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Very few bees in hive

I have very few bees in hive and very little brood after almost six weeks since installing package of bees. Also there not drawing out any new frames. Only staying on the 2 drawn out frames I got from someone. Not drinking any sugar syrup either. What do you guys think for this 1st year bee keeper?

OP

I agree that there’s very few bees. There seems to be a lot of chalk brood disease in those frames, plus possibly spots where shb have made impressions in the comb. I don’t see a queen. That colony desperately needs a boost in population. One way would be to give it a frame of sealed & emerging bees, one every 7-10 days. You’d need those frames you add to contain some new worker eggs also, so they can make themselves a new queen. Otherwise a worker will start laying eggs.

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Hey EasyE,
Two frames of drawn comb to start a hive is not a lot. My guess is they have too much room and not enough bees to start with. They aren’t drawing comb I’d say because they don’t need it yet - there is plenty of unused comb in the picture.
You need either more bees or less room imo.

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I’m with Jeff on this one, I see no queen and after zooming in on the cells, I see no eggs. Larva appears to be dying while attempting to emerge from their cells and the darkened cappings indicate that larva has died in the cells, either from disease or the cold.
I would take all the frames out of the hive and place into a Nuc to decrease the space. Feeding won’t help in this situation, you need to keep them warm and get more bees plus a laying queen into the hive. But before attempting this, be sure to confirm whether this colony is diseased or not, otherwise it is a waste of time and money. Can the beekeeper who sold them to you come and have a look?

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Thanks for replies. I’ll have to give him a call and see if he could take a look. I did email him the same pictures I have here. And he thinks I should have a queen in hive. I just wish I had better luck like my neighbor who installed there 2lb package same day as me. And they have a lot of capped brood and 4 frames drawn out.

I would go through the hive and if there’s a queen, execute her and introduce a new mated queen. Feed the hive 1:1 syrup.
That brood pattern is spotty and may be a sign of EFB. Very curable.

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I’m shocked I cant find the queen with as little bees that are in there

When was the last time you were in there?

Also, what was the mite count?

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Yesterday I inspected and that’s where pictures are from.

When was the last time before that I meant?

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I agree with the comments above, plus the brood pattern is much more patchy than I like to see in a new colony. I don’t see much pollen in there either, so if you do re-queen, I would consider giving them some pollen substitute to help feed their babies.

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It was 10 days before that. We did the test with powdered sugar in jar roll. Didn’t find any mites

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I put a fresh pollen patty in there yesterday.

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I might have a hard time finding a queen now

If you can’t buy a queen can you buy a few frames of eggs thru to capped brood with the bees on them as they come out of a donor hive. A new queen only is likely not going in the right direction with the low number of bees in the hive. If the hive is queen-right the brood pattern is very poor so if you can find her I would wish her farewell. So reading the previous comments I agree with them all.
With you not boosting the hive sadly it is well on its way to dying out. Great pics that save a thousand words and it make your problem very clear.
Cheers

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Thank you all for your informative comments. I appreciate very much. :+1:

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I did contact the bee keeper where I got the bees from and told him my same concerns about lack of bees,larva and eggs. He insisted I would be fine and there’s a queen. Long story short I now have 0 bees in hive. Sucks only 2 months in and hive is gone. I did hook up with a different bee keeper that is very well known and hes selling me a 5 frame nuc this weekend. Now I’ll just do it to build them up and more experience since i probably wont get honey this year now. This new guys is much better at helping with questions and he also runs free classes for learning more.

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That’s a bummer for a first experience @EasyE - had a similar one myself & I guess learned the hard way that nucs are far better than packages. Glad you ended up with a solid mentor too!

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