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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD USA
    Posts
    25

    Default More mysteries to me - empty frames

    Hi, All,

    I've been trying to get my 1st year bees to draw out the frames in my honey supers, but that hasn't worked (not enough honey flow, I guess). So today, I went in to replace the queen separators that I'd removed, and to see if I could steal a taste of honey. I went down into the brood chambers and what I found seems bad. The comb there is empty. No honey. No brood. Just totally empty. The bees got very angry, but I pulled out 3 or 4 frames that had been full (and clearly had been used) that are now empty.

    What could this mean? Shouldn't they have something in there? Do they stop laying brood at this point? Is there anything I can do at this point in the season?

    Thanks again for all the help you have given!

    Jen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Noxon, Mt.
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    I don't know enough to give advice, but wondered if you saw any brood at all. Eggs, larva, capped brood? Did you see a queen or any queen cells? Have you been feeding at all? Boy, there is allot to learn about making good decisions....;-))

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    There were no eggs, larva, capped brood, nothing. I didn't get to look deeply for the queen. There was an old, empty queen cell. This hive swarmed earlier in the summer, but had been back to good shape with new brood for a while. I suspect that was left over from when I brought in new brood to get a new queen.

    I haven't been feeding, but I feel like it might be time based on what I see there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eldersburg, MD, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    honeydog, you should be feeding them their first year. You should hopefully be seeing some brood, stored pollen, some honey but they may have eaten through whatever they managed to collect. If you see no brood, the queen has either shut down due to no supplies or the hive may be queenless.
    Do you have a mentor? Do you belong to the Montgomery County Beekeepers' Association?

    Just saw your reply. Can you get someone to look with you? You can start feeding, wait several days and then see if you see eggs. Feed thick syrup, it wil be less work for them to evaporate. Generally, we have until Thanksgiving to feed them enough to build them up around here. Are you using mediums or deeps?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    Thanks for the advice.

    I do not have a mentor. I do belong to the Montgomery County Beekeepers' Association, but haven't found a lot of helpful things there. Maybe I don't know where to look.

    Based on the harsh private messages I've received in response to this post ("you seem clueless as to basic beekeeping biology and what is expected in a typical bee year in terms of basic management tasks" - ouch), it doesn't seem like this is the place to look for help, either.

    This is my first year and I've been doing my best with the bees. I've read some books, watched a lot of videos, and tried to get as much information as I can.

    Thanks to everyone for the help offered on some of my earlier questions this summer. I'll find other resources to consult until I've learned enough to post here again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    334

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    Honeydog, don't let this site get you down. Sometimes I am more confused after reading some replies. McDonald's doesn't have the only clown in town. But there is also some great information and courteous responses from people on this site. There is a wealth of information here and some misinformation as well...just like anywhere else. Maybe you should find a response you like and start PM that person if you don't want to post. Most people would be glad to do that.
    I'm a newbie as well...began in April. I started out inspecting my hives every other week, trying to get used to the sights and smells and how to handle my frames. I always...always looked for the queen, but if I couldn't find her, I checked for eggs, uncapped and capped larvae. If I couldn't find her, the larvae and her laying pattern lets me know she's there and doing what needs to be done. In my uneducated opinion, this is the most important thing. If your hive is not repopulating, nothing else matters. Just don't be discouraged, read the new posts on this site often and then come to your own conclusions.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eldersburg, MD, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    honeydog, I'm sorry you've received such comments. You should definitely try to get a mentor, having 2 sets of eyes looking at the hive with you helps tremendously. I believe Jim Fraser is a member of that beekeeping group but he may be too busy to actually mentor. If you stop by his store in Damascus he is great to chat with and bounce ideas off of.
    Which books have you read?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,315

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    Jen, I do not think your hive is going to make it because of the depleted stores. The hive was probably weakened by the drought we had this summer and then recently robbed would be my guess. If you have another hive you could possibly combine this one into it however by your post I am assuming that you only have the one hive, save the comb for a new start next year.

    I hated to hear that you received nasty PM's, you will probably get no apologies from these people so I offer one at this time, "I am sorry for the Nasty PM's", this is a good site for beekeeping knowledge and there are those of us who wish to help in any way we can.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Springfield,VA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    Jen,

    When was the last time you inspected? Did you see the queen then??

    At this point I think I would do a thorough inspection and look for a queen because if she is gone then there is no point in feeding them. They will not survive on their own.
    Do you have another hive you can combine them into if that's the case?

    I'm sorry to hear about the unpleasant PMs.. There are many beekeepers in our area.. I hope you find a helpful one near you!

    Send me a PM if you want more info..

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    Quote Originally Posted by honeydog View Post
    Based on the harsh private messages I've received in response to this post ("you seem clueless as to basic beekeeping biology and what is expected in a typical bee year in terms of basic management tasks" - ouch), it doesn't seem like this is the place to look for help, either.
    Thankfully this is the first time I have heard of this happening. It has never happened to me, and I hope it never happens to you again. It was rude and out of line. I am sorry that you had to experience it. Please be assured that you are welcome to post here.

    I wonder if the mods would be interested in knowing who sent those messages?
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    Honeydog,

    If you like we can set a time and I can look at the hive w/ you--I'm in Gaithersburg. Just shoot me an e-mail at jeffrey.w.clark1@us.army.mil and we can go from there.

    I don't belong to any club and have no mentor either but I am an entomologist and have studied social insects on the side since I was 10 (in the Army so my professional focus is on disease vectors and control). This is my second year as a beekeeper and I remember last year, about this time, I realized I should be feeding and lucked out. That one hive has become three (plus 4 swarms I didn't catch). Inspected my hives in mid-Sep and had one with lots of brood but no stores at all. Been feeding ever since and they are now building up good.

    There is a fall flow now but it looks like the fall flows here aren't very strong. The spring flow is very strong from April through June/Jul. Got a little honey this year and the bees ate their stores in Aug. Next year I will harvest by July and then feed in August so the hives are strong for the next spring (have one weak hive that may not make it if it is a cold winter--which I suspect it will be).

    Anyway, if you still have a queen she will produce again once you feed. Do you have a feeder? How big is the hive and what does the entrance activity look like? Should have some pollen coming in if they are foraging.

    Just contact me if interested.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    first let me say i have not contacted the OP .
    one mans harsh reply may be anothers honest answer with the plain truth.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,097

    Thumbs Up Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    Quote Originally Posted by honeydog View Post
    ...snip...Based on the harsh private messages I've received in response to this post ("you seem clueless as to basic beekeeping biology and what is expected in a typical bee year in terms of basic management tasks" - ouch), it doesn't seem like this is the place to look for help, either...snip...
    Four things honeydog:
    • With regard to the bullying private message, go to that member's profile and add them to your 'ignore list'. You don't have to put up with that foolishness.
    • Feed your bees.
    • Get smart about your bees. My two favorite sites aside from this forum are here and here.
    • Find a mentor at a local bee club, or here on this forum if you can't find what you need locally.


    The two sites above differ somewhat in their approach, but they both have solid advice.

    Good luck

    Added: I do not recommend the boardman feeder for anything except water on a very hot day!!!!....It encourages robbing. The two links above give good background on feeding.

    You really need an experienced eye at this point to determine whether you have a queen and brood or not. That is the biggest issue. Without a queen and brood the colony is doomed.
    Last edited by Lburou; 10-04-2012 at 11:03 AM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    A hive in my area had AFB last year and I was wary of encouraging other bees to come visit my hive and food sources, so when I put my package in the hive this spring, I put an empty super on top, put the feeder in there (the top inner cover had a hole in it so bees could visit the feeder from inside the hive), and then put the hive cover on top of that. A secure feeding station that only my hive bees knew about.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    I've got two hives that sound similar to yours, both consist of a deep and two mediums, the mediums are full of honey but I do have brood and pollen in the middle 5 frames (10 frame boxes). The two outermost frames are still covered in bees but just empty comb. One hive I've given a few gallons of syrup to and the other has been self-sufficient since 3 weeks after the package was installed. Never seen signs of robbing and even last night when i went through them too late on an overcast day were very calm. The un-fed hive got 2 gal of 2:1 last night and I'll give them another gallon tomorrow morning. After that the temps drop and they're on their own.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Jefferson Co., WV, USA
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    Do you still have the honey super and queen excluder on your hive? WVMJ

    Quote Originally Posted by honeydog View Post
    Hi, All,

    I've been trying to get my 1st year bees to draw out the frames in my honey supers, but that hasn't worked (not enough honey flow, I guess). So today, I went in to replace the queen separators that I'd removed, and to see if I could steal a taste of honey. I went down into the brood chambers and what I found seems bad. The comb there is empty. No honey. No brood. Just totally empty. The bees got very angry, but I pulled out 3 or 4 frames that had been full (and clearly had been used) that are now empty.

    What could this mean? Shouldn't they have something in there? Do they stop laying brood at this point? Is there anything I can do at this point in the season?

    Thanks again for all the help you have given!

    Jen
    Meadmaking with WVMJ at Meads and Elderberry Winemaking

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    Nope- I took them both off since there wasn't going to be any honey.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    Hi, All,

    Thank you again for all the help. I did a deeper inspection today. There is definitely robbing going on (or attempts at least). I saw bees fighting in the grass this afternoon. I went to take a picture of this for my boyfriend who was shocked by the idea of bee fights. When I came back out, there was a giant carpenter bee trying to get in there. Attached are a few photos. Watching my bees fend it off was truly an amazing thing to see.

    In any case, I have on entrance reducers since a couple days ago. I see that they are storing what I'm feeding them, but there are not many stores in there. Hopefully I will be able to give them enough to feed them.

    Thanks!
    Jen

    (click for big versions)

    185147_10101315252784728_1899068024_n.jpg
    601598_10101315252704888_327584820_n.jpg
    577324_10101315252640018_140175608_n.jpg

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,924

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    I wouldn't say you have robbing per se, but with the entrance feeder you will have other bees coming to feed and that's probably what the fighting is about. Poor carpenter bee was probably like look at this nice wood, I just wanna bore a few holes in it..... Looks like you have nice pollen coming in at least too. Good luck with it.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: More mysteries to me - empty frames

    I have a hive top feeder in addition to the entrance feeder. Bought 30 pounds of sugar this morning to make 2:1 syeyp for my 2 hives so hopefully that will get them a good start on creating winter stores.

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