I’m a beginner beekeeper so please bear with me.
I have two hives. One is busy and full of bees, it looks great. I recently swapped in two new frames and when I checked a week later they were full of new brood. So this is my point of comparison when looking at my other hive, which may be right but may be wrong.
My other hive was a split from my original hive (the one I mentioned above). I did it last summer because my first hive was showing warning signs of swarming, and it was just about busting at the seams it was so full. I can’t remember the timeline exactly but when I checked a few weeks/months after the split I found a few frames full of brood and a queen. I thought that was going ok. But the thing is, since then (and it’s been absolutely months and months) they haven’t progressed much since then at all. I’ve still only got 3-5 full frames and the others are empty. They’ve drawn comb on the other frames but there’s no sign of any eggs/larvae whatsoever. I had a look for the queen today and she looks skinnier than my other queen. I know I should have looked into their lack of progress a bit earlier but we’ve had such a lot going on in our personal life and it just wasn’t the most important thing on my mind.
I just wondered if it might be worthwhile replacing the queen as surely they should have progressed a bit more than this by now. What does everyone else think?
Thank you in advance!
How is the food situation in the weak hive? How close to the strong hive is it situated?
If the colony is low on food, I would give it a frame of brood that contains a lot of honey & pollen. I would also suggest to separate the hives by at least 2 meters, if they aren’t already separated by that much.
Seeing as we are at the start of spring, a good idea would be to weaken out the strong colony by removing some sealed & emerging brood to bolster the weaker hive anyway. In doing so, you can decide whether to kill the non performing queen, so that the colony can make a new one, provided there are some worker eggs in the donated brood frames.
Hi Jeff, thank you! The hives are maybe 1.5m apart so I’ll shuffle them a bit further at the weekend. I can definitely also take a frame or two from the strong hive to boost the weaker one. How would I decide whether or not to kill the queen in the weaker hive though? Shall I watch and wait again? Thank you
Hi Rosie, I’m not far from you in Buderim.
I think an easy way to decide whether to kill the queen or not would be if there is plenty of food in the brood box. If there is plenty of food, I would kill the queen. If you decide to, kill the queen & leave her body in the hive, at the same time as you add brood frames containing worker eggs. The bees will discover her body, then get straight to work building emergency queens.
I had to do that this afternoon because the queen was laying a lot of drones in worker comb.
1.5 meters apart should be fine. I just thought that if the hives were close together, the nurse bees from the weak hive might join the nurse bees in the strong hive during orientation flights, which generally happens in the early afternoon.