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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Greene County, NY, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    Have several hives that have made it through and upstate NY winter. Upon inspection only have a 4 inch patch of brood on one frame.
    Is their anything that could be done or just leave them and see if they build up by them selves?
    They have plenty of stores.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,967

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    Reduce the space they occupy severely down to about four frames. Use styrofoam cut to roughly 14 3/4" by 9 1/2 for insulating side walls. If you have SBB's on the hive, use them as a heat source and put on solid bottoms with a 2 bee wide entrance until they have need or more room. When they have filled the four frames, move your followers out for two more frames. Climate control of brood area is always the first limiting factor of colony expansion.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,589

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    That is some sage advice right there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,482

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    Hmmm, Great fall Montana, vs Green County NY...

    Rick, what did they winter in? One deep, two deeps, or something else?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,864

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    I have a few hives just like that, and as Vance said, reduce the size of the space they are occupying to the minimum, insulation will help too. If they have a decent queen they will build up nicely, just will take a little more time. John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Greene County, NY, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    2 deeps

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,723

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    Here is all the options I can think of to help boost weaker colony.
    Buy a package
    Put nurse bees from another hive
    Combine 2 hives into one
    Feed, feed and feed both patty and syrup

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Lewiston Idaho USA
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    I agree with beepro! It's more than just keeping them warm. Queens tend to not lay more then the nurse bees can handle. You will either need to add bees from a package or combine. I combined three just the other day for the same reason.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Greene County, NY, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    Hi tony
    What did you do with the extra queens
    Rick

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, CA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    Combine them and get rid of the weakest colony queen as she probably has bad genetics, unless it was something out of her control.
    If it is warm enough you could make a deep super divided with masonite 1/4" so you have 5 frames on one side 5 frames on the other with a slat of wood top/bottom to keep the bees separate. The two colonies will cluster towards the masonite as if one colony with a division board between them. That way you could keep both queens.
    Mark

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,723

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    Or ask for a reduced price if you just want the package for an increase but not the queen bee with it.
    I am sure they are more than happy to sell if you want to go with that route. So many options here.
    Or buy a package and make 2 hives. Some for you and some for this hive. That works too.
    Two hives so you can keep them going if something happen to the other hive.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, CA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    Beepro has the right idea!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,697

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    Swap spots with a strong hive.

    Crazy Roland

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Lewiston Idaho USA
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: What to do with overwintered hives that are weak

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick55 View Post
    Hi tony
    What did you do with the extra queens
    Rick
    Rick, I let them fight it out :-)

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