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Hi - I have two hives that I started last year - both survived the winter, but one is a very small cluster that had moved up into a honey super that I left on for them. There was no honey left in the deeps, so I was glad to have left more for them. I placed a deep hive body above the super, with a feeder (1:1 SS with HBH) and a pollen patty, but they are not moving up into that hive body.
Upon inspection Saturday, I found the queen, but no eggs or brood. The cluster is still very small, and seems to have no interest in moving up. The other hive is booming already, bringing in pollen and feeding happily on SS and a pollen patty.
I think that I will have to pinch the queen and install a new package to get that hive back, but I'm going to keep checking them to see if they are moving. Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks!
 

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a frame of brood from the strong hive will help, as will switching places. good luck,mike
 

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The hive is to weak to be putting the feeder a full empty box above them. You need the feeder right at the cluster. Remove the top box and put the feeder back on in the box the cluster is in. I never add a box unless the bees in the hive are strong enough to be crowded in every frame in the bottom box. This gives them strength enough to defend and move into the new box, and you can add two at a time this way if you're in a nectar flow.

Boosting it with nurse bees from a strong hive will really help, but is it worth robbing from the strong to feed the weak? That question might be answered with another... why is the hive weak? Might be better to raise a new queen, or purchase one, and make a split a little later after you get some honey off the strong one.
 

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In Ct aren't you almost 2 months away from a real honey flow? If so, moving a frame of brood from your strong hive now and again in a week won't reduce your surplus honey much from your strong hive and may help prevent it's swarming. I've read an old technique was to even out all hives by moving around frames of brood & stores in early spring.

I agree that giving too much room that they can't occupy is very bad.
 

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remember, a nurse bee can cover 2 brood cells, and it takes about 3 weeks for all laid up brood to hatch.

this means that when things are building up ideally, you can double the number of frames of brood every 3 weeks.

so, if the strong hive has 2 frames of brood, 2 week intervals can be:
2, 4, 8, 16 frames of brood over 12 weeks.

if you remove one of those 2 frames, you get:
1, 2, 4, 6 frames of brood.

if you have 6 frames of brood, you get:
6, 12, 24, 48 (which will allow you to split _and_ make honey)

...so you might feel comfortable to split at 6 frames of brood, but less so with 3.

deknow
 

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Deknow, that's great info. How would you suggest RJPHIL builds up the poor colony?
 

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i'd get any feed directly in contact with the cluster, and i'd let them do what they are going to do until you have the resources to help them (either from the stronger hive or from a package).

i'd be more inclined to switch the hive locations than to donate a brood frame when there are less than 6 or so.

deknow
 

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IMO the problem seems to be lack of nurse bees to raise brood instead of a lack of stores. So, the solution would be to add a frame of brood with nurse bees from the strong hive.
 

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well, you have two things:

1. a small cluster: this could have any number of causes (from queenlessness to disease to a poorly timed cold snap). boosting this with a frame of brood may or may not help the situation.

2. a stronger hive: you don't really want to set this back if it is just building up...removing one of 2-4 frames of brood will have a significant impact on the rest of the season.

you would probably be better off in the end to combine the two (if the smaller one is worth combining), and split when you have 10 frames of brood (leave 2 frames with eggs and emerging bees, and a frame of honey/pollen on the current stand to catch the foragers and move the rest of the hive with the queen). you can either add a queen, or let them raise one...but i bet you end up with two colonies that are stronger than what you will get by robinhooding the two at this time of year.

deknow
 

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Sounds like what I am finding after 80% losses. A few colonies with maybe a hundred bees, a queen, no flight, no brood to speak of, no will to prosper.
 
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