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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Zephyrhills, Florida. U.S.A
    Posts
    35

    Default Should I replace my queen??

    I am relatively new to beekeeping and am not sure what is going on in my hive.
    I started my hive from a small NUC (2 frames of brood, 1 frame of honey, 2 empty frames) on June 14, since then I have done bi-weekly inspections and everything had seemed to be going well except for the slow build up of new comb. (bees are in a 10 frame lang hive) It has now been 47 days since installation the bees have only filled one additional frame with comb. up until last weeks inspection the colony always had lots of brood both caped & uncapped. when i checked the hive on Friday I spotted the queen but no capped brood, didn't see many larva either basically the brood nest was empty. Is this normal? Also I have noticed this week that the bees seem to be removing brood(partly formed and also very young bees) I am assuming that this is drone brood but i'm not sure. any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,154

    Default Re: Should I replace my queen??

    If there has been no good nectar flow to cause the bees to produce wax, or you have not been feeding continuously the bees will not produce drawn comb and the queens will not lay well. The bees could be starving, or they could have a severe varroa mite problem or both.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Zephyrhills, Florida. U.S.A
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Should I replace my queen??

    Okay, Just got back from lunch/inspection, the brood pattern looks better than last week but still spotty.
    The hive has begun to fill out another frame. I did see some immature brood being removed from the bottom half of one frame I am assuming this to be drone brood am I correct?
    As for the flow I'm not sure, the Crepe Myrtles and bottle brush have been in bloom for about 2 months now and I see a lot of pollen going into the hive. I don't see much capped honey but quite a bit of pollen. I did feed this colony for the first month but had some issues with carpenter ants and a day of robbing, the robbing stopped after I added a robber screen and has not been an issue since. The beekeeper I purchased my NUC from said "you can feed if you want to but I dont think its necessary" He had more than 100 hives so I relied on his experience. Should I start feeding again?
    About the Varroa I am using a SBB and visual inspections but have not done a mite count. During inspections I have noticed some, but not what I would consider to be an infestation maybe one or two here or their. I do have some Apivar on hand do you thin I should treat now or wait until October?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    1,817

    Default Re: Should I replace my queen??

    In my area there is just a trickle of a flow now (nectar). Pollen is almost alway available. It takes some time for a Nuc to reach the strength where you can notice rapid expansion.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,154

    Default Re: Should I replace my queen??

    I would think a nuc in a nectar flow would have built it's adult population to fully cover 8 or 9 combs and would have drawn out more than one in the 47 days you have had them. Check and see how much honey they have stored in the frames. You should have at least one full on the side of the box and all the others should have a 2 in. band across the top and down the sides of the frames.

    If the bees are removing larvae and pupa, look at the pupa to see if it is drone pupa or workers. Look at the capped brood and see where the bees are uncapping and removing pupa, if the pupa is worker pupa and is in the stage where the eyes have started to color, you have a varroa problem. If you are seeing varroa on adult bees you have a problem and need to at least do a powdered sugar dusting. Depending on how many varroa fall in the sugar dusting you will need to repeat once or twice a week for 2 or 3 weeks. I have never used Apivar and have no idea how it will impact a small colony.

    It seldom hurts to slow feed a weak colony sugar syrup if you don't allow robbing to start. A quart jar above a hole in the inner cover and covered with an empty box works well. Put 1 or 2 holes in the lid, thats all you will need. If bees are removing brood it is starvation, or disease, or varroa. If you have a beekeeper friend have them take a look, it is always easier to decide what is wrong if you are looking at the frames in the colony.

    I just saw Mbecks post, if the flow is weak the bees will take your syrup, if it is strong enough to sustain the nuc, they will ignore your syrup and bring in nectar only.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Zephyrhills, Florida. U.S.A
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Should I replace my queen??

    Unfortunately I don't have any beekeeper friends. my non beekeeper friends all think I out of my mind lol.
    I have tried to contact the guy I purchased this NUC from to see if maybe he had any suggestions and he has not returned my calls. I spoke with the Local apiary inspector and she mentioned the powdered sugar dusting when I spoke with her, think I will give it a try. do I just dust the top of the frames or do I remove each and dust separately?

    The pupa that are being removed are white I can make out the eyes but they have no color to them. I have noticed some very young bees on the ground outside the hive, they are small, weak, lightly colored and appear to have been taken out before they emerged naturally. I don't have the experience to tell if they are workers or drone they kinda all look the same.

    I will begin feeding again and hope that all works out for the best.

    I now understand why I should have started with 2 hives with only 1 I have nothing to compare the other hive to. hope they make it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Butler, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Should I replace my queen??

    Sugar dusting requires taking each box and shaking the powdered sugar on and down into the frames. It's my understanding that the sugar causes the bees to groom each other to remove the sugar which in turn dislodges some of your mites.

    As far as feeding goes, I'm in a similar situation. I have one colony that I started late may from a 5 fame nuc. I've been feeding them off and on since then. My mentor suggested feeding a thin syrup( 2 parts water to one part sugar) to them to get them to draw comb. The first several weeks I was feeding a 1:1 ratio and they took it, but not much was happening as far as comb building. I switched to a thin syrup and they have now started building comb fairly good. My plan is to continue this until they have fully drawn the second deep. Goldenrod is still not blooming here so, if I can time everything right, I'll stop feeding when the second deep is drawn and hope to have a decent flow from the goldenrod to finish them off for wintering. I'm a first year bee keeper, so take my advice with that in mind.
    Last edited by Grasshopper; 08-02-2013 at 07:10 AM. Reason: poor spelling

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