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I'm a second year Beek. Started with 2 hives last year 2 different suppliers of nuks. One I call the Italians One the Russians. First The Russians started early in April took off great and were doing good. Lost the queen not sure swarmed or may have crushed her. Left them alone to do their own thing which they did with their own new queen and formed to feral colony mostly black in color. Held their own the rest of the year although were somewhat aggressive. Italians did great they were a late start (June) took off slow but built up great by fall.

Checked both hives for the first time this spring. Italians doing great lots of bees, larva, nectar, activity, ect. The Russian muts however different story. Bee count way down, mice had gotten in somehow, found what I think is a wax moth larva, did not locate a queen, and some empty queen cells, very little stores. However bees were returning loaded with pollen, red and gold. I cleaned the hive up (closed the bottom entrance) but not quite sure what to do at this point. New queen? or let them do their own thing again? Also what about the wax moth larva? Would like to stay chemical free. One more question. The original nuc was made up of Pierco (I believe that's right) frames and they are now empty and very black is the black color ok? Kinda like the black feral bees look cool.

James R.
 

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James, seems like you have three options, and a possible combination of the three:
1) Get a new queen for the Russians.
2) Let the Russians raise their own, but they may not be able to do that.
3) If you have the equipment, do a walk-away split of your Italians. When that nuc builds up and has a laying queen, you can either unite it with the Russian colony, if it is still struggling. Or if the Russians die out, you'll at least still have two colonies.
Regards,
Steven
 

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Or: 4) take a frame of eggs from the Italian hive and give it to the Russians. See if they'll raise their own queen. May have to do it 2 or 3 times. Russians are stubborn, just like the inhabitants of their namesake country. ;)
 
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