Need some advice

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by jajtiii, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. jajtiii

    jajtiii New Member

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    Howdy,

    I picked up two Nuc's in the middle of May. One hive has filled out 70 to 80% of the frames and I have put a second brood chamber on them. The other hive is the problem. I have been hesitant to post, as there is a lot of data and I am not sure how much of it will help someone form an opinion to give me. At any rate, here goes.

    1. The weak hive never has had any 'orientation/training flights' that I frequently see on the strong hive on the weekends when I am in the yard in the afternoon.
    2. The weak hive never has a good number of bees coming and going, like the strong hive.
    3. The weak hive has always had two frames with both capped brood and eggs (I cannot say for sure that there were eggs on the last investigation (this past weekend) as I was a bit out of sorts and didn't pay attention
    4. I have seen the queen on every investigation until this last one. But, I did not spend a lot of time looking. The hive was having problems and I had to check them very late in the day, which I'm told is not ideal. So, I was not taking a lot of time to examine each frame, except to check for brood and pollen stores.
    5. On the advice of an experienced beekeeper, I started feeding both of my hive about 3 weeks ago. The strong hive immediately starting taking syrup, while the weak hive ignored it for 2 weeks and has only now started taking it.

    When I opened the hive last Sunday and noticed only 3 fully drawn frames and two that were being worked on, I was concerned. I read somewhere that just because you do not see fighting, it does not mean the hive is not being robbed (the guard bees may have been killed.) So, after the inspection, I put fresh syrup in the top feeder and put on an entrance reducer. When I did this, I took the top board (it was on top of my cover, where I put it during an inspection) and went to brush the bees off of it onto the landing area of the bottom board. For the first time, I noticed a ball of bees on the daggone top board. I looked at them and they were milling around in a ball. I figured that maybe one of the robbers was in the middle and brushed them onto the landing area...I have since read that 'balling' is something they do to queens. I have no idea what to think of that, but am wondering if this was a more serious thing then I first figured.

    For the past two days, the bees have been all over the landing board and the entrance reducer. Today, it seemed to me that some of them were fighting. Every time I checked them, there were tons of bees all around the small entrance and a ton all over the landing board and on front. Occasionally, it seemed like a few were fighting.

    Tonight, based on an article I read online, I was going to seal off the entire entrance with hardware cloth. The author indicated that if I see a bunch of bees on the outside in the morning, then I will know for sure they are being robbed. In addition, as long as they have food (I have given them syrup and a pollen patty), I can leave it sealed off for a couple of days and the robbers will give up.

    But, I have gone out twice tonight and they are still milling around the entrance! My other hive has long gone to bed, but not these guys. Bees are out there even now, in the dark (making it difficult to seal the thing off!)

    Well, that's it. It's a lot of info and most probably irrelevant or maybe needless worrying. Regardless, if you have comments or advice, I would love to hear it.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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  3. jajtiii

    jajtiii New Member

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    Many thanks. I will attempt to get this together today.

    I see the "plans" in that post, but am not 100% certain of the form. 6 inches up, is the opening the full width of the device or is there a "reduced" opening at the top? My search on the internet revealed many slightly different images.

    It is actually somewhat of a relief to hear that the problem might be robbing and that I might be able to remedy it.

    I did go out this morning and noticed a ton of dead bees, all in the final stages of brood development, on the ground outside of the hive. These things do not look malformed, but instead simply look like they never finished forming.

    Could robbers cause this problem? There are tons of ants (I am actually also going to remedy this today, by putting them on a low table with legs and putting the legs in large coffee cans full of water) - could the ants kill brood? Or is it probably just an issue with the hive being so daggone small and having to fight all day long that they cannot properly care for developing brood?

    thanks for the advice.

    jones
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Yes, it is open all the way across.

    The ants will remove unprotected larva and dead or dieing bees. They are janitors and undertakers.

    Also reduce the hive to one box if not already done. Even a 5 frame nuc box would help.
     
  5. dogsoldier13

    dogsoldier13 New Member

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    megabee would have boosted brood production in that hive,giving them an extra jump from the start
     
  6. jajtiii

    jajtiii New Member

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    I was told not to put a second brood box on either hive until they filled out 7 to 8 of the frames. So, I have not put one on this hive.

    But, I thank you for your help. I built two of these (I figured it would not hurt to have one for my 'stronger' hive, as 'stronger' to me is probably still 'weak' in the grand scheme of things) this morning and implemented them. There was a general hub bub about the hive all day - way more then normal, as this thing rarely sees a lot of action up until now. But, I noticed workers bringing pollen back in the small hole at the top that I left for them. A bunch of bees were on the screen all day, which I figure were some of my bees and some of the invaders. I feel pretty good about it. Tonight, this hive 'went to bed' like normal and no one was milling about outside.

    So, thanks again.

    One final thing (heh, I doubt it will be final, but the last one for this thread!) - when I went to put the robber screen on my weak hive, I pulled the entrance reducer out (and peeved a bunch of bees) and began to put it into place. Then, I noticed an inch-worm like thing, seemingly having come right out of the hive! In truth, I figured it was some silk worm that had dropped out of the trees, but (in retrospect) maybe it did come from inside.

    Is that anything to be alarmed about?
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    An inch worm is not white. If it was an inch worm, nothing to worry about. If it was white, yes, worry. Do a thorough inspection for more and do a search on the internet for small hive beetle.