I am concerned about the population of my hive. They have been in place for about three months now. Early on, I made some mistakes (beginner bee keeper) - I allowed a lot of burr comb to develop and in removing it, I also removed a lot of brood accidentally. Nonetheless, everything seemed ok.
Over recent weeks however, I’ve become concerned for a few reasons:
Firstly, the hive seems to be very static - only two frames seem to have significant activity. There is comb in seven of the eight frames, but only a small amount in most frames, and most of the bees seem to be concentrated in the last two frames.
Secondly, there has been a change in their feeding behaviour. I’ve been supplying them with sugar syrup from an entrance feeder regularly, but in recent weeks they have begun massing on the feeder heavily in a real ‘frenzy’ for want of a better word. In the past, a few bees at a time could be seen feeding but there is often a hundred or much more on the feeder at once now.
Thirdly, there seems to be an awful lot of drones in the hive and not many workers. I’ve been finding a lot of dead bees outside the hive too, not just drones, but many workers too.
Finally, I haven’t been able to spot the queen in recent weeks either.
What are your thoughts? I’m located in Sydney, so we’re moving into winter, but it has been mild so far if that counts for anything. I have noticed the occasional hive beetle too, but only ever one or so each time, so I doubt that is the issue.
Below are some pictures that will hopefully illustrate what’s going on. Thanks in advance. Chris.