How much brood

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Kens
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How much brood

Unread post by Kens » May 12th, 2019, 7:55 am

About 5 weeks ago, the last time it was warm in AB, I reduced a hive from 3 boxes to 2 to make it easier for the buyer to move.

There was some capped brood in every box, not full sides but I was surprised to see that much that early and there was some in every box. There was also drone brood present.

That same hive yesterday had less brood than a few weeks ago it was all in the 2nd box, it was rather spotty and the bottom box was empty comb.

There was some uncapped brood of varying ages and without my glasses I couldn't be sure there were eggs but I assume so.

The hive appears strong with lots of bees, they were very quiet to work, they have had pollen patties since mid march and some syrup.

Comments apply to the hive that was sold and moved as well as one that was treated the same way and moved yesterday.

Any thoughts on why this happened, April was a very cold month would that interrupt laying?

Thanks

Ken

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BadBeeKeeper
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Re: How much brood

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » May 12th, 2019, 9:03 am

Comments apply to the hive that was sold and moved as well as one that was treated the same way and moved yesterday.
Maybe it's because I've only had a couple of sips of coffee yet...but this isn't making sense to me. I thought the story was about *one* hive, and now you're mentioning a second?

Anyhow...moving on...
There was some capped brood in every box, not full sides...
That says to me that there may be a problem- either with the queen and her laying, or with the brood- diseased or chilled and being pulled.
Any thoughts on why this happened, April was a very cold month would that interrupt laying?
Speculation: The queen generally lays only as much as there nurse/workers to cover the brood to keep it warm and feed it. If you had a warm spell that allowed the workers to spread out and the queen to lay more, followed by a cold spell, old winter bees may have died off during the warm period and when the cold returned there were not enough to cover the spread out brood and/or they clustered and left brood uncovered which killed it.

Other possibilities include impending queen failure (how old is she?) or disease which is causing brood to be pulled. Any [uncapped] brood color other than pearly white (gray, yellow) would be a sign of disease.
There was some uncapped brood of varying ages and without my glasses I couldn't be sure there were eggs but I assume so.
Were you able to note the color/condition of the brood without your specs?

Was the hive insulated?

After reading some BS on the internet, I decided to do some experimentation in regard to the necessity of insulation here where it can get very cold and Winter can be very long. Prior to the last two Winters I always insulated hives and had nearly 100% survival rates (non-survivors could be directly attributable to my own negligence...opening a hive for more than a few seconds at near zero (F) temps with a 40mph wind seems to kill them).

Anywho...to sum up the results of my experiments- not insulating hives lead to a drastic increase in losses, with half or more not making it through the Winter, and some survivors coming through with exceedingly small clusters...in one case, there was a queen and perhaps 200 bees remaining, I was going to transfer some brood and bees from the hive on the porch which was booming but it began to rain hard so I left it for a few days...when I could get back into them, they were gone.


Conversely, in previous years when I left insulation on until the end of May, those hives had far larger populations and greater brood expansion than hives that had insulation removed in April (8 frames per box compared to only 5-6 frames per box).

---------------------------------------------------------------

This year, despite leaving plenty of honey (a full deep plus an extra super) some hives had completely consumed their stores and starved out. I also had an invasion of shrews, which didn't help- some hives had bees which had been eaten almost completely, while others had been pushed away from stores where they starved and died. (The presence of gnawed comb differentiated those hives whose demise was assisted by shrews and those that simply starved out.)

Moral of the story- despite BS from idiots on the internet, here in the North the hassle of insulating hives and swapping screened bottom boards for solids is well worth the effort. Insulated hives come out of Winter in much better condition than uninsulated hives, and uninsulated hives have significantly greater failure rates.

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Kens
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Re: How much brood

Unread post by Kens » May 12th, 2019, 9:20 am

EPS boxes so insulated. Zero winter losses.

No sign of disease. Brood not chilled. Condition of brood looked normal to me.

Yes I reduced 2 hives from 3 boxes to 2. One was moved 10 days ago the other yesterday.

The description applies equally to both.

I don't know if or when the hive replaced the queens, however a few weeks ago there was a lot, a surprising amount of brood and yesterday not much. How likely is it 2 queens would fail simultaneously in such a short time?

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Kens
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Re: How much brood

Unread post by Kens » May 12th, 2019, 1:45 pm

I think Allen just answered my question with his diary post

"A typical good frame of brood
Even good brood in overwintered hives can to be spotty
due to early season factors that persist as the queen
lays in any empty cell."

I can't copy and paste the photo but you can see it on the most recent diary post.

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BadBeeKeeper
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Re: How much brood

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » May 13th, 2019, 2:32 am

Alrighty then.

I was installing nucs yesterday, there was one deadout that I had apparently not ripped completely apart, and had written 'Mouse?' on the cover. When I took all the boxes off to clean off the bottom board, still inside was the biggest, fattest mouse I have ever seen.

I need to come up with an idea for a better entrance reducer/mouse guard.

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