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Discussion Starter #1
I really need help. All advice is welcomed.
I went into winter with two healthy hives. They had low mite counts, good population and plenty of food. I just did an inspection and I am totaly baffled. One hive is doing fine but the other is very bad. They have a queen but very little brood. They have almost a super full of honey but no more then 1000 bees. Many of the frames in the botom deep have mold on them and there is some dead brood that looks like they were killed by chalkbrood. I also saw two eggs in one cell, signs of a laying worker but they have a marked queen. What should be my plan of action?

Neubee
 

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Sounds like you had poor ventilation in the one hive. Try to figure out why.

Are you useing screened bottom boards?

Not sure that 2 eggs in only one cell is a red flag. Others with more experience will have more help.

I would open the hive up for more ventilation and give it some more time (like a couple of weeks). I would also get it down to one deep for now and let them build up.

Moisture is a killer.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They had (and still do) a screened bottom board but we did have a really wet winter.
They are in a medium super now because they were in one deep and one super to begin with and the deep was moldy and there was no bees in it.
Should I take some brood or bees from the other hive and add it to the weak hive? Their population is very low.

Neubee
 

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Yes, a couple frames of brood would help.

Did you have some ventilation out the top?
 

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And keep a close eye on the queens laying behavior over the next couple of weeks. Re-queen if it doesn't shape up.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No ventilation out the top but the whole hive is polystyrene.
I will keep an eye on the queen.

Thanks,
Neubee
 

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>Should I take some brood or bees from the other hive and add it to the weak hive? Their population is very low.

Only if the other hive can afford it. If not, you may end up with two weak hives. And to help the new bees acclimate to their new monarch, I’ve found it helpful to mix light sugar syrup with a tablespoon of pure vanilla extract in a clean – or better yet, new - household spray bottle and mist the bees during the entire process.
You may also want to try feeding both hives light sugar syrup (feeding both will help prevent the stronger colony robbing the weaker one) even though they have surplus honey. The feeding should aid in brood production.

I live in SE Texas and we have moisture issues all the time. Unfortunately, I found no way to rehabilitate moldy frames. Best to buy new frames and foundation and start again.

Hope this helps.

Cheers.
 

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I dont like the looks of the polystyrene hives. If you can use some push pins to hold top cover up for ventilation. Thats what i do put them in the corners of the innercover and also lets them come in the top. And real good for ventilation.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The other hive can afford it. They are quite strong.
I'll put push pins in for ventilation.
I will probably be getting a new queen so I will try the vanilla sugar spray.

Thanks,
Neubee
 

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I lost a hive over the winter, there was capped honey left in the hive, yet they were all dead. Their heads were in the cells, so I assume it was the cold snap we had in Feb. Some of the frames of honey had mold on them too. Would it be best to scrap these, or could I put them in a strong hive?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My frames are plastic so I'm just going to clean them and put them back.
I don't know if you can do that with wooden frames.

Neubee
 

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>They have a queen but very little brood.

If they don't have a lot of bees they won't have much brood.

>They have almost a super full of honey but no more then 1000 bees.

IMO their only real hope is to put them in a hive the right size for them. In this case a two frame medium would be about right.

>Many of the frames in the botom deep have mold on them and there is some dead brood that looks like they were killed by chalkbrood.

The best solution for that is move them into direct sun and give them ore ventilation.

> I also saw two eggs in one cell, signs of a laying worker

No. Two eggs in one cell are NOT the sign of a laying worker. Five or six eggs in hundrds of cells is a sign of laying workers.

> but they have a marked queen.

Who, because of the limited number of nurse bees, has a limited area to lay in, so she layed in some cells twice. That's perfectly normal.

> What should be my plan of action?

Move them into the smallest box the bees will fit in. If you don't have a nuc, build one or buy one. Put them in direct sun. Give them some ventilation. I wouldn't waste bees from another hive on them. In the right size box they might pull through. But if they don't, I'd probably let them fail. If you really want, you could add one frame of bees and emerging brood. It might give them enough critical mass to get going again.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks MB. I'll move them into the smallest box and give them more ventilation. I think I might add some bees but not too many.

Neubee
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, I opened the weak hive today to check on them and then add some bees from the other hive, and the queen was dead. I'm not sure if they balled her or if I closed the cover on her but she is gone. I put the remaining bees and brood into the strong hive.
My question is: will the bees from the weak hive still try to make a emergency queen cell or will they just become part of the colony?

Neubee
 

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Where are the bees from the weak hive? Where is the brood from the weak hive? I got the impression you put them all in the strong hive. Is that not correct? If so then they are now a part of that hive and they have a queen.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yes, that is correct. The bees and brood from the weak hive are in the top box of the strong hive. The brood was in medium frames so I had to put them there.
Sorry, the answer to my question was pretty evident but I'm very worried that something might go wrong with the strong hive.

Thanks,
Neubee
 

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So the weak hive is in a box above the excluder? Or is there an exluder? If it's above the excluder it's possible (but unlikely given the weak circustances) that they might build a queen cell. But if there isn't they are much less likely to.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
There is no excluder. I usually use excluders but this year I'm going to try without them.

Neubee
 
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