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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Island Pond VT (N.E.K.)
    Posts
    21

    Default Northern Bee Question: Queen or no Queen?

    I have two Top Bar hives that survived the -30 F winter in Northern VT. Success, right? Well it's still pretty cold up here 50 F days and 37 F nights but one hives is going to town gathering mucho pollen from God knows where. The entrance is packed with bees going to and fro. The other seems sluggish and very small only very few bees flying. I wondered how I could tell if they lost their queen recently if that's why their small or maybe it's just how it goes and their fine. I thought it could be too cold to open them up and I don't know if it's too early for the queen to be laying.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,977

    Default Re: Northern Bee Question: Queen or no Queen?

    The only way to know the hive condition is to do a hive check now. Choose a warm sunny day to do this.
    Give them patty and syrup will help them build up faster in this early spring time. They need all the help to
    get going.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: Northern Bee Question: Queen or no Queen?

    Give them a frame/bar of brood and supply if they are suffering, might help them. That is why you got 2 right?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,805

    Default Re: Northern Bee Question: Queen or no Queen?

    Hi Shane, I am also in a Northern climate. 55+ daytime-35 degrees nighttime lows.

    I have observed changes in my hives that may apply to you. I had great overwintering success, but was surprised to see many of my hives have not increased in numbers since last month..some even have reduced. But they all have queens, quite a bit of capped brood, larve and lots& lots of eggs. It appears the hive now consists of only younger small bees, so I think the older overwintered bees have died off giving the appearance of reduced numbers. It's almost like the hive has been 'reborn again' and is fresh, young and ready to expand for the new season.
    I only have a few years experience, but am pretty content this is a natural cycle. I have some hives that are booming too in comparison. But I have several strains of queens and Carniolan lines are mixed into most of them.

    Perhaps our smaller clusters are from a Carniolan influence. Our booming hives are more Italianish.

    Looking in your hives is the only way to tell. With out looking, all we can do is guess. Even if it is Queenright, if there are not enough bees to cover and feed brood, it will take forever to build without help.

    Since you have a booming hive, equalizing the hives will be possible, if you think you can do that without risking the good hive.

    Hope this helps.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mille...56954971040510
    Last edited by Lauri; 04-24-2013 at 05:16 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,022

    Default Re: Northern Bee Question: Queen or no Queen?

    It sure isn't too early to be raising brood and if you did nothing else but break the boxes and look quick at the top and the bottom you might have your answer. 50 degrees no problem ... pop the top take a look, put the lid back on and then pull that box off. Look, bottom of one and top of the other. If you have more, put a lid on and pull that box off. Check the bottom and top. If you see a lot of bees or brood put it back and practice patience.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: Northern Bee Question: Queen or no Queen?

    If they are too low on stores they will not build up either. Feed and add at least a little brood/eggs to hedge your bet. If queenless may get a queen, if not, no harm.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Northern Bee Question: Queen or no Queen?

    In VT now, I would guess they are raising brood. I don't know if anything has bloomed there (nothing here in the country but in town a few things are blooming). The maples probably bloomed already.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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