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  1. #1
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    Jul 2012
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    Strafford County, NH
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    Default Barely any honey in hive

    What's that about?

    This was a new Russian package this year. It seems to have been doing fine. I went in today to grab some honey and brood frames for a new queen split, and surprise, very little honey. Also a good amount of drone brood. I did see larvae tho. Did it swarm? There still seem to be a lot of bees. I did not see a queen. But on a frame in the brood box, I did hear a bee squeaking. It was not the rhythmic piping sound, it was just squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak steady. I thought it was a cricket till I held the frame close to my ear. Maybe it was just communicating with me to back off.

    So, I put a top feeder on the hive and put a gallon of 1:1 in it. I also put a top feeder on the new queen split and put a gallon of 1:1 in it too. Now I'm thinking I probably better feed the other two hives too, or they may start robbing.

    Yes?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas, USA
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    80

    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    They may have been robbing all along. Be careful with feeding 1:1 if they are robbing already. Are the other hives bigger? Do u notice more bees clouding around the entrance? I had a nuc that got robbed. I even put a reducer on it. I got them to stop by feeding the bees away from that nuc for a couple days. Don't put any outside feed near them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
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    1,238

    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    >Did it swarm?
    Use bee math to figure out how long a queen has been there by the capped brood, open brood and eggs, if she is there now. If you have open brood in all staged there has been a queen in your hive 3 to 8 days ago.
    Any queen cells? Open or capped?

    I have a few swarms like that not saving any honey but using it all to make brood. They are in buildup mode, just keep giving them room to expand or they will swarm. I take an empty frame from the sides and insert it in the brood nest.
    Last edited by FlowerPlanter; 08-08-2014 at 08:01 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    This was a strong hive. They might be robbing each other, and I did see a lot of activity at the bottom entrance a few days back, but not sure. As far as open larvae in the hive, yes, hopefully not laying workers. My eyes don't see eggs too well. And since I went in there with the intent to grab some frames for another hive, I wasn't looking for queen cells. I do remember seeing a very small maybe beginning of a supersedure cell, but I don't know that they were actually using it. Now that I remember I did see some queen cups, but not capped. So hmm. I guess I'll just wait this out and check it again in a week or so and see if there's any improvement, especially after having put the feeder on.

    The fact that there was drone brood in there was a little confusing. Isn't it a little too late for them to be raising drones? My worst fears are either swarm or, dare I even think it, a laying worker hive. Surely not.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    KC, MO, USA
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    1,238

    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    >This was a strong hive.
    Was? Is it still strong?

    >They might be robbing each other,
    My strong hive do not rob each other, they rob the weak or queenless hives.

    >As far as open larvae in the hive, yes,
    Got pictures?

    >I do remember seeing a very small maybe beginning of a supersedure cell
    It's not a queen cell or a supersedure cell until there is a egg or larva in it. There are always empty queen cup in every hive.

    >The fact that there was drone brood in there was a little confusing.
    If you have both worker and drone brood in a nice tight pattern, open and capped all is good.

    Isn't it a little too late for them to be raising drones?
    No, this year has had lots of rain (at least here) there has been some kind of flowers blooming continually. For about two weeks now I have watched hives kick out drones. I have at least 3 that have open drone brood. Almost all of my hives still have some drones inside.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2012
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    Strafford County, NH
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    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    I checked this hive today and they almost finished the gallon of 1:1 I put in there yesterday, so I put some more in. I also made sure to put syrup in every hive to reduce the temptation for robbing. Now there is so much bee activity down there, I don't know whose bees are whose. I don't like to feed, esp. during times of dearth, because it just seems to ask for trouble.

    FlowerPlanter: I'm not sure if this is still a strong hive or not. Their numbers are still strong, but there has to be a reason why there was little honey in there. And not a lot of brood. I didn't expect to find a problem, so I didn't have my camera with me.

    I guess I'll just keep the syrup (and pollen patty) going for now, or at least for a few days to give them all a boost. I see goldenrod starting to come in.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2012
    Location
    Ash Grove MO. USA.
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    535

    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    There can be several reasons they don't have much honey. I wouldent worry about that too much. I would feed a little to help them out.

    In times of dearth whe I feared robbing I open feed in the back yard about 200 yds from the hives. This gives those wandering bees something to do besides rob somebody else.
    If the hives have enough feed on them I feed damp sugar on a piece of plywood. Just damp enough to clump together. I'll wet it down every day or two.
    10 lbs will often last a couple weeks.

    I've never had robbing issues when doing this.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
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    624

    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    If you have fully drawn empty combs, you may want to feed THAT hive 2:1. They will store that in the empty combs.

    Phil

  9. #9
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    Jul 2012
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    Strafford County, NH
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    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    Good ideas.

    I wonder if giving them syrup around dusk, letting them work with that all night, and then removing the syrup in the mornings would be one way to deter robbing?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Suffolk, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    Good ideas.

    I wonder if giving them syrup around dusk, letting them work with that all night, and then removing the syrup in the mornings would be one way to deter robbing?
    yes it will.

    only give them what they can finish by morning (or less) so you don't have to keep putting on and taking off. You'll spill a bunch
    taking a 1/2 full top feeder off in the morning and then the robbing is sure to start.
    Last edited by clyderoad; 08-08-2014 at 08:24 PM. Reason: add. info

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    I'll bet you could get a work-around for that. Have a container ready to swoop the feeder into it, so hopefully any spills would happen in the container, then take the whole thing away.

    I wouldn't do this on my new split colony with the caged queen in there tho. Too much disturbing for them. But for other times.

    I probably couldn't stomach taking off 4 hive feeders every morning either and putting them back on at night. That would be a lot of work. BUT, it's one option when needed, esp. in a dearth when robbing is prime time, or for building up a weak hive.

  12. #12
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    Jun 2013
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    To differentiate between a robbed-out hive and one that has simply used up its supplies and not been replenished: the edges of the cells in a robbed-out hive look ragged and chewed-on (thieves apparently grab and go), but cells emptied in the normal course are usually smooth and intact. I also keep a close watch on my varroa screen boards and if I see a LOT of uncapping debris in any hive I am worried about being robbed, I step up my anti-robbing measures.

    Enj.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    "the edges of the cells in a robbed-out hive look ragged and chewed-on (thieves apparently grab and go), but cells emptied in the normal course are usually smooth and intact."

    That's interesting, enjambres. Good to keep an eye out for.

  14. #14
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    Feb 2013
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    bridgton maine
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    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    i think the drone population like may things, is hive specific. i have strong thriving hives kicking the beer guzzlers out the door and i have hives that swarmed raising new ones. going to need them around with some fresh queens coming in season.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    bridgton maine
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    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    Newbee you should have a bloom going on now in the three majors in NE- goldenrod, bamboo and asters going on. if you have a hive with good comb, a few bees and some queen cells you will be surprised how fast they can lay it on. sounds like you had a good swarm or a few, and they took their food with them. i would not feed since the small number of bees left cant do much with it unless they get a laying queen going. then they will get busy and fill with pollen and honey.

  16. #16
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    Jul 2012
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    Strafford County, NH
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    Default Re: Barely any honey in hive

    Our goldenrod is just starting to bloom, but the asters still have a ways to go.

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