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non productive hive - does it sound as though something is up with my bees?

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sheena 

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Hi,

I managed to get two nucleus of bees about a month ago and installed them in their hives. I was giving them a weekly feed of sugar syrup ( 1:1 ). One of the hives has about 8 frames of brood now and is busy in the super. They seem fine.

The other hive only is only just expanding to 7 frames of brood and they are not doing anything in the super. They are a very gentle hive. I removed the feeder's on Sunday because I didn't want them to start building brood inside them now they are expanding. When I removed the feeder from this hive I brushed the bees off and a couple of clumps of them seemed to be stuck together by their legs. I'm a newbie so this may be normal but I've never seen it in the other hive. They also seem to be a bit less tidy in their brood making and when I pull the brood frames out to inspect there are clumps of it on the bottom. There are larvae there so there is a queen but why are there so many fewer bees in this hive? Are they unwell and if so what can I do for them? Should I carry on feeding them?

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated

Thanks
Sheena
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
"Strings" of bees is pretty normal, mine do it quite a bit.

Agree with the stopping feeding, there should be plenty of forage now.

7 frames of brood is fine. Untidy brood with bits off the bottom, some are like that, are you sure the hive is set up properly.

Easily checked causes of slow build up:

- varroa - put the board in the bottom, dust them with a bit of icing sugar, and check again in 24 hours. More than one or two is a problem.

- nosema - is the front of the hive stained with bee poo?

It could be that the second nuc had older bees in it, they have died off a bit faster and the numbers have dropped. If you have 7 frames of brood, you will have a LOT of bees quite soon.
 

Midland Beek 

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There are larvae there so there is a queen
Seeing eggs is better.

Presuming the weaker colony is queenright and hasn't for some reason swarmed, it probably just came weaker when you acquired it. The stronger one may have had more sealed brood, and the emergence of this brood would perhaps account for its stronger condition.

And bee colonies are different, depending on the traits that come with each queen.
 

sheena 

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Thanks

Thanks for the replies, I can stop worrying about them quite so much :). I'll check for varroa. The front of the hive doesn't have any staining so hopefully thats not an issue. I'll just keep an eye on them and hopefully will have a lot of bees soon.

That is very interesting that they make wax like that. I wondered if that was a possibility ( but was also worried they had some hideous sticky leg disease that wss not mentioned in any of the books )

Thanks again,
Sheena
 

Peter Cox 

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Thanks for the replies, I can stop worrying about them quite so much :). I'll check for varroa. The front of the hive doesn't have any staining so hopefully thats not an issue. I'll just keep an eye on them and hopefully will have a lot of bees soon.

That is very interesting that they make wax like that. I wondered if that was a possibility ( but was also worried they had some hideous sticky leg disease that wss not mentioned in any of the books )

Thanks again,
Sheena
It's called chaining and is part of the comb drawing process. The untidy bits on the bottom is burr comb, may indicate your 'bee space' is off slightly. you can remove it
 

Poly Hive 

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There are no diseases that I know of that any competent book will not cover.

Nucs come in different sizes and strengths, given that they will develop at different rates.

Yours sound fine and will soon have you running to keep up.

PH
 

margob99 

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If you've a birthday coming up, I can highly recommend this book - get your friends and family to buy it for you!

http://www.springer.com/life+sciences/book/978-3-540-78727-3

It has stunning pics and explanations of "chaining" and wax production; including the only pic I've ever seen anywhere of 8 little cells of wax actually popping out of the abdomen of a bee.
 

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