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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my second year to bee keeping and my hive is extremely weak! I live in an area where there is hardly any flowers, I saw ants stealing brood from my hive, and it seems to have been over run by earwigs. I moved my bees to my dad's house in Denver in hopes for a better chance at finding food and it seems to be working but I did an inspection today and it was very sad. There isn't a single frame even close to being drawn out, I can't find any eggs, there's only some drone comb, there were ants, and ear wigs have completely taken over the lower deep. The bees and the queen won't even go into the lower deep!

Speaking of queen, I also have 2 queens in one hive! I did an inspection the week before I moved the bees and thought my old queen had been replaced. I did another really quick inspection a few days after I moved the bees to Denver and found my old queen and the new queen side by side on the same frame! Is this normal?

During today's inspection we added a hive stand with legs in oil and rid the hive of all earwigs and ants. I confirmed both queens were still alive. Unfortunately there were hardly any bees :( there were more earwigs than bees and all of my bees could've easily fit on one frame. They seem to have enough honey for themselves right now even though it isn't a lot.

What can I do to help my bees become stronger? (I only have one colony so I can't combine with another) or are they doomed?
 

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Try feeding them some sugar syrup, to see if you can get one of the queens to start laying. My guess with the second queen is that they superceded the original queen with out killing her. I have seen this happen a few times. The new queen is not old enough to lay yet, or has not mated. If they will take some syrup, they may start to grow.
With all this said the odds are you have a dead hive, but nothing is going to be lost in trying to save them.
Dave
 

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Reduce the space ASAP so that the bees cover what space is available. If that is one frame for now, so be it...With so few bees, there is no way for them to defend two deeps. And no, in this situation they will not be drawing any frames. I know you said you have no other hives to borrow some frames with brood/bees...maybe you find a local bee keeper that can sell you some.
Without support, as in young nurse bees to help the two existing queens, I am afraid it will be tough for your hive to come back...

Two queens, mother and daughter are present more often than many beekeepers realize. If they both lay for now, it will help, at least in theory, increasing the number of eggs then hopefully larvae...but again, they will need "staff" support and some feeding too.

Moving forward, I think it would be wise for you to aim at having at least two hives...there will be times...just like this when you'll be happy you have two.

Tough situation...best of luck.
 

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I don't understand about your having not a single frame drawn out. When was this ever a viable hive and what happened to your comb?

Are you sure you saw two queens and not two drones?

Ants are likely moving their own eggs when you disrupt their nest in the hive.
 

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What you are describing is a dead hive - not just weak. I would shake it out and plan to look for more bees. If you are SURE that it didn't have afb or some other serious disease then you should freeze the comb to use on your next try. Sorry.
 

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This is my second year to bee keeping and my hive is extremely weak!
I am 2nd year as well. But I got 4 hives and 1 is weak.

Speaking of queen, I also have 2 queens in one hive! I did an inspection the week before I moved the bees and thought my old queen had been replaced. I did another really quick inspection a few days after I moved the bees to Denver and found my old queen and the new queen side by side on the same frame! Is this normal?
Can you post a photo?

During today's inspection we added a hive stand with legs in oil ...
That sounds like a good method to get rid of the ants crawling up there. I will try that as I have the same problem with ants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The hive did great last year and they made it through the winter ok... I checked them when spring rolled around and everything looked fine, just low on food so I fed them sugar water in a hive top feeder... I checked on them again a few weeks later and they hadn't consumed all the sugar water and it had fermented so we took the feeder off and cleaned it out and didn't put it back on or feed them because I thought they weren't interested in it. Where I live there's not a lot of flowers, which is why I moved them, it's been raining a lot, then there's the ants, and the earwigs. I had a baby the beginning of June and wasn't watching my hive like I should have I guess :( So I think all of these things worked against them in leading to what appears to be their demise.

I'm sure there are 2 queens... The first picture almost has both of my queens in it, the new queen is on the left towards the bottom but it's just her butt... The 2nd picture is the new queen and the 3rd picture is the old queen.

http://i.imgur.com/N9J7Vau.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/Q3bg4Bx.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/Q7Ji2OT.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you apis maximus! I will take your advice and do what I can and I will find a local beekeeper ASAP! I have a little backyard and 4 kids and didn't realize the need for 2 hives until now so I never got another one but now that they are at my dad's I will add one next year for sure!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you Dave Burrup for confirming there are 2 queens! It was really hard to capture them both in the same photo and I thought I had them but guess not! I didn't treat them with anything this year :/ I got wrapped up in having a baby and looks like my bees suffered from it :( I do have ApiGuard though, should I treat them with it? Also, thank you for your advice on feeding them I will start that right away!!!
 

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I would treat them right away, but the damage may be just to great IF you do have a mite problem. Bees that are chewed up by mites may not take any feed at all. If you had more bees I would strongly suggest doing an alcohol wash.
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The directions on the ApiGuard says to use 2 trays but since I have so few bees should I only use one? Or should I just follow the directions? Also, I'm taking the lower deep off since its extra space they have to cover, so where should I put the trays? Also, I'm not too sure what an alcohol wash is, could you please explain it to me?
 

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In an alcohol was you take 1/2 cup of bees without the queen of course add about the same amount of alcohol, shake vigorously, then rinse the bees through a fine kitchen strainer, catching the liquid in a white bucket. You can then count the mites with the naked eye. This will give you an accurate mite count, but it kills the bees.
To be legal you have to follow the Apiguard directions. I think there are instructions for treating nucs.
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I haven't heard of this method before! I do have a screened bottom board on my hive to check for mites that way... Should I check for them or just treat them without checking since it takes a couple of days for that method? Thank you again for all of your help! I really appreciate it! It is clear that you are passionate about bees!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Alright! I will use all the advice you've given me and hope my girls make it! If not, then it'll be a learning experience and I will take what I've learned and do better next year! I'm also going to add another hive next year too so I hopefully wont be in this pickle again! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!
 
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