Not much brood

You have just gotten your bees, either in the mail or you have gone and picked them up in person. Now what do you do? Covers from installation in your hive until the end of the first winter and the first blooms of spring.
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Greg H
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Not much brood

Postby Greg H » Sat Jul 02, 2016 2:34 am

So I have mentioned before that one of my new nucs went queenless when I got it home. I contacted the supplier and he provided a new queen. The new queen visible and laying. I see brood in multiple stages. The "problem" is that the patches of brood are rather small and do not fill the available space. Is there something wrong? (I admit the problem may be my ignorance, but that is why I am asking)

I thought perhaps the queen is not laying more than can be kept warm by the available bees or that she is laying more but since the bees can't keep them all warm or fed, some brood is dying. Insights? Opinions? Recommendations? Questions?

The second nuc is going strong. 5 frame faces covered with brood. They have drawn out one foundationless frame and are working on another two.

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Dustymunky
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Re: Not much brood

Postby Dustymunky » Sun Jul 03, 2016 3:17 pm

It will take 21 days for a newly laid egg to hatch. As long as you are seeing eggs, larvae, and capped brood I wouldn't worry. The bees need to store pollen and nectar so they are going to have areas where queen won't lay. Remember that this nuc is behind the other one you have as it was queenless for a period of time. It should start picking up when the brood starts emerging.

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Michael Bush
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Re: Not much brood

Postby Michael Bush » Mon Jul 04, 2016 6:16 pm

How much brood the colony allows is based on available resources of bees to heat the brood, bees to feed the brood, bees to forage for food for the brood, what time of year it is etc. I would be careful about blaming the queen for the amount. Also a queen has to work up to a large amount of laying. She can't go from being caged and not laying to laying 3,000 eggs a day overnight or even in a week...
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

lharder
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Re: Not much brood

Postby lharder » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:37 pm

If there is a big difference in the amount of bees between your two nucs (what's your overall management plan for the 2 nucs going into winter?), you can move some resources to the weaker one being very careful about the queen.

So when you are doing an inspection on the stronger hive, and you happen to find the queen, take the opportunity and move some bees and/or brood over. Or you can switch their positions so the weaker hive gets a bunch of extra foragers. They may just need a bit of a boost to get going.

If there are lots of bees in both, perhaps the one with the new queen is nectar bound, she had no room to lay. In this case switch a frame of nectar, shaking the bees off, with a frame of capped brood shaking the bees off.

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Greg H
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Re: Not much brood

Postby Greg H » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:01 am

The second hive has enough brood that it could probably spare a frame. I will see what it looks like when I open them up this weekend.

I hate to think that I need to start planning for the winter, but you are probably right. We are nearing the end of our flow, especially if we don't get any rain. That doesn't leave anything other than whatever will be available in the fall. This being my first year, I am not sure what that will look like.

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Re: Not much brood

Postby lharder » Thu Jul 07, 2016 12:20 pm

I'm not sure if you have moved these nucs into big boxes. Regardless, its good to check around what's needed to overwinter in your area in terms of boxes of comb, bees and stores and plan to arrive at that point. New colonies or those that have been set back through no fault of their own may need a little help.

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Greg H
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Re: Not much brood

Postby Greg H » Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:17 pm

The bees are in 8 frame medium boxes. Only one box at this point. If the stronger hive can fill out a couple more frames, I will probably put another box on that one.

I was reading a little bit and found some mention of wintering a weaker hive on top of a stronger hive with a double screen separating the two so the weaker hive can benefit from the warmth of the stronger one. That may be a possibility if thing continue as they have been.

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Re: Not much brood

Postby lharder » Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:08 pm

That's probably not recommended as they get all the moisture from the stronger hive as well and that's not a good thing. They can be stacked, but not with a screen board. That way they get a bit of heat but not the moisture.

You may just need to kickstart that weaker hive to get them going.

I'm in zone 6a and I like to overwinter my first year hives in three 5 medium frame boxes. 2 hives are on one bottom board so they are side by side and can share some heat that way. The thing I like about the small box is that I can (they can) manage the space better. When I add a box, it isn't this huge undertaking for them to fill it. In fall, if they can't quite fill the 3rd box, I make sure the top 2 boxes are filled with comb and have enough food. Last year I had big colonies and their extracted comb that I was able to give the new colonies.

I also tend to under super nucs. When they fill the top box I will move a comb down to a box below it.

Since it is your first year, I would say your biggest hurdle is getting enough comb built (another reason to give the weak hive some capped brood so they can get the wax making demographic going). I would keep careful watch on the wax making. Once it slows down in the dearth, start feeding them. Make sure you aren't feeding so much they aren't clogging the brood nest. I'm thinking you want 2 boxes of comb for each by the time fall hits. If they get to the third box, under super. If they don't fill it, its OK. At least their top two boxes will be ready for winter.

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Greg H
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Re: Not much brood

Postby Greg H » Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:43 am

Bee transplant was a success. I moved a brood frame with bees to the weaker hive and they are really doing well. I'm not sure if they will be able to build enough to make it through the winter on their own, but at least they appear to be moving forwards.

lharder
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Re: Not much brood

Postby lharder » Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:33 pm

Sometimes it seems like a small group of bees just give up as they aren't viable. Give resources and it seems motivation picks up. They have a fighting chance.

I don't know if you experience a dearth, but if you do and you notice them slowing down and nectar not being brought in, you may have to feed to keep the momentum going.

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Greg H
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Re: Not much brood

Postby Greg H » Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:28 am

So far the flow has been continuing as far as I can tell. We had a dry June, but have had some nice rain here in July. I will keep an eye on things and may have to put some sugar syrup on them to keep them building. So far though, they are coming and going like crazy so they are finding something they like.

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Michael Bush
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Re: Not much brood

Postby Michael Bush » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:00 pm

>I was reading a little bit and found some mention of wintering a weaker hive on top of a stronger hive with a double screen separating the two so the weaker hive can benefit from the warmth of the stronger one. That may be a possibility if thing continue as they have been.

Every time I've tried it the one on top was overwhelmed by the moisture and died. It may work in some climate somewhere, but not in my climate. You just doom them to death if you do.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

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Greg H
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Re: Not much brood

Postby Greg H » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:06 am

Even using a top entrance?

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Michael Bush
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Re: Not much brood

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:14 pm

>Even using a top entrance?

Yes. All the moisture from the strong hives metabolism rises (moist air rises) and overwhelms the weak hive.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm


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