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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    69

    Default Have Queen, very few eggs/larvae

    Dear All,

    Hopefully someone can shed light on this subject for me. I just did a thorough inspection of my hive yesterday. Although I went into the winter with a very strong and vibrant hive with about twenty full combs, my inspection revealed the following:
    1. a few combs still had plenty of honey left, which is a good thing.
    2. Bees present on only about 2-3 combs, and if I were to guess, only a couple of hundred bees total. Finally found my queen with her head in a cell!!!!
    3. The one comb that had brood on it, probably had only 50 at most total of eggs and larvae.

    So, my question, I am in Southern New York where we are experiencing a relatively cold Spring. Days recently have only gotten into the 50's and the nights are still in the 40's.
    Is this right or is there something wrong with my queen where she should be laying a lot more eggs but isn't??
    Should I be concerned, or just wait for the weather to warm up and the workers to become more active in foraging and thereby strengthening the queen's egg laying abilities?

    Thanks so much for responses as i was hoping to split my hive soon, but at best I will have to wait for this hive to come back around.

    Larry
    Last edited by llgoddj; 04-22-2013 at 01:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: Have Queen, very few eggs/larvae

    I'm only in my 3d season with a single hive, so I'll need change back from my $0.02 worth.

    If she laid a thousand eggs, there aren't enough bees to nurse them AND forage, etc. I believe the bees sense this. Once these 50 hatch, those 50 will be nurses for the next 200. Then those 200 will be nurses for the next 800, then....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Have Queen, very few eggs/larvae

    That sounds logical to me, and if I hear that response from some others as well, then i will take it for gospel.

    But it definitely sounds extremely logical.

    larry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Have Queen, very few eggs/larvae

    What was your mite count going into winter?

    Sounds like it could be a mite problem to me. If this is the case then those brood may not make it to adulthood. The only way to fix that would be to add a bunch of bees so the broodnest is bigger than what the mites can infest--or let them dwindle out. If you add bees then you'll have to treat and/or re-queen w/ a proven hygienic queen before winter bee production or they may perish next year.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Have Queen, very few eggs/larvae

    By the way, did you have some empty combs that had a few capped pupae on them? This is usually a sign of collapse due to mite syndome.

    Also, were the larvae you saw nice and white looking? If not then a brood disease could be a culprit as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: Have Queen, very few eggs/larvae

    They don't really have enough bees to get going at this point. You lost too many over winter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Have Queen, very few eggs/larvae

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    They don't really have enough bees to get going at this point. You lost too many over winter.
    Michael,
    What exactly do you mean, is there a "critical mass" point where you could/should need a certain number of workers to increase the colony? If so, what is the critical mass?
    And what do I need to do? Buy a package? I have a viable queen, I'm at a loss here, please help with your expertise, much appreciated.

    Larry

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: Have Queen, very few eggs/larvae

    I *think* Michael was saying that at this point the colony doesn't have enough bees to grow and survive. With the big flow about to start (if not already) the population should be ramping up now to forage and stock up for the rest of the year. Your bees are far behind the power curve and (probably) can't catch up.

    If you have another colony, you can take a bar or two loaded with capped brood and nurse bees (make sure no queen) and add that in. That might give them enough of a boost if there is an extended flow, but I can see how you might have to feed them all summer. A new package would essentially be starting over and isn't a bad idea. I have a thought or two about how to add a package to your hive, but it'd be an uninformed guess and possibly completely wrong, so I'll leave it to more experienced hands to discuss.

    Good Luck!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Have Queen, very few eggs/larvae

    Larry, I am having the same problem with my hive, my mite count is really low, but so is the population, there is plenty honey, but only brood on 1 1/2 bars, out of like 10!

    Hopeing my queen is waiting for warmer weather.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: Have Queen, very few eggs/larvae

    >What exactly do you mean, is there a "critical mass" point where you could/should need a certain number of workers to increase the colony?

    Yes.

    > If so, what is the critical mass?

    You say it's a couple of hundred bees. That's not it... some of depends on the size they have to work with, less bees should be in less space, and some of it is the temperature, warmer is much easier for them than colder. In warm weather in a two frame medium nuc those 200 bees might have a chance. In a full size hive in the cool weather of spring, it's not enough, and by the time it warms up, it will be less.

    And what do I need to do? Buy a package? I have a viable queen, I'm at a loss here, please help with your expertise, much appreciated.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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