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How do you determine if you have a weak hive at this time of year and is it worth getting bulk bees to attempt to keep them going until spring?
 

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go to here... freemanbeetletrap.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/The_Seasons_of_Beekeeping.33142126.pdf.

the above web location should be on each and every new beekeepers must read list.

read about 'reading the seasonal cluster size'... come to some understanding (experience or other folks experience) as to what is an appropriate cluster for this time of year at your location and variety of bees. read the entire article.. it is one of the very best tools I have seen in regards to informing new beekeepers as to what need to be known and done. you will have to adjust the timetable somewhat for your particular area.

as a general rule I would suggest that feeding (a dribble) and growing a hive is more time consuming but better (fewer risk) means of boosting a weak hive. once the energy and population of the hive is somewhat boosted adding a singular frame of capped brood is typically all that is required to get a hive up to size.
 
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