I'm worried, should I be?
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  1. #1
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    Jul 2016
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    Fayetteville Arkansas
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    Default I'm worried, should I be?

    I'm a very very new beekeeper. After two years of wanting bees, I finally got them! But now I feel like an overprotective mother; it's mid-July, I've had them since the end of May, and they haven't expanded beyond four frames! I've been feeding them sugar water and even painted some wax that a beekeeping friend gave me onto the frames. What's the deal? My friend and I thought it might have to do with the frames, they had no wax coating on them, but now they do! The only super I have on the hive is the one they're in, so the hive is made up of one deep super right now. Should I add another super? Should I feed them something else? Should I quit worrying because this is normal? I just feel like the hive is the exact same size and in the same place as they were when I started!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Southeast Texas
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    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    a picture of the brood will go a long way here

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    washington, vermont, USA
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    404

    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    Could be mites. I had a nuc seemingly treading water like yours for 6 weeks after I got it. I just treated it for mites so hasn't been very long but it is definitely picking up speed a lot faster now. Also how is the brood pattern? Could be a subpar queen. If not mites I might look around for a local queen.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Newnan, GA
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    89

    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    my first thought was "what are you feeding them and how much"?

    I had a friend that lost 2 hives last year. Upon looking at what remained, i figured out that they starved. He said he was feeding, but obviously not enough. After a few questions, i figured out that he gave them a quart of 1:1 weekly and thought that was enough. You should feed them until they stop taking it. Especially since you are wanting them to draw out frames. I have a nuc that will suck down a gallon in 2 days. Keep putting the food to them.

    Also, answer the brood / mite questions from others....

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Ben Lomond, California, USA
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    18

    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Whoopsiedaisybeekeeping View Post
    I'm a very very new beekeeper. After two years of wanting bees, I finally got them! But now I feel like an overprotective mother; it's mid-July, I've had them since the end of May, and they haven't expanded beyond four frames! I've been feeding them sugar water and even painted some wax that a beekeeping friend gave me onto the frames. What's the deal? My friend and I thought it might have to do with the frames, they had no wax coating on them, but now they do! The only super I have on the hive is the one they're in, so the hive is made up of one deep super right now. Should I add another super? Should I feed them something else? Should I quit worrying because this is normal? I just feel like the hive is the exact same size and in the same place as they were when I started!
    Are you sure they have a queen? Sometimes when a hive is queenless, the bees will be lethargic and not do much including not build comb.
    If you know they have a queen, are they taking the sugar syrup? Usually, newly installed bees that don't have comb and are fed sugar syrup will take the syrup quickly and will build comb fast.
    You may want to double check that they can get the syrup from whatever style of feeder you are using.
    Don't add space until they have drawn comb on 80 to 100% of the current frames and those frames are covered with bees.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Salisbury, NH
    Posts
    508

    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    I think you should get an experienced beekeeper from your local club to look at them and then just relay to whoever you bought them from.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    Was this a package or a Nuc? With a package the older bees die off & they may struggle a bit before they make progress. It sounds like it's only been about 6 weeks. You should be able to tell if the queen is doing her job.

    Good Luck.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    houston, TX
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    115

    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbybee View Post
    my first thought was "what are you feeding them and how much"?

    I had a friend that lost 2 hives last year. Upon looking at what remained, i figured out that they starved. He said he was feeding, but obviously not enough. After a few questions, i figured out that he gave them a quart of 1:1 weekly and thought that was enough. You should feed them until they stop taking it. Especially since you are wanting them to draw out frames. I have a nuc that will suck down a gallon in 2 days. Keep putting the food to them.

    Also, answer the brood / mite questions from others....
    @Bobbybee -- When I fed my new hive as much as they would take, the ended up becoming honey bound and there was no room for the queen to lay but weren't drawing out the other frames very fast. I stopped feeding and she eventually started laying again. In your experience, if I wouldn't have been looking in on them so much, would they eventually have drawn their way out of being honey bound and moved to the other frames? Lately, I have been giving them about 2Qts of 1:1 per week.

  10. #9
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    Oct 2015
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    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    June was crazy hot and dry here, and likely same for you. Wasn't much for them to feed on for 4 of the 7 weeks you've had them. Betting they just needed/need some feed/syrup. Hopefully all the rain this last 10 days cures all...
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Clinton, Iowa
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    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nardi View Post
    Was this a package or a Nuc? With a package the older bees die off & they may struggle a bit before they make progress. It sounds like it's only been about 6 weeks. You should be able to tell if the queen is doing her job.

    Good Luck.
    Packages have a lull. But not like that.
    I had two frame mating nucs put into 5-frame boxes May 16/17th this year and they're covering an average of about 15 frames of bees right now. Some into their 3rd deep.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bdfarmer555 View Post
    Betting they just needed/need some feed/syrup.
    OP says he/she has been feeding.

    I know location is a huge part of beekeeping, but something is wrong if the colony hasn't done anything since you purchased it.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    Shane - any pollen paddies? they need those as well to raise brood - your in my area - and I was home 2 weeks ago - I found in several hives that my queens have all but shut down on laying due to no nectar flow or pollen coming in - its not 100% stopped but its close - I have about 30 hives around my shop and I keep an eye on things that way - see them in the morning and evening bringing in a little but in the heat of the day - looks like only water hauling - I got a small pond for them so they don't mess with the neighbors and I see them from the pond to the hive - back and forth

    BD farmer - rain here - every 3 or 4 days - May showers have not stopped - in fact - this hole area was flooded just a couple of weeks back - a few beekeepers friends of mine were standing in knee deep water trying to get there hives on hi ground

  13. #12
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    Sep 2014
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    Newnan, GA
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    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaneTX View Post
    @Bobbybee -- When I fed my new hive as much as they would take, the ended up becoming honey bound and there was no room for the queen to lay but weren't drawing out the other frames very fast. I stopped feeding and she eventually started laying again. In your experience, if I wouldn't have been looking in on them so much, would they eventually have drawn their way out of being honey bound and moved to the other frames? Lately, I have been giving them about 2Qts of 1:1 per week.

    Like Nardi asked- was it a package or a nuc? If it was a nuc with lots of brood, I can't imagine how there would only be at 4 frames. If it was a package however, and after 6 weeks they are only at 4 frames, I would understand. Building comb takes a lots of resources. They aren't going to build more than they need, until they need it. I think that they expand when they are ready to. However, if you find it difficult to not help, you could spray sugar water on the frames they aren't drawn out or coat them with some additional wax. How does your brood patter look after 6 weeks. If good, then you should be right at the point of a nice expansion. I would keep the food available to them.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    spraying sugar water does nothing on getting bees to build comb - nectar, feed, & young bees are all needed to get this task done

  15. #14
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    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    Quote Originally Posted by sakhoney View Post
    spraying sugar water does nothing on getting bees to build comb - nectar, feed, & young bees are all needed to get this task done
    sakhoney, but it's worked for me before. I try not to argue with results...

  16. #15
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    Default Re: I'm worried, should I be?

    nor I - but spraying sugar water on foundation will do 2 things - give the bees something to clean up - #2 could get them robbed out if the hive is not strong enough to protect the entrance - Wax on plastic yes - sugar water ?????
    Bobby - I would bet the bees would have pulled the foundation - sugar water or not

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