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Bees, so far so good

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fritz_monroe:

--- Quote from: LvsChant on April 18, 2018, 08:31:16 AM ---Too bad... I wonder what causes it? Is it just a weak queen, typically?

--- End quote ---
Could be many things.

Based on nothing but timing and how the others are doing, I'd guess that maybe this hive just doesn't have a queen with a lot of sperm left in her sack.  She may be laying eggs that aren't fertilized.  Do you see a lot of drones?  It could also be that this hive is in a location that doesn't get heated up the same by the Spring sun.  She may not have started laying eggs until a couple of days after the other queens started.  They might just have started hatching.  The new bees have other work to do to make sure the cells are ready for new eggs.

Be careful with giving them honey.  It can promote robbing. 

CharlesH:
I’m leaning towards a late start in this case.  It was a mid-summer split from an Italian queen to a Russian.  They seemed to be doing well, but the timing was marginal.  I’m ruling out varroa as I kept my mite counts low.  There was no sign of staining on their front porch to indicate nosema last month, either (I know one of the forms of nosema doesn’t leave that indicator so I can’t rule it out).  It’s also possible they’re fine. People  I follow who keep Russians say the size of the winter cluster is very very small and they don’t start laying lots of eggs until there is a good food supply available.  This is my first spring with Russians so we’ll see.
 
Good point on the robbing.  I put the honey inside on the inner cover and didn’t have an issue.  I’ve always been lucky in the spring and the bees seem to be good about not robbing each other in the fall, too.  But yellow jackets?  That’s a whole other story.  I’ve seen weak hives completely emptied out by them...

fritz_monroe:

--- Quote from: CharlesH on April 18, 2018, 03:19:43 PM ---People  I follow who keep Russians say the size of the winter cluster is very very small and they don’t start laying lots of eggs until there is a good food supply available.  This is my first spring with Russians so we’ll see.

--- End quote ---

This is what I've heard also.  And when they start building up, they build up REALLY fast.

CharlesH:
I got into all three hives today.  Sunny, calm, with temps in the mid 60’s.  All three were encouraging, even my weak hive.
 
#1 is a queened with an Italian mutt I bought as a nuc here in MI last June.  She is unmarked and I did not find her.  Lots of bees, though, and I saw both capped and uncapped brood with a good pattern throughout.  Lots of honey still in there and they are packing in the pollen.  I might actually put a honey super in this one by early May.  I use wood bleach as a vapor treatment in the spring for varroa so I guess I need to get on that now so I’m done when the honey supers go on.  (I will vape them on days 0, 8, and 16 to catch almost all the mites).
 
#2 is queened with a Russian hybrid (Russian egg, the resulting Queen was open inseminated on her own).  They looked good, much fewer bees, which is what I expected from Russians.  Also lots of new pollen and old honey left but also lots of free space for this year.  Good looking brood patterns but covering a smaller area than #1. I’ll see how fast they catch up to the Italians in population.  We found this queen (she’s marked).
 
#3 is my weak hive.  Also a Russian hybrid.  There were actually more bees in there than I expected to find but not a ton yet.  The brood pattern was small but tight and the marked queen was easily found.  All the bees were on top and I reversed the supers.  I have seen mixed advice about doing this, but they were not using the main entrance, just a vent hole on top so I decided to do it for them.  The bottom board on this one had collected more dead bees that had not been removed than 1&2 so I cleaned that up real good.  We won’t need to go into this one again for several weeks.  But I think they will make it.
 
I only got stung once, and it was the Italian mutts that did it.  It seemed unprovoked, too (on the back of my thumb where it wasn’t being pinched and while my hands were outside the hive).  We did not notice any unusual aggression from the Russians. It was great to get in there and see the girls. 

LvsChant:
Good news, Charles!

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