No brood,few bees but Q present,should I continue fondant or syrup

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helenp 

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After an appalling summer and winter and one hive down, my remaining hive is hanging in by the sting in its rear!
Have just done a very quick check,the colony is small and have seen the Q, but no stores or brood or eggs
Have been feeding all winter with fondant and they still have some--should I continue or change to syrup?
All advice appreciated.
Thanks
 

Polyanwood 

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You should make their lives easier by reducing the space they need to warm by use of a dummyboard, so only the few frames they are on are available to them. If no dummy board, use polystyrene or kingspan to fill the space where the unused frames are. Close the inspection tray to reduce the drafts. Very small colonies struggle to keep warm enough, and the extra pressure of starting to rear brood often finishes them off.
 

VEG 

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Keep feeding them and cross your fingers. I have 3 colonies that have less bees in than that at the moment, I hope they will make it.
Difficult to say if they will make it or not, but keep the feed on and pray for some warmer weather.
 

itma 

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Soft (fresh, not dried up) fondant under the crown board makes most sense until the weather warms up a bit.

I think Ambrosia should have a role in bringing them out of hand-to-mouth fondant subsistence. But not yet.

Spring feeding is usually about promoting brooding. But its not quite so straightforward this year...
 

Finman 

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Not many bees means that colony is not able to start brooding even if weathers get better.
.
 

johnfly 

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(but no stores or brood or eggs,) I had one with just a few bees in, i mixed some syrup, rubbed that into a drawn frame so it was warm put a frame feeder into hive against side wall with luke warm syrup in, pushed frames of bees up to feeder, the last frame that the bees are on take out put your warm syrup frame in its place and knock bees off onto other frame or frames, close up and check in a couple of days, i done that last week to one hive and they are going like they should be now.
 

Finman 

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(but no stores or brood or eggs,) I had one with just a few bees in, i mixed some syrup, rubbed that into a drawn frame so

i done that last week to one hive and they are going like they should be now.
as a 30 hive owner John you know that a colony of few bees have no future alone.
What you can do to help Helen is to send her 2 frames of bees.

.
 

johnfly 

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Finnan, i have great respect for your skills of beekeeping, but i would not of wrote what i did unless i had done it with my own bees first,it worked last year with four sides, Helenp has four frames, i take that to mean eight sides or even seven sides of bees ( a nuc nearly without food ) i had three sides of bees, but there were a few brood left, but no eggs, so they had started brooding but stopped that was the reason i tried that, today there are eggs, so i am hopeing that some of the bees are young ones, its worth a try, just have to wait and see if they get through, forgot to add i put warmed pollen pattie on as well, they are out today collecting pollen
 

Mike a 

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Finman is spot on.

If there was a tiny patch of eggs/worker brood then by all means try to save them but being realistic here, if there is no brood the colony isn't going to survive no matter what they are feed or by condensing them down on to one or two frames.
 

richardbees 

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Helen-
Suggest you make a pancake of 1lb of fondant, warm it, lift off the crown board and press it down on the top bars over cluster.
It's the best you can do to keep them going ...but don't feed pollen substitute.
Good luck, richard
 

johnfly 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenp
Only about 4 frames and not many on each.

these were bees, not brood.

Few bees cannot be 4 occupyed frames, or can it?.

Finman is spot on.

If there was a tiny patch of eggs/worker brood then by all means try to save them but being realistic here, if there is no brood the colony isn't going to survive no matter what they are feed or by condensing them down on to one or two frames.

Finnan, as i said, i tryed this last year and it worked for me, i can see that helenp said bees not brood as helenp was a 2 hive person why not give it a go.
Mike a, as you have said,
If there was a tiny patch of eggs/worker brood then by all means try to save them, if you had read what i wrote in 8 and 10 its what i had done, at no point did i say that she should do what i done, its up to her to use what advise is given on the forum, and as normal there is a lot, sometimes people shoot others down before trying out different methods theirselfs , not everyone has only one book to read, you look after your bees, tin hat time, dont decry what someone has tryed and its worked, it may not work for you, this year i hope that it will work again for me, look what the bees are telling you and look after them.
how many bees do you call a frame of bees?
half a frame both sides,
half a frame one side,
three quarters both sides, one side, everybody has different ideas 500, 1000 a side?.
 

Finman 

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I do not doupt john's skills with his 30 hives.

First thing is that 1-hive owner seldom is able to look what is essential in his hive.

I have weak hives too. 4 hives have only 2 occupyed frames. I know that I can keep them alive when I move bees from big hives.

Just not it is -10C outside. day temp will be +5C. Shall I move bees now? I must look.

Alone this kind of colonies dwindle away. if the colony has nosema, like 2 seems to have, number of bees goes down rapibly.

.
 

oliver90owner 

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This colony could certainly do with some help or it does appear doomed.

More bees may be a priority, but also the queen could be nosemic, so the odds on saving it are against. More bees and a small patch of emerging brood would be good as a starter after dummying them down. This is where the local BKA or friendly beekeepers are needed - although many will be in deep mire themslves at the moment.
 

Mike a 

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Mike a,
If you had read what i wrote in 8 and 10 its what i had done, at no point did i say that she should do what i done, its up to her to use what advise is given on the forum, and as normal there is a lot, sometimes people shoot others down before trying out different methods theirselfs , not everyone has only one book to read, you look after your bees, tin hat time, dont decry what someone has tryed and its worked, it may not work for you, this year i hope that it will work again for me, look what the bees are telling you and look after them.
how many bees do you call a frame of bees?
half a frame both sides,
half a frame one side,
three quarters both sides, one side, everybody has different ideas 500, 1000 a side?.
Hi John

First off let me say that if anyone wants to take the time and effort to try and save a struggling colony be all means have a go. I did read your posts but felt IMHO if the colony was at best covering a couple of frames, made no attempt to raise new bees by first inspection and is only going to decrease quickly even more when all the Winter bees die off. The chances of them recovering unassisted is practically zero.

I've also saved a struggling colony, it took all season but they built up from about a frames worth of bees. Sadly they died out the following Winter but I learnt a lot and felt it just wasn't worth the time and hassle if/when it happened again.
 

Finman 

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The dead of that tiny colony is not a bad alternative either.

When you have a box and there few ready combs and foundations, perhaps a swarm will find it.

.
 

johnfly 

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I do not doupt john's skills with his 30 hives.

First thing is that 1-hive owner seldom is able to look what is essential in his hive.

I have weak hives too. 4 hives have only 2 occupyed frames. I know that I can keep them alive when I move bees from big hives.

Just not it is -10C outside. day temp will be +5C. Shall I move bees now? I must look.

Alone this kind of colonies dwindle away. if the colony has nosema, like 2 seems to have, number of bees goes down rapibly.

.
Finman, I agree with what you are saying above, the nosema will take its toll if the bees have it and if you have spare frames of hatching brood, good, for when the weather gets a little more kind
 

richardbees 

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FM

The death of that tiny colony is not a bad alternative either

isn't that just a little bit adolf hitler'ish ?

We are supposed to be trying to help Helen keep her colony alive...and give her moral support together with friendly encouragement....:=)
 

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