fresh water in my bird bath for them and fed each of the 4 hives I have a quart of sugar water once a week starting in mid August that they all survived. I did not take honey from them until fall and really had not expected to. Most of what they had stored would have been left from spring but there was enough from all 4 to give me 36 lbs. of honey. There was so much more in there that I could have taken but I left it for them to help them through the winter and I believe the feeding helped to prevent them from eating up what they had stored too early on. It turned out to be a very mild winter and they pretty much went through most of those stores without needing additional feeding. I still have those 4 hives today and all but one seems to be doing well. That one I believe has lost it's queen and I need to see what if anything I can do to give it help. I would say hang in there, provide plenty of fresh cool water and feed sparingly until the drought up there passes.

    Sometimes it seems to pour when it rains, and I do hope your mother will learn what is wrong and that she will be alright. I know that it is the not knowing that can be the most difficult part.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    your russian hybrid queens will completely stop laying when there is no nectar or pollen coming in

    tecumseh:
    some line of bees are much more sensitive to this than others. the carnolians also seem to reflect the trait of halting brood rearing when nothing is coming in the front door.

    if you want to encourage brood rearing (and having some young bees in the box prior to winter setting in is definitely a good idea) then feeding at about the quantity that Dbure suggest is about right.
     
  6. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    We were through your area in Indiana just a couple of weeks ago and was extremely sad to see the corn situation in that state as well as Illinois. Here in Arkansas, we are going through a severe drought. We have had to start feeding our cows hay in June and we are just hoping and praying for fall rains. I am SO glad I did not pull honey earlier. My bees had 2 - 3 supers full of honey and it is still on the hives. However we did split one and it is just a hive body and it had a lot of honey, but I am thinking I may move one of those supers full of honey over on it early some morning. We have it in the triple digits now and are suppose to have it for the next few days, so I will proably have to get out there EARLY one morning before it hits in the 90s. I know the bees HATE it when I get in the hives when it is hot and there is nothing to forage.
     
  7. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    Arkiebee,

    What part of Arkansas do you live in? I live in Cabot and am just starting keeping bees. Love it.
    I have huge cracks in the ground on my property. Never seen this before. Ponds are drying up.
     
  8. DonMcJr

    DonMcJr New Member

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    Sorry to hear about your Mom hope everything is ok with her...

    Every Beekeeper is seeing the effects of this drought...it sux!