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Discussion Starter #1
I started two 3 lb packages of Italians on May 17th. This is their 5th week.

The second hive is doing great. I put on a second hive body (mediums) and the queen is laying nicely.

I am concerned about the first hive. I know some drifted to the second, but there is only probably two full frames of bees in it. They are on four frames and only on the front half of those frames. The queen is laying and she is there. They have capped brood (not much, some have emerged since last check last week) and honey and pollen. This hive quit taking feed about two weeks into their new home. This hive has looked like this for the past 3 weeks. Very little change.

Any recommendations? Any thoughts on combining the two to make one strong hive? Am I just worring too much? :(

Thanks for your help!
 

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I was first going to suggest adding
a frame of brood from the strong hive,
but I would think she should be laying
well by now. Did she lay right off
the get go???

Any swarm cells in the strong hive? If
there were you could kill the queen
in the weak hive and add a frame with
the swarm cells.

Or, order a new queen and install
a frame or two of brood from the
strong colony at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Sundance.

She did not lay right away. The bees had not released her after a week, so I did.

No swarm cells or supercedure cells that can be used.

I thought about adding a frame of capped brood from the strong hive. Once it's capped they don't need nurse bees, correct?

What about switching the hives?
 

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Did the weak hive queen lay
right away after release?? Was she fat
and sassy? I ask this because it is
not unheard of to get a virgin
queen in a package.

If she layed right away I would be
hesitant to give her to much more
time to straighten her act out,
maybe a week or so more. So you are
saying the weak hive's queen has
been released for 4 weeks?

[ June 22, 2006, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: Sundance ]
 

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I think you just had too much drifting before she started laying and she didn't have and doesn't have enough bees to cover more eggs than she is laying. I would go out in the middle of the day and switch places with the two hives. Check them in a week and see if it looks stronger with more bees and more brood.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks. I'll try the switch tomorrow and let you know how it turns out.

The strong hive's queen was out and laying way before the weak hive's queen.

Will a stronger queen draw bees from other hives?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I switched the hives last Friday and checked them today. The weak hive has more life to it, but still only a few frames drawn but they are working on drawing a new frame of foundation.

Now the strong hive is still doing fine, eggs, larva, capped brood and honey, but it had a strange cell on the bottom of one of the frames. It looked like half a peanut shell, facing down, not completly connected to the other cells, and it was open. They have plenty of room and ventilation (SBB and the inner cover is propped a little by popsicle sticks and I've not witness bearding) and space - I've added another medium already.

Any thoughts? This package is 6 weeks old.

Thanks.
 

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Is it directly on the bottom of the comb or does it extend down from the side of the comb?

If its directly on the bottom, it sounds like the starting of a swarm cell. If it has royal jelly in it, then there's a larvae in it. If not, it may still indicate they are starting swarm preparations.

If it does have a larvae, they are getting serious about swarming and you may need to take some preventive action like opening the broodnest by putting a new frame of foundation in the middle of it.

If it is coming from the side of the comb, then it is probably a supercedure cell. In this case if there is no larvae in it, its probably just "insurance" as they will sometimes keep a few of them around, I guess for their own comfort.

My Russian are really prone to keeping empty queen cups and partially drawn or even complete queen cells around. I would probably have been more alarmed by it, except I prevously had read a paper put out by the USDA about this tendancy in Russians. They sometimes build active queen cells and cap them when their current queen is still laying extremely well and then tear them down just before they emerge. I think its because they build quickly and shut down abruptly to match the flows and they need the extra insurance in case they need to supercede during a short flow.

[ June 30, 2006, 01:17 PM: Message edited by: Gene Weitzel ]
 
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