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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New beek here. Have three hives started from packages in early May and not sure what to do to manage them correctly.

Hive 1= two deeps and medium super. The deep in the middle seems very full of brood with maybe 60% full of eggs, capped and emerging brood. There is not much honey and pollen in it. The bottom deep, where they started the year seems to not as much brood and more open space. Both deeps are very full of bees. The top medium supper is not being used.

Hive 2 = two deeps. Bottom deep has brood and some honey and pollen. Top deep only has activity in three frames of honey on the outside area that I previously moved up and to make room for 3 new frames and foundation. (I did that about 3 weeks ago because they didn't seem to like the frames that were there and things were spotty.)

Hive 3 = two deeps and a medium. This hive was going like gangbusters up until about 2 weeks ago when it seemed like there was a reduction in activity. The middle deep is about 40% capped honey, 30% uncapped and 30% nothing. The bottom deep is where the bees are. There seems to less f them and I see only a patch of brood about two inches square. I do no find eggs. I did not look for the queen. I am thinking they swarmed and are now queenless or the new queen has not yet begun laying. This hive is very aggressive. They attack me when I am in there.

It seems like I should make a split with hive 1 to deal with the overpopulation there but I am not sure. With Hive 2, I think I should leave it alone as it seems to be coming along much better than it was earlier in the year. With hive 3 I don't know what to do.

Advice?
 

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IMO as follows:

Hive 1 - Sounds as if they are doing rather well at this point for package starts. Keep an eye on them and make sure they don't starve out.

Hive 2 - Sounds like they are doing fine as well. Package bees start out sorta slow at times and takes them a while to build up and build comb. Again, if they haven't drawn out frames completely and activity is slow, feeding them a bit of 1:1 can get them moving again.

Hive 3 - This one sounds like your problem hive to me. First warning sign to me is their defensiveness. NOT a good thing, not to mention low brood. They could have swarmed as you mention, however one thing is clear to me at this point. With NO eggs, you have a real problem. Your hive is queenless. I had one do me the same way this year. Throw in a frame from another hive with just hatched eggs that are very small larvas. They will make you a new queen. You need to do so pretty soon. I'd choose hive 1 as my donor if they are gentle.

If you don't get something done with hive 3 soon they will go to laying worker and then it's a mess. Hope that helps some.
 

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GETTING a frame into 3 is a good thing and make a nuc just for good measure . one honey frame a pollen frame one of new eggs and every other hive can donate half a shake of nurse bees ..wont kills off the hives and now you have five.
 

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i wouldn't split them until next spring.

It will take 3-4 weeks to see eggs depending on what happened, they will be testy too, especially if weak. If there are no remants or queens sales i would add a frame of eggs and young young larva to the middle of the brood nest, see what they do. Or you could add some grafts. They will likely start cells even if a virgin is around, but she will eventually tear them down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the assistance. I forgot to say that although I did not inspect every frame on hive 3 (because they were attacking me) I did happen to find what I think was a uncapped swarm cell on the bottom of one of the frames in the bottom box. Not sure what that means.

Its really weird to me that hive 1 has so many bees and brood but not much honey. Maybe they were eating it as fast as they could bring it in because they were making so much brood.

Its interesting that the hive do things so differently from one another.

Tomorrow, I think I will move one or two frames for eggs/brood from hive 1 to 3. I assume its ok put the frames I take out from hive 3 into hive 1 to replace the ones I took out with the eggs. Or would I be better off putting in some new frames with new foundation? Should I put the frames that replace the brood frames in hive 1 in the same spots as the ones I removed or should I squeeze the frames together and put them on the outside?
 

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I did happen to find what I think was a uncapped swarm cell on the bottom of one of the frames in the bottom box.

Was there a larvae in it? With no larvae it is a queen cup, and most hives will have a few of them. If there was a larvae in it, it becomes a queen cell, and the bees are already making a new queen.
If they are, try not to disturb that frame, the addition of a frame of eggs/larvae will not hurt as long as they are still strong enough to cover it with bees. Also, adding a frame of capped brood will strengthen them, and help reduce numbers a little in Hive #1
Dont worry about splitting or making nucs right now, read up on it this winter and you can give it a go in the spring. drlonzo and burns375 gave good advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I didn't inspect the cell contents too much because I didnt know to do so, and at the time I figured that since it was uncapped that what ever was in there was gone. I did glance at the inside a bit and the little I saw seemed empty. There could have been something at the way way bottom though.
 

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Stay out of 3 for 2 more weeks. Give the bees a chance to fix what they started. No need pokein around there. Check for eggs then.

Pat 2 and walk on by.

Checker board another deep on 1 if they are still draggin in feed.
 
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