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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Response from Dave @ Long Lane Honey Bee Farm

I sent a letter this morning to Dave at Long Lane Honey Bee Farm, the guy I bought my hives and bees from, and asked him about my East hive that has so few bees compared to the West hive.  Below is my letter and his response.

Hi Dave,

I need your opinion regarding my hives. To give you an update: I picked up my two packages of bees from you on 4/17 and installed them on 4/18. The hives stand approximately 5 feet from each other with both entrances facing south.

In looking back over my bee blog, I first noticed a difference in the number of bees between the two hives on April 29, in that the East hive had fewer bees both at the entrance and inside the hive. At the time I figured that possibly some bees drifted to the West hive. I have kept feeding the hives 1:1 sugar water until last week when I pulled the feeders. Usually the West hive consumed more water than the East hive. In looking in the hives, there has always been way more bees in the West hive, but I hoped the East hive would catch up after the Queen was in full production of laying eggs; however, the East Queen isn’t producing anywhere near the brood as the West Queen.

On June 7th I pulled the feeder from the West hive, put on the excluder, and put my medium super on top. All the frames are drawn out in the West hive, and capped brood is abundant. However, the East hive looks to only be at most working on half the frames, and the amount of brood is remarkably less. I don’t believe I have seen a full frame of capped brood yet on the East hive, but I found a two full frames of capped brood on the West hive on May 24th. On June 12th I pulled the feeder on the East hive thinking it may be time to let them find food on their own. There is a lot of white clover all around the hives, plenty of water at a pond 100 yards away, and driving 30 miles round trip to fill one hive is costly! If my memory serves me correctly, I have fed both hives a total of 52 or 57 pounds of sugar in a 1:1 ratio.

Below are pictures of the hive entrances taken on Sunday, June 13. Do you have any recommendations???

Below is Dave's Response:

Hard to say. Sometimes a abnormally strong queen makes a good Queen look bad. You could try to swap locations of the hive while all the foragers are out. The stronger number of foragers could help the smaller hive. The other option is to requeen. But if you current queen is average the new one may not be noticeably different. Your last option is to kill the weaker queen and 2 days later place a frame of eggs without the queen on it into the weak hive and see if you can get some of those super traits from the super hive.

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