There will be a flow… there will be a flow… there will be a flow…
Have you got the red heels on too?
nah… but the trees in my yard are budding up nicely and a few gums nearby are starting to flower. I’m just ever hopeful
Along these lines… I’ve a struggling hive waiting a new Queen. I’ve condensed down the hive, reduced the entrance and maintained honey supplies for the few girls there.
They are struggling to make a new quality queen as there doesn’t seem to be any drones around. The one they have succeeded with is weak, small and very spotty minimal brood but is laying.
My question is, given my agreement with the above quote, will any Queen produced in the season be worth buying/keeping as the drone numbers are low or should we cut out losses and combine with my other hive that’s strong. ?
We could supliment a brood frame from the other hive?
I appear to be in a similar predicament to you… I’m hoping my next inspection reveals an improving situation.
What are the stores like in the hive?
As far as your concern about the Queen, they do take a short amount of time to get into the groove of things (so to speak). If the Queen is young (new) and is laying give her a short time and you might find the laying pattern improves.
If you scroll through that PDF and go to p19 you’ll see some pretty good photos of frames. There are a number of healthy and unhealthy frame pictures, so worth having a look at.
How to read frames
This extension article might also be of interest:
Honey Bee Queens: Evaluating the Most Important Colony Member
I think your queen is a beauty, I like the laying pattern. Your queen can never reach her potential while the bee numbers are so low. Your idea of adding brood from the strong colony is a good idea. I would look for emerging brood to quickly boost the numbers. Give them a frame every 7 or 10 days if the strong colony can spare them.
I don’t think the queen looks big because she doesn’t have the eggs to lay. A queen can’t lay heaps of eggs while there isn’t the worker population to feed & care for them.
They have a super of half capped from old queen and winter . I’ve reduced the entrance to about 4 cm.
She’s been laying a month now. Should we be seeing a better pattern? 6 /10 frames have scattered brood between 5-50%of the frames.
Thanks guys. I think we’ll let her do her thing and give her some frames from the other hive in the next few weeks.
If there isn’t much in flower to provide nectar/pollen then her rate of laying will be naturally low, so it could be insufficient supplies for foraging and a smaller than normal colony size. Patience should see you through.
Reducing the entrance size, as you’ve done, is a great move too.
Summer dearth @BecW, I reckon the bees know it too. I don’t like to feed the bees but sometimes you have to to achieve your desired results. Not necessary the best for the colony though. I was conscerned with the laying abilities of queen and within a week of feeding them I was surprised at the positive results.
But, as the numbers in the colony rise so does the amount of required feed and if there is nothing about locally you need to keep feeding which in turn produces more mouths to feed. False economy. Which brings me back to thinking the bees know best. If there’s not much feed around why build the colony size? Sort of like when the colony reduces for winter, I’ve found the same thing here in this dearth period, more pronounced in the local mutts too.
This dearth is normal for this area, it’s been like this for the last 4 years at least. The tide is turning though, there are gums budding up and beginning to flower around the place which is good however whether there’s much nectar in these flowers is yet to be determined.
I will be releasing regular video updates on the @skeggley Nuc that was transferred to my horizontal hive. I originally had the camera on the southern side, however, it was rather boring to watch bees wander around on a drawn frame with nothing on it. I have transferred the camera to the northern side so that I can track the stores on the honey frame. We have some gums coming into flower within range of the girls, it would be good to see this frame fill up rather than get used up.
With the hive now closer to the house I am looking at options to live stream this hive on YouTube. Once the flow frames go on it will be a bit boring, however, while the hive is building up it should provide some interest, especially as there is an empty frame in the foreground that the girls have to build out before I add the Flow Frame.
Subscribe to the Channel and you will be notified as I upload updates.
Huge learning curve in Perth,WA
Hi Bec, I would take a glass half full approach & feed them if they need it. It doesn’t really matter if you finish up with a stronger colony with more mouths to feed. I guess you have to weigh up the cost of white sugar vs a struggling colony or the cost of a new colony.
Hi Busso, we’re in Bridgetown. Set up my FH 2 in November after success with FH1last year. This time last year had 30Kgs from the FH1. So far nothing! Some buds on the eucalypts. Living in hope.
I did a quick check today…and I was happy with what I found. My new queen, although still undiscovered, is laying well it seems. Keeping in mind I have 9 frames in an 8 frame box, I’ve now got 4 frames of honey and 5 frames of partially capped brood, larvae in various stages of development, and eggs. Big improvement from a week ago when there was no capped brood. My hive seems to be on the way to recovering…now I just need the trees to start flowering to give it a boost.
With regards to the flowering, I’ve been in luck as the red flowering gum, lemon myrtles, and passionfruit vines at my house have all been flowering even though nothing in the nearby bush has. Over the last week I’ve noticed a steady stream of traffic from the red flowering gum to the hive so I did have hope going in for a quick look today.
I didn’t put the super back on but based on the inspection today I’d guess that at some point this month I’ll be putting the hybrid super back on. Not sure I’ll manage to also get the full flow super on season but we’ll see
(One good thing that has come out of this is that I’m now good at spotting eggs, something I struggled with previously)
@BecW hopefully patience works for you too.
I’ve never seen eggs, expect in photos, I think it’s me eyes. I see the very small larvae. I’ve tried two sets of glasses but It’s a bit hard with the veil. Any tips or tools that might help.?
I’ve typically inspected frames in shade or partial shade. If I inspect in full sun I find it much easier to spot the eggs. I find the increased light helps, and then I just slightly move the viewing angle of the frame.
Take photos (as high a resolution as you can). Then you can blow the photo up on you computer and see lots you miss otherwise. Also means you can take your time and not worry about the bees buzzing about asking you to get on with it.