Here are some pictures from my hive check, This is week 5 and there appears to be less bees than my last check at week 2. I think I see multiple larva in some cells and a few look like there are brown (dead?) larva on some of the other frames. Lots of bees clinging to the inside wall of the hive. If I have to re-queen - can someone give me a “play by play”?
Yes you certainly need help for that colony. It looks like you have a laying worker there. I’m not sure if re-queening is the answer because I’ve never done it myself in this situation. What I do is add a frame of brood with lots of hatching bees as well as young larvae or fertile eggs on it. I would repeat that in a weeks time & continue to do that until they #1 Start building queen cells & #2 The population builds to a decent amount.
I would remove the comb that contains all the drone larvae out of the frames & start with fresh foundation.
That colony is quite low in numbers so I would only give them one frame of brood that also includes a lot of honey. If you give them too much brood to look after at the start, that many bees may not be able to look after it. So a frame that’s perhaps half brood & half honey & go from there. It looks like they need feeding, therefore the honey will be welcome.
If you have another hive with a strong population, you can take some bees from that to boost the numbers. That takes a while to explain. I’ll explain that if you request it.
Good luck & cheers
I can see multiple eggs in some of those cells with some of the eggs on the sides which indicates exactly what Jeff is saying “laying worker”. Looks like some of the brood larva has died leaving there blackened bodies in the cells, this is mostly likely from a lack bees in the colony to feed and keep them warm. Did you see the queen on any of the frames? You could introduce a new queen but I feel it is too late, the best course of action is a weekly frame of brood from another hive or get yourself a new package of bees.
I’m afraid it might well take three or four sequential frames to get the laying workers to stop and get some sort of strength back into the colony. I would give them a good smoking to get their tummies full then shake them out in front of another hive where they will beg entry.
So if I get a NUC (if I can find one this late) would it be best if I just remove the frames I have and replace them with the NUC? How would the bees there react to the replacement? I only have the one hive.
Or if I can’t get a NUC, I’m pretty sure that I can still find another package of bees. So same question - remove frames - put new in with new frames? Mixing bees together with new bees and queen in cage?
PS: Thanks for the help!
Hmm… Hate to say it ! But really looks like a “Goner” to me. Not sure it’s worth the effort n resources to maybe bring it back.
I have three good colonies n not sure I’d put the resources to bailing a Queenless … hive with a laying worker as your pix’s seem to indicate. I’ve got one colony I’m desperately trying to keep away from a “Laying Worker” situation. But I have extra resource. That why I started with 3 Nuc’s this Spring. I’ve been there n done that 55 years ago.
You have gained drawn comb … Wax ! I’m sure not all that is total Drone sized stuff. I’d check for a package or Nuc. It is getting later. Might check to see if someone near you might have a Swarm or something to get you back moving. I know that colony is about History.
I’m having one Pain in the Butt colony too. I’m learning from my mistakes n issues seeming out of my control almost. My other hives seem to be doing “Right On” ! We hate to cry, “Uncle” n give in but there is always something to learn. And that’s valvable lessons.
So see what you can DO ! It ain’t all over until the “Fat Lady Sings” as my mom use to say !! And always try to take something out of what seem to be bad ! Even when things good BAD. I know my one bummer HIVE is taxing my brain n more but I’m learning what not to DO next round. People have given you some ideas n advice so analyze n move on !
Good luck Bro,
If you can find a nuc. I would let them run side by side & take a frame of brood from the nuc to add to the weak hive once a week. It will hold the nuc back temporarily but once the weak hive gets up to strength with a new queen they’ll both power on together.
If you can only buy a package, maybe the best way to combine them is either like @Dee said or with the newspaper method.
The bees in the weak colony needs to be fed syrup or honey in the mean time, going by those photos.
I manage to save really weak colonies all the time, but I have the resources to do it with. Once you get a couple of hives going, you’ll be able to do that yourself.
It would be good if you can find a beekeeping buddy to be able to help one another out with frames of brood etc.