So I have this hive that is basically just moving along 'slowly' and I am left with many unanswered questions. I was unable to prevent loss of my original queen in this hive back during swarming season and lost the original queen, which was a heavy layer. The queen to follow wasn't in the hive long and my wife viewed a second swarm. -bummer- I discovered shortly thereafter this was due to not having room for this new queen to lay. -reason- Honey in the brood chamber..."I know, I know, bad mistake. Out of town and just too busy."
Anyway, I do not have anymore available deep frames of empty drawn comb. So I did what I could and exchanged a few of those honey filled frames in the lower deep with some fresh frames of foundation. Hoping that the nursers would draw out some new clean comb to create more room. There was a third queen that eventually did surface in that hive with a good population caste.
A week or so ago I visited that hive and discovered there was some freshly capped brood and some new eggs. Yippeee right? Well not really. There was not any work towards drawing out any new comb or any noticeable wax development of any significance that I saw. Well, today I visited the hive again which has been about 7-10 days since last visit.
I did notice some capped brood and eggs. But still no advancement. I had fed them over 2 gallons throughout the course of about 12 days, a 1:1 sugar water mix attempting to provide sufficient resources for drawing out comb. They apparently just packed this in some of those same lower deep frames.
- I am beginning to think what I had originally thought was fresh capped brood is actually older capped brood that might have been left since that second queen departure. Not 100% sure.
- Second, I am wondering if there is a particular disease that has struck the hive that is hiding out of plain view. I have not seen many varroa mites, other than 1 today on the thorax of one worker and two hive beetles. The bee's wings look healthy and overall all of the bees have a healthy appearance and behavior. No signs of dysentery anywhere near hive entrance.
- Third, I am wondering if perhaps the queen was only partially fertilized, thus there is a huge break in the caste of bees? In essence, simply not enough bees to complete all the jobs that need to be done. Perhaps ratio of foragers to nursers is way out of proportion brought about by the second swarm leaving more workers to bring home the groceries than there are children to create space in cabinets.
Not quite sure what to do.
I had thought about combining the hive with a stronger hive but if they are indeed sick would not want to distribute it abroad.
Any thoughts regarding chem free, preventative maintenance that might aid in recovery? ? ?
--> experience <-- please shout out!