How to Save the Queen
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    1

    Default How to Save the Queen

    We have a hive that looked like it would make it through it's first winter - very strong at Christmas and lots of bees. It had two deep boxes with at least 8-10 full frames of honey. Suddenly the population dwindled and we reduced to one box, assuming there was no longer a queen. With the first sun we've had in weeks I further inspected and found that there is a queen, and there is minimal brood and capped brood, but I don't think there is enough bees to keep the box warm. I saw only about 40 bees in the middle of the day. Is there anything we can do to save the hive?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,079

    Default Re: How to Save the Queen

    welcome to beesource rhouser!

    if you have another hive or two that can spare a few bees you can shake in nurse bees. the way i do that is to place a board butted up against the bottom board at the entrance, shake nurse bees off of a frame of brood there, and just let them walk in.

    a frame of bees a week for a few weeks, making sure that the queen is still laying prior the shake each time, and eventually you can add a frame of brood when there are enough bees in the hive to cover it.

    i boosted a couple of microclusters last year in that way and they ended up producing harvestable honey. the bonus is no worries about swarming.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,861

    Default Re: How to Save the Queen

    Sure, if you have another booming hive then add a couple of frames with the bees
    attached into this dwindling hive. Make sure these frames have the newly emerged fuzzy
    bees with them. Or another option is to switch the hive position with
    another booming hive with lots of foragers. Just before the sunset when all the bees are
    inside their hive, swap the bee hive with the stronger hive. Make sure that the dwindling hive is
    at the same location of the strong hive. In the morning the foragers will be hovering over the dwindling hive
    and some will get inside too. If there is a concern about foragers returning to the strong hive then move it
    further away from the dwindling hive at another location nearby.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

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