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Very tough winter here in Central NY. One of my hives came out of winter very weak. I have 2 maybe 3 frames worth of bees in there right now. The queen is present but it seems like she isn't laying very well at all. There are eggs present but spotty and not in the numbers I am used to seeing. There is capped brood, maybe a frame and a half total. They haven't really touched the sugar water but they have 6 frames full of honey in there right next to the cluster and you can see where they have scratched off cappings recently to eat some. My thinking is keep feeding and they will take it when they need it, and just sort of nurse them along. My other thought would be to kill this queen and let them requeen themselves. I don't know if there are enough bees in there for them to be able to do that. I also don't think there is enough capped brood available to replenish the number of bees that will die waiting for a new queen to start laying. Short of ordering another queen, I have no access to a new one. Thoughts? Suggestions?
 

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Had a similar situation a little over a month ago, only had half of one frame of brood. Was told the queen would only lay what the bees could cover. Added a frame of capped brood, nurse bees and all, from another hive. A week later, BOOM! They caught up fast, she's already got two boxes layed up. Was really glad I didn't pinch a great queen to soon.
 

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I have a hive at an outyard that came thur winter with a grapefruit sized cluster. They were in a single deep with 4 frames of capped honey. I wouldent have give a dime for their chances.
It was a while before I got a chance to look at them again. When I did they covered 6 frames.
They now have nearly drawn a second deep and will need supered shortly.

I've learned to not call them dead until they start to mold.
Woody Roberts
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Had a similar situation a little over a month ago, only had half of one frame of brood. Was told the queen would only lay what the bees could cover. Added a frame of capped brood, nurse bees and all, from another hive. A week later, BOOM! They caught up fast, she's already got two boxes layed up. Was really glad I didn't pinch a great queen to soon.
Never thought of this but great point. Definitely appears as though she may be pacing herself until the nurse numbers are up.

Do you have any essential oils to "spike" their syrup? I like to use anise oil. They slurp it down like there is no tomorrow, and start building comb like crazy. That may be all they need to jump start the colony. And then again, you may need a new queen...
Tried this once and it started a huge robbing frenzy. None of my hives could resist. I'm a little leery to try it again.
 

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>They slurp it down like there is no tomorrow

My problem is the robbers do too...

It takes bees to make bees. It takes bees to make comb. There is a lull in the population of a package. They are aging while no new bee are emerging yet...
 
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