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Non Performing Hive

Hello all. Looking for advice about the performance of one of our hives.
Purchased 2 NUCS from the same supplier and installed them in their respective Flow Hoves in Bairnsdale Victoria (AU) in early October 2020.
We have 1 extremely active hive with 6 flow frames almost ready to harvest.
The second hive is active with capped brood, larva, and eggs, but almost no activity in the Super. Do we have a queen that needs to be replaced??

You may not have a queen that needs replacing. It all depends on what you find in the brood box during an inspection. The extremely active hive could be as described “extremely active”. I have one colony like that now. It outperforms every other colony in every way. It is an unbelievable performer.

It must be remembered that a bee colony is a secret society. All the good spots are shared out of sight of other colonies. One colony might find a honey source that a neighboring colony doesn’t find, that’s always possible.

In relation to the slow colony: Do a brood inspection to see the queen’s laying pattern. How much of the frames are occupied with worker brood as opposed to drone brood. How many frames are used for worker brood? Is the brood healthy? etc.

cheers

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Thanks, JeffH. As you can gather we are very new to beekeeping. It is very interesting that when we first installed the NUCS, the now slow hive was very active and now the rolls have been reversed. I have done a number of inspections and found a good spread of worker brood pattern and limited drone brood. The brood box is full as you would expect of a healthy colony. In the first 2 months there was evidence of SHB in both hives, but as they have developed there is no longer any evidence of SMH or any other pest in the tray or in the frames. As the hives are 1.5 meters apart, you would expect that they would have the same access to pollen, nectar, etc.
Regards
Byron

Bees are tricky things. I have hives about the same distance apart. A couple of years ago, one hive died from insecticide poisoning, the other was fine. The dead one must have been foraging on something that a thoughtless neighbour had sprayed, but fortunately the other hive chose different plants. :wink:

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I googled how far bees travel to collect honey. The best answer I got was “as far as they have to”. There was no definitive distance. However let’s say they travel 5k’s, for example. That calculates to an excess of 78 sq.km., a huge area for the bees to cover. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how two colonies can find different nectar sources.

On top of that, you also have to consider what I previously said about colonies having different performance levels, which I see a lot of.

cheers

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I read some research some time ago that indicated that they prefer to fly 2 miles or less. The reason is that they need to eat some honey to fuel them for the outbound journey. If it is much more than 2 miles, they are bringing less and less extra food back to the hive. The practical limit worked out at around 5 miles, at which point it would pretty close to a zero sum gain for foraging, depending on wind speed and direction.

Apparently, for some reason they still collect the nectar even if they end up with a net loss. I guess if they keep working, other scout bees might find something closer, which will put a stop to the bees foraging further away, once they witness those waggle dances.

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Thanks, Jeff, all good info.

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