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What kills the bees?

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aseeryl 

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There is a lot being written about nursing "weak" (ie low number count and ?not too many stores) colonies through winter at the moment. Being the possessor of one such, albeit with a good queen seemingly making up for lost time I am wondering what are the main lethal factors
Obviously, food stores - so carry on feeding now with fondant or sugar through winter? I have some artificial pollen so I can make patties with syrup will this help?
? Cold - ? insulate the hive, put up divider boards or make a nuc box but whento do this - now or when the weather gets colder or days shorter?
These seem to be the obvious ones, I can't get any new recruits by way of a brood frame at the moment.
Any advice from experience?
 

JCBrum 

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Yes insulate, and struggle on. If you had two colonies you might consider combining.

Perhaps a frame feeder next to the brood will help now the wasps are decreasing.
 

Finman 

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Tell first, what is your colony. How many frames it occupies.

"the main lethal factors" - you need not that catalogue, how many ways you can kill the hive.
 

aseeryl 

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Thanks for the replies.

The queenless colony we were considering uniting has, this past few days, shown a small amount of new brood. Can't find a queen yet, but we are going to have a good look on Friday. It may still be laying workers - in which I would be too nervous to try and combine because of the problems listed in previous threads. This colony is also weak.

Currently, there are 4 frames occupied but the bees are "old" - doesn't seem to stop them, they are very active.
 
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Finman 

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Thanks for the replies.
.

Currently, there are 4 frames occupied but the bees are "old" - doesn't seem to stop them, they are very active.
That hardly will succeed over winter. 4 frames is too small.
If you have another hive, give from that a larva frame and look what happens. If they make queen emergency cells, it is queenless.

Now the hive should have 4 frames of brood and so it would make minimum size winter cluster.

You may get over winter even smaller colony, but it is not worth trying because that small cannot develope in spring (practically).
 

oliver90owner 

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You have 2 colonies? No brood to spare?

That means both are weak?

If not, and both are healthy, you could transfer eggs/brood, even temporarily from the queen-right colony to the other.

Laying pattern would indicate a queen or laying workers. Compact pattern with one egg per cell probably equals a queen is present. Haphazard small patches, often with several eggs per cell, is more likely to be (a) laying worker(s).

Given a few more days you will become aware whether this brood is of worker or drone (by the cell cappings), and see whether the laying pattern is more prolific.

In about a week, or a little more, you should be clearly aware of the options possible - laying workers, drone laying queen or good queen.

It is the middle of September so there is still time to decide what to do. You simply need to know and recognise your particular situation before deciding what to do about it.

Obviously feed, feed, feed to encourage brood increase. Weak syrup is the preferred option. Pollen will be required, and should be foraged by the bees, for brood production. A frame with pollen could be transferred?

Pollen patties are probably of little help at this stage.

It sounds as if both your colonies (if we can calll them that) put together would likely not make a strong colony for over-wintering.

If that is the case, I would be seriously thinking of uniting and trying to get that one stronger colony through the winter. But your post is not too clear (like Finman says) so at this present point in time all I would say is 'more information, please' Wait a few days and let us know the true situation.

Regards, RAB
 

JCBrum 

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My conclusion, perhaps premature, is that if you have more than 1 colony, combining is inevitable to avoid potential disaster.
 

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