Hive Inspection - Questions

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Pilotbeekeeper, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Pilotbeekeeper

    Pilotbeekeeper New Member

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    With highs in the mid 70's this past weekend, i decided to do an inspection.
    For a little history of the hive I inspected -- I purchased it as a double deep, established hive, in August 2011. It over-wintered very well and was split in mid March 2012. I also created a couple NUCs from the split which contained the original queen in late April. Both spllit have now built back up to two deep boxes. I inspected the 'queen right' split. On inspections i found:

    1. The top box 50% honey, the rest were empty cells.
    2. The bottom box 75% pollen, with the rest empty cells.
    3. Bee population was good.
    4. Saw just a hand full of scattered capped brood. No eggs and no larvae
    5. i saw the queeen. i'm pretty sure it's not the original queen; she is much smaller. So they must have superceded at some point.

    Questions:
    1. With the colder weather we've had the past three weeks...a few nights in high 30's, but most in low 40's with daytime highs in low to mid 50's is it possible she just stopped laying three weeks ago, which allowed all the brood time to emerge, leaving all the empty cells I'm seeing? Is this normal winter time preparation?
    2. Does the ratio of pollen to honey sound sufficient for winter survival? Do they depend on pollen as much as they do honey during the winter? i estimate total weight of the hive to be 50 lbs.


    Thanks
    PBK
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    In this area, you need the equivalent of 30 to 60 lbs. of honey to get through winter. A half full deep will contain about 30 lbs, You have the minimum recommended to get them through. I recommend feeding them.

    A queen should be slowing, but not stopped at this time, in this area. A bit of feed may start her laying again.

    Adult bees use very little, if any, pollen. It is fed to larva. You will need it and maybe more when they ramp up in early spring.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    what Iddee said in regards to feeding. sounds like you need to start this fairly quickly.

    I am not certain what the 'good bee population' means. if the adult population does not cover the frames I would think reducing the hive to one box might be something to consider. sounds like essentially the hives should have already moved into the top box?????
     
  4. Pilotbeekeeper

    Pilotbeekeeper New Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I started the feeding yesterday, but with daytime highs forecasted in the 50's for the next 7 days at least, I'm not sure how much they will consume? If i did reduce to one deep, how should i arrange the frames? Should I use all frames that contain honey in the middle, and fill remaining with pollen frames on the outside? and what to do with frames of pollen left over? Feeze them and put back in next spring?

    Thanks
    PBK
     
  5. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    What Iddee said and more.
    The hive has enough stores to get thru to mid January when the start to build up and increase brood production. In the late winter early spring is when the will run short of food. feeding is easy in the spring and it encourages the bees to increase brood production.
    The size of the queen will become smaller as she ceases egg laying and she will get plump once she starts laying again. When a hive is about to swarm the queen will quite laying 3 days ahead so she will slim down so she can fly. I have put together observation hives for the fair and the queen is fat and plump after 6 days the queen is notably smaller. Did you see broken down queen cells in the hive?
     
  6. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    My opinion: I would not start re-arranging all their frames at this point in time. it will set them back a great deal in their winter preparations. Honey frames should not go in the middle, and not good to rearrange the brood nest right before winter. Typically, bees have brood in the middle, pollen on either side of the nest, and then honey to the outsides of the pollen.
    With small amounts of brood during the winter, they don't need a whole lot of pollen.
    It's also possible that the queen slows down on laying partly based on daylight hours rather than solely on the temperature. :)
     
  7. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    some queens shut down the laying if there is no new food coming in, when the temp hits the 50's are the field workers on the move bringing in anything?