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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I checked the hives a couple days ago while it was warm. Bees have been busy in two hives, but one hive looked different. I opened the hive up and found many dead bees on the bottom of the hive. I cleaned the hive and looked for the queen but never found her. I'd estimate that there were around 500 bees left in that colony. The bees looked healthy, had food stores, so not sure what happened. Should I combine them with a strong hive? If so, what is the best method? Should I just let them make another queen or should I buy a new queen? Ideas on how to proceed
 

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If you do find the queen you can shake in more bees from part of a package or strong have to bost it. But first I would figure what caused the loss. Don't send good bees after bad.
PS. I am only a second-year week so I don't pretend to be an expert.

Alex
 

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With only a handful of bees left, shake the bees out and remove the hive. Don't waste the time and effort to combine it with another hive. With only 500 bees and no queen, there should be no eggs or larvae to make a new queen. Do not buy a new queen either. The population is too small for colony survival. If you still want another hive, buy a new queen and split one of the other hives. If you have drones this time of year, you can also split one of the other hives and let them raise a new queen themselves.
 

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Ya, those are winter bees that are pretty much worn out, and who knows what kind of mite load they have.
 

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Eliminate any possibility of EFB before you do any combining! I agree that you have nearly zero potential value left in those 500 old bees. Do an alcohol wash on dead bees to see what mite levels they were living with.

Better safe than sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies. Yes, I will look into the mite count.
I had thought about shaking them into another hive, taking down the old one and cleaning it up ready for a swarm to catch again and fill er up with it. I will do a better inspection for a queen, but I don't think there is one, because I saw no eggs or larva. Better do the mite count first. Probably just shake them out and start over. Thanks again.
 
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