I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood
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  1. #1
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    Default I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    I have 2 hives with little activity, there were split in July with mail order Saskatraz queens, I'm thinking they keep a small cluster because they are Saskatraz, or the queen wasn't mated good.
    check out the video see what you think: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01Rq...78944152943949

    What would you do:
    A: leave em be
    B: Combine the two of them in a nuc, feed pollen patties, syrup maybe?
    C: take off the top super
    D: I have another mean hive I could remove that queen and combine these with it.
    or something else
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  3. #2
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    Did they have brood?

  4. #3
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    My memory is that Saskatraz bees have at least some Carniolan lineage. Carnis are known for late build up, though I don't think the Saskatraz bee folks advertise that. It is still very, very early. I would let them be and keep monitoring.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Did they have brood?
    none yet
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    Condense to a single box/2 frames using insulated follower boards.
    Have some dry feed just above for easy access.
    Have 1/2 honey frames around the follower boards for easy access.
    Leave alone.

    With such mild winter, I would not even worry - if compressed/provisioned - they should be fine on 2 frames.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    Very cute little assistant you have.

    As to the bees, in my view some of those clusters are too small to be sustainable, even if they immediately started producing brood. Even if those queens naturally shut down in winter it would not be normal for them to allow the population to get that low, there is something wrong, or, has been something wrong.

    With the queen, or with the bees, I don't know.

    What i would do if you have some spare brood somewhere, is give them each a comb of brood long as they have a queen just to keep them alive and see if you can get them through to brood raising time. Only then will you be able to assess if the queens are good or not.

    Or, use one to requeen the mean hive, if you really don't care for the mean hive, wether the saskatraz queen is good or not, at least you get rid of the mean hive. Would be interesting to see if the saskatraz queen would start laying in a different hive.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  8. #7
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    The follower board thing might be easiest
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  9. #8
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    Agree with Oldtimer, not really enough bees there to sustain a colony. The first one I would call a very slim 'maybe', it's about the number of bees I will see in February in a wintered mating nuc. The second one, to me, looks more like lost stragglers. If there are any strong hives in the area, would expect that one to be robbed out clean after a nice flying day presents itself.

    If it was me, the first one would get some supplement on the top bars directly above the tiny cluster of bees and one of those frames with open nectar right beside them. If they dont get a small patch of brood going, then there isn't much hope for them. Other than making sure they have some food right at hand in the spot they should have a brood nest started I wouldn't put any more time / effort / resources into trying to save them

  10. #9
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    I am in agreement with the others about those clusters being pretty small. You should have a frame of emerging brood in one or more of your other hives. Give them each one frame a see what happens. Two of my seven overwintered nucs do not have brood either. I do not hold out much hope for them. There is not much benefit in saving a poor queen other than for the experience.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    They have both been trouble since I got them, the red hive was honey bound when I made the first split from a double box, it had all the honey stores in it. The other has never really been good, I thought I had enough population in there before winter, I'll be glad when I can make my own queens this spring. Probably not much use in trying to save a dink queen, they've had since June-July to do it.
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  12. #11
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    Niagara Co., NY, USA
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    No honey, few bees,no brood, If they were mine, I would call them dead.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    I agree with what’s been stated. I think I would compress them down a nuc box apiece and see what happens. They might do better in a lot smaller area but if there’s no eggs or larvae I’d doubt it. Or put a queen in your mean hive but if they’re not doing anything now I doubt they’ll pick it up and do anything in there.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    I have this thing, 2 frames on either side
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/att...1&d=1561075491
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  15. #14
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    Another thought, how much pollen is there stored in those hives? If there are no pollen stores the hive may not raise much/any brood.

    I watched parts of the video, and if my hives had that few bees they would have froze in my climate. The amount of bees seems really low to me.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    Quote Originally Posted by ifixoldhouses View Post
    I have this thing, 2 frames on either side
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/att...1&d=1561075491
    I would also apply a plastic film over them.
    Should help retaining heat/moisture.
    Might as well test it out - there is nothing to lose.
    Like so:
    FilmOverBees.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  17. #16

    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    there is nothing to lose.
    And you even win, because you can harvest the honey of the deadout.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    It would be a loss, $50 queen and frames of sugar syrup
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  19. #18
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    I'd reduce them to a 5 frame nuc with screened bottom and park it ontop of one of the big hives. You might be surprised that they make it through a mild winter. I wouldn't expect that queen to start brooding up until she had more nurse bees to care for the brood but I wouldn't bother giving them a frame of emerging brood from another hive just yet, since you don't want to throw good money after bad. Just see if you can get the queen and her few workers through to March 1 and then check your other hives to see if they have any extra brood to donate. (If nothing else, check with the area beekeepers to see if they desperately need a queen)

  20. #19
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    Plenty of syrup, not enough pollen to brood. I would not expect any brood until some pollen is coming in or some sub added even with twice the bees.

    Did not get a good look but curious about the scattered capped cells in the first hive. Dead larva or what in there?

    Yes minimum step down to a nuc.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: I checked a couple hives-Small clusters, no brood

    I don't know, I noticed that in the video, capped honey cells maybe, I'll look Thursday
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