Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
546 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy. Finally got a chance to peer inside one of my 2 hives on this 52 degree sunny day. And I am wondering if I should condense and clean up the hive down to one deep to try and save what is left of the living bees?

It seems I have 3 small clusters in different places. This is a 10 frame Lang. 2 deeps with a medium on top. There was a small cluster (30 or 40 bees) right on the top bars against the sun side of the hive. There was a small cluster directly below them on the top bars of the top deep and down in the bottom deep it sounded like a small queenless roar going on. I had taken the medium off the top and set it aside. Maybe the queen was in there.

Aside from that lots of dead bees plugging up between the frames. And because of winter dysentery, lots of almost black poop on the top bars and down the sides of the hive. I pulled a couple frames where the dead bees were packed between and the comb was full of dead bees head first into the comb. Some all the way in and some half way out.

We are heading into a warming trend. Lots of 50 degree days a couple 60+ days coming up but still some 30 degree nights.

One one of those 60 degree days, should I pull this hive apart, try to get any living bees into a single cleaned up deep with whatever stores I can muster and some empty comb? The hive right next door seems much healthier with a couple orientation flights happening already.

Thanks for any advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
461 Posts
I don't know a lot, but it sounds to me like you have pretty much already lost that hive. 30 or 40 bees doesn't make a cluster. Even if you have 3 or 4 small clusters of 30 or 40 bee you don't have enough bees for a hive. Even as far south as here in Kentucky one full frame of bees will have a hard time making it at this time of year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,311 Posts
I had a similar situation. I had an double 8-frame deep going into winter. A couple of weeks ago I went in and there were only about a thousand or so bees with a queen. I pulled the frames where they were clustered and put them into a 5-frame nuc. I imagine the original queen was either lost or superceded late last year, and the queen I have is a virgin. I am putting 1:1 sugar water and a piece of a sugar brick on this group, but am not going to do anything but watch to see if this queen will mate and get to laying. (my other hive has young drones which apparently have not started flying yet).

If I were you I would get into that hive when weather permits and see if you have a queen and if there are enough bees to try to save this group. Since there was a "roar" maybe there are several thousand and a queen. At any rate I would get these into a smaller box, which will help them conserve heat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
445 Posts
DITTO.....I have the same situation. I put them in a nuc when I discovered they didn't have a queen and gave them a frame of eggs. This was about a month ago. As of last week they had a virgin queen and as of today they seem to still be dormant. It is probably too early for the queen to mate. If you have no queen I would recommend combining them until you can get a good queen. They were so poorly when I gave them the eggs that I don't expect the queen they made to be worth much, but I could be wrong, often am when it comes to the bees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
546 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I opened this hive today and I hope I did the best thing.

It was completely dead. I thought. I sat the top deep on the ground. It was very heavy with honey. And it was packed with dead bees between the frames. I cleaned up the bottom deep frame by frame. As I was doing that I noticed the deep I had sat on the ground, in the sun, coming to life. About a half seam of bees in a tight cluster against the sun side of the box. Right where they were last time I checked.

Several of the bees on top of this cluster were fanning. Rear ends raised in the air pointing away from the cluster and fanning away. What are they doing?

Anyways, I placed this deep on the hive stand and started at the opposite side of the box and cleaned up all of the frames working towards the cluster. I did not want to disturb this cluster so I did not see if there was a queen inside. So I put a frame of honey right next to the cluster first scoring a few rows of honey cells. Thought this might make it easier for them to eat. Then a nice dark empty brood comb and then more honey and pollen and so one. Then I buttoned it up. Just one deep high.

The other hive seems to be doing good with several orientation flights this past week and today they were even foraging bringing in some orange colored pollen. However, I think I may take a frame or two of honey from the first hive and give to this stronger hive in a few days.

Sounds like a good plan?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
546 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got into the weak hive again today and saw the Queen. Red dot and all. The cluster appears to have grown a little and they are either finding nectar or relocating honey stores. There was a hand sized patch of uncapped liquid. There are several deep frames of honey from last year so I took a couple out and gave it to the strong hive. Took a frame of dark brood comb from the strong and put it next to the little colony in the weak hive.
My only concern is the weak hive is not bringing in any pollen that I can see but the strong hive is trucking it in. I placed some pollen sub near them on the top bars and they don't appead to have touched it.
Any opinions on that?
Thankz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
I just checked my hive today as well since it was high 60s. :)) The cluster is extremely tiny and tons of dead bees, but I did see the queen moving around and no eggs or brood. Now, I did see a queen cell, but I'm not sure if it was from last summer or if it is recent. I spent some time rearranging the comb and cleaning up the hive. I have a top bar hive...

Maybe I do have a virgin queen now?

Good luck with your cluster frankthomas!
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top