Had a call from one of the hive sites last week. They had been observing and noticed that things just weren’t as active as they had been several weeks ago in 1103. They were afraid that the bees were dead.
I have had reports like this before and had them be false alarms, but I don’t take chances due to the way that wax moths LOVE to wreak havoc on hive equipment. Sure enough upon arriving on the scene I could tell that there was a definite lack of traffic. Most of the hives this year are roaring with activity in the afternoons. The hive next to 1103 (1109) was normal.
Upon inspection there was a cluster but it was pretty small. There was a small patch of capped brood on one comb in the penultimate deep, but no eggs, or larvae. The ultimate deep is almost entirely full of honey and much of the penultimate one.
This is a hive site with Small Hive Beetles. I was interested in checking out what was going on in these girls anyway. Only one beetle was seen on the inner cover in 1103. It was inspected pretty thoroughly and no others were observed. The telescoping and inner covers were removed from 1109 and no beetles were seen. Perhaps all of the fretting earlier this year was for not. It has been dry-as-a-bone which may be making it harder on the beetles.
By the time this post is published I will probably be unloading another hive next to 1103. The plan to salvage things is to take 1202 to the site and place it next to 1103. Then later this weekend they will be combined using the newspaper method.
There will be video footage. The source of my computer problem has been found, and a new BIOS chip is in the mail so there should be video next week.
If there are any recommendations please share them, as I have a couple of days to tweak this plan.
Depending on the size of this failed hive combining might be counter-intuitive, you might risk more then you would gain. Just a “might” I want to throw out there. I decided to make a royal change in hive number 1 as an experiment, they have been suffering with slow growth and a fair amount of chalk brood since I got them last year, so now that they are a decent size I removed the queen and pinched her (I’m to soft was really hard to bring myself to do the deed). Hopefully they will requeen themselves. It will be interesting to see if how they fair afterwards.
The size of 1103 getting pretty low now. The hive that I am adding 1202 is VERY strong. 1103 has very few bees in it as of this morning. I was there today and things look dismal. I didn’t see silken destruction yet, but I know it’s not far off.
I was given a surprise day off tomorrow and will view it as meant to bee. I am going to head back over there and combine things. I actually am going to give one of the deeps (with some honey and 0 bees) to 1109. I don’t know if 1202 is big enough to handle it all.
Don’t worry I will report what happens and will be taking video camera. I got an e-mail today and my BIOS chip should be here tomorrow afternoon. Provided everything goes alright I should be up and running by SAT morning. Next week I will have a video of exactly what I did. Later on this summer I will report on the progress or decline of 1202. That way you can see and don’t need to risk anything.
You had any swarming? Been dry and hot here. I have had nothing, but a friend of mine called tuesday saying he had his first call in over a month. We need rain bad.
Nope no more swarming, I don’t have any more traps up so all I know is they are done for now in my yard. Why don’t you just let the small hive die if they are queenless and small what are you gaining from combining with a thriving hive? (if you don’t mind me asking)
Nope don’t mind at all. Let me clarify a little. By small I am talking about number of bees. 1103 was a thriving hive a month ago, 3 deeps. When I checked it recently there were very few bees, BUT the top and second deeps are almost full of honey. All I am really wanting to do is get that honey and comb protected from robbers and moths.
I don’t really know exactly how many bees are still in 1103, but their number is not going to be high enough to protect what is in there. As opposed to combining, I guess what I am really doing is adding stores to an already strong hive. 1103 for all practical purposes is dead as far as I am concerned.
I would just spin the stuff out, but I stash away my extraction equipment and only try to get it out once a year. I just don’t have enough room to leave it all set up. If that were not the case, I would probably just have shook the remaining bees lose from the frames, brought the boxes home and extracted them. I know that this is NOT an ideal solution. I just thought it would be too big a risk to let those boxes filled with capped honey sit for 1-1.5 months around here.
I am open to suggestions, and I haven’t left yet to go combine the boxes. What would you do? 🙂