I'm in the newcastle,
I got my hive late summer ish, off a guy I know, ot was thought to be a09 swarm, but who knows.
I haven't done allot with them, but some feed over winter, I checked them two weeks ago and not allot happening in there.
There is a queen in so it's not that.
I started feeding again cos the weather is cold, 1/1 syrup
If there are frames of foundation right next to the brood, then a simple feed will encourage them to draw it out and then to get some eggs in there, or if the frames are full of congealed ivy stores, then I'd scrape back to the midrib and again give a thin feed.
As PH said, a little more info would have been helpful!
Other than that, there's not a lot you can do.
Let bees be bees.
All of the brood frames are old and drawn out, they are black.
Should I replace them with new or just leave be for now?
Thanks for all the help so far.
Books haven't helped but you lot are a vast library of knowledge
I can only speak for my practise, as all beekeepers are different, but I hate black frames. 3-4 years is the maximum, they should be in the hive. Start phasing them out at 3.
I would be tempted to put in fresh foundation and feed them to encourage them to draw it out.
Obviously make sure, that the frames you do take out are not chock full of brood and/or stores/pollen...you need all the bees you can get.
That will also help you to see eggs.
There is no reason as such sometimes for a colony's poor behaviour.
It may just be a lousy queen, it may be a lack of forage, poor weather, any number of things.
It helps if you have more than one colony as not only can you monitor them against each other, but you can add frames of eggs to boost numbers.
Are they infested with varroa mites? If so deal with it or they will succumb, if not already.
Are they in a full sized box? If they are, reduce the effective size to just half or slightly less. A divider would be better than a dummy. Alternatively transfer to a nucleus hive.
How much stores? If sufficient and not crystallised just 'bruise' a small area close to the brood. By all means give them a frame feeder or similar with 1:1 syrup.
Insulate over and around if possible - they need to be able to maintain temperature in the brood area to middle 30s.
Are they flying? Collecting pollen? If not, (when warm enough!) it sounds like they are doomed, unless you can add some extra bees (hatching brood may be good).
Basically, you need someone to actually look at them and assess their chances of survival. Not seeming good from here. No point really in wasting effort if they are a no-hoper colony slowly dwindling away.
I was going to split the hive this year to form two hives,but that looks like that wont happen unless some thing changes soon.
could i swap the hole hive with a new one, and just place the brood frames with any brood and stores in to a new hive and place on the old site?
just in case of any disease or bug.
they are flying and collecting pollen, the hives are at work on the farm so i get to see them a couple of times a day, handy for swarming!!!!
i love to watching them come in and out.
they do have some mite, my new hive has a varroa floor would that help? i will try some varroa strips. maybe dust with iceing sugar.
As a last ditch attempt, I would find the Queen - isolate here - and then shook swarm what you have on to fresh foundation in to a NUC BOX before re-introducing the Queen........and then feed feed feed 1:1 syrup.
It has worked for me before where a colony is on a knife-edge (you'll also end up with fresh, drawn comb too and will get rid of any nasties in the old, blackened comb).
You'll be surprised at how quickly they can re-invigorate themselves after this.
i had the same thing as this last month no mite just not a lot of bees. i put them in a nuc box treated for mite, not many at all come off but they are building up nicely again now just bees couldnt keep the brood nest warm. so if i was you i would put them in a nuc box, to help them stay warm on the cold nights.
If they are flying and collecting pollen, that is at least a good sign.
Unless you take action to covet your small colony it will not survive because the queen will not be able to lay enough brood because the bees can not keep them covered and feed an expanding hive. Hence the term 'dwindle' - the numbers game, I'm afraid. As I said earlier, small warm space and feed is about all you can do, but a frame of hatching brood may well be a superb antidote which would very quickly result in more brood rearing capacity and then more foragers in 2 or three weeks time. An increasing spiral instead of the reverse.
A lot of us simply cut our losses and unite with another colony (we can do better by splitting later) or even out our brood a little between colonies, and the problem goes away at an early stage. Such are the advantages of more than one colony........
The one thing I would not be doing now, if it is dwindling rapidly, is to make them draw out fresh comb. They simply do not have the energy or the time, IMO. Once they are in an 'expanding' mode would be the time to change the frames, speed of changinging dependent on local observation.
Depends what you want from them, a hobby or to get a crop?
With the very cold weather we are having it really is still very early in the year, I would be inclined to give them a few weeks before doing anything drastic.
I am in the far SW where the temps are generally several degrees higher than the rest of the country and have a couple of hives that came through the winter a little low on bees. They have just started to make an increase and are now looking much better.
I was told :'Beekeeping takes you 15 minutes a week and the bees 6 days 23 hours & 45 minutes to correct your mistakes'