BEEwildered @ today's inspection

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by bwwertz, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. bwwertz

    bwwertz New Member

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    Wow! Where do I start!? The last time I checked on my girls was probably late August/mid September. On my hive I was running a deep, deep, queen excluder, and medium. On my Dad's hive, he was running a deep, queen excluder, medium. When I checked my hive last, I pulled out one frame of the upper deep and it was jam packed with eggs, brood, capped honey. It looked just as it should and my hive was buzzing. Because of the (seemingly) excellent state of affairs, I didn't go into my lower deep.
    I'm in southeast NC and we've had some really warm days, but have already had our first frost and very cool temps at night.
    Dad and I checked the hives today to prepare them for winter and we were SHOCKED :shock: ! My entire deep was EMPTY. No brood, no capped honey, no nothing. They've already kicked out all the drones. My upper deep was buzzing and very active - but I didn't see ANY eggs, nor did I spot the Queen. So...I don't know if I have a Queen, but I was shocked to find NO EGGS. My Dad's hive was the same way, but I THANKFULLY DID spot his queen. I don't remember having this problem last year at this time at all! Shouldn't there be eggs? Shouldn't they NOT be burning through the honey stores so fast? Very very concerned. As of right now I took everything off and have one deep on the bottom board for my hive. Any and all thoughts/advice/ideas would be GREATLY appreciated! :beg:
    Totally BEEwildered at today's find!
    Thank you!
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Not sure because of where you live but I don't think you should be too alarmed at no eggs, etc. The queens are probably shut down for the most part (your dad's hive bears this out). You may have simply just missed the one in your hive or.......!
    If they are light on stores at this point I would put on some fondant or try dry sugar. Try not to introduce too much moisture this late with syrup.
    I'm sure others can shed more light.
     

  3. bwwertz

    bwwertz New Member

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    Thank you, Perry. That's definitely a start. Yeah, my one consolation is that my Dad's hive looked the same (hives are side by side in my yard) and I saw the queen. I just didn't think they stopped laying eggs all together during the winter. There wasn't any brood or anything. Was just really shocked and it seems to early to be eating so much honey and "shutting down" for the winter. =(
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Check out Bjorns site for good ideas on late feeding. I have done the fondant for the last few years as insurance and it works well. I may try the dry sugar this year on a couple to see how it goes

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. herblover

    herblover New Member

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    In central Pa it was 64 today. They are still bringing in pollen and very active! I fed 1/2 gal of winter syrup today. As long as the temps are above 60 for at least 3 days in a row I think I'll feed. Only enough for them to keep actively feeding with temps. Not too much. I am hoping this is a plus to help get them through winter. I am counting on every warm fall day with syrup = another cold wintry day of survival. They are so wise. If they dont make it through, its not because they didnt work their wings off. We sure can learn alot from them.
     
  6. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I do hope you removed all of the queen excluders!!!

    No eggs or brood, wellllll there is more than likely some that you missed.

    Light on stores at this time is not so good. It got so dry here this summer that I lost three hives due to starvation (in July), they ate all of their stores and I had not even robbed any honey from them (yes that makes me a bad bee haver).
     
  7. rast

    rast New Member

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    My opinion, the consolidation is good. Hopefully just missed seeing your queen. And if she is gone the only thing you could probably do is combine with your dad's. I would feed! Your coming temp's probably fondant/candy. Just my thought is that if you didn't see eggs in either, maybe/hopefully you just didn't see your queen. If you can find the queen every time, you are far better than me.
     
  8. bwwertz

    bwwertz New Member

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    I'm hoping I missed the queen too! Thank you for all the feeding ideas. My Dad and I are probably going to try some form of dry feed as you all have suggested. I was just really expecting to see some brood and eggs. I definitley didn't miss seeing brood - checked every frame. Eggs - of course it's always highly possible I missed some - and queen.....well, you know how tricky that can be. Our aren't marked either.
    Yes, we definitely removed the excluders. My Dad is a bigger fan of excluders than I am, but I wanted to give them a try once I had my two bottom deeps established this past summer.
    @ Perry - great pics and info, thank you!
    @herb - yes, we fed both hives syrup last winter and they were rip roarin' ready to go in the spring. :thumbsup:
    Thank you for all the thoughts/ideas/input! Keep it comin'!
     
  9. bwwertz

    bwwertz New Member

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    Went out and watched the girls for a while today. At my Dad's hive - bees were constantly flying in - even saw a few with pollen. My hive on the other hand - was sort of like a group meeting. Only saw a few fly in (one with pollen though). Most were just congregating around the entrance. Should this be concerning and further evidence of it being queenless?
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    beyond the original position of the excluders relative to stores and the queens location I would not be so worried. if you had some very cold nights with it on and that portion of the hive had no stores you may have a case where the queen could have been trapped away from the primary cluster.

    although I somewhat encourage the use of excluders they are not meant to be a permanent part of the hive. they need to be removed in a timely manner early and not later..... generally just somewhat after the honey is harvested.

    most of my hives have ceased brooding altogether or have extremely small brood areas... I would rather they be that way than heavily brooded up at this time of the season. I personally prefer a total break in the brood cycle which at least in theory also breaks the varroa cycle. add to this a heavily brooding hive (at this time of year) is a likely candidate to starve long before spring arrives.

    the choices you have for feeding* will be somewhat to highly location specific. here I don't feed anything besides one to one but have very limited cold weather. there is nothing wrong with trying other feeding means and mechanisms... each has there + and - which most new bee keepers need to discover for themselves.

    good luck...

    *ps... feeding a bit of thin one to one with the addition of a bit of warm and sunny winter weather is almost always a pretty good test to see if there is still a queen in the hive. a lag time of a week to ten days between the time the thin syrup is applied till the time you look for brood is about the right pause between feeding and then looking. adding a bit of pollen substitute is a definite plus if you think pollen in the hive is in short supply.