Hive Strength (why the difference between any two hive)

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Bee n There, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. Bee n There

    Bee n There New Member

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    Been noting this year that of the 5 nucs all started at the same time and 2 one deep hives every hive is at different stages of development even though the 5 nucs were installed at once and were roughly the same strength at the start likewise the two boxes started out about the same with no apparent health issues.

    Is it all about the queens? Is it just random? Is it beekeeper interferance? hive location?

    Taking this into winter, aside from treatments and wrapping how much does the layout of the frames and bodies affect how quickly the bees build up next spring? How much do the experts mess with arranging the brood box(s)?
     
  2. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    I've noticed something similar in my hives and have concluded that queens have been changed/superceded or that swarming occured.

    Otherwise, if all colonies were equalized by switching brood around and then all had similar amounts of honey, they all aught to be about the same, unless there is some difference in queen health and laying ability.
     

  3. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    I think just like any living thing, there are going to be differences

    Two puppies, two kittens etc from same breed wont be the same.

    Two queens laying eggs all day will never lay exactly the same number each day, bunch of foragers working one field wont bring back the same as another group working a different field.

    Similarities of all the above- yes, but exactly the same - NO
     
  4. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    I look at my kids, all raised under the same roof, same rules, same parents. One's a cop, one's in prison; one's athletic, one's a nerd. Why should my bees be any different?
     
  5. Bee n There

    Bee n There New Member

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    I suppose like people every hive is different, but in the same line a kids, just how much is determined before birth so to speak and what all factors in after?

    Again like kids or anything else, even the best start genetically does not always end up top of the class. So many factors, did the queen get the best feed, did she find enough drones, what were the drones from. then all the enviromental factors, I see the hives that catch the first morning sun moving first, do those few branches in front of a hive realy slow the bees down that much when coming in with a load? or do the branches help them find home?

    But how much of it rests on the bee keeper to tweak the hive, move frames, flip upper and lower boxes, identify less than ideal queens, time all the little changes. Like so many things it all seams quite simple at a first look, but the devil is in the details.
     
  6. 100 TD

    100 TD New Member

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    What more can I say, an exceptional response to a mind boggling question, Indy's 100% correct you know!
    My 0000.2
     
  7. Bee n There

    Bee n There New Member

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    LOL, at least it is a lot easier and less costly in terms of legal fees to requeen than rekid.
     
  8. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    It is genetics, luck, robbing, swarming... ...all of the above and numerous other factors.

    As a beekeeper however, there is certainly a lot of things you can do about it. The easiest (per Michael Bush) is simply to take a frame of brood from one of your strong hives (not the same donor each week) and add it to the weaker one.
    Keep doing this every week or so until they are a balanced out a bit more.

    If you allow for too much of a strength difference between your hives, once a nectar flow slows or stops, the stronger hives will completely rob out the weaker one.

    Once more closely balanced, if the weaker hive fades again, remove the weak queen and requeen the hive. This time of year, you should likely consider a package queen, or at least a queen cell (if you have any in your other hives). You are likely too late in the year to allow them to raise one from a frame of eggs. You'll want to keep adding brood until this new queen is up and laying a good pattern.

    What is the brood pattern like in the weaker hive? If spotty or weak, perhaps you should just jump to requeening.

    Sincerely,
    Paul E. Turley
     
  9. Bee n There

    Bee n There New Member

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    Some of the hives certainly have more organized laying than others. One thing too we did run into was the bees filling up laying space with honey. Not having a supply of drawn out supers likely lead to that problem. The bees just would rather fill the brood boxes with honey rather than draw out foundation.

    Yep, have a few nuc boxes with queens cells that should be hatching anyday. Once there is a better idea of what queens we have, going to have to decide what can be pulled together into boxes to try and winter them and which ones to use for requeening.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Bee n There writes:
    The bees just would rather fill the brood boxes with honey rather than draw out foundation.

    tecumseh:
    'rather fill the brood boxes' may not be the best way to visualize this 'difference'. I suspect what you are witnessing is a subtle demographic difference in the bees in this particular box. might I suggest????.... for some reason 'the populations' age profile is older and they are thus less capable of producing wax and forming comb into some useable structure. I would guess one or two issues of new brood and thing may change quite dramatically.

    ps... so yes you can add the demographic profile of each nuc as a variable in how an individual hive preforms. <these subtle difference in 'original condition' are pretty much the bases of chaos theory and a bee hive is a pretty good micro model of chaos theory itself.

    bee n there writes:
    Is it all about the queens? Is it just random? Is it beekeeper interferance? hive location?

    tecumseh:
    years ago some bee keepers (of the very much commercial kind) use to be pretty picky about how they organized a yard of bees. one I knew actually pulled out a string and you aligned each hive's front with the string to get them into 'perfect' alignment. invariable in those places with a good deal of wind the couple of hives on the down wind side of the yard would always collect more honey. in this case the internal condition of the hive had little to do with performance and the hive's location was the best predictor of performance (measured by a harvested honey crop)..
     
  11. Bee n There

    Bee n There New Member

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