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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    seattle, wa

    Default Not so productive???

    Hey everyone - I'm back with some beginner questions...I have two hives I built with a friend and put our bees in them beginning of April. Cool spring, but good sunny warm times the last month or so here in Seattle. The hives are pretty different, and I think it is temperature control that seems to create their differences. The one thing that they have in common is that they both seem to have stop building comb a couple months ago. In one, we only have about 8 or so combs, but they are as big as can be and the last couple are primarily honey based. The other has a few more combs, maybe 14 or so and not as big, and not as distinct in the separation between honey and brood. The queen seems to be laying all over the place. Also on this one, there are a TON of dead bees outside the entrance - hundreds. The other hive has more bushes interfering with direct drop observation, but even with that said, doesn't seem to have the attrition that this one does. Dead bees, definately more focus on making new bees, less honey stores....all sound ok in the first few months of a new hive? I can't get over the stall-out of the comb after such an impressive start, too. Normal?? Should I feed to jumpstart more comb and honey production? Seems weird to feed with all this good stuff here in nature...Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Chippew County, WI, USA

    Default Re: Not so productive???

    Are you going to a local beekeepers association? I think it would be very wise to do so if you are not. Just because you have a lot of flowers does not mean you have flowers than do you any good.

    You obviously have something going on with your bee if they are dieing in mass in front of hive. Pesticides, varroa mites, trachea mites, nosema or something. You may have poor genetics. There could be a number of things that one could list for possibilities.

    If there is a good flow, you should have at least two deeps full of bees, honey and brood. I made several nucs this spring here in Northern Wisconsin and they exploded. I ever split a few of them. A couple have made me two supers full of honey already. For example I made nucs with four drawn frames, a couple frames of brood, some honey and pollen and introduced a queen. I feed them for two weeks, installed them in deeps with foundation. I then added boxes with nothing but foundation. They drew all these frames out and packed them full of honey. They all swarmed on me two because they needed more boxes which I could not provide. So I would say you do not have a normal situation and you need to figure out what is wrong. By going to a local bee club you can rule out a poor flow and probably get some good input on what may be the culprit. You may even find someone nice enough to come over and diagnose your problem for you. It may be that you need to requeen. Im guessing you have a pest or disease problem like nosema or mites. If you have a flow on there should be no reason your bees would not have drawn out comb and packed your boxes with bees by now. I would waist no time finding out whats wrong if you want to salvage these colonies so they can survive winter and produce for you next year.

    Did you treat your bees for nosema, mites, and foulbrood this spring? did you get used comb from a beekeeper? Thses are all questions that need to be answered and the best place is a beekeepers meeting.

    Good Luck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA

    Default Re: Not so productive???

    I think you put the cart before the horse here. You wouldn't buy a car w/out first learning to drive, would you? Like WI said, get ye to a beeclub. Find someone to lead you by the hand if you can. Get some basic books. There is only so much that on line advice can do for you.

    Best of luck. You have alot of education ahead of you. But it can be fun education.
    Let America Be America Again
    Mark Berninghausen

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Camas, WA

    Default Re: Not so productive???

    The fact that they stopped making comb a couple of months ago is puzzling since our flow started right then. That's when they should normally go into high gear. My bees are still in high comb building mode, but that will probably only keep up for another week or two.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Denver, CO, USA

    Default Re: Not so productive???

    Sounds like the one hive is honey bound. The queen only wants to lay in the brood area, and at just 6 combs it isn't particularly large. The bees think that 2 combs of honey is all that particular population needs. When a hive is honey bound, they ignore the additional space in the back.

    You need to move the honey stores back and insert a top bar b/n the brood nest and the stores to encourage expansion. And yes, feed. Feed 1:1 to encourage comb-building. Not sure how big your hive is, but strive to have at least 12 combs going into Winter.

    My first colony stopped at 8 combs and just did not have the thermal mass needed to survive Winter.


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