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Checking the hives after bad Summer foraging and having to feed


New Video today. Having fed the bees a few days for Emerald and nearly 2 weeks for Sapphire and Azure.

The bees are turfing out the drones to be able to feed themselves.

Trouble is Azure needs a good few sunny days and a few Drones to mate with


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Wow, I’m surprised at your last comment, this is the first time I ever saw anything that resembles a swear word on this forum.


Hi Valli, great video, honestly I don’t think you have enough bees in the third hive. The first hive appears to be a bit low on numbers, I’d be inclined to unite those bees with that hive using the newspaper method. After making sure there is no queen, naturally. ps I don’t want to sound like a know all however in the first hive I notice you have brood comb segregated from the main group of bees. I have found it’s best to keep all the brood together unless you have a really good number of bees with plenty of stores coming in & your using the checkerboard system. Ideal at the start of spring. I also used to think that bees got angry because we were stealing their honey. Recently I came to the conclusion that the bees got angry, firstly to protect the brood.


I have 2 good Queens - Not getting rid of either - this is how bad our summer has become - when I did the splits the weather was great. Mother nature can be a witch.

I’m working a couple of hours this morning so when I get beck this arvo I’m down sizing the Hives.

Azure will go in my mating nuc and see if she survives still can’t find the queen and not taking any risks, Sapphire will go into the Lang Poly Azure was in and Emerald will be regrouped possibly with home made insulation or Dummy system.

Got to go to work - Take my little Man to Mass and the fix co workers computer- Back later


OK Sapphire is in # 2 NUC, took out the sparse brood and left her on the original stand so the forages can find home still.

Azure went in the National Nuc #1 because there was some good activity and it looks promising - too many to put in a mating Nuc and didn’t want to waste several dozen brood from Sapphire so gave them to Azure. Lot of activity in her Nuc today.

Emerald has been doing loads of brood laying over the last couple of days. She seems to have gone back to the frames with brood on and laying around them filling in the outside gaps - she is such a star.

All the girls have been fed and today there is Pollen coming in!!! so really pleased.

If the summer improves and we have a bit of summer through September the girls may be OK going into winter.


My bees are ALL coming home with white dots…hurray!!!


@dangerous It has been a bit hair raising the last few weeks


Fingers crossed that all comes good


Hurrah here too…one of my colonies arriving back with bridal wear!..at last a small flow on here…only one hive so far perhaps more tomorrow if the weather holds!


Keep feeding them Valli. You have sorted them now. I would still be inclined to combine the very weak nuc with Sapphire. If the queen does start to lay…there will be very few bees to look after the brood…so she will only be able to lay a few at a time…also those bees will have to last for 3 more weeks before more brood emerges…do you think they can last that long? How old are they now? And then they still have to have enough winter bees to keep themselves warm during the winter cluster. You don’t have any spare bees to add to them…Emerald and Sapphire must be allowed to build up. It would be kinder to combine, rather than finding them dead on the comb after the winter…and once you find the queen and take her out…you can put her in the freezer…then add some vodka…and you will have queen lure for next year to help you catch a swarm…so she won’t be wasted.


I didn’t know what to do with the few brood left on the comb - some are breaking out I will try to look for Azure all this week. If I can’t find her I will combine on Friday before I go away for the weekend


You can put the whole nuc in the second Langstroth nuc brood box…you do have one? So it is like my double decker Langstroth. Put a single sheet of newspaper…with a few little slits in it between the two hive boxes. They will be combined within 24 hours…then just leave it until the brood emerges…then remove the second brood box…or if you want to reduce down to one box as soon as the bees are combined…then just put the frames with brood on them into Emerald …without bees on the frame…of course…if there is no room in Sapphires box. Are you using the Langstroth frame feeder for Sapphire? But make sure you find the queen first…if there is one. It looks like a top feeder on Sapphire. Take it off for 24 hours whilst you combine…then put it back on. You will know when they have combined as there will be chewed newspaper outside the hive.


@Horsehillhoney I have got top feeders now for all my hives both Nuc’s and Poly top feeders go OK on the wooden ones - the over lap doesn’t allow outsider bees/wasps in.

I will give it until Friday this is the last chance - there are some drones still in with Azure but the Emerald has turfed them out - didn’t really look in Sapphires.

My one/only frame feeder is a water reservoir outside these days. I did wonder about the nuc extension for the extra brood but thought that defeated the purpose of condensing them down.

Mondays looks nice and weather starts to close in Tuesday until Friday which should be good then Sat Sun goes downhill again.

There have been several days Azure could have mated - I have just not seen her


Valli. If you are uniting two colonies you MUST remove one queen. Virgins are agile and usually win the battle and then you will be stuck.


@dangerous yes but not uniting my 2 good queens only Azure which Not sure where Queeny is - Sort of why I want to wait until Friday to see if she has mated and is laying.

Otherwise they will join Sapphire


Valli …even if you can’t find her…and there are no eggs or larvae…it doesn’t mean that there is no queen…it may just mean she isn’t yet laying…which could be because they were starving and too few bees. If you can’t find her …I would smoke them so they fill their bellies and then tip them out in front of the other hives. They will beg their way in as they will be bringing in nectar…they won’t let a queen in anyway…so both your other queens will be safe. You can add any brood to emerald. Whatever you do DONT combine if you don’t actually find a queen…only combine after finding the queen. Then remember to remove their hive right away…where they can’t find it…or they won’t beg their way into one of the other hives.


Hi Valli, one way to find a queen is to put some brood in one box, place a queen excluder on top with another box on top of that. Shake all the bees into the top box, the bees will go down to the brood leaving the queen behind.


Trouble is Jeff Virgins can slip through but thanks anyways


No they can’t Valli.
A virgin queen (unless she is a poor scrub queen) has a thorax which is too big to go through an excluder.