Hi, There seems to be something seriously wrong with my bees- firstly, it seems their numbers have been steadily declining, and I've made sure to check when they all should be in the hive. Also, there is no growth. there is plenty of comb, but only a few cells are capped and it's few and far between. the comb is no longer white, but kind of rusty red at places, and there is no honey that I can immediately tell. I don't think i have a queen,for the bees are loud and wandering aimlessly around. I actually don't think I ever had a queen, or she died very soon, because there doesn't seem to be any sort of order- I think i have laying workers and I think my colony is dying.I know I did nothing wrong- did I? There is no reason my hive should be failing! Maybe I am wrong about the interpretation of what is going on. The whole vibe the colony is giving off is decay and aimlessness. Or am i reading it wrong? I am a beginner tbh- I have tried to guide the bees but let them lead- to give them what they need and back off to let them do their thing. They are in a perfect location and the weather has been favorable. What can i do? is there anything I obviously did wrong?
I had a hive that was the same way they were loud and sounded like an ac unit turned out they had no queen and no way to make a new one. I think I must have crushed her or somthing. so I would check real good for a queen and get one asap if you cant find one ..(I just used a frame with eggs and brood)
I'd check for eggs. You want to see single eggs at the bottom of the cells. If you find no eggs, or if you find a lot of eggs all over the sides of cells, the hive is queenless.
Last edited by Barry; 06-03-2009 at 04:53 PM.
Reason: remove quotes
Have you ever seen eggs?? Or young brood??
How many frames of bees do you have??
but only a few cells are capped and it's few and far between. the comb is no longer white, but kind of rusty red at places, and there is no honey that I can immediately tell.
Comb doesn't stay white very long. Then it can turn reddish brown, and eventually black. Often it turns darker first in the areas brood was raised in, probably from the cocoons.
What are the capped cells? Capped worker cells, capped drone cells, or capped honey cells?
Was this started from a package or swarm or...? If a package, they naturally dwindle for the first month due to die-off before any new bees emerge.
well,i'm glad at least some of it is natural.. capped worker and drone- the cells are significantly convex and fibrous, but most are small- so I think both drone and worker. it is a natural swarm a friend caught for me.
to sundance- i have not seen either- but that can be due to my inexperinenced eyes. TBH don't have frames, but they have at least started 9 top bars.
I run foundationless hives as well. Pull out a couple bars closest to the entrance (the darker combs), and and hold them up to the sunlight. Looking through them for eggs is much easier. You should see little white grains of what look like rice in the cells. If there is one in each cell at the bottom, then it's likely you've got a queen. If there are a few in each cell, haphazardly deposited on the sides, it's likely your hive is queenless and you've got laying workers.
I might add sometimes it helps when you're first starting to use reading glasses when looking for eggs. At first I wouldn't be sure if it was an egg or a gleam of honey if the light wasn't right...though when it IS an egg, you usually know it. I spent a little time using reading glasses, which made me more comfortable after that without.
Don't beat yourself up about possibly doing something wrong, either. Everyone does, and a lot can be corrected from what I've seen. Loss of queen can be lots of reasons from her being injured - by you or some other way like in shipping- to disease or not making it back from mating flights, etc. Just get another or like was said, if you have a frame of brood with eggs, they can raise one. But you might have better luck being new buying a quality queen with known breeding if you can get one fairly quickly.
the report was declining numbers and extremly spotty brood...
queen or not, she needs a new queen..... the only question is laying workers and hard to install queen, or remove old queen and easy install.
I would also wonder about combining with another hive?? don't know if you have any? and a new package with new workers and a fresh queen. they will move fast if they have some comb.
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