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need advice

2049 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  WWW
Hi, I'm new to beekeeping and I am worried about a hive. I started with a single hive that was started from a nuc. When the frames were 80% drawn out I added a second brood box. When it was mostly drawn out I added a super. That was 2 weeks ago. I did a thorough inspection today and found that the bees have not moved up into the super. I now have 2 broods full of capped honey except for a half frame of un capped larvae in the very bottom box. Do I still have a queen?, how do I get the bees to move up? What should my next move be. I see no signs of swarm cells and the bees are very calm. Do I have a serious problem?
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If you have uncapped larvae, then you had a queen at least within the last 10 days. Did you see any eggs? A picture of the brood would be helpful.

Either way, it's odd to have such a small patch of brood. Three possibilities I can think of are:

1. Your queen swarmed and there is a virgin
2. There is no queen, virgin or otherwise
3. There is a queen, but she has no space to lay eggs! The problem with this third possibility is that normally bees will leave more space for brood than half a frame, but who knows??

You could try putting an empty frame next to the brood and see what happens. If it were my hive and there wasn't a virgin I would requeen. I'm interested in hearing what others think.
If there is no flow in your area then everything sounds normal to me, summer is here and not much nectar is being gathered so the bees will slow down brood rearing and not continue drawing comb, they are very frugal creatures. Where swarming is concerned as long as you are seeing larvae then you have a queen and if she has room to lay and it appears that she does then swarming shouldn't be much of a concern.

Just leave the super on the hive, it is likely the bees need some extra space, when the fall flow arrives they very well might cap some honey for you at that time. Remember that fall flows are a fickle thing, you can't always count on them :).
If you have uncapped larvae, then you had a queen at least within the last 10 days.
Not correct. Larvae develop from eggs of laying workers. If you see single eggs well centered you can safely presume they were laid by a queen. I don't have the skill to differentiate drone larvae from worker larvae prior to capping.

Bees won't have interest in your honey super unless they require it. So if there isn't a flow going on it is highly unlikely that the bees will pay attention to your honey super.

As to the small amount of brood that you see it could be the result of many things. A few of them include: A failing queen, a queen that shuts down brood production in times of dearth, a recently started laying swarm queen, lack of space in the brood chamber for the queen to lay, laying workers. You post does not provide enough information to know with certainty what is going on.

But it sounds normal.
...summer is here and not much nectar is being gathered so the bees will slow down brood rearing and not continue drawing comb, they are very frugal creatures...
Good point! I am used to working with Italians bred for pollination; they tend to just keep eating rather than shut down brood rearing... hopefully Bill is right and your bees are just being frugal :p
As Andrew said more information is necessary to truly make a proper diagnosis. However there are many plausible situations, a number of which do not mean you have trouble. when in doubt the best measure is to verify the presence or lack of a queen either through her physical presence, or the presence of eggs that are well centered in the cells. A good pattern can be a clue, but not a guarantee!
Although I am not in N.C. information at my disposal leads me to believe that you are well into a dearth, During times of hard dearth the bees will consume stores fairly quickly. so space will free up in reasonable time. If the queen has reduced laying, or taken a break because of the dearth them what you have is a normal occurrence for your bees and local. Give things a good look and you probably will answer your own question. if not then come back with the particulars.
Thank all you guys for your prompt replys. I will take a closer look this evening when I get off work. The nectar flow is over in my neck of the woods. I'm thinking strongly that I am probably queenless and that I have a laying worker. The larvae that is in there is fairly large and indicating that it's droan larvae.I may have to combine that hive with another strong hive. I'm not sure what to do if I have a laying worker.
We are definately in a dearth here in central NC, and many of my queens have greatly reduced their egg laying. If you are worried that you may be queenless and have access to a strong hive give then a frame of brood and eggs from the strong hive and see what they do with it.
Bingo, Waggle has hit the nail on the head :).
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