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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Delta, British Colombia, Canada
    Posts
    44

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    Ok I am just wondering how I make packages of bees build up faster. I have been doing the endless feeding as I know this is required when they are on just foundation. I got 5 packages split them up into ten colonies on March the 6th. Had to combine 3 into another due to queens going MIA and so was left with 7 colonies with one giant one. I continue to feed them and some just seem to eat sugar but never expand even though they have queens and brood. So my question is this normal for commercial bees? I have only dealt with ferals before this and they always expanded with enormous vigor all you had to do is just give them some food and then stand back. I am just thinking of what I can do to get them even close to what I am use to for bees. I have thought of re-queening with hybrids or changing my practices with them maybe they need more intense help in some way? I just cant wait until my feral swarm queens are ready then I will see what is the deal one way or another. Anyone else have any opinions or advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    My opinion is that you should not have split them. I would rather have five growing colonies than six weak ones and one good one.

    March 6 in most of Kanada is pretty cold, but I think you have posted that you are in a warmer clime.

    A package is likely to grow at a faster speed with greater numbers to keep the brood covered and fed.

    My best experiance with making swarms or packages take off is to give them a frame of brood, a pollen patty, and plenty of 1-1 syrup. Keeping them in a small nuc with no screened bottom will help them stay warm as well.

    The most important ingrediant is patience.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
    Posts
    923

    Post

    I'm with Bill...a package is A package, not two...that's why they come with one, not two, queens.

    BubbaBob

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,069

    Post

    If you had a 4lb package that you split into 2lbs apiece you should be ok.... any smaller than that and I think you are just greatly diminishing their ability to build up at any decent pace this time of year.

    If you have nuc boxes, I would put them into nuc boxes or put a divider board in your hives to give them less space to have to maintain. The smaller space should help them in keeping the brood warm and keep the colony more compact as they grow. As brood hatches you can move the divider board or move them out of the nuc into a 10 frame box.

    I've had good success adding a second 5-frame box to the top of the nuc and letting them move straight up once they have filled out the 5-frames below. The draw the comb out much faster then they do when they have to move side-to-side. When 8 out of 10 frames in 2-story high nucs are drawn out I move them to a 10 frame box and and another 10-frames of foundation are put on top.

    In my experience, they have built up faster for me doing it this way. The down side is you need extra 5-frame equipment.

    Dan
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    napoleon ohio
    Posts
    769

    Post

    I agree you may have made too small of hive for them to build up fast.How many frames of bees are in the splits? you need at least 3 frames covered with bees for them to do much.Is there anything blooming in your area.Some pollen comeing in would help alot to speed them up too.You may want to try and equal the out a bit by moveing them to the stroger hives stand.Or if they are too weak combine or add some frames of brood from a strong hive.good luck this season
    Mitch KD8IMF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    307

    Post

    Did you give them pollen patties? If not, is there pollen available in your area? It takes protien to raise brood.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Delta, British Colombia, Canada
    Posts
    44

    Post

    The packages I received are 4 pound packages and came with two queens and were designed to be split. The reason for the lose of the 3 was due to queen failure so nothing much I could do about that cant get more queens so I combined them. I feed them sugar water and pollen patties all the time most seem to respond well. In about a week or two I should be able to start them on drawing out supers I believe. There is lot of forage out hear and the bees have been bringing it in now it seems like forever our real flow will be beginning very soon. I did think about staring them in nuces but was told that it would be to stressful for them to be moved later so I just started them in a standard deep. The weather was warm enough for the bees out hear to survive well. It has been mostly around 10C or above so far this spring so cold was not much of an issue. Most packages seemed to cover from 3 to 4 frames after splitting so size should be fine. I did this based on the experience of other beekeepers in the area that run commercial operations in the area and have been doing this for years so they can do pollination for blueberries. I know that the idea of Canada most of the time is that of artic tundra but here it usually gets very hot and just stays that way then rains all winter if we are unlucky it snow twice a year with maybe one to 2 weeks of below -10 C. Now back to the question at hand the splits were basically equal to start but have not stayed that way it seems some just donÂ’t like to eat at any fast rate. So question is how can I increase the speed at which they grow? I have thought of doing frame manipulation on the larger colonies and when they reach the point of running out of room then I can transfer from 1 or 2 frames of brood and bees from each and take the small colonies from 3 or 4 frames to 7 or 8 covered frames. I have checked and they are all queen right and have brood so the queen I would assume is not the problem. If I can get any suggestions I would appreciate it. I know small colonies can get big I have done it before but these ones seem different.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    medesto,indiana,usa
    Posts
    257

    Post

    Your doing the right thing keep feeding sugar and pollen patties and provide plenty of area for brood.As the days get longer and things warm up you should see a jump in brood rearing.A queen can lay up to 3000 eggs a day and you need to keep plenty of food and pollen handy so they maintain that level of laying.I would make divides before I moved frames of brood to a slower hive in the hopes of it building up faster.JMO good luck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    307

    Post

    This is just a guess, but if these packages all started with the same number of bees from the same source and they're growing at different rates, seems the only variable is the performance of the queen. You've already observed queen problems by losing three. Maybe these queens got stressed during shipment and some of them were affected more than others. After all, three of them died.

    Requeening may not be the solution to the problem of slow buildup, since replacing the queen would cause some disruption for colonies that are perhaps already marginal. But maybe queen performance is the root of your problem with uneven buildup.

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