Neglectful beekeeper - need advice

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Hobie, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    I'm ashamed to admit it, but I have been so busy this year (not an excuse, I know) that I have neglected my one remaining hive terribly. I took a look today and need advice on what to do.

    This hive wintered with one deep and 3 shallows. Last time I looked the deep (bottom position was empty, and there was some brood in the 2nd box. I removed the top shallow (also empty) at that time. The hope was that the bees would start gathering nectar and push the queen down into the bottom deep.

    Today I found this:
    On the SBB: Many, MANY dead larva mummies. Entire bottom pretty much covered.

    Bottom deep: Nearly empty. Some nectar being stored in the tops of frames 2-6 (in a 10-frame box)

    Middle shallow: Frame 10 empty. Frames 7-9 had nectar and pollen. Frames 2-6 had really spotty brood. Cells between the brood looked like they had liquid in them, but I forgot my glasses and could not see much more. Frame 2 had one open queen cup on the bottom. Frame 1 had some drone brood and (I think) uncapped nectar.

    Top shallow: Frames 8-10 heavy with nectar. Frame 7 nearly solid brood. Frames 2-6 had brood but not as solid. Frame 2 had 2 open queen cups on the bottom. In the uncapped cells I could see some larvae and some liquid. Frame 1 had nectar.

    Cover: Tiny bit of new comb being drawn above inner cover hole.

    I did not see the queen, but that it typical for me. There were a good number of bees in the hive, but the times I have looked (evenings) there have not been many flying.

    Any advice on what I should do? Shuffle boxes? Add honey super? Plan on no harvest this year?
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Re: Nelgectful beekeeper - need advice

    #1 - ignore queen cups if they don't have anything in them, they all usually build a few just to have handy.
    #2 - Don't worry about the bit of comb above inner cover.
    #3 - It seems as though the bees are not pushing the queen down yet, I don't know if you have a flow going on there. If you were wanting honey, I would remove the deep and then place another super over the 2 shallows. If you really want your brood down in the deep for management/wintering purposes I guess I would wait and see if they backfill the emerging brood with nectar and force the queen down. Is this an old queen, last years or even prior? Could it be she is starting to run out of gas?
     

  3. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Re: Nelgectful beekeeper - need advice

    She's from a 2009 late June swarm, so she may be getting on in years.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    sounds like several things happening here.

    first you make a good case for reversing boxes early and often.

    secondly the dead mummies may suggest a negative connection between sbb and wet/cool spring time weather.

    a spotty brood pattern (to me) usually indicates either 1) poor food resources coming into the hive and/or 2) an older and poorly laying queen. sound like both of these may apply?