Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello from drought stricken California. I brought in a new hive this year that was doing really well and than it just fell apart. Opened her up and there were very few bees, very, very little brood, with no pattern, just a spot here and there. There was also no honey stores and no sign of dead bees. I immediately began feeding her, saw activity escalate and waited a few weeks. Today I opened her and she has brood now in the center of one panel, with a nice pattern, and uncapped honey stores on another panel. I am continuing to feed her. I do however have two other very strong hives and I'm wondering if it would be appropriate to transfer one or two panels of honey from their hive to hers to give her a boost. I've never faced this problem and don't want to make a mistake. Any input would be great!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,072 Posts
A big part of learning how to keep bees in your particular climate and specifically in your apiary is through trial and error. If you save them, good if not then lesson learned. You would likely have to feed pollen substitute and surup from within the hive, install a robber screen or at least reduce entrance to a single 3/8"x1" defendable opening. Good luck. I am a hobbyist and it took me three years to get my first overwintered hive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Adding a frame of capped brood will help the population substantially. It is great if you can take it from an otherwise strong colony to bolster this weak one. That will probably be more valuable than feeding. Doing both will probably be wonderful for the hive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
ccar2000 and jfmcree Thanks so much! I've definitely continued feeding and plan to put a pollen patty on tomorrow morning. along with moving a frame of honey over. My only hesitancy with moving a brood frame is the possibility of moving mites with it. I haven't yet been able to treat for mites due to the overwhelming heat we've had and I'm worried that if I do treat an already weakened hive she might not survive it. Any thoughts on that? I guess the brood farm would give her a better chance and there isn't much to lose at this point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
218 Posts
If you use the OAV treatment, it is safe for a weak hive, too. This system does not bother the bees. They react the same if you lightly smoked them with your smoker. Best of luck. hang in there, I do same as you. Do my best to save bees and if nothing else, you have learned something. I bought a "BEEKEEPER'S JOURNAL" for this year. So far, logging my bee stuff faithfully to it, and it is good to know what you have done, when, what you did.

Best,
casper
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
You may need to decide which is the most pressing problem and help there first: population or mite risk. A hive without bees doesn't worry about mites. You could move capped brood to the weak hive, wait for it to emerge, then treat the hives. That would give your ailing hive a population boost and hit any newly exposed mites. A downside is mite treatments can be hard on bees too - your weak hive might not appreciate it in the short term.

A second consideration for mite treatment is a sugar dusting. You could lightly dust the weakened hive after the donated brood emerges to knock off any mites that come along for the ride without exposing your already weakened bees to more chemicals. Sugar dusting is safe for the bees and is reported to knock off up to a third of the mites per treatment. Weekly or bi-weekly dustings may bring any mite problem you have under control without chemicals, which is especially important in an already weak hive.

It would probably also be a good idea to reduce the hive down to a nuc size so the remaining bees have less space to defend until their population increases. You should also consider an entrance reducer if you have not already installed one as the hive is probably almost defenseless against your larger hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,296 Posts
Adding frames of honey to weak hives stimulates robbing. You can lose the hive in one hour. You are much better off feeding syrup with no scent, and a pollen sub. In California, bees are not going to starve unless every drop of honey is gone (they move off cluster in the mild weather), so you can keep a hive growing with a half-frame of open nectar.

Move the bees to a very small box (Nuc), with a very small entrance. Be prepared to deal with robbing at the first indication (hovering bees checking cracks). Build or buy a robbing screen now. Have some Vicks Vap-o-rub handy.

Many of the effective mite treatments can be used on small hives, and in combination with feeding. The OA Vapor will work on weak hives, but mites will emerge from the residual brood, so the treatment must be repeated on a 5-7 day schedule to the emergence sequence.

If you can keep the hive extant through mid-December, the Eucalyptus and Willow will bloom and the hive will take off in January. Warm and dry are watchwords, so a small Nuc works better than a big drafty hive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
You may need to decide which is the most pressing problem and help there first: population or mite risk. A hive without bees doesn't worry about mites. You could move capped brood to the weak hive, wait for it to emerge, then treat the hives. That would give your ailing hive a population boost and hit any newly exposed mites. A downside is mite treatments can be hard on bees too - your weak hive might not appreciate it in the short term.

A second consideration for mite treatment is a sugar dusting. You could lightly dust the weakened hive after the donated brood emerges to knock off any mites that come along for the ride without exposing your already weakened bees to more chemicals. Sugar dusting is safe for the bees and is reported to knock off up to a third of the mites per treatment. Weekly or bi-weekly dustings may bring any mite problem you have under control without chemicals, which is especially important in an already weak hive.

It would probably also be a good idea to reduce the hive down to a nuc size so the remaining bees have less space to defend until their population increases. You should also consider an entrance reducer if you have not already installed one as the hive is probably almost defenseless against your larger hives.
I've already reduced it to a nuc size, and put on a reducer. I did the a few weeks ago. Added a pollen patty this morning. I'll just continue to monitor her each week to make sure she's showing progress. I really love this little hive, she's sweet and easy to work with, even when she was healthy and the bee's that are still there are foraging. They're working hard to keep their hive going so I'm just going to keep feeding and keep monitoring. I so appreciate your input. Thanks so much for the encouragement and advice.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top