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Point of no return.

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hoomin_erra 

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Is there a point of no return for a colony?

In other words, if a virgin queen takes a while to mate after an AS, and by the time she starts laying, there are no more nurse bees, only foragers, is the hive doomed? Or do some of the foragers return to being nurse bees?


And i think i just had a thought that answered my own question. That is pretty much the situation of a swarm isn't it?
 

Nellie 

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Yes :)

Or do some of the foragers return to being nurse bees?
This is basically what happens. Seem to recall reading somewhere that during a swarm it is not just the Foragers that leave but a mix of all "job roles" within the colony that leave but I can't find a link to it. But yes foragers will return to nursing duties if needed.
 

peteinwilts 

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this is why it is advisable to have more than one hive. If a hive is going wrong, you can use another to help support it.

Do you know any local friendly beekeepers that may be able to give you a frame of brood?
 

hoomin_erra 

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I know some beeks, whether they will be willing to pass on a frame of brood is another matter.

I can ask, but i'm hoping it hasn't got that bad yet. I have eggs, i'll see next weekend if i have larvae. If i do, then i'm good, otherwise i'll have to start asking around.
 

oliver90owner 

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With no brood to care for the bees remain 'young', so don't age, as is usual, in the summer months. Same as overwintering. That is why colonies with no brood dwindle slowly.

So, 'no' is my answer. More likely possiblity is that the virgin queen will never lay as time goes by..... Then they are in trouble!

Often doomed by reason of too weak to defend aginst wasps, or keep the hive brood area warm, etc., (especially if several casts are thrown) or painfully slow build-up.

This is a time when feeding might be needed. But if the weather is fair they will collect adequate stores (by virtue of no brood to be fed) to feed the new larvae.

Regards, RAB
 

hoomin_erra 

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They queen is laying, i have seen eggs yesterday.

Stores are plenty, including pollen.
 

ENZO 

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Hi, are they in a full size brood box? Keeping the colony warm is the key when there are not that many bees, I always try to keep the the brood nest as small as possible until there are enough bees to cover the brood, maybe some insulation on the crown board or dummy boards?, may sound silly this time of year but brood has to be arround 35 degrees and the queen will only lay what can be covered in bees, also insulation also means the older bees don't have to work as hard to keep the brood warm hence live longer, I notice quite a significant differance in the buildup of nucs when in my poly nucs compared to my wooden nucs what ever time of year.

As far as the point of no return, It's amazing how small a colony can get and still survive although They'll take a long time to become a honey producing colony, I had two spare queens at the end of last year and had no real need for them, I put them in two nucs with a frame of brood, a frame of stores and a couple of empty combs, by christmas I went to do my oxalic treatment and the cluster was the size of a tennis ball, tiny, as a bit of an experiment I put reptile heater pads on the floors and run a power cable from my garage,
They survived the long winter, took a little time to build up but now I have 3 supers on each maybe soon a forth, and to think, I was going to get rid of them last year as I thought they were not going to survive!

Never Say Die.

Enzo
 

hoomin_erra 

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Full size smith hive with a super.

Bees probably cover about 4 frames. The eggs i saw are only on one side of 1 frame at the moment. So i can only assume she has just started laying.
 

Midland Beek 

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Bees age differently from us. It's what they do in their life, and not so much how long they live for. A young bee in a broodless hive which has not nursed doesn't just age and then loose the ability to nurse. It's all to do with their glands.
 

mbc 

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Maybe they'd get going better if they didnt have to warm the super too. I'd take it off and just leave them get on with it. If shes only just started laying then it'll be 21 days since the first egg was layed before the colony starts expanding in numbers again
 

ENZO 

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as it's getting a little late in the season, it may be worth swapping the boxes around if the super is not too full, so that the super is at the bottom without the excluder, the bees then will sort themselves out as to brood and stores for the winter, otherwise extract the super, either way I would go down to one box, remember the heat is at the top and every little helps, there is still enough time for them to build up for winter.

All The Best, Enzo
 

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