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My hive is not doing well.

Here it is late spring (Nov = May in Northern hemisphere).

At the end of the winter there was an equivalent of 8 full full-size frames with capped honey from the last season.

Due to some unfortunate circumstances (and my mistakes) the hive was queenless for a month and the number of bees was declining.

At the end of Oct a new queen finally emerged and looks like she mated.

3 weeks later there are still only 2 frames with brood, capped and uncapped. I was hoping that as more bees emerge the brood will increase, but this is not happening.

There are hardly 2K bees inside and not many go foraging. The typical cloud of hovering bees at the hive entrance is missing.

The girls consume the honey, it is now down to equivalent of 5 full frames. Have a strong suspicion that some of it might be capped sugar sirup I fed them for a while.

A desperate web search found that feeding bees with banana will help with increasing the brood.
Katharina Davitt Bananas.pdf
Katharina Davitt Cavendish Bananas Increase Brood Rearing in Apis Mellifera.pdf

Has anyone tried this?
Any thoughts?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Marg, can't say as I have ever heard that banana increases brood production. Dont know that it doesn't either. But, as Brilz13 points out, a brood builder patty high in protein (18%) will. Winter patties are very low in protein and are mostly carbs. I would also remove most of the stores frames and start feeding to simulate a flow. That seems to encourage additional brood rearing.
I have had a strawberry banana mixture in syrup that was no longer fit for use. I pureed that and fed it to the bees. Whether it helped them or not, who knows? But they ate it all, including the solids.
 
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youtube - feed bees banana
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would also remove most of the stores frames
I was thinking about this. The suburb is in blossom. The girls need a bit of nudge to go out and about.

Thank you all for the advice. Will do.
 

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Marg, can't say as I have ever heard that banana increases brood production. Dont know that it doesn't either. But, as Brilz13 points out, a brood builder patty high in protein (18%) will. Winter patties are very low in protein and are mostly carbs. I would also remove most of the stores frames and start feeding to simulate a flow. That seems to encourage additional brood rearing.
I have had a strawberry banana mixture in syrup that was no longer fit for use. I pureed that and fed it to the bees. Whether it helped them or not, who knows? But they ate it all, including the solids.
How did you feed it to them? Open feeding?
 

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Hey Marg, I read through that study you posted and I don't find it very convincing to be honest. For starters it is very limited.
According to her published results you can also conclude that feeding bananas will result in twice as many queen failures. The 6 control hives had one queen failure and the banana bees had two out of six failed queens.
 

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Feed aggressively period. Pollen patties and sugar syrup. Time to get serious.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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How did you feed it to them? Open feeding?
Yes. Poured the puree into a large flat bottomed pan and set out on my deck about 100 yards from the hives. It was thick enough that no bees drowned.
 
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Hey Marg, I read through that study you posted and I don't find it very convincing to be honest. For starters it is very limited.
According to her published results you can also conclude that feeding bananas will result in twice as many queen failures. The 6 control hives had one queen failure and the banana bees had two out of six failed queens.
Fair enough. I noticed the queen filure rate too.

Watched a number of youtube videos and took the risk. 2-3 bees nibble on the banana, but I cannot say they are thrilled.

Also, gave them protein bee food and extracted some of the honey - very thick and dark.

Now I will leave them in peace for 2 weeks. See what happens.
 

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The guest in the podcast is the author of the articles above, same person. The podcast gives some background and some more details. One thing that she said, is that you have to have reasons to feed bananas. Well, I have one. Will let you know how it goes.

In the last couple of days I noticed dead little bees infront of the hive. Further observation showed that they are expelled from the hive alive and die later. The 3 bees on the right are small (about 80% of normal size), 2 on the left are normal size dead bees. The small bees are fluffy and very clumsy, roll on their back. Sorry I cannot upload video.

Why are these bees smaller? Malnourished? Small cells? Something wrong with the queen (only 4 weeks old)? Disease? Bananas elicited cleaning behaviour gone mad?

20201126_101606_HDR.jpg
 
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