i have one hive that is quite puzzling to me and i am not sure what to do about it going into winter. the queen, who was a new queen in a swarm from one of my original hives, seems to have turned on me. she is laying a spotty brood pattern, the hive has virtually no honey stores to last the winter, and even have some new foundation that they have not drawn out into comb but have filled the shallow indentations with honey in some places and capped it. the hive is also a mess. looks like no one is on cleanup duty. i know they will not make it through the winter, but what do i do? just let them die out? if so, how do i deal with the ensuing mess come next spring?
this is only my second year. i have 3 hives total. i had a very disappointing year after a great rookie season.
thanks as always for your great advice.
The queens do back off on laying this time of year, here in Nebraska anyway. But it's still usually a small but solid brood nest if there is still some brood or no brood at all. The spotty brood sounds like the queen may be failing and the bees don't have enough stores. I would kill the old queen and combine the hive with one of your other weaker hives to help them both out. Don't just let them die. Weak hives are where diseases get started.
thanks for the info, i definitely don't want this hive to become diseased due to weakness. i will kill the queen when i winterize, but what is the best way to combine the hives? what about brood/mess left in the old boxes? i usually reduce my hives down to 2 boxes for the winter. any and all info you can give me is great. like i said i'm new at this. last year everything went by the book.
The quickest way to deal with it is just shake the bees out in front of your other hives,and put the equipment into storage until next year.If there are any assets like extra combs of honey they can be given to another hive (swapping frames).Doesnt sound like they have much though,and foulbrood is always a possibility.Poor queens are the usual problem and this year seems to have had more queen problems than normal.
---Mike from Kahleeforneeeah.