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Thread: Hive check

  1. #1
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    Default Hive check

    Hi, all! I did a hive check on a warm sunny day, today. Many new fuzzy bees are hatching just within the
    hour or so. Some are cordovan color while others are caniolan colors. Rarely do I see them mixed in colors. This hive
    started with one frame of bees and a new laying queen about one month ago.
    There are 3 frames in the middle of the hive all got sealed brood right now. So the 7 frames on either side have no eggs or
    bees on them yet. The hive is still small but growing steadily everyday now.
    My question is should I move the empty frame inbetween the sealed brood so the queen can lay some more eggs?
    Right now there is not one single egg and the queen bee is fat and plump. Only not laying now. You think she is waiting for a place to lay
    after the sealed brood hatch within a week or 2? So should I move the frames or just leave it as it for now?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hive check

    Don't move any frames at this point.

    In spring and summer the queen functions more or less like an egg-laying automaton. She wanders around the broodnest laying eggs in available empty cells. If there are no empty cells in the broodnest for her to lay in, there are two likely explanations:

    1. There are not enough bees to cover additional brood. Any eggs laid that cannot be kept warm will die. This is typically true of starting hives; the queen will lay as many eggs as the bees can tend, then take a break from egg-laying until the new brood hatches, expanding the population. The worst thing you can do in this case is move an empty frame into the broodnest, as a small population will be unable to keep the divided nest warm and brood will die.

    2. There is a shortage of drawn cells. This can happen starting on foundation if there is not enough nectar/syrup coming in for the bees to draw wax. Best remedied by feeding 1:1 syrup.

    So, in brief, feed syrup and avoid the temptation to move frames, and the bees should be fine.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Hive check

    Thanks, Luterra. I am printing your advice to keep in my bee folder just for the record. In this case you are absolutely correct. You hit it right on #1 above. I thought to ask first before I made more mistakes. I did this on last Fall then wonder why not many bees going into Winter time. Now I know why.
    All the sealed brood are covered with bees now both old and newly hatched ones. But the other frames have no bees yet. All 10 frames are fully drawn old combs and I have 6 more extra to do expansion later on. They have plenty to eat with syrup outside, canola and daisy flowers all over the backyard now. In 2 more weeks the almond will be blooming follow by the yellow and red plums. Within 3 more weeks all the bees will hatch out. You think the queen will be laying again afterward as more bees will be available to cover the brood area?
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Hive check

    With all the bees hatching today, there should be new eggs in those cells in a couple of days. Not that I would open them up again that soon to check. If it is too cold or rainy to fly for a prolonged period the queen might stop laying for a bit. Spring is a dangerous time to have zero stores (as is true for a hive starting from one frame), so I might recommend putting a frame feeder with syrup in the hive along with a pollen patty. Doesn't help if the world is full of flowers, if the bees can't reach them.

    It takes a long time for a hive to build up from one frame of bees/brood. Three frames after a month sounds about right.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Hive check

    You are right. I will put a new pollen patty in tomorrow. And a feeder syrup in there for them as well. Right now we have sunny warm 50-60s day time temp. The foragers are coming out for the syrup and local pollens. They don't have to fly far away for foods because all in my backyard already. There has not been much rain because we are so far south. All the rains are in the northern area. They are very active now. I agree that there are not many bees in there right now. At least they are building steadily and growing everyday now.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Hive check

    Luterra has given you some great advice. The most important thing for you to do right now is FEED...FEED...FEED. If you are able to, add a tablespoon of Honey-B-Healthy per gallon of syrup.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Hive check

    Yes, the healthy feeds too. I forgot about that. Thanks for the reminder.
    Will be feeding some of that too.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Hive check

    The only thing I would add is I hope your entrance is reduced to no more than an inch. You don't want them robbed out and I personally would cut a couple pieces of styrofoam and make follower boards to reduce the area they have to heat to five frames. If they can cover more brood they can raise more bees and fifties and sixties daytime and cooler nights is restricting egg laying and brood amounts. Hopefully you are not handicapping them with a screened bottom board when this weak! THe name of the game for spring build up is maintaining heat in the brood nest. If you have the varied nectar and pollen sources available, i personally don't see the need for the HBH. You are damaging the gut flora and fauna and making the bees less able to fight off diseases. Some lemon grass oil would make the feed attractive and that is good until the bees have capped stores. So, do you feed your children antibiotics on a continuing basis so they don't get sick? Honey bees can be healthy without a continuos regimen of treatment and medicating. Some swear by the stuff and feel free to feed it if you want to. Just know that you don't need to!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Hive check

    Vance, I don't know what they put in the HBH and have not try it out yet. Is it natural or not? I know though that when combining 2 hives together they use that to wash away the scent so they all smell the same for a better combining. Not the newspaper method for a faster combine.
    Right now they are doing fine. All the broods are sealed and many will be hatching out this and next week. I read up on the bottom screen and not like that idea during the winter time. At summer time is better with over 100F temps daily. Last year I use a homemade one and they do fine with it.
    There are many flowers are blooming all over right now. I did a drive around today and saw many different colors trees blooming. This is a good sign of early Spring now. I also saw my almond, peach and plum trees budding as well. The canola plants blooming all over my backyard and the bees are foraging like crazy today. We're in the low 70s today. The entrance reducer I use 2 pieces of red styrofoam only at night time leaving almost 2 inches of gap for ventilation. In the day time I took out the foam. We have nearby bee hives but they never come to rob my bees even on open feeding now. They found the syrup in one day and the whole hive is out in full force to bring them inside. I did not add any attractant to the feed. I try to go as natural as possible using organic gardening methods and found out the bees like what is natural for them. I don't see much chewing on the patty that I gave them. Have you use a heat pad before? I just wonder what is the correct setting low, med, high at night time for them? Thanks for the tips though.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Hive check

    >Have you use a heat pad before? I just wonder what is the correct setting low, med, high at night time for them?

    In my opinion, the correct setting for the heat pad is "OFF". If your profile is correct, you are in Sacramento CA, and you aren't improving things by heating your hives.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Hive check

    So not heat just reduce the space to 5 frames for the warmth, right? I though a heat pad supposed to keep them warm in the winter months as well. I just wonder why heating is not a good idea for the bees.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Hive check

    If there is nothing for bees to forage on (in the winter), you want the bees to be clustered in the hive, not really doing anything. If you make it artificially warm, you risk having them more active, and using up their stores before they should.

    If you were in a cold climate, the discussion might be different. In a really cold climate, indoor winter storage is sometimes used. But in Sacramento, there should be no reason to heat hives.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Hive check

    I wouldn't recommend a heat pad - bees can thermoregulate just fine if they have adequate feed and numbers. Trying to heat them will almost certainly cause more harm than good. Shrinking the available space as Vance suggested is a good idea. They won't eat the patty when natural pollen is coming in, and it sounds like there's plenty out there with good weather at the moment. Still a good idea to leave the patty in there though, as they will need it when the weather turns cold and wet.

    HBH is "natural" in that it only contains spearmint oil, lemongrass oil, and a small amount of lecithin emulsifier in addition to sugar and water. I've tasted HBH-syrup and the flavor is very strong - not something I would want to eat every day if I were a bee. Lemongrass oil mimics one of the bees' natural pheromones; it is known to attract swarms to bait hives and to stimulate feeding (and sometimes robbing) when added to syrup. Neither essential oil provides any nutrition for the bees; any advantage will be due to anti-varroa activity and/or stimulation of feeding. I plan to continue experimenting with HBH, mainly in fall feeding, as part of my varroa treatment regime, but I don't recommend adding it to all feed all the time.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Hive check

    O.k., I took off the heat pad today. And reduced the hive to 5 frames for better temp. regulation. Without the heat pad right now it is still in the 40- 60s at night time outside. I think with the heat pad on all day long will be an overkill. Some bees were fanning in the 70s today. The hive temp is around 75F at night time inside.
    There are so many fuzzy new bees hatched within this past 2 weeks. And more is hatching out to increase the population a bit. There should be more room for the new queen to lay more eggs now. How long do you think the 5 frames will last without overcrowding later on? I am concern the bees might back fill the brood combs since I'm feeding syrup outside now. You think I should open up the hive after the bees filled out these 5 frames? Is that too late though? Will do another hive check 2 weeks from now to reassess the situation, o.k.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Hive check

    When your 5 frames get about 85% populated, add another frame to each side.

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