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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I am a relatively new bee keeper, going on about 4 years now. Have had limited success. I started 2 hives in northern VA initially but for 3 years was never able to winter over a hive. Now job and life has moved us to AL. I put in 3 hives last spring. I did lose one to beetles in July but have kept the other 2. 1 hive doing extremely well, we even pulled 9 quarts of honey out in Sept and even through the winter they have re-comb'd the honey super.

The second remaining hive never made any honey last year and never seemed to populate past the brood box. they made some nominal amounts of comb in the second box but really filled it out and I never even put a honey super on top. They just seemed to exist but never grew. they did make it through the winter. I have fed both hives with bee patties and also use entrance feeders with supplements now.

I know this is the welcome forum, any ideas why one hive thrives, and the one 8 feet away seems to just exist without any production? Maybe need a new queen?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Hi CastlekeysLLC,
First question is do you treat for mites? If so, how? Bees suffering from high viral loads may fail to thrive. Hives are rarely "lost" to beetles. More often, the beetles gain a foothold in an already failing hive. So you had two of three hives underperform, one of which so far has succumbed.
Assuming you do treat, and it is effective, a cause for the disparity could be a poorly performing queen. However, she can be performing poorly for a variety of reasons, not all genetic or due to mating. Try switching the hive's locations, putting the poor one where the stronger one is and vice-versa. Even if you have treated, try using a different miticide. Get rid of the robbing inducing entrance feeders and use an in-hive or hive top feeder instead. Supplements, such as Honey B Healthy are not needed and make the need to get rid of the entrance feeders all that more important. There are other things to try, but it is still too early in the season for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi CastlekeysLLC,
First question is do you treat for mites? If so, how? Bees suffering from high viral loads may fail to thrive. Hives are rarely "lost" to beetles. More often, the beetles gain a foothold in an already failing hive. So you had two of three hives underperform, one of which so far has succumbed.
Assuming you do treat, and it is effective, a cause for the disparity could be a poorly performing queen. However, she can be performing poorly for a variety of reasons, not all genetic or due to mating. Try switching the hive's locations, putting the poor one where the stronger one is and vice-versa. Even if you have treated, try using a different miticide. Get rid of the robbing inducing entrance feeders and use an in-hive or hive top feeder instead. Supplements, such as Honey B Healthy are not needed and make the need to get rid of the entrance feeders all that more important. There are other things to try, but it is still too early in the season for them.
I have treated for mites, however maybe I removed the strips to soon? the hive I assumed I lost by beetles was just overrun and the slimed out. I was deployed for a month so I lost that time for observation/inspection. I do find it interesting that the hive just a few feet away is practically exploding with new brood and combing out hive. I actually took 2 combed out frames of honey from them and put in the weaker hive for winter.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Apivar strips should stay in for a minimum of 6 weeks and could stay in as long as 8 according to the manufacturer. Treating too early without a follow up treatment is just as bad as treating too late. End result is a high mite load. Not really sure why your one hive died in July, that is usually too early for mites to have been an issue unless they were already heavily infested when you got them. Assuming that both hives are still alive in April, I would try splitting out the "poor" queen into a nuc with bees and brood from the strong hive and see what she does. Use a push in cage to introduce. Let the weaker hive make a new queen with a frame of eggs from the strong hive to cover the bases. You will add the new frame after a week of them being queenless and destroy any queen cells they have already started with eggs from the "poor" queen.
 

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Welcome to the forum, Castlekeys- It sounds like you are asking the right questions.

Best of success to your continued beekeeping efforts- and again welcome!

Russ
 
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