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Discussion Starter #1
I have 2 hives with little activity, there were split in July with mail order Saskatraz queens, I'm thinking they keep a small cluster because they are Saskatraz, or the queen wasn't mated good.
check out the video see what you think: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01R...gjt4nk1ehoyntbpjhbgrk0h00410.1578944152943949

What would you do:
A: leave em be
B: Combine the two of them in a nuc, feed pollen patties, syrup maybe?
C: take off the top super
D: I have another mean hive I could remove that queen and combine these with it.
or something else
 

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My memory is that Saskatraz bees have at least some Carniolan lineage. Carnis are known for late build up, though I don't think the Saskatraz bee folks advertise that. It is still very, very early. I would let them be and keep monitoring.
 

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Condense to a single box/2 frames using insulated follower boards.
Have some dry feed just above for easy access.
Have 1/2 honey frames around the follower boards for easy access.
Leave alone.

With such mild winter, I would not even worry - if compressed/provisioned - they should be fine on 2 frames.
 

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Very cute little assistant you have. :)

As to the bees, in my view some of those clusters are too small to be sustainable, even if they immediately started producing brood. Even if those queens naturally shut down in winter it would not be normal for them to allow the population to get that low, there is something wrong, or, has been something wrong.

With the queen, or with the bees, I don't know.

What i would do if you have some spare brood somewhere, is give them each a comb of brood long as they have a queen just to keep them alive and see if you can get them through to brood raising time. Only then will you be able to assess if the queens are good or not.

Or, use one to requeen the mean hive, if you really don't care for the mean hive, wether the saskatraz queen is good or not, at least you get rid of the mean hive. Would be interesting to see if the saskatraz queen would start laying in a different hive.
 

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Agree with Oldtimer, not really enough bees there to sustain a colony. The first one I would call a very slim 'maybe', it's about the number of bees I will see in February in a wintered mating nuc. The second one, to me, looks more like lost stragglers. If there are any strong hives in the area, would expect that one to be robbed out clean after a nice flying day presents itself.

If it was me, the first one would get some supplement on the top bars directly above the tiny cluster of bees and one of those frames with open nectar right beside them. If they dont get a small patch of brood going, then there isn't much hope for them. Other than making sure they have some food right at hand in the spot they should have a brood nest started I wouldn't put any more time / effort / resources into trying to save them
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I am in agreement with the others about those clusters being pretty small. You should have a frame of emerging brood in one or more of your other hives. Give them each one frame a see what happens. Two of my seven overwintered nucs do not have brood either. I do not hold out much hope for them. There is not much benefit in saving a poor queen other than for the experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
They have both been trouble since I got them, the red hive was honey bound when I made the first split from a double box, it had all the honey stores in it. The other has never really been good, I thought I had enough population in there before winter, I'll be glad when I can make my own queens this spring. Probably not much use in trying to save a dink queen, they've had since June-July to do it.
 

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I agree with what’s been stated. I think I would compress them down a nuc box apiece and see what happens. They might do better in a lot smaller area but if there’s no eggs or larvae I’d doubt it. Or put a queen in your mean hive but if they’re not doing anything now I doubt they’ll pick it up and do anything in there.
 

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Another thought, how much pollen is there stored in those hives? If there are no pollen stores the hive may not raise much/any brood.

I watched parts of the video, and if my hives had that few bees they would have froze in my climate. The amount of bees seems really low to me.
 

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I'd reduce them to a 5 frame nuc with screened bottom and park it ontop of one of the big hives. You might be surprised that they make it through a mild winter. I wouldn't expect that queen to start brooding up until she had more nurse bees to care for the brood but I wouldn't bother giving them a frame of emerging brood from another hive just yet, since you don't want to throw good money after bad. Just see if you can get the queen and her few workers through to March 1 and then check your other hives to see if they have any extra brood to donate. (If nothing else, check with the area beekeepers to see if they desperately need a queen)
 

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Plenty of syrup, not enough pollen to brood. I would not expect any brood until some pollen is coming in or some sub added even with twice the bees.

Did not get a good look but curious about the scattered capped cells in the first hive. Dead larva or what in there?

Yes minimum step down to a nuc.
 
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