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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Rice County, MN, USA
    Posts
    43

    Default Reviving a flagging colony

    All of my colonies made it through the winter and three of the 4 are thriving. The fourth is sluggish (slow to take in syrup and not many bees foraging compared to the other hives) and I plan a thorough inspection tomorrow. Assuming the queen is alive and laying what are my options for helping this colony out? I won't have fresh queens until May so requeening isn't an option until then. Would putting a few frames of brood from one of my other hives in help? If so, should they be frames of capped brood?

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: Reviving a flagging colony

    Some capped brood will boost the population. If the queen is failing, there are drones flying in your area, and the weather is mild (like a lot places right now), you could put a frame of eggs and young larva in and dispatch the queen. They should raise another. Use eggs and larva from your best other hive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,176

    Default Re: Reviving a flagging colony

    Don't be dispatching a queen in Minneasota yet! Consider reducing the size of the hive by knocking them down into one box and if that is still way big, put some styrofoam follower boards in to reduce the amount of room they have to heat. If you have a frame of capped brood and bees, that is well over a pound more bees to boost that colony. That will help them take off if she is not a dud. Some are and any brood donated is wasted with compound interest. Don't give a cripple forever to get better. Mostly they don't ever set the world on fire. Numbers of colonies don't make a big crop. Strong colonies do.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Rice County, MN, USA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Reviving a flagging colony

    Reducing the size of the hive makes a lot of sense to me. I will take a look this afternoon and see what I can learn from my inspection of the hive. I hope that it will be clear to me whether to boost the colony with a frame of capped brood or to just let it die out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: Reviving a flagging colony

    Quote Originally Posted by bigwoodsbees View Post
    .... or to just let it die out.
    Or combine it with one of your others.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,144

    Default Re: Reviving a flagging colony

    I've come to prefer to take frames of brood from weak colonies to strengthen strong ones in the spring. Because (in my area) the weak ones will never be able to make a honey crop anyway, and I think it even helps the weak hive because all of the foragers stay put and are better able to provide for the smaller colony. After the spring honey flow ends it might make more sense to strengthen weak colonies if they show promise of some kind.

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