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  1. #1
    dcromwel Guest

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    I have 4 hives. One has 4 med. supers on it and filled up the last one with capped honey from foundation in just 2 weeks. The nectar flow in Maryland is supposed to stop in mid-June, so we're told. The other 3 hives have made zero progress with new supers this year, even regarding comb building.

    Is it just that one queen is genetically superproductive and the others inferior? Or is it possible that the one superior hive is successful at the expense of the other 3? I don't see anything at all that looks like robbing behavior. I wonder if 4 closely placed hives might possibly function more as one community of bees (with concentration of honey in one hive) rather than four separate communities/colonies.

    Lastly, I did find the start of a supercedure cell in the super hive this past weekend. Doesn't make much sense to me, but what do I know?

    Any thoughts, fellow beekeepers?

    Many thanks,

    David in Baltimore

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    1,895

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    "The nectar flow in Maryland is supposed to stop in mid-June, so we're told."

    This year may just be wetter than normal, hence the blooms are continuing.

    The other 3 hives have made zero progress with new supers this year, even regarding comb building.

    What are they building comb on? (Wax /plastic)
    Is it just that one queen is genetically superproductive and the others inferior?
    Yes it is possible, some queens are better than others.

    How are they arranged vs.wind direction,and sun up, heat of the day, etc.?
    Bees do drift from hive to hive, the hive at the end of a row, that is down wind will gain foragers, while the hive at the other end will lose.
    The hive that is at the end that first gets sun will forage first, and if the other hives shade it, will have to spend less energy cooling the hive during the heat of the day.

    "Lastly, I did find the start of a supercedure cell in the super hive this past weekend. Doesn't make much sense to me, but what do I know?"

    The queen may have been damaged / killed during an inspection. They now may see her as flawed.

    Any thoughts, fellow beekeepers?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,894

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    Some hives boom and some bust. Sometimes it's the queen, sometimes it's the timing of events. Sometimes it's even a pesticide kill that only hit the one hive on that crop at that time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Inver Grove, MN
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    In one area I have two hives sitting side by side. One is going gangbusters, the other is doing very little. Interestingly, when opened, they both appear to have similar populations. One is just "lazy" for some reason.

    I also have a large area of white sweet clover near the hives, but search as I might, there is not a bee to be found there. They are all flying off across the highway to some unknown location.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    Kansas
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    Hillside, I have a couple of acres of clover too but bees head out west or out south, never seem to gang up on the clover.

  6. #6
    dcromwel Guest

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    Thanks for the replies. Would the presence of a single early supercedure cell (under construction) lead you to conclude that the queen was in trouble, or could it just be a misfire by the hive? And if it had been an incredibly successful queen up until now, would you just let them replace her on their own versus buying a new one from a reputable breeder? I'm going to have to replace the queens in the other 3 anyway, I figure.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Is there a larvae in the supercedure cell? Otherwise it really doesn't mean anything. If there is, then it means they are replacing the queen.

  8. #8
    dcromwel Guest

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    There was no larvae in the supercedure cell. Thanks. If there had been, would your own preference have been to let the hive replace her or buy a new queen and hope that you get as good a stock as the one being replaced?

    Thanks,

    David in Baltimore

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >There was no larvae in the supercedure cell.

    Then it's just a queen cup. I woudln't consider it a cell.

    >Thanks. If there had been, would your own preference have been to let the hive replace her or buy a new queen and hope that you get as good a stock as the one being replaced?

    That depends on your overall strategy. I am trying to raise feral survivors. Even if I wasn't I would probably be trying to get bees more acclimatized to my area, so I'd probably lean toward letting them raise their own.

    If I was just planning on buying queens when I requeen anyway, then I'd look at the time of year. Early in the spring it's best to not waste the 28 days it takes to raise a new queen and get her laying. Just before or during the flow it may actually be an advantage because they won't swarm without a queen and they have less brood to care for and so there are more foragers. After the flow it will lose 28 days, but even this time of year those bees probably won't make it to winter and they probably won't make a crop, so it may not be a big disadvantage for them to raise a queen. But soon it will be late enough that the bees being raised will be the young ones the bees need to get through the winter. Then it's essential for them to be rearing brood.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    napoleon ohio
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    769

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    David
    I had the same thing here in Ohio some Hives did well otheres did not some did replace the queen.It was very wet early and for a long time this year.So some of the problem i would say was weather.The other was the queens i got new this year.The over winter hives did better than new hives hence i say some poor queens.It sure helps when you have other hives to cmpare to.I do want to know are your bees still makeing honey afet June?

    MountainCamp
    "The nectar flow in Maryland is supposed to stop in mid-June, so we're told."

    So we all got told this from a master beekeeper.My bees must be stupid and cant read the calender.It seems they are confused and make honey till frost hits.
    Bob

  11. #11
    dcromwel Guest

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    I didn't answer all the questions above. Sorry. Yes, there's been plenty of July honey production. At least one full honey super on the very productive hive. This most productive hive is, in fact, on the end of the row of four, but the northern most end with all 4 hives facing east and in very comparable conditions (I think).

    Thanks,

    David in Baltimore

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