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Discussion Starter #1
I went through my two hives today, and found a cluster of dead bees in one. There seemed to be still a fair amount of bees. Going through some of the dead bees on the bottom board, I found the queen. Do I bail on this hive, or order a queen? If I get a queen can I wait until early March?
Thanks!
Andrew
 

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Personally I'd keep my fingers crossed and give it a couple of days and check for eggs to make sure you didn't have a superceded queen (the one that died) and a new queen in the hive together. It appears from several recent posts that two queen hives are more common than I thought. If it was a single queen hive, I'd bail on it. Finding a queen now would be impossible and IMO March would be too late. Hopefully others with more experience will jump in.
 

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Is there brood? Are there drones? I don't live in Virginia and don't know your climate or your winter this year. If there is brood and drones and flying weather they could have superceded. If not, I'd do a newspaper combine.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No brood or drones. The honey was spread out a bit in the hive, and it looks like the cluster ended up in an unlucky spot during a cold strech. Usually its pretty cold here in Jan. Today it was 63. I did have a feeder on, but guess they couldnt get to it.
 

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I would combine it with the queen wright hive with the news paper method,,,, dont even if you had a queen she could mate this time of year, combine the hives......
 

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Andrew

I live in buffalo junction virginia which is not far from you. I would unite this colony and let them build up by summer then split them but listen to the guys here they know what they are talking about. Are your bee rearing brood and bring in pollen mine are booming and if we get a long cold spell it will be bad but alot of my brood is capped and some are hatching out fine.

Tom
 

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Pretty obvious I'm in the minority but I can't see combining a weak hive with another weak hive and winding up with a weak hive with a large population. Pretty certain I wouldn't throw them in with a large hive as I'm not sure why they died and I wouldn't want to import a problem. Guess I'm just cold hearted when it comes to survival traits.

David
 

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You do't give many clues as to why the weak hive lost a large part of the cluster although if they are on the bottom board it is often starvation. Are their dead bees in the lost queen hive with their heads in empty cells? At any rate I would be certain you are satified no major disease or parsite issues exist 1st.

Newpapaer combines don't work well in the low 60's as the bees are usually clustered and have no reason to want to expand or join with a foreign colony (ie space) but a combine is still the best chance as the no queen hive has no chance at this point. Not likely you'll find a queen in early March .

[ January 14, 2007, 08:59 AM: Message edited by: Joel ]
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah, I think it was starvation, Lots of bees with their heads in. This was a new hive this year, it didnt build up a big honey store. Id say five to six frames of honey spread over 10 frames, in two deeps.
Ive had feeders on them since Oct. Somehow, a bunch got into the feeder and died, over the past couple of months. They managed to get in through the top cover. The weather has been so wacky with really nice days, and cold nights.
The queenless hive was Id say, more in the air then on the combs yesterday. How do you combine them when they are like that?

Andrew
 

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I wouldn't stack them on your hives this time of year. Three deeps is alot of space for the bees to keep warm. I would blow or shake the bees out and store the brood chambers untill spring. keep them cold and dry to prevent wax moths. After it warms up in the spring divide the frames of honey in the chambers and then stack them on strong hives. In the spring the bees are in brood raising mode if you give them extra room and food they will take off. Hives with three deeps make strong splits!
 
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