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Discussion Starter #1
One of my colonies appears to be very weak. It is actually a colony that I combined this fall from two swarms. They have ample stores and a laying queen but probably only 2-3 pounds of bees and brood on maybe 3 frames in various stages. The brood nest has moved up and there are frames in the bottom box that have not even been drawn. The bottom box had an August swarm and the top had a April swarm that went queenless due to MQS treatment so I combined them. The brood nest is in frames 2-4 and the rest of the frames in this box are full of stores. Most of the bees were on the brood rather than flying around trying to attack me.
 

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I think if you are asking the question of being too weak, then they probably are. Make sure they a re queen-rite and start feeding. If they are not bringin in pollen then give them some substitute.

You other alternative is to do nothing and see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think if you are asking the question of being too weak, then they probably are. Make sure they a re queen-rite and start feeding. If they are not bringin in pollen then give them some substitute.

You other alternative is to do nothing and see what happens.
This is my first overwinter so I am not sure what strength is acceptable. They are considerably weaker than my other two colonies but since I have not had a weak colony in late winter and then seen if they can build up in the spring I have no basis of comparison.
 

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I suggest: 1) Make sure frames to each side and above the brood nest have honey --- replace any empty frames with honey filled frames as needed. These frames must be within reach (no more than an inch or two) of the bees. 2) Feed pollen sub and sugar paddy just above the brood nest. 3) Remove any empty boxes. Because the cluster is so small, I would wrap the hive in roofing felt and put a insulation board/pillow above the last hive box. 4) Close any open screen bottom; reduce bottom and top entrances to less than 2 inches.

Hope this helps.
 

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I had one come out of winter similar. I am in texas so we are a little ahead of everyone. I put a pollen pattie, mann lake, and a sugar block. They actually drug some of the sugar block out but I will update you on the pollen patties once I check today. Feed feed feed and I think u should be fine. If they survived this winter than that's a good thing.
 

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This is my first overwinter so I am not sure what strength is acceptable. They are considerably weaker than my other two colonies but since I have not had a weak colony in late winter and then seen if they can build up in the spring I have no basis of comparison.
My first year as well. Trying not to learn this at the expense of my bees so I put some half size candy boards on them using the megabee formula. No idea if they will eat it but it makes me feel better...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
They have a full super of honey above them already and plenty around the brood. I gave them some sugar patties about 6 weeks ago but they have barely touched them. They have pollen and are bringing in more from the maples so I think nutrition wise they are ok. I was just concerned because there seem to be so few bees especially since this was a small 3 pound swarm that was combined in the fall with a large swarm colony that had swarmed in April. They have open and closed brood.
 
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