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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    1,255

    Default Weak hive...ongoing issues

    I posted a while back about a purchased nuc that never got going. It was Queenless and was unable to replace her.

    I purchased a new Queen about 10 days ago....she is marked which is a real treat.

    I opened the hive today. Very few bees, Queen is present and she is laying...eggs and larvae visible and a wee bit of capped brood. There did not seem to be enough bees to cover where she had laid so expect at least some of her effort will fail.

    However now there are absolutely no food stores! The frames are as light as air, empty and dry except where new brood is being laid. They had a gallon of 1:1 syrup and that is all gone. There seems to a lot of bees going in out even though very few inside so I am concerned about robbing. I have closed the entrance down to 1 bee space. No fighting or arguing..just activity. Can't help but wonder if that activity is robbers not householders.

    I also gave them a frame of capped brood and associated nurse bees from another hive plus a full frame of honey from yet another hive. There were bees on that as well but expect they will gravitate back to their own home...hopefully they won't take the honey with them.

    I put some commercial protein supplement and a hive top feeder above the inner cover. They, or the robbers, rapidly emptied the feeder. The hives adjacent to that hive have their own feeders.

    What else can I do do to try and get this group of bees ready to ver winter as a single deep?

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Greenville, PA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    Hi WBVC
    The first rule you broke was never introduce bees from one hive directly into another. They will usually fight to the death and you will lose a lot of bees next time place newspaper between the supers and cut slits in it so the bees have an easier time chewing thru by the time they do that they are a single hive. If you can't use the paper method spray all the bees with a sugar water solution and that will help make them think they belong together.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    I disagree. I add brood frames with adhering nurse bees to nucs all the time to build them up without issue. Sounds like the nuc was incredibly weak and just never took off. If it is being robbed out daily, I sure wouldn't add gas to the fire by spraying syrup all over the frames. I would think seriously about just combining what is left with one of your other hives.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 08-18-2013 at 07:18 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,761

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    I disagree with pymaplumber as well. You did just fine. Put an entrance reducer on and keep feeding. The colony may not recover but it might - feed and stores are what they need.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    You now have a laying queen and have added nurse bees and food. I would just keep feeding and leave them to their own devices. Just hook the food into them and keep the entrance painfully small.
    Cheers
    Rob

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    106

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    You can buy robbing screens for weak hives. I have two nucs with robbing screens. If I didn't have the screens on this time of the year, the bees wouldn't have a chance.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    449

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    Quote Originally Posted by pymaplumber View Post
    Hi WBVC
    The first rule you broke was never introduce bees from one hive directly into another. They will usually fight to the death and you will lose a lot of bees next time place newspaper between the supers and cut slits in it so the bees have an easier time chewing thru by the time they do that they are a single hive. If you can't use the paper method spray all the bees with a sugar water solution and that will help make them think they belong together.
    If one were to take a brood frame full of bees and place it into another hive, then I imagine there would be problems. Shaking the frame firmly at the home hive will remove the foragers, leaving the needed nurse bees on the frame for introduction to the new hive along with the brood. I've not had any problems with warring when this has been done, and have successfully built up a weak hive by doing so.
    Pete. New 2013, 7 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,361

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    You aren't feeding enough. Keep feed on them constantly until they really get going. If these bees are in a full sized box, reduce them back to a nuc sized box until they have it packed with bees.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    106

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    Just for information, I started 2 nucs in July and they are on constant feed and building up. Took about three weeks but finally have good laying queens in both nucs. Also have a robbing screen, which I think is necessary for a weak hive at this time of year. Keep the entrance opening pretty small. I have robber bees and yellow jackets but the robber screen helps the bees to defend the hive while building up. You could also put out some pollen and flour mixed with a little Terramycin in a cookie-like sheet on a table near the hives. However that might attract robbers but would supply a source of pollen for the weak hive. Oh, make sure you have plenty of bees and a good laying queen.
    Last edited by JimmyA; 08-19-2013 at 11:25 AM. Reason: Add info.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,255

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    I have a hive top feeder above the inner cover. There is no sugar or anything else sprayed on the frames. I have to close the hives for 1 morning every 6 weeks to let the people who do property maintenance on the property...they won't work with the bees out I did not notice a lot of bees trying to get in the hive. All hives had a few knocking at the door. I made the assumption...perhaps incorrectly, that those were the few bees that weren't indoors when I closed it up.

    I would combine but then there would be 2 queens...soon to be 1...and I am not keen on loosing the queen. I am hoping it will build to a solid 5 frames in which case I would build a deep nuc for them and put a dadant sized nuc box on top with honey from extra honey supers on the adjacent hives.

    Any chance of that working?

    I think if I leave them thin in a 10 frame deep they will not be able to keep it warm.No gross evidence of robbing other hives as all seem to have ample stores.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    1,255

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    Are this different from screening off all but 1 bee space and screening off the top entrance all together?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    1,255

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    I did not shake the frame ..but having said that all the bees seemed content after I placed the brood frame in...I placed it on the outer edge and the frame of honey outside of that. I have not seen a lot dead bees, or abnormal activity out side the hive after the addition. What I have seen is increased evening activity...looks like orientation flights but wrong time...but no fightinf at the hive front. Perhaps there are robbers with a pass card.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,971

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    Quote Originally Posted by pymaplumber View Post
    Hi WBVC
    The first rule you broke was never introduce bees from one hive directly into another. They will usually fight to the death and you will lose a lot of bees next time place newspaper between the supers and cut slits in it so the bees have an easier time chewing thru by the time they do that they are a single hive. If you can't use the paper method spray all the bees with a sugar water solution and that will help make them think they belong together.
    Sorry man, but there is nothing about that statement which is not wrong. Moving frames of bees from one hive to another does not result in fighting unless you move the queen. At least not in my experience of doing it hundreds of times.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    3,971

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    WBVC - you have done exactly the correct things. In addition close up all except the main entrance to the hive - no back doors for robbers. Order or make a robber screen if you can at all - they really make a difference. Keep transferring brood, bees and stores from your strong hive until they are more or less equal sized or until you can't stand it any more.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,361

    Default Re: Weak hive...ongoing issues

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    I have a hive top feeder above the inner cover. There is no sugar or anything else sprayed on the frames. I have to close the hives for 1 morning every 6 weeks to let the people who do property maintenance on the property...they won't work with the bees out I did not notice a lot of bees trying to get in the hive. All hives had a few knocking at the door. I made the assumption...perhaps incorrectly, that those were the few bees that weren't indoors when I closed it up.

    I would combine but then there would be 2 queens...soon to be 1...and I am not keen on loosing the queen. I am hoping it will build to a solid 5 frames in which case I would build a deep nuc for them and put a dadant sized nuc box on top with honey from extra honey supers on the adjacent hives.

    Any chance of that working?

    I think if I leave them thin in a 10 frame deep they will not be able to keep it warm.No gross evidence of robbing other hives as all seem to have ample stores.
    You need to get them into a nuc now. They won't thrive with too much space.

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