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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Delaware County, New York, USA
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    178

    Question Rather Concerned

    I've had two TBHs - started from nucs - for about one month. When I've opened up the back of each hive I've observed that "number one" hive is building comb like gangbusters. I don't see any new come from the rear in hive "number two". The bees in each hive are going in and out busily and are coming back with pollen but "number two" looks like they are in slow motion! Always more bees and busier at the entrance of number one. The outwardly observable difference between these two hives is remarkable.

    I haven't been able to go into the hives for a "full" inspections because the weather here has been horrible - always raining or rain coming in. Low pressure has been around for over a month, and on the weekends when I am only able to get to the hives, the weather has been poor. I haven't been able to go in for three weeks and I'm virtually flying blind at this point.

    As a complete novice my question is this: Should I be concerned or is this normal in colonies that have started out "equally"?

    When I do go in, what should I be looking for?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    GREENWOOD INDIANA USA
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    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    Under ideal conditions, two hives right next to each other can seem very different. So that, in and of itself, is not a problem especially when you consider they are only a month along.
    There are all sorts of things that "might" be going on, but unequal buildup of "equally started" hives is not something that's very remarkable.
    When you check, if they both have eggs/larvae/brood and stores I wouldn't be too concerned.
    Weather is a BIG factor. Are you feeding?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Delaware County, New York, USA
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    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    Thank you for your reply.

    I'm not feeding...but I have considered it - considering the unusually wet, cool, weather we've been having. But we're in the middle of New York State watershed area which is relatively pristine and with incredible forage for thousands of acres in every direction. If only the girls had a chance to go out and get it........

    If I feed, what would you recommend?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Moontownship, PA
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    81

    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    Since your hives started as from nucs just a month ago, I would assume that they are still very small colonies.

    You should strongly consider feeding them 1:1 syrup and even consider a artificial pollen.

    yes they can go out an forage, but they use lots of energy and time for that.
    Leaving less energy and time to build comb.

    I read someplace that it takes 3 lbs of honey for the bees to make 1 lb of comb. If that is true, think about all of the foraging the bees will need to build out your hive.

    I started 1 hive from a package on May 4th, that hive is now two deeps, and may be adding a supper in a week or two. My second hive from a small swarm on May 24, is getting a second deep sometime this week.

    Good Like

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Sebastopol, Ca.
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    307

    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    Go out and pull a bar as soon as possible, weather permitting. If you have pure white comb with no yellowish coloration, then you may have lost a queen. I am new to this myself but a similar thing happened to me. I had no queen. She flew the coop, was raptured, or moved on away on a slow moving train, or could have gone on another flight to get more sperm due to being weak, whatever, there was no queen.
    Friend came over and showed me what to do: take a bar from the thriving hive every four days and make SURE there is no queen on it. Give it a shake to get some of the bees off. Then put it in the weak hive. The girls (in the weak hive) will smell the new brood and HOPEFULLY will start raising a queen. The reason it's every four days is that the healthy queen will lay an egg and if you steal it an place it in the new hive, then those girls will feed it royal jelly until the she emerges for her maiden flight. Must be within 24 hours of the egg being layed to make a queen. Good luck.
    The only way to determine is that you must get out there and see. Pray for good weather.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Delaware County, New York, USA
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    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    Thanks. Yes, I am STILL praying for good weather but my prayers haven't been answered. Still raining! Rain with scattered thunder all this past week and more thunderstorms predicted for this week.

    I MUST start feeding immediately and will do so when I get to the hives tomorrow. Some questions:

    What's the simplest way to do this in a TBH?
    What is the best mixture of water to syrup?
    And what does 1:1 mean?

    I've seen some who say 2 qts water to 5 lbs sugar and others say 2 1/2 qts to 5 lbs. Doesn't seem to be a big difference but I want to do what's best.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    GREENWOOD INDIANA USA
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    344

    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    A very simple method is to put an amount of granulated sugar in a clear bottle. Note where the sugar comes on the container. Add enough water to bring the solution level even to where the sugar was (because as you add water some of the sugar wil dissolve making it a sugar/water solution). Then shake repeatedly until the solution becomes a thick syrup (as you shake it will glug rather then splash). All the sugar should be dissolved. You are looking for a consistancy roughly that of Maple Syrup. If it's too thin, add more sugar. That is roughly a 1:1 syrup solution. You may need to shake for "awhile" if the water is cool. Warmer water will work faster. For a 1:1 solution you really don't need to boil any water, but warm tap water will make it happen quicker.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Modesto, CA USA
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    1:1 = 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar
    10 lbs of sugar is close to 1 gal of water
    5 lbs of sugar would be close to 1/2 gal of water which is 2 qts.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Delaware County, New York, USA
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    178

    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    Sounds good. Thanks!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Sebastopol, Ca.
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    307

    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    1 cup of sugar. 1 cup of water.
    2 C Sugar. 2 C water.
    etc.
    C&H sugar. Regular white sugar we here in America love.
    Not molasses, brown, or any other stuff.

    If you cannot put a feeder in your hive (boardman feeder) then get a baggie that will seal. Put 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water in the baggie. SEAL IT TOTALLY (or ants will vie for the syrup) and place in hive bottom. Take small needle and prick a few holes in it......that's about it. They'll do the rest.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Delaware County, New York, USA
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    178

    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    I put one quart syrup each in a large square plastic food storage container, put pieces of wood from whittling to float on top, and placed it on the bottom of each TBH. Covered up the hive and let them feed.

    How does that sound?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Delaware County, New York, USA
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    178

    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    I tried to feed my two TBH for the first time in almost 5 weeks of rain. Lifted off the cover only to find a nest of biting brown ants on top of the top bars -larvae and all! (I know they bite when they got onto my hands!) I scraped off those that I could, closed up the hive, and came back to post this. I'm going back to put the sugar syrup container in the hive, but the bees certainly don't need competetion for food!

    Any advice on ants would be appreciated.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Sebastopol, Ca.
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    307

    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    Had ants, not like that though.
    Only solution I've read is that if the TBH is on legs, get cans big enough to put the legs in, like empty coffee cans, close off hive in the dark of morning, lift up hive, have friend put legs in cans, lower hive down. Fill cans with oil. Then you and the girls go after what's left in the hive.
    Probably other solutions and I look forward to seeing them.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Delaware County, New York, USA
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    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    Thanks for that and I've heard this one before and it's a very good idea. My hives don't have legs - just resting on cinder blocks on top of an old palate.

    For now, I just brushed on motor oil all over the base of the cinder blocks but it didn't seem to do much good. I'm a firm believer in letting the ecosystem achieve balance but I'm mighty tempted to put a couple of ant baits on top of the top bars where the nest is and be done with it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Sebastopol, Ca.
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    307

    Default Re: Rather Concerned

    In a heartbeat and a New York second. You are the better part of the "ecosystem" so go do it.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Red Hook Ny
    Posts
    99

    Default Mis-information ?

    Quote Originally Posted by LenInNorCal View Post
    If you have pure white comb with no yellowish coloration, then you may have lost a queen.
    If you have pure white comb it means the bees are actively drawing comb. How do you figure this equals queenlessness ? I have two hives with snow white comb full of eggs. These two have nothing to do with each other.

    Must be within 24 hours of the egg being layed to make a queen.
    Actually, it must be within the first three days , the earlier the better.

  17. #17
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    Feb 2009
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    Default Re: Mis-information ?

    Quote Originally Posted by bakerboy View Post
    If you have pure white comb it means the bees are actively drawing comb. How do you figure this equals queenlessness ? I have two hives with snow white comb full of eggs. These two have nothing to do with each other.
    Well, I guess you are directly correct. If there is an active queen then the combs won't stay white, will they? Poor assumption on my part, not to be so explicit, and I also guessed he knew what brood looked like, as opposed to honey filled comb. But if he has nothing but white comb, then maybe I am not that far from wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by bakerboy View Post
    Actually, it must be within the first three days , the earlier the better.
    So, does that mean if one puts in a new bar every four days then that covers your 24 hour period for the first three?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    West Newton, Pa.
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    916

    Default Re: Mis-information ?

    Quote Originally Posted by LenInNorCal View Post
    Well, I guess you are directly correct. If there is an active queen then the combs won't stay white, will they? Poor assumption on my part, not to be so explicit, and I also guessed he knew what brood looked like, as opposed to honey filled comb. But if he has nothing but white comb, then maybe I am not that far from wrong?
    As bakerboy stated an active queen and white comb have nothing to do with each other. If the nectar flow is on, the workers will be creating new (white) comb on a continuous basis (could last for weeks). How could this in any way indicate that the hive is queenless?

    Quote Originally Posted by LenInNorCal View Post
    So, does that mean if one puts in a new bar every four days then that covers your 24 hour period for the first three?
    Huh????
    Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Sebastopol, Ca.
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    307

    Default Re: Mis-information ?

    Quote Originally Posted by carbide View Post
    As bakerboy stated an active queen and white comb have nothing to do with each other. If the nectar flow is on, the workers will be creating new (white) comb on a continuous basis (could last for weeks). How could this in any way indicate that the hive is queenless?
    I stand corrected. You are right. That has happened to me recently. They kept building but there was no queen and everything remained as white as snow. That should cut down on my varroa. The point I was making is that the queen will lay in comb and change the color in so doing. Absent her and the comb will not be filled with larve, fed with R.J. and all the other nutrients. That is what I was poorly attempting to infer.

    As for putting in a new bar in an attempt to have a queenless hive raise a queen, if a bar from another active hive has a queen laying well and one moves that bar to an inactive hive every four days then getting an egg that is less than 24 hours old is increased. When those less-than-day-old cells are discovered in the queenless hive, those girls will start rearing their new queen. That is all theoretical as the bees themselves don't read the memos nor books.

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