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Author Topic: Winter results  (Read 2896 times)
Wiley.7
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« on: April 12, 2014, 08:30:03 PM »

I had 3 of 3 colonies make it through winter and today I did my first frame inspections since November. One colony is strong, one is weak, but it is the third I need help with.

This third hive has two 10-frame deeps. The top deep is 60% capped honey, 10% pollen/bread, and 30% empty cells. The bottom deep is 20% honey, 10% pollen/bread, and 70% empty cells. I found no eggs, no larvae, and only a dozen or so sealed brood (some of those were emerging while I watched), Both deeps were full of bees. Every frame was 50-90% covered by workers. Foragers were actively bringing in pollen as well, have been for at least a week.

I did not see a queen, but its not unusual for me to miss her during inspections. I saw 4 oddly-shaped (deep, horizontal, and irregular) queen cups (not queen cells) in the center of 1 frame. All were empty. The workers did not seem loud or agitated, as I've been told they get when queen-less.
 
So what happened? Did the queen die suddenly and couldn't be replaced? Could she have been replaced and the new queen isn't laying yet? On the slim chance they replaced the queen, how long would a new queen take to mate and start laying? Since the dozen brood I saw were emerging, I'm guessing the last eggs the over-wintered queen laid were about 3 weeks ago.

I stole 2 frames with eggs from my strong hive and put them into the third hive. I'm hoping that if the third hive is queen-less, they will use the eggs to make emergency queens. If it has a queen, the eggs will help mitigate lost production.

Any thoughts?
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