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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Continuing this in 'beekeeping 101' since it's a beginners issue...

Installed (2) 3 lb packages 4/16. One hive now building comb like mad, may have to add another deep soon. Watched them bringing in pollen (looked like full 747s landing!), taking lots of syrup and very active. opened up the reducer to a larger size to relieve the traffic jam.

Hive #2 (sigh).... Bees were soaked early on due to a leak in the feeder. Queen was OK at first, but bees never clustered during the cold nights and I found her still in the cage belly up after 4 days. Opened the queen cage and she started moving after being in the sun for 10 minutes. I placed her upright and watched the attendants fuss over her and closed the hive. I don't believe she made it, so I ordered another queen. I estimate 2/3 of the original package is dead, finding lots of dead bees on the front porch and on the ground. Very little syrup is being taken, and little or no comb is being drawn. In fact, most of the bees left are all in little 'clusters' above the top board, in between the feeder and clinging to the bottom of the feeder. There are less than a few dozen bees between the frames and they move slowly.

Why are they in small clusters and lethargic? Is it because of no queen, the stress they went through or just too many are dead? Would it help if I 'brushed' them back down into the frames?

My plans are to introduce the new queen, hope they begin building comb and maybe steal a frame of brood and some workers from the other hive in a week or two. If that fails, perhaps I can try a walk away split over the summer.

Any advice appreciated!

Larry
 

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one of two things crossed my mind as i read your post

1. you can give the weak hive 1-2 frames from the strong hive - that have eggs but not the queen and give them some motivation

2. you can place a sheet of newsprint over the strong hive and put the weak hive (without the queen) on top of the strong hive

this will combine the hives and make a stonger hive - then in about a month split the hive and you will have your 2 hives again

hope this helps
 

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Larry

A leak may not be the central issue since I doubt the entire hive got soaked. You could have a non-laying queen as I did with my first package. If so, your provider should provide a replacement. Make sure you dethrone her before introducing a new one.

If you can't get a replacement, I agree with contrete and suggest giving them a frame of freshly laid eggs from the strong hive. If the queen is gone or not producing, they will raise another and try to rebuild. I wouldn't anticipate a harvest, but you may get a surprise. You can always do a split later if it fails.

Since the other hive is building up and if your main honey flow is a month off, I personally would not combine now. IMO the additional bees now will not be around when you need them and won't help the queen lay eggs in the meantime.

Bees go about their existence with no concern for our goals. Experience the challenge on their terms. Good luck and enjoy.
 

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the bees in either hive will be there in a month - but the bees that you do have will keep the brood warm - the more adult bees you have the more eggs the queen will lay - she will lay any enough that can be covered -

so the more bees you have now - the more bees you will have later
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I called the company I ordered the new queen from... Looks like there is a delay there now, she wasn't sure how long it would be (or if the queens were even mated yet). I'm learning a lot now about dealing with reputable companies and asking a lot of questions regarding delivery times. Terrible waste of a week.

The advice given above (combine the two, move some brood, etc) is probably the right direction to go now, as the package bees will be 3 weeks old or more by the time the queen gets here.

Another cool day here, and all the bees in the weak hive are congregated as high as they can go (on the bottom of the cover, both sides of the top board, and in between the top feeder). They don't seem to be flying at all. I have a mind to switch the brood chamber to the top and see if they'll still move up, maybe that will jump start something.

Glad I started with two hives, if all else fails I still have one strong colony.

Larry
 

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Is getting another package out of the question? If so how about this: Combine for now and find a nice Northern queen to do a split on the downside of your nectar flow. I wouldn't rush into having a week cluster with a new queen.

It's disappointing, but knowing your on the list to receive a nice queen would give you something to look forward to and give your colony time to build. I'm new to this stuff too, but I don't think I would take brood from a colony that is just starting out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is getting another package out of the question? If so how about this: Combine for now and find a nice Northern queen to do a split on the downside of your nectar flow. I wouldn't rush into having a week cluster with a new queen.

It's disappointing, but knowing your on the list to receive a nice queen would give you something to look forward to and give your colony time to build. I'm new to this stuff too, but I don't think I would take brood from a colony that is just starting out.
I thought about a new package, but didn't think I could still get one this late in the year. Do you know of any sources? I paid for the queen so I'll be kind of stuck in that direction for now anyway.

There was a video (youtube?) that showed someone with 2 hives several weeks old, and they were interchanging a few frames between the two. It was capped brood, so I assume it will hatch soon and add to the amount of new young workers in a weak hive.

Lots to learn yet for this grasshopper...

larry
 
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