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We have three hives.. and are beginners. My mentor travels every week, so I dont get answers for almost a week sometimes. So, his response to me was 'starvation' for having lost a lot of honey in the frames, and a handful of dead drone in the cells in the brood frames. We've had syrup feeders on every single day. They have had some good spring days, but our weather has been rainy for most of the time here in Seattle.

We also have two queen cups again in one hive, and about three weeks ago, our mentor pinched them off the frames. So, this particular hive seems to want to either replace the queen, who is a 2020 model, or they want to swarm? They dont have a brood super yet, but maybe they need one now? We've had them roughly five weeks now. Started from Nucs.

My main question is.. Where did all the honey go? Did they eat it all cause there was no flying for days at a time? I dont see signs of robbing, or animals getting into the hives.

And how did they starve if we are feeding them syrup, and they had honey to use?
 

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6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
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3rd year 6a- If honey is gone and you're not seeing any signs of robbing then they did indeed eat it. Still no problem there. When you have baby hives they are consuming a lot and building their infrastructure. I would highly recommend watching University of Guelphs video on Comb Building. They put 3-4 gallons (not kidding, gallons) on nucs while they are building out their brood boxes. They do that until a flow happens. How do you know what is going on? You look. Feed aggressively, then look during your inspections to be sure they are not filling all of the spaces within the brood nest (internal middle space) with feed. That's called backfilling and that is a precursor to swarming. The bees have a checkoff list before swarming that includes having enough feed for themselves and to leave behind. It's a balance between feeding enough to avoid starvation and encourage wax production OR feeding so much that they have nowhere else to put it.

You can do this. It's just a means of feeding and backing off and looking at the comb for signs of where they are putting it. Over the brood and on top within the frame? Great. Plugging every emerging hole within the frame? Not good. In the latter case you can back off a few days until a balance is regained. This has been a weird year. I fed much longer into the summer because we're at least 2 weeks behind our normal flow. Bees will also fake you out. Mine just did until I looked at the frames. The little pigs were starting to backfill. No more feed until I see they need it.

I err on the side of feeding. Especially baby hives. Be sure to also feed pollen (protein patties). Sugar syrup is only 1/2 the equation. They need protein for brood. When they finish the comb building in their primary box it's time to add a super or a second deep if you go that direction. You can actively rotate undrawn frames further into the middle to encourage them to build them out. Watching the video will show you how. If you add a super too soon they may abandon the frames on the outside in favor of going vertical. It would leave them at a disadvantage going into winter which you definitely don't want. When you start feeding in fall you will pile it on. Late season falls under a different set of rules then swarm season.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Also, could the loss of honey just be an explosion in baby bee births? They needed to eat?
 

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thank you for this response! I did put a pollen patty on this hive on Monday.. we'll check it today to see if they ate it, how much, etc.

And I will check out the video :)
 

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I have 2 gallon top feeders I use sometimes with new packages or swarms IF I am using foundation VS drawn comb. It takes something like 6 lbs. of honey to draw out one deep frame of comb. (??)

Having drawn comb is money in the bank. One thing I haven't noticed being mentioned here is how important your location is. If you live in an area with poor forage you will be feeding a lot more even if there is a flow on. It is easy to see sometimes when you have 2 or more yards and some struggle and others don't. It's simply a matter of efficiency. If the bees have to fly more than a mile for forage the trip too forage and back is longer. Less bees in a small starter hive means fewer foragers. I have open farm fields in every direction for over 1/2 mile in every direction where I keep a few hives. They struggle to make much of a honey crop. Whereas where I kept bees in past years they produced much better because there was a lot more diverse forage. One package I started in late April had a queen who layed most of the 10 frame deep in brood in 2 weeks, many of the frames were corner to corner brood. It is now a strong 2 deep brood chamber and I am considering adding a third. Or I may split them if they start making queen cells.
 

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6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
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Also, could the loss of honey just be an explosion in baby bee births? They needed to eat?
Yes. The good news is- if they are raising brood with it your colony is growing. You want that.

That's why starvation is more common in March for over wintered colonies. It's when colonies start raising more bees. Brood rearing takes tremendous resources.
 

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Are they taking the syrup? Are you using plain old granulated sugar? What ratio are you feeding?How much a week? Were the dead drone cells ripped open? Are the drones the only dead larvae? Are you seeing dead bees in the cells or on bottom board?If so, this can happen when you remove frames if they stick out too much or are attached to adjoining frame. How many frames are drawn out?
With feeders on,your bees are not starving if they are taking it and you are keeping them filled. Other things could be happening, but some answers to my questions will help narrow it down. J
 

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seems the feeding has been discussed, equally important perhaps more is this :

and about three weeks ago, our mentor pinched them off the frames. So, this particular hive seems to want to either replace the queen, who is a 2020 model, or they want to swarm?

So you need to "Know" if they want to swarm or Supercede, else the decision is perhaps wrong on what to do.

So IMO if you mentor pinched them he assumed swarming, My experience is bees do not swarm in a dearth, if nectar was abundant and the NUCs were in good shape, they would not have ran out of honey while being fed. So you have conflicting data.
Another question is the "mentor" also the source of your NUCS" That could explain his actions , as he has opinions on this/his queen.
If you pinch too long on a supercedue you will end up buying a queen, bees replace when they perceive a defective queen, or if they do not like her smell.
Sometime we see problems with say a Russian queen in a 3 frame split with Italian Bees, hence the make up of the NUC also having a bearing on the matter. BTW the NUC creator would know this fact.
I generally let a supersedure go , because if I stop it indefinitely and the queen is really failing I end up queen less.
Ask the mentor "Why" on the bigger decisions, or "Show me why"

if the mentor is your friend or relative forgive me, but 1 strike on the mentor if he does not know the difference between swarm and supersedure needs of a HIVE, and 2 strikes, if the NUCs are his, , cancel reading this sentence if he/she admitted they did not know and you both guessed.

And the dead/dying drone cells,,,,, sound like shrinking cluster, unless the NUCs were built with wall to wall brood frames and the cluster did not cover them, COULD be a population decline, Mites can shorten the lives of bees so foraging would be cut short, so do look at the Mite threads and attempt to ascertain if Mites are involved. Shortened lives and less foraging could be the start of collapsing population.

Me thinks there is more on your plate than "to feed or not to feed" if more feed is needed, easy fix. if you have Mites and a failing Queen, Not so
much.

GG
Have a happy day
 

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GG: Loriann said queen cups on a frame so I wouldn't read into that too much. They are likely so called "practice cups" since her mentor pinched them. They do not indicate a failing queen on its own. I pinch them too or else there would be too many to monitor. I am curious why starvation we as concluded because without more info, there is little to support that. In fact, there is little to support any problem except the dead drone larvae which is frequently caused by newbie inspections . Definitely need more info. J
 

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GG: Loriann said queen cups on a frame so I wouldn't read into that too much. They are likely so called "practice cups" since her mentor pinched them. They do not indicate a failing queen on its own. I pinch them too or else there would be too many to monitor. I am curious why starvation we as concluded because without more info, there is little to support that. In fact, there is little to support any problem except the dead drone larvae which is frequently caused by newbie inspections . Definitely need more info. J
Understood, I do not bother with cups, my hives have 5-10 to a box, I would be pinching them all the time.
Normally the cups do not carry meaning, however some times they do.
Also depends on how much honey was there , could be robbing as well.
 
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