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Inspected and cleaned my hives today after not having been in them for well over a month due to business travel. Yep, there was lots of propolis gluing everything together. I did clean things up but didn't go crazy per suggestions in my other "Propolis" thread.

I have two hives - one is strong and full of honey and pollen plus brood (though I didn't get into the lower deep, so not sure just how much). The second, which has always been the weaker of the two never got beyond 6 frames in one deep and now there is NOTHING in any of the comb. I didn't see any brood, honey, pollen - nothing. It was very strange. It's been extremely dry here, and it seems pretty obvious that the strong hive has been robbing the weak one.

Given that it's pretty late in the season, do I have any choice besides finding/destroying the Queen (if there is one) and combining with my strong hive? Is there still time to get a new Queen (if even available) and feed syrup to get them to sufficient "honey" stock for winter? Should I consider a "split" and combine with the weak hive? I don't think this will work as the two hives are side by side and I can't move either.

Thanks for any suggestions

-Pete

P.S. Here are some hiking and camping pix from WA state where I was traveling for the past 6 months :D
http://pxbacher.home.comcast.net
 

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Pete, Either the queen has failed or been killed. At this point requeening a small cluster of likely aging field bees, trying to build up stores and hatching enough young bees for the winter cluster is unlikely. Once I have eliminated disease I would likely do a newspaper combine, if the addition won't be a drain on the stores in the stronger hive.
Great pics, how come you didn't take along your bees?
 

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Pete,
Many of the colonies and swarms from this year I started up have no stores and will need to be combined or stores added. It’s just been too dry in June thru Aug for any small colony to build up properly, unless it may have been in an area with abundant forage.

>Given that it's pretty late in the season, do I have any choice besides finding/destroying the Queen (if there is one) and combining with my strong hive?

Golden nectar is coming in now and I any queen, even in a weak colony would be expected to have a patch of eggs and young larvae and capped brood in response to the flow by now. IF not, I would not consider trying to save her.

>Is there still time to get a new Queen (if even available) and feed syrup to get them to sufficient "honey" stock for winter?

There is not enough time left to do this.

>Should I consider a "split" and combine with the weak hive? I don't think this will work as the two hives are side by side and I can't move either.

I would combine into one.

OR, if the queen happens to be performing good, and if you what to be aggressive. You could split up the stores and winter them both in singles, dividing the broodnest equally and placing it to one side at the end frame positions 1 2 and 3. Then the cluster will have an easy time during winter moving right down the line consuming stores.
 

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another thing you could do is shake the bees into the other hive using sugar syrup sray to unite the bees and bring your empty equipment into storage so you can make a split next year. usaually a small cluster of bees dumped into a queenright hive using this method is accepted while the bees from the queen right colony will kill any virgins, drone layers, or laying workers(what ever the case might be). the only time i ever use the news paper method is when i have a large population of hoplessly queenless hive in two story broodnest. then i shake the hive out 10 feet in front of the hive and leave them one of the brood nest supers, then i put paper on top and another super to which i have a nuc in or a single on top. this method has worked many times for getting rid of laying workers.
 

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By this do you mean spraying the 'bees to be dumped in' and then shaking? Like basically wetting them with syrup to have better acceptance? Thanks.
 

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>now there is NOTHING in any of the comb. I didn't see any brood, honey, pollen - nothing. It was very strange. It's been extremely dry here, and it seems pretty obvious that the strong hive has been robbing the weak one.

They have been robbed out. There's a good chance the queen is already gone, possibly that was the cause of the failur and possibly it happened somewhere along the line. I'd combine now before they starve. If there is no flow, they will starve in a day or two from when they run out of stores which may have been a day or two ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all for your responses


My question now is "why should I combine?" I have a strong hive in two deeps. I'll be adding 5 frames of workers to it. How will the strong hive benefit? Won't adding the 5 frames of workers now (given the extremely dry conditions) actually weaken it by adding population when there's not much forage?

This being the case, I'm thinking doing the combine makes sense if I start feeding syrup as well - which is probably the route I'll take. Sound good?

Thanks again


-Pete
 

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The strong hive will benefit little if it has a good cluster. The aging field workers from the weak will not survive until winter to add to the cluster, eat food in the interim and delay the hives industry due to the time of everyone getting aquainted. Theres always the potential of violence and the strong queen getting killed in the combine. Some food for thought.
 

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Now that's my kind of business trip, Pete!
From what I've been reading in these posts it sounds like there is a lot of dearth going on around the New England area. I have one hive, first year, my second hive body is practically empty. I started feeding at the beginning of the week and they're drinking it down almost as fast as I can make it. Hopefully we'll make it through the winter. Good luck with your hives!
 

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Suprisingly we have found that our yards with a huge summer bloom of queen annes lace and our forest yard are doing fantastic. Plugged supers, huge populations and we had to add supers this late in the season. Our yards which depended on sow thistle and teasel for the summer bloom did no where near as well. Only anecdotal observations at this point but interesting correrelations.
 

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Suprisingly we have found that our yards with a huge summer bloom of queen annes lace and our forest yard are doing fantastic. Plugged supers, huge populations and we had to add supers this late in the season. Our yards which depended on sow thistle and teasel for the summer bloom did no where near as well. Only anecdotal observations at this point but interesting correlations.
 

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Joel, the only bees I've seen on queen annes lace (we've got a ton of it here) have been resting. I'd feel much better if I thought the bees actually foraged on it. Do you know if they do?

George-
 

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I had the same experiance some years. I recall one year they worked it like Golden Rod and we got some of the best honey I've ever tasted, very light, very floral, lindenish. I think often the wild carrot may be a secondary flow due to other flowers (teasel, sow thistle, early golden rod, purple loosestrife)in competition and not worked as much.
 
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