Colonies building up for winter

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Do224

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I have 2 colonies both in very similar condition at present with bees over about three quarters of the brood box.

Last week they each had about 5 or 6 frames of brood and I was hoping they would really start to fill out by this weeks inspection. I went in today and one colony in particular had noticeably less brood (perhaps 3 frames) and barely any stores despite seeming ok for food last week. A couple of the frames that were full of capped brood last week are now completely empty of anything and I’m pretty sure the queen hadn’t laid them up. Is this normal at this time of year? The other colony had a bit less brood than last week but not as bad.

Last week I had moved a partly drawn frame to within the brood nest, thinking it would help them expand. Was this a good idea or not? I’m now wondering if it could have had the opposite effect and disrupted the brood nest.

Unsure what to do, I decided to give each colony about a litre of 1:1 syrup…
 

Do224

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Did you see eggs in either box?
Has the flow stopped in your area?
Yeah I saw eggs and also both queens.

I think there is some forage for the bees but they’re certainly not as busy as they have been (also the weather hasn’t been great). Many of the foragers are returning covered in white splodges…not sure what that is likely to be?
 

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Yeah I saw eggs and also both queens.

I think there is some forage for the bees but they’re certainly not as busy as they have been (also the weather hasn’t been great). Many of the foragers are returning covered in white splodges…not sure what that is likely to be?
Then they're luckier than bees in some locations because they have found Himalayan balsam 😀
 

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Yeah I saw eggs and also both queens.

I think there is some forage for the bees but they’re certainly not as busy as they have been (also the weather hasn’t been great). Many of the foragers are returning covered in white splodges…not sure what that is likely to be?
The white splodges suggests they are foraging on Himalayan Balsam - search "ghost bees". Rapid depletion of stores might indicate robbing/wasp incursions. Have you noticed undue activity?
 

enrico

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don't forget brood becomes bees and then eggs before it becomes brood again! sometimes it looks scant but they are full of eggs instead!
 

mbc

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I have 2 colonies both in very similar condition at present with bees over about three quarters of the brood box.

Last week they each had about 5 or 6 frames of brood and I was hoping they would really start to fill out by this weeks inspection. I went in today and one colony in particular had noticeably less brood (perhaps 3 frames) and barely any stores despite seeming ok for food last week. A couple of the frames that were full of capped brood last week are now completely empty of anything and I’m pretty sure the queen hadn’t laid them up. Is this normal at this time of year? The other colony had a bit less brood than last week but not as bad.

Last week I had moved a partly drawn frame to within the brood nest, thinking it would help them expand. Was this a good idea or not? I’m now wondering if it could have had the opposite effect and disrupted the brood nest.

Unsure what to do, I decided to give each colony about a litre of 1:1 syrup…
Keep the feed going little and often if you want them to build up nicely, also consider wether they're pegged back by varroa load, which can escalate quickly at this stage in the season.
 

Do224

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Keep the feed going little and often if you want them to build up nicely, also consider wether they're pegged back by varroa load, which can escalate quickly at this stage in the season.
Ok thanks, what would little and often look like…once a week, twice a week?

They were vaped when broodless (they were a swarm). Plan to also vape multiple times in September
 

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Ok thanks, what would little and often look like…once a week, twice a week?

They were vaped when broodless (they were a swarm). Plan to also vape multiple times in September
Once a week should be sufficient to keep the queen interested, well done on the varroa front, reading that its probably safe to assume they arent the problem- yet!
 

Do224

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Once a week should be sufficient to keep the queen interested, well done on the varroa front, reading that its probably safe to assume they arent the problem- yet!
Ok I’ll give it a go…how much do you reckon, a litre each time about right?
 

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Maybe a touch more, I'd go about half a gallon, which I think is about 2.5L ? ish
That seems a lot if you're going for build-up rather than stores.
 

Do224

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That seems a lot if you're going for build-up rather than stores.
I guess it’s a balance…I’ll assess each week when I inspect them and try and judge what the right amount is. Just trying to get a rough idea of what to expect
 

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I guess it’s a balance…I’ll assess each week when I inspect them and try and judge what the right amount is. Just trying to get a rough idea of what to expect
Reading properly what @mbc said, that's weekly, so makes sense. When I'm aiming to get more bees and/or drawn comb, I feed only 200 to 500ml approximately every other day. That's only if they drain the feeder quickly.
 

Do224

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Reading properly what @mbc said, that's weekly, so makes sense. When I'm aiming to get more bees and/or drawn comb, I feed only 200 to 500ml approximately every other day. That's only if they drain the feeder quickly.
That’s really interesting, thanks…so it’s a little and often approach.

I checked the feeder today and they’ve downed the whole litre I gave them yesterday. What do you reckon, give them another third of a litre tomorrow and repeat every couple of days?
 

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That’s really interesting, thanks…so it’s a little and often approach.

I checked the feeder today and they’ve downed the whole litre I gave them yesterday. What do you reckon, give them another third of a litre tomorrow and repeat every couple of days?
That's the sort of thing I do. As you know, I'm no man of great experience in this, but from some sources, I've put together the idea that the throttled-back supply is less likely to be stashed and more likely to put the bees in a position where they use it for brood or have surplus wax to use.
That may all be tosh, but seems to work for me.
If I have a developing nuc, I do have a quick look in occasionally, to check if the feed just piling up in cells. If it is, then I hold back for a while as there's no point just letting it actually increase the speed at which potential brood cells are being filled with winter stores so early in the year.
 

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