Which hive(s) should I worry about if any?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Eddy Honey, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It was near 70 today so I figured I'd clean the bottom boards and put in new SHB traps. Two hives are boiling over with bees and used all the bee candy I gave them. There were numerous frames of brood of all ages and capped drone cells mostly in the middle box of my 3 box configuration. Very tight laying patterns They had a decent amount of capped honey and open nectar scattered throughout in each box along with LOTS of pollen in the cells.

    The third less active hive never touched any of their bee candy all winter. They have capped honey in the middle box, LOTS of pollen, but only 1 frame with brood in the bottom box. The capped brood area is about the size of a soft ball and there is some open brood of all ages around it. It's in very tight pattern in the center. There are capped drone cells at the top edge of this frame. I saw the queen and she looks ok but I can only go on appearence. I took a box away from this hive so now they have a deep and a medium with honey.

    So, which hives do I need to be concerned with? The ones boiling over that took the candy? Did I trick them into thinking there was a flow and now there is a ton of brood to feed? The maples have just bloomed are they enough of a nectar source?

    Do I concern myself with the lesser hive with their small number of bees and brood? Do I feed them syrup to jump start them or is this really my normal hive and the queen is actually sizing the hive for the conditions that exist?

    Do I not concern myself with any of them?

    My thought is to let the lesser hive run it's course and learn from it. If it fails, I can make a split from one of the two packed hives and have all that drawn comb to start with. If it survives and springs back to life it will be a lesson learned....leave 'em alone. Who knows, this may be the best hive as they wintered on their own resources without my help.

    Ed
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The box with little brood, I would move the pollen frames outward and put empty drawn comb inside them. It sounds like the queen sees the pollen frames as walls and won't cross them. Give her empty drawn frames and she should fill them quickly.

    Make sure the bursting hives have expansion room, or they will swarm. Swarm season is already north of NC, so it will be in your area very soon.
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would take a whole frame of solid capped brood from your most bursting hive, make sure the queen is not on it but keep the nurse bees on it, and put it in right alongside the brood frame of the weak hive. Keep the brood area together.
    Take an undrawn frame with no bees from the weak hive and put it into the bursting hive, right alongside the brood nest but not dividing it.
    This does two things- an immediate and powerful boost to the weaker hive, and helps keep the booming hive from swarming by providing new empty comb in the brood nest for the queen to lay in.
    It sounds to me like both your hives are fine, just different. Good that you removed some of the unused box space from the smaller hive. You can give it back later when they need it. They must have something good going on because they survived the winter without your help, right? I say give that queen a chance to prove herself!

    You are much fiurther south than me, and my bees are now bringing in tons of pollen. I'm sure your bees have plenty to forage on with all the flowering trees where you are. :thumbsup:
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    with a proper plan worry is something that just gets in the way.

    both of the above post are good advice... essentially opening up the brood nest and leveling resources. in the less populated hive I might scratch a frame of capped honey at the center of the box to get the girls a head start there. it does sound like the less populated hive might also benefit from some liquid feed and the untouched candy board I would transfer to the most populated hive (as insurance as much as anything else).
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Another opinion basically in agreement with the above three but with one modification. Even though nurse bees are generally mild mannered, you might just have enough strange neirghbors to provoke a fight. I would suggest that the frames you move from the stronger hives to the weaker one not tbe with nurse bees but selected to be of emerging brood. The brood that emerges won't fight at all and will quickly assume the needed jobs in the receiving family.
    Whereas you only spoke of the looks of the queen in the weaker family, looks can be deceiving. She might be old or running out of sperm stores. I would put her on the candidates list for replacement at the earliest opportunity--an easy method might be to use a queen cell from one of the two strong hives, should they start making preparations to swarm.
     
  6. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The queen in the weaker hive is from May 2011 and is the daughter of the queen (age unknown) of my most productive hive. They are all very busy today relative to their populations. I'm hoping to make some queens when I see drones out and about. There is capped drone cells so it could be a few weeks yet before they are flying/mating.
     
  7. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I added a deep frame of brood of all ages (mostly capped) and the handful of nurse bees that were on the frame. I did notice since the last time I was in there that there were 3 more frames of brood in a nice tight pattern. So with the frame that was already in there plus the one I added there is now 5. Again the brood patterns aren't large (softball size maybe a little bigger) but there is pollen to the outside of each pattern. Hopefully the workers will move or use up this pollen so the queen can lay. I did find an empty drawn frame so I put that in the middle of the brood nest.

    My most active hive drew out 3 deep frames in 3 days. For what ever reason these bees never would finish drawing out the bottom deep. They always preferred the top two mediums. Even 3 days ago there was lots of brood in the top two mediums but the bottom deep; empty. Well, I fixed them and stuck that deep on top and now it is fully drawn. Maybe I'll just play their game and have me a deep honey super. Sure does look nice all that fresh wax! They've already got alot of it full of pollen and nectar so I added a medium on top of that deep with 4 undrawn frames in the middle and 2 drawn frames on each side.
    For my oldest queen she sure is the most productive. I hope to make daughters off of her asap. I saw drones in the hives but not flying.
     
  8. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sounds great! I think my area is about 2 weeks behind you, judging from the healthy hive I inspected today that is just getting revved up now. No drones or drone brood just yet here.
     
  9. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Omie! After reading about your inspection I think my hive isn't weak it's just delayed in building up. It's on the far corner of my property and doesn't get as much sun and warmth as the other 2 hives so maybe that has something to do with the queens reluctance to build up too early. She's starting to rev up now though.
     
  10. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Eddy, that sounds totally logical. I think hives with less sun definitely warm up and get started later in the Spring. I also think that because you and i are going into our hives relatively early in the season, we are seeing fewer bees in the hive than there will be 3 weeks from now. We cannot compare our hives to all the posters here living in NC, FL, and Texas.
    The hives i looked at today only had softball sized brood patches- the queens really are just getting started, coming out of winter dormancy. I'm impressed that you have capped drone brood already...I don't. Yes, do wait until you see lots of drones flying before you try to make queens. Nothing sadder than a gal standing around in her prom dress with no date in sight!
    What's great is that there's early pollen and nectar for them all this Spring. :)
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    an omie snip..
    We cannot compare our hives to all the posters here living in NC, FL, and Texas.

    tecumseh:
    well there are yankee bees and then there are your proper southern lady bees.
    :wink:

    you can kind of make some comparison by lagging the calendar or date somewhat.
     
  12. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

    Messages:
    1,322
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    lol Tec, in actuality your bees can compare to the southern hives in many respects, the nectar flows in the south tend to be drawn out over the course of the year, not as intense as what you will experience up north a bit, of course the inverse is also true, milder winters, and continuing pollen sources all the bees if your feeding them, and you had better be feeding, or as the major brood rearing starts, they will surely starve. With the first real nectar flow, the bees prefer that to sugar syrup. The short of it is if you provide for brood nest expansion, personally I would install double brood chambers ( deep supers ), and allow the queen two full depth nesting boxes, she will use them believe that. as the nest area expands covering more frames, consider rotating the brood boxes to encourage the queen to move up into the other box, further expanding the nest area, accomplishes many things, avoids becoming honey bound, provides more clustering space, to help avoid swarming, even with all that space, when the nectar flows really crank up, the bees will use more and more brood space for nectar storage crowding the queen, and starting the swarming impulse any combination or, over crowding cramping movement within the brood nest, queen crowded for laying space, insufficient clustering space--no place to spread out into. Supering, and providing upper entrances, would be the best way to avoid the swarm.
    Barry
     
  13. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I wanted to update this thread to say that the slow hive is now on par with the strongest of hives. I suppose that queen knew March is full of suprises here and waited for the weather to stabilize.
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Eddy writes..
    I suppose that queen knew March is full of suprises here and waited for the weather to stabilize.

    tecumseh:
    what was the old real estate saying? location, location, location.

    in a place like Texas or anywhere in the south the kind of hive you want (barry's post #12 runs pretty much tells you of the why here) is the boomer hives you describe. anywhere in the northern areas likely the kind of hive most folks should want is the last hive you describe. if I lived north of the mason-dixon line (god forbid) then this last hive would represent the kind of qualities I would be looking for in a hive.