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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in southwestern Tennessee and just acquired my first hive from a cut out from an older historic home in northern Mississippi. I am excited to begin my adventure in bee keeping and am looking forward to acquiring/rescuing more hives.

The hive I have now is actual the second hive we have cut out of an older home. The first was totally consumed with SHB and wax moths and had no queen. I was pretty bummed.

The second has a ton of SHB. Their combs are in freezer for the next few days. They have a queen but had no brood comb. Could this be because of the SHB or the time of year? It does have a queen so I am hoping I can nurse this hive back to full strength. I calculate about 3,000 to 5,000 bees in the hive. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas I am game. I have a screen bottom on the hive so stuff can drop out of it.
 

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You do not say what the hive set up is. But my suggestion, since there is no brood to lose anyway, would be to discard all but a very small, say 4 inch square, piece of dark brood comb, and position it central hive for the bees to cluster on & allow them to build the rest all new combs themselves.

This way there is no unprotected comb lying around for SHB to start work on & eventually destroy the hive the bees will only build as much comb as they can protect and it will be where they want it.

Cannot answer why the queen is not laying there could be several reasons which may or may not resolve themselves.

You will need to ensure the bees have enough food as you have removed them from their food stores. You can feed sugar syrup, but do not give them any pollen supplement as it could feed the shb. If you feed syrup please discuss here first there are good and bad ways to do it especially in your circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They are in a deep super right now and what is the best way to feed sugar syrup? I have noticed they are collecting pollen and bringing it back to the hive. I noticed 10 or more with pollen today for the short time I was out there.
 

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A very safe way is to punch a few holes in the lid of a jar or bucket, put sugar syrup in it, remove the hive lid and put the jar over the top of the frames holes side down so the bees can suck it out with their tongues, you put an empty super on top to house the feeder. The holes must be big enough for the bee to get it's tongue in but not so big the syrup dribbles.

Also, put a couple sticks under the jar to raise it off the frames a little so bees have access to all the holes, and use white sugar not brown, brown contains impurities bees cannot digest so they can get dysentery from it.

But take your cue from how much nectar is being stored in the combs, if you feel they are collecting enough discontinue feeding. But initially, having all the feed they can handle is the best way to get combs built in a hurry. Keep the hive entrance small and easy for them to guard against robbers.
 

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I'm in NC, so we probably have the same seasonal conditions. There is a lot of pollen and a good amount of nectar right now for them to get. Mine are doing well drawing comb. So you might not need to feed much except in rainy weather, but it won't hurt to do it anyway. The real heavy flow will last from end of April til early June. Then there is a summer dearth when hardly anything is blooming until the middle of August. If you feed then, (If it were me I wouldn't unless necessary) watch for robbing from other hives. Since they are collecting pollen, it's a good sign the queen will start laying since they must have the pollen to feed the brood.
 

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When doing a cutout, think in terms of bee density. You don't want to give the bees any more comb than they can cover and protect. Better to have too little comb than too much. Cutouts succumb to SHB quickly. Scrap all the honey. Scrap all the pollen. Keep a little open brood so they can raise a queen if they need to and to anchor them. Some emerging brood would be ok. But don't overdo it on comb. They have to be able to guard and repair it.
 
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