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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
    Posts
    325

    Default Weak NorCal hive - what to do?

    I have three hives in my backyard in the SF area. Today is a beautiful 60 degree plus day so I took a look inside. Two are booming - lots of bees and plenty of stores. The third is very weak, with a small number of bees on just two frames (maybe a fist sized ball at best). I saw the queen, and there was a small amount of caped brood on one frame (maybe 20 cells). Hive is a double-deep. I noticed a bit of spiderweb at the top of one frame, maybe moth?

    What if anything should I do to help save it?

    I'm considering:

    1) Do nothing, see what happens.
    2) Put the bees into a 5 frame nuc so they have less space to keep warm. Freeze the frames with honey.
    3) Put some bees from one of the other hives into the weak one

    My thought is to do #2 as #3 might weaken my strongest hives. Sound right?

    thanks and merry xmas!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Weak NorCal hive - what to do?

    First you need to decide if you want to save them. Is this queen performing as she should? Do you have any idea why they declined?

    Perhaps this colony is a better candidate for a nuc than a production hive?

    If you do want to save them, I suggest adding a couple of frames of capped brood w/attached bees.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Weak NorCal hive - what to do?

    Having lived in both the Bay area and upstate NY, let me first observe that most of the concerns we talk about concerning winter just don't exist in the Bay area.
    What you call winter, we'd see in early spring or mid autumn.

    I'd put a couple frames of brood in as well, and consider requeening late January when the temps are in the 60's and the lows outdoors are in the 40,s and then keep patties on til the flow starts.

    I've had excellent results with russell Sunkist and Hybrid 410 Queens.
    If you ahve a steady flow, I'd get a Sunkist; if there is one big one 9or two) the 410's ought to do well.
    I've watched both strains very aggressively groom returning foragers for mites...have never had mite issues despite using no treatments.

    There are now independent sub producers making Russell bees available to hobbyists.
    If your state's guy ( http://russellapiariescca.webs.com/apps/webstore/ ) can't get you queens early, try Joseph Clemmons, he's producing them in Arizona.
    Joseph is a member of this forum, and his website is at http://russellapiariescca.webs.com/apps/webstore/.

    Regards,
    Craig

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: Weak NorCal hive - what to do?

    you need to find out if it wax moths attacking the hive if so you must remove the wax moth larva and place in a nuc...to save them and have that entrance reduced

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,377

    Default Re: Weak NorCal hive - what to do?

    It may be a goner, but to try and save it I would take them out of that double deep and put them in a single story nuc. I did this with three of my hives going into winter and it seemed to help them protect the smaller space from wax moths and intruders. If they make it, keep a close eye on them in the spring and transfer back into the regular hive, because they may build up quick and swarm on ya!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
    Posts
    325

    Default Re: Weak NorCal hive - what to do?

    I went ahead and put it into a 5 frame nuc with 2 full frames of honey. Will hope for the best!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,377

    Default Re: Weak NorCal hive - what to do?

    Goodluck to ya, eucalyptus bloom is either happening or will be happening next month!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    centerville, IA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Weak NorCal hive - what to do?

    Keep us updated please hope for a happy ending

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