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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Dwindling or normal fall consolidation?

    So how do you tell the difference?

    I have 6 colonies in Florida. Three are in long hives, with deep frames, and the others are 5 over 5 deep nucs, plus one deep 8 frame nuc.

    The established long hives are not as populous as they were at the height of the summer flow. My best hive filled almost 30 deep frames at that point, but as the summer ended and fall progressed, the bees started withdrawing from the end frames, leaving empty comb. Now the three long hives are down to 3 or 4 frames of brood, the same in honey, plus a frame or two of pollen. Mite counts, done via a sugar roll, in late September, were below the treatment threshold. There is no evident DWV, no crawlers, and the brood patterns are good, if somewhat smaller than at the height of the early summer flows.

    I've removed most of the empty comb. One of the hives had a laying worker problem in late summer, with several supercedures before that, but it's in much the same shape as the other hives. The hives still seem to have lots of bees. They are flying well, bringing in pollen and nectar from somewhere, and have shown no tendency to rob or be robbed.

    Should I be worried about this diminishing of the colonies?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,926

    Default Re: Dwindling or normal fall consolidation?

    sounds like what mine are doing in terms of numbers, but they were able to fill pretty much all of the empty comb with honey on the fall flow. most of mine are in a single 10 frame deep with two mediums on top, average weight 110-115 lbs. you should be ok, and it won't be too hard to supplement in your location if needed.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: Dwindling or normal fall consolidation?

    Sounds normal and natural for your location.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,127

    Default Re: Dwindling or normal fall consolidation?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Now the three long hives are down to 3 or 4 frames of brood...... plus a frame or two of pollen.
    Normal.


    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    the same in honey.
    Could be a bit light, will cause the bees to winter small & not good spring build up. But feeding is simple enough so probably you got no worries.

    If they run out or get low do feed them. The idea of not feeding & letting them starve just for the principle of things is a stupid idea in a managed hive.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,127

    Default Re: Dwindling or normal fall consolidation?

    I just noticed your thread from a couple weeks ago where you had issues with broodlessness and possible swarming in 2 hives, are these the same hives you now find have a lot less bees and honey?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    668

    Default Re: Dwindling or normal fall consolidation?

    Your temperature ranges look similar to mine. I would tend to think of wintering them in the equivalent of a 10 frame box. At least 2/3 of that should be capped honey. So at least 6 frames of capped honey/pollen. With the cluster on about 4 -5 frames. As you said 3 frames of brood at this stage of the season.

    As you don't usually get below freezing they may continue raising a frame or so of brood through winter.

    I find mine usually look the similar coming out of winter as they did going into winter. But you need the honey there in case of several weeks of bad weather.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Dwindling or normal fall consolidation?

    I appreciate the reassurance, all.

    Matt, I'm surrounded by saltwater on 3 sides, so we rarely get more than a few days of sub 50 F weather. We can usually count on a few 70 F days in January, and I'm told that in our old neighborhood, the flows start pretty early. I guess I'll be able to feed them, if they run low.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Dwindling or normal fall consolidation?

    They sound normal, although a bit light on honey. Keep an eye on what they are bringing, so they don't plug out the broodnest with nectar.

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