It does make sense to isolate the weaker hive. We transferred one frame of brood from the good hive over this morning. Will wait a couple of days and reassess then. Would like to see some pollen/nectar coming back into the hive. None today. Guess the foraging bees have all died (prob from nectar/pollen source I realise). Still warm and sunny days here.
Gosh I just took a look at that video @felmo - awful!! So sorry. I’ll be curious to hear how your hive makes out!
Well, time for an update. My 2 hives were affected by pollen/nectar which resulted in one recovering fully and the other, which was recently recovered from chalkbrood and thus a bit down on numbers, well all of the foragers slowly died. So we popped in a sugar bag which was untouched and on the third day when I checked, I noticed and smelt mould on the frames and on the inner lid. Just when it couldn’t have got any worse Out came the white king again and the I wiped every surface and frame I could get to. So, in a last ditch attempt I added 1 brood frame and 1 fully laden honey/pollen frame from the good hive. And held my breath. Nothing happened, not a lot of movement and still the odd bee falling off the perch. I then realised I would have to wait until the larvae hatched and went through their nurse, guard, forager cycle for the hive to gather momentum. Decided to add a sugar bag again and was surprised to see it covered within hours. Ditto next day. Was highly excited until, while sitting in front of the hive having a cup of tea, a lot of bees were just popping into the new hive, filling up and then back to their old hive with their bellies full… Geez, I can’t win. So I have let this happen a couple of days until today. Inspected the new hives frames yesterday and have decided the hive is queenless. Against my best judgement, hubby moved the hives around. Never gonna work I thought. But it has. All the renegades from the old hive are jetting into the new depleted hive with pollen and nectar all day long, completely ignoring their old hive. Everything I’ve read says that bees will locate their hive by location and by wax smell. Or maybe mine are exceptionally stupid and can’t smell at all. Might return things to normal by the end of this week as the new hive will have built up some stores and be a bit closer to foragers coming online. Never a dull day here.
Well it’s been a while and have to report that the weaker hive wasn’t producing larvae or eggs to sustain the hive. We inspected the brood, found the queen, killed her and combined the 2 hives. It has worked well and although it’s supposed to be winter here the temperatures are in the high 20’s C and the bees think spring has arrived. It was our first winter with the bees and we didn’t know what to expect and we were surprised to see enough pollen brought in to keep them going. They haven’t really touched any of their stores at all. Much excitement as we have ordered a honey extractor for hubby’s birthday and it is due to arrive in a few days time. We have made a solar beeswax melter which works astonishingly well given it’s simplicity and have probably melted a whole 35 cents worth. Ah…but what fun we’re having!
Ha! So true. I was answering questions about beekeeping among some non-beek friends last week, and explaining the way one crushes comb & strains it as a type of harvesting method I’ve used (making squeezing motion with my hands with a big smile on my face) - and one guy looking skeptical says “boy you must really like honey!” I though to myself, that’s true, but it’s so much more than that!