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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The weather was great so I checked on my hive today. I was disappointed that there wasn't more brood. I was expecting at least two mediums full of brood. The bees were in a bad mood and I wonder if something is wrong.

I run all 10-frame mediums and I had three on the hive plus a top feeder that I had put on four weeks ago that was obviously empty by now. The top two mediums of previously-drawn comb were still empty and only four out of ten frames in the bottom had brood, a mix of open and capped. The next frame over that faces the brood was filled in with nectar and pollen.

This hive is a very late swarm from September last year that had moved into a deadout hive. They overwintered very well so I had high hopes for a quick buildup.

I did not see any SHB at all. I did not see any drones either. I didn't see any queen cells but I didn't get the last two frames out for inspection. Like I said, they were very aggressive and after getting stung once and having two more right in my face I had to suit up. Both our patience was wearing thin.

One other thing I noticed was several fruit trees in blossom right in the bee yard with a lot of bees flying around but they were not working the flowers. I thought that was odd.

Is it too early in the season to expect a huge buildup?

Given our weather here, should I put the feeder back on?

Is something wrong and I should requeen?

Thanks for your help,

Andrew
 

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first question would be did you treat for mites last fall or this spring? what did the brood pattern look like, solid or scattered? as a guess being a very late swarm the cluster probably got really small during the winter due to lack of winter bees and the queen waited until it warmed up to take a chance on expanding very fast, lack of bees slows the queen down.
 

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i have a couple dozen or so hives and a couple of them are smaller than the rest...cant really say i understand why but keep em treated, fed and with plenty of room and they will build up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have not yet treated them. Should I go ahead and treat with OAV right now? An alcohol wash/mite count would take too many workers from this small hive. Nice weather today and Wednesday but cool and rainy otherwise thru the end of the week. Maybe put the top feeder back on with a gallon of 1:1?

The brood pattern I saw was spotty. Next inspection I'll go straight for the two frames I didn't inspect last time.
 

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i have a couple dozen or so hives and a couple of them are smaller than the rest...cant really say i understand why but keep em treated, fed and with plenty of room and they will build up.
I've got a hive that is small. It was a split from a very strong hive. The bees superceded the new queen I added to the split and made their own. But this queen is a dink. She has a good pattern but just doesn't lay a lot of eggs. I did another inspection today and found they made another set of supercedure cells. I plan on using brood produced by this hive to boost the populations on my production hives and then pinch the new queen.
I'm getting to the point where I don't want to nurse dink hives along anymore. I am starting to get a little callous about culling unproductive hives.
 

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I have not yet treated them. Should I go ahead and treat with OAV right now? An alcohol wash/mite count would take too many workers from this small hive. Nice weather today and Wednesday but cool and rainy otherwise thru the end of the week. Maybe put the top feeder back on with a gallon of 1:1?

The brood pattern I saw was spotty. Next inspection I'll go straight for the two frames I didn't inspect last time.
Yes put the feeder back on. The amount of bees could be restricting the cluster size. In other words she won't lay 5 frames of brood if there are only enough bees to cover 2. I'd treat with oav 3 times over the next 2 weeks. Just do it without testing. Test when they get bigger. Are there eggs that you saw?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks very much for your help everybody. I plan to treat for mites right away, put the top feeder back on with some 1:1 for a little while longer and get a closer look (with photos) of the brood I have. I didn't see any eggs at the time but there were a few frames I didn't inspect.

I'm going to put the entrance reducer back on in case there are yellow jackets bothering them. I can take it off when the population builds up.

Working overtime this week so it'll be tough to get out to the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow, what a difference a week makes. I went back with two gallons of 1:1 and opened up the hive. There was good-looking brood in the second medium and a little nectar in the third. I got into the bottom brood and the pattern looks good but there's a frame of nectar right in the middle, dividing the box with no activity on the other side. The outermost frame on the end has brood on one side and 100% pollen on the back.

The nights have been so cool 40-50°F that I decided to put the BeeCozy back on.

The evening I went it was too windy to treat with OAV and it was about to start raining.

They still have a bad attitude though. If they don't get nicer they're getting a new queen.

Should I pull that frame of nectar out of the bottom brood box? Do they need it for feeding brood?
 

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I say leave the frame of nectar where it is. Probably using it from there to feed brood. They will move it when they need the space. Not sure about that top feeder it is more space to rob heat from the cluster. If they have a frame of nectar next to the brood, feed is perhaps not the limiting factor. The queen wont lay more eggs than there are bees to cover. Put the wraps back on.
 

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The nights have been so cool 40-50°F that I decided to put the BeeCozy back on.

They still have a bad attitude though. If they don't get nicer they're getting a new queen.
with this weather we are all getting a bad attitude
 
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