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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Michigan City Indiana USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Second year Beek- Chance of hive surviving?

    Hello all
    Second year in beekeeping. In northwest Indiana so still a chilly 40-50 degrees here. Overwintered 2 colonies. One had swarmed in late July and went into the winter looking puny but is absolutely strong and robust looking on warmer days. The colony that went into the winter looking strong is terribly puny. Little activity on the warmer days (especially compared to the other hive) .

    I did take a peark when the weather was a bit warmer a few days ago and there is still a little cluster of bees in the top deep. Its not been warm enough to pull the hive apart to explore more.

    Since there is still a cluster, I should expect the queen to have made it this far, yes?

    Is there anything I can do to help them make it through the early weeks of spring before we start having any kind of nectar flow? Intuitively I am thinking of feeding sugar water but am reading this can have negative consequences if the weather hasn't quite warmed up.

    As a general question, is there anything else I can do to encourage the cluster to start moving around and preparing for spring?

    Going into spring with 2 colonies would be absolutely great. Just appreciate insight in how you baby these weaker ones before the spring blooms begin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: Second year Beek- Chance of hive surviving?

    Don't don't DON't feed sugar water. Feeding sugar is fine in the form of fondant or sugar patties on the top bars, but do not feed sugar water. They can't leave cluster to do much with it anyway, and you risk several things if you feed sugar water
    1) Adding excess moisture to your hive. The bees then have to work harder and harder to remove that moisture and eat more and more, assuming it doesn't freeze to them.
    2) Encouraging 'spring-like' buildup, causing more brood to be born than your cluster can care for if it goes cold.
    3) Encouraging early swarming.

    In general, DO NOT try to 'encourage' your hive to start moving. They know what they are doing with staying clustered, because they know that it can go below freezing anytime again. You can feed sugar patties to make sure they have stores, but especially after being hit so hard by the last cold spell personally, I suggest prudence and patience with this spring.
    2 hives of Italians. 5 seasons of experience.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Second year Beek- Chance of hive surviving?

    Quote Originally Posted by JGstriker View Post
    Is there anything I can do to help them make it through the early weeks of spring before we start having any kind of nectar flow? Intuitively I am thinking of feeding sugar water but am reading this can have negative consequences if the weather hasn't quite warmed up.
    Do they still have honey? If so, no need or purpose in feeding
    The second question to ask yourself is why the colony that went into winter strongest so puny now?
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Second year Beek- Chance of hive surviving?

    Mite control is a must. If a winter cover was placed on top the hive. Wallmart has non GMO suger. Pour on top they will eat it and take it into the hive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    486

    Default Re: Second year Beek- Chance of hive surviving?

    I am a newbie like you, but I can tell you that the only thing you can reasonably do when it is still cold is to add sugar bricks for insurance. Everything else has been set in stone by the Fall. Research Laurie's Sugar bricks or pm me for the recipe. Very easy to make.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Michigan City Indiana USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Second year Beek- Chance of hive surviving?

    I did do a mite check in late summer and had what was rated as a moderate number (sorry I don't recall how the rates went but I think I had like 5 mites in one shake and 6 in another)

    I did treat with apivar per instructions but admit I didn't do a mite recheck. Maybe that was something I should have done?

    I do have candy boards on both hives and it looks like the weaker, at least, has a pretty heavy supply of sugar left. I haven't been able to assess for honey stores as it has seldom cracked over 55 degrees and I dont want to expose them to too much cold windy weather yet. It is supposed to hit 60 this weekend so I plan on opening them up

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    4,842

    Default Re: Second year Beek- Chance of hive surviving?

    First Welcome! @ days is not going to make that much difference. When you open the hive this weekend just add some sugar on a piece of newspaper above the cluster. if the hive has no stores. If the hive has stores left move them to the edge of the brood pattern.

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