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keranst 

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Hi all,
after a great first year I have a little worry I need to clear going into the winter.
My hive is one of six hives in our apiary.
I added more fondant last weekend and sat and watched the hives for a good 15 minutes.
All the other hives were active with bees leaving and entering the hives. Only mine, there was no movement, not one bee left or arrived back at the hive.
The last fondant has been eaten to about half.
Looking into the super, there were bees moving around but not too many.
I did not want to open up the hive to inspect what is going on in the brood box as I did not want to disturb them.
If I have been giving them plenty to eat and they were left with a full super, should I be worried?
I am tempted to take a better look but was told if they have plenty of food they will be okay.
Any tips much appreciated.
Thanks
 
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Hi all,
after a great first year I have a little worry I need to clear going into the winter.
My hive is one of six hives in our apiary.
I added more fondant last weekend and sat and watched the hives for a good 15 minutes.
All the other hives were active with bees leaving and entering the hives. Only mine, there was no movement, not one bee left or arrived back at the hive.
The last fondant has been eaten to about half.
Looking into the super, there were bees moving around but not too many.
I did not want to open up the hive to inspect what is going on in the brood box as I did not want to disturb them.
If I have been giving them plenty to eat and they were left with a full super, should I be worried?
I am tempted to take a better look but was told if they have plenty of food they will be okay.
Any tips much appreciated.
Thanks
First question has to be ... what was the varroa load like and have they been treated ?

Second .. what sort of a hive have you got .. is it insulated ?

Bees are all different - some of mine will fly when you think that the weather is far too foul for them and others will take a peek and stay at home ... you really can't directly compare one colony with another. The only comparisons you can make is on the same colony. I get used to seeing what each of my colonies do and I only worry if there is a change in that colony compared to what it normally does.

A clear polycarbonate crown board can be a great asset over winter.

You say you have a super on top full of stores - it's a silly question but you have removed the queen excluder haven't you ?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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First question has to be ... what was the varroa load like and have they been treated ?
Second .. what sort of a hive have you got .. is it insulated ?

Bees are all different - some of mine will fly when you think that the weather is far too foul for them and others will take a peek and stay at home ... you really can't directly compare one colony with another. The only comparisons you can make is on the same colony. I get used to seeing what each of my colonies do and I only worry if there is a change in that colony compared to what it normally does.

A clear polycarbonate crown board can be a great asset over winter.

You say you have a super on top full of stores - it's a silly question but you have removed the queen excluder haven't you ?
:iagree:
I am tempted to take a better look but was told if they have plenty of food they will be okay.
If you had a super full of stores, why the fondant?
I would say you definitely need to have a better look, if you're only seeing a few bees wandering around it could be that they are starting to cluster and these are just a few from the edge of th colony or... they could be the only bees, as Phil said. if the Queen excluder is still in place, open up to remove it, and at the same time have a good look down between the frames to see how many bees there are, if there's a decent sized cluster, leave them alone, if otherwise - lift out a frame to see better
 
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:iagree:

If you had a super full of stores, why the fondant?
I would say you definitely need to have a better look, if you're only seeing a few bees wandering around it could be that they are starting to cluster and these are just a few from the edge of th colony or... they could be the only bees, as Phil said. if the Queen excluder is still in place, open up to remove it, and at the same time have a good look down between the frames to see how many bees there are, if there's a decent sized cluster, leave them alone, if otherwise - lift out a frame to see better
Yes ... better at this stage to know what is going on .. if you are quick and ready to go won't take more than a minute to have some idea of what's going on. I have clear crownboards on all my colonies - very reassuring to be able to look in and see the volume of bees moving around. I also have an empty super on top of all my hives with at least 50mm of Celotex/Kingspan insulation in there above the crown board. I nearly always see bees on top of the frames even in winter.

Better just check as well - you don't have gaping holes in the crownboard for ventilation do you ?
 

keranst 

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Thanks for your replies. Much appreciated.
I have removed the Queen excluder. I have found very little signs of varroa, the colony seemed very healthy up till now. My wife said, they are probably well fed and feel no need to go looking for food. But worrying it is.
I have a cedar wood hive and have the fondant is in an empty super above what was a full super. I have a wicker basket covering the fondant and this is covered by a thick layer of sheep wool.
For my own sanity I will take Pargyle's advice and take a look if the weather permits.
Thanks for your replies, will update as soon as I know more.
Amazing that bees become part of your family so quickly and you worry for them.
 
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Thanks for your replies. Much appreciated.
I have removed the Queen excluder. I have found very little signs of varroa, the colony seemed very healthy up till now. My wife said, they are probably well fed and feel no need to go looking for food. But worrying it is.
I have a cedar wood hive and have the fondant is in an empty super above what was a full super. I have a wicker basket covering the fondant and this is covered by a thick layer of sheep wool.
For my own sanity I will take Pargyle's advice and take a look if the weather permits.
Thanks for your replies, will update as soon as I know more.
Amazing that bees become part of your family so quickly and you worry for them.
The first ten years are the worst ... but you will always worry ...

What actual checks have you done for varroa in order to say there is very little sign of them ?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I don't know how cold it is with you at the moment but it's freezing hard with us, at this time of the year I would expect there to be plenty of stores left so that would mean the cluster should be fairlt tight and low down in the hive, with a super of stores on as well, I wouldn't expect there to be much activity up near the crown board unless you disturbed the bees and they come up for a look.
I'm assuming you have the fondant placed over an open feed hole in the crownboars with the super and wool above that? I would put the fondant in an inverted plastic takeaway container, it will stop it drying out (or absorbing too much moisture.)
 

ericbeaumont 

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they are probably well fed and feel no need to go looking for food
They don't work like that. No matter how much is already on board, if the temps. allow flying and they find it, they'll go for it. Bees do not have an off switch when it comes to foraging.

As Philip said, bees differ and unless there are underlying issues then try not to worry. As per JBM: take a quick look and establish the status of the nest.
 
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Hi all,
after a great first year I have a little worry I need to clear going into the winter.
My hive is one of six hives in our apiary.
I added more fondant last weekend and sat and watched the hives for a good 15 minutes.
All the other hives were active with bees leaving and entering the hives. Only mine, there was no movement, not one bee left or arrived back at the hive.
The last fondant has been eaten to about half.
Looking into the super, there were bees moving around but not too many.
I did not want to open up the hive to inspect what is going on in the brood box as I did not want to disturb them.
If I have been giving them plenty to eat and they were left with a full super, should I be worried?
I am tempted to take a better look but was told if they have plenty of food they will be okay.
Any tips much appreciated.
Thanks
Personally I would do more observation before disturbing them. Yesterday gardening in front of my four hives, two were “active” two were not.
They are alongside each other approx 10 feet apart. As the day went on the two active became quiet with no activity, when the other two suddenly ”came alive”.
I would be very reluctant to disturb them if you’re going off a brief snapshot of the activity.
 

drex 

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Why disturb them? Apart from checking they have enough stores and varroa treatment has been adequate, there is not a lot you can do at this time of year to correct other problems. Perhaps if they are a small colony you could quickly transfer them to a poly nuc, but otherwise just keep an eye on them. You have access to another five colonies, so at the worst, come spring, you at least have resources to start off again
 

Little_bees 

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All the other hives were active with bees leaving and entering the hives. Only mine, there was no movement, not one bee left or arrived back at the hive.
My home bees are in a group of 4 at the bottom of the garden so easy to wander down and have a little watch every day and compare the goings on.

The end hive always starts flying later in the day than the other three, shuts down earlier in the autumn, hardly eats any stores and starts again later in the spring. Looking at the tray in winter there's often only very very faint lines of cappings. If you looked at this one hive as a snapshot, you'd think there was a problem.

Yet over the year this one is always the biggest producer.
 
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I was thinking
Personally I would do more observation before disturbing them. Yesterday gardening in front of my four hives, two were “active” two were not.
They are alongside each other approx 10 feet apart. As the day went on the two active became quiet with no activity, when the other two suddenly ”came alive”.
I would be very reluctant to disturb them if you’re going off a brief snapshot of the activity.
Could possibly use an infa red torch down the seems??
 
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Flir - All too much.
Pretty much all you can do now is ensure they have access to stores, so keep on with the fondant.

What would you do if the infra red showed a small colony in late November, except feed and hope?

Leave them alone, but well stocked with fondant And TRY not to worry!
 
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My home bees are in a group of 4 at the bottom of the garden so easy to wander down and have a little watch every day and compare the goings on.

The end hive always starts flying later in the day than the other three, shuts down earlier in the autumn, hardly eats any stores and starts again later in the spring. Looking at the tray in winter there's often only very very faint lines of cappings. If you looked at this one hive as a snapshot, you'd think there was a problem.

Yet over the year this one is always the biggest producer.
Very similar to my experience, with the biggest producer being the colony in the most shaded and damp part of the apiary.

Going back to observations - through the Spring and Summer I see the hives become active as the early morning sunlight hits them. I think that even this time of year the orientation of the hive to the sun and the time it receives direct light directly influences the activity from the hive. Perhaps that has a bearing in this case?
 
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