Dwindling Population

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by ndm678, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. ndm678

    ndm678 Member

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    I'm really starting to notice a drop in population in my hive. I installed a 3lb. package about 5 weeks ago. Some of you may remember, I was having queenless 'issues' a few weeks back. I ended up adding a new queen on 6/6. On my last inspection (6/19) i noticed her royal highness has been busy. I have 3 frames mostly covered in capped and uncapped brood. 3 are being worked out, 4 are untouched. When I was queenless they filled nectar everywhere they could. I have been feeding nearly a quart a day of 1:1 sugar water since adding the queen (they were taking a pint a day before that. There isn't much honey but a good deal of pollen. I would have given the left side of a lower extremity to add a couple of frames of brood a week ago, but I don't have that option ( I was left with one hive to start). I guess I'm not looking for 'what to do now' but more 'are they going to make it?' advice. By math, some bees should start hatching today or tomorrow. If it helps, I'm operating with one 10 frame super, I have another ready to go ( I thought I would have been adding it 6/19)
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    sounds like the older population of bees that came with the package may be dying at some regular rate. the newer brood should start hatching around the end of the month so then population should begin going the other way.

    a quart a day is way too much feed for a hive of this size. they are likely not consuming this but storing it somewhere. at some point if you feed too much you run the risk of stuffing every cell in the box with syrup and leaving no where for the queen to lay... this then can (does, has) lead to superscedure of the queen.
     

  3. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    They'll probably be okay. Package bees go through a serious drop in population between the time they are installed and brood begins to emerge. With having to re-queen, your drop was even steeper. Once those frames of brood begin to emerge, your population will rebound. Keep feeding.
     
  4. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Follow Teccumseh's advice and they should make it. I would add, make the syrup thinner to continue to encourage building yet fill up less storage space.
     
  5. ndm678

    ndm678 Member

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    I figured they were building comb out with the extra use of sugar water. I was slightly shocked to see they haven't built out more. The frames that have brood had honey (sugar water) in them earlier in the month. I'm assuming that they are keeping to the three frames because of the lower population?
    I use a pint jar for my feeder. I fill it in the morning (always empty) and in the early evening (most times empty). They tend to get testy if the jar is empty ( they've got me well trained). Should I cut one of those out? I warm up the morning feeding to get them started, I don't get sun on the hive until almost 10am. They seemed a bit sluggish in the morning until I started doing that (maybe they seemed sluggish because I didn't have a queen). I also used to keep a community syrup bar to prevent robbing (someone keeps near me, but I can't find that individual), but now its a clean water bar.
     
  6. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    You will find the behavior of a queenright colony to be very different than that of a queenless hive: calm, industrious, building and busy collecting.
     
  7. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Is the queen laying? any open brood?
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    They tend to get testy if the jar is empty ( they've got me well trained). Should I cut one of those out?

    tecumseh:
    I am a bit confused in that the syrup seems somewhat excessive for a very small hive especially one that has been feeding very little brood. On the other hand you above snip about the bees being testy suggest they are short of food resources (starving).

    I myself would look in there see how much brood and bees and feed is available and then hatch a plan based on this newer and better information.

    Is there some reason that the hive gets no sunshine until 10am?
     
  9. ndm678

    ndm678 Member

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    tecumseh: I am a bit confused in that the syrup seems somewhat excessive for a very small hive especially one that has been feeding very little brood. On the other hand you above snip about the bees being testy suggest they are short of food resources (starving).
    ndm678: They were started out on wax foundation. I was assuming they were building out comb, but they still have a 4 untouched sheets, they continue to gather nectar/pollen outside of the hive. The feeder isn't leaking or anything like that. I used to host a community syrup dish. Once I switched that to clean water is when they started taking the quart.
    As for the late sun, the eastern sky is covered in prehistoric sized pine trees. The sun actually starts speckling the hive around 7:30a for an hour or so, back to shade, then full sun until sunset.

    Crofter: Is the queen laying? any open brood?
    ndm678: The queen is now laying, they have open and capped brood. I had to replace the queen earlier this month.
     
  10. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

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    If there are not a lot of bees in this hive, as you suggest, they will not build comb if they do not have enough bees to cover it. If you start out with a small swarm like my first hive, they only built three small combs about the size of a dessert plate. Once the population came up, so did the comb building.
    Robert