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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!
Looking for a more seasoned beekeeper's input. I did an inspection today, as we have had day time temps in the 50s here in the Hudson Valley. I had at least 6 frames of capped honey still in reserves (I didn't take any honey off the hive last year because it was the first year). I did the inversion, so now most of the honey is on the bottom, and most of the frames of empty cells are on the top. I did not observe any new eggs - is this normal? I could not locate the queen and wonder about her presence.

Also, this is the least important. If we get more toward April and there is still a great deal of capped honey on the frames may I take one or two? I am also looking at splitting the hive, as I have a bolstering number that survived.

Finally, should I feed them? And if so, what, if any, medication should they be getting this time of year? This will be the hive's second season. I did not medicate at all for the first season and did not experience problems, but I did read that the second season, problems are likely to develop.

Thank you in advance - I think i just read too many different things, so my head is spinning!

Janay
 

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I did not observe any new eggs - is this normal? I could not locate the queen and wonder about her presence.
You should see brood by now, in all stages. you could be queenless, if this is the case your hive will dewindle down to nothing by spring. you need to be sure if there is brood or not.
 

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Do you have flowers blooming there already?- a source of food for them to forage? We don't have anything blooming here yet, near Albany. It's still in the 20's and 30's at night here.

If nothing is blooming yet where you are, I myself would not have reversed hive bodies just yet. Bees tend to move UP to their food stores, and now you have put their remaining honey stores underneath them. Maybe I'm wrong about that being an issue?

If things are blooming where you are and you see them bringing in pollen, then it's likely not a problem. :)
 

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:scratch: No queen? Don't see brood? If you only have one hive, you must throne a laying queen or loose the hive.

My first and only package came with a non-laying queen. With the help of a friend, she suffered the fate of Marie Antoinette and my provider sent a queen free of charge. Her successor became the foundation for six hives and counting.

No brood for me is a real tattle tale, but not necessarily definitive. If your queen stopped laying, she may still be in the hive keeping the workers happy with her pheromones. Introducing a new queen with a non-laying highness on the throne will be a death sentence to your purchase and put you in the same place. If you don't have brood, that may be the case since the workers often start laying drones without Sovereignty, a definite end to the colony.

If you can't find her and since it's still early, you may want to buy a five frame nuc box with feeder and find a friend that will part with about five brood fames with newly laid eggs along with the attached nurse bees. Put three frames in the nuc box and feed feed feed. Since no queen, the nurse bees will turn new eggs into queen cells. I'm guessing in April the queens will emerge, mate and start laying. Take the other two frames and put in your hive. If she is not laying, the workers will create queen cells and supersede her. If your hive continues to dwindle, you can take one of the deeps, frame by frame ensure you do not have the queen and move your nuc into it eventually and systematically replacing the hive. This is affectionately known as a queen-less split. That may let you catch the bulk of the NY honey flow. If both grow into colonies, you can do a newspaper combine or similar. They will sort out who stays in power and you may enter the honey flow with good numbers, or start another full sized hive.

The bottom line is that you need to make sure the hive knows they are queen-less before introducing a new one.
 

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A. I think that it is rather early to reverse supers. Was there any empty comb in that upper super w/ the frames of honey?

B. If you aren't seeing any brood at all ordering and installing a queen at this time would be a waste of a queen. It will take you about a week to get it any way. And the bees that are there, assuming that there are any, won't accept her. If they have been w/out a queen for a time, they already think that they have one, one or more of the workers.

C. Do you only have one hive? If you have two, is there brood in that other one? If so, combine them for now, order a queen and do a split in about 3 or 4 weeks.

Do you have a mentor? Someone who lives near you who could advise you and atually look at your bees w/ you? There are a couple of bee clubs in the Hudson Valley. Get in touch w/ one or both of those clubs and find a mentor to help you.
 

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What kind of bees do you have? That can make a difference. How big was your cluster, and how much stores did they have left.

I checked a couple hives yesterday since it was about 60 and sunny here. A Russian hive had a softball sized cluster. I was not able to find any brood. (I didn't look closely for eggs.) I did see the queen. Their stores were getting low, so I gave them some frames of drawn comb filled with sugar syrup and pollen patties.

I check a hive of feral Italians. They still had stores, and one of the first frames I pulled had a fist sized patch of sealed brood. I gave them pollen patties too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have Italians. The cluster is huge, and there are several frames of capped honey - I didn't take any off the hive at all since it was my first season last season. I am hoping for the best. I don't want to disturb them too much, but I would like to take a second look.

I really appreciate everyone's assistance - the knowledge base within this community is tremendous :)
 

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I would guess the queen has not started to lay yet this season. It may not be quite time yet. Mine went into the winter fat on SW I feed them and there may have been a shortage of stored pollen also. Perhaps when the pollen starts coming in you will be pleasantly surprised. You could combine but if it was me I would wait just a bit longer and see how it goes. Remember, if you don't know what to do sometimes it is better to do nothing and let the bees decide.

Jack
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Jack -

I like that very much. I am currently reading a book on natural beekeeping which kind of offers the same sentiment. I will hope for the best!
 

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jgas19,
Started a hive last year here in LaGrangeville-unfortunately it did not make it through the winter-I believe I had a late swarm and not enough bees to keep the hive warm. Have ordered new nucs to replace and I have some nuc boxes to hopefully catch a swarm. Any questions or observations you would like to exchange feel free to get in touch. Good Luck.

JC
 

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Nonlaying queens tend to be small and harder to spot.If there is no pollen stores youre queen will not start laying untill there is.Brood rearing requires pollen for a protein source. Look again for youre queen if you find her give them pollen sub. if not give them a queen as well.
 

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My OH queen hasn't been laying for quite a while and she still has a nice, long, plump appearance. They can fool you. Give her a bit of time yet IMHO.
 

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Thought some more and I agree. If you can't add brood, leave alone and hope for best. Combining will give you one less hive and another with twice the hungry bees that won't live through the honey flow. A healthy hive will build up anyway.
 
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