Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Can I do anything to help them?  (Read 7495 times)

egglady

  • Joined Jun 2009
Can I do anything to help them?
« on: March 15, 2011, 09:22:30 am »
I got a new colony last year (early summer i think) with a new queen; didn't take any honey off as wanted them to have it for the winter.  Gave them a few 1:1 and 2:1 liquid feeds in the autumn (which they took down) and then a bag of fondant around early December.

Astonishingly, they seem to have survived the winter and i noticed a couple of weeks ago that they were starting on the fondant.  however, here we are two full weeks later, rubbish weather so not much flying going on and they haven't really made much of an indent into the fondant.  though when i had a quick peek yesterday there certainly were a good couple of handfuls of bees in and about it.

so although they have survived (till now anyway), i'm thinking that the hive is probably pretty weak - is this a fair assumption do folks think?  (based on the fact that if they still had stores, they wouldnt have touched the fondant at all, and given that they have, would they not have finished it by now?)

anyone got any ideas what i can do (if anything) to help them along till Spring really does arrive?

Floyd

  • Joined Dec 2010
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2011, 09:39:48 am »
You say that there are only a handful of bees.  Has this been ascertained during a full inspection or by viewing through the crown board.  If the latter then the brood could simply have moved either down or across the brood chamber and as they have found the fondant I probably wouldn't do anything. 

If you only have a handful after a full inspection(dont remove the crown board unless it is above about 14 C) then I would say that they are doomed as they will struggle to create enoough heat to survive.

Hope this helps and good luck

egglady

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2011, 09:48:46 am »
Hi Floyd, no I havent taken the crown board off as it's still far too cold up here in Fife, so I'm basing my assumptions purely on the fact that they haven't used up the fondant in 2 weeks, despite having started it at least 2 weeks ago.  Both my neighbours have bees and their girls have finished their fondant about a week or so ago.  So either mine still have stores or......... :(

the bottom line is that i cant really do anything i suspect, other than hope, but just wanted to hear other views to see if anyone had some suggestion i wasnt thinking about (living in hope kind of syndrome i think!!)

Beewyched

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • South Wales
    • tunkeyherd.co.uk
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2011, 11:59:43 pm »
It sounds like you've done everything for them - it may be that they had plenty of stores to see them through this cold winter & your neighbours had taken the honey from their hives last season.  Next time we get a sunny day - I think you're due one tomorrow - & they're out & about, watch them coming back in - if they're bringing pollen back in with them, then the Queen will be laying ok.  Just keep an eye on the feed - they can take a block of candy down in 2 days if they need it - keep replacing it until the weather & natural supplies get going.

Good luck   :pig: :chook: :dog: :bee:
Tunkey Herd - registered Kune Kune & rare breed poultry - www.tunkeyherdkunekune.com

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2011, 10:12:37 pm »
If you put a whole block of Apifonda on top it will take a normal hive quite a while to take it down. Just observe when they are flying if they bring pollen back, then early to mid april on a sunny day do a full inspection. I think they will surprise you!


Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2011, 05:04:28 pm »
"Live in hope" syndrome is common in smallholders. I hope your bees have survived well. Do keep us posted on progress. It's lovely here today but not sure it's above 14.

Beewyched

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • South Wales
    • tunkeyherd.co.uk
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2011, 08:15:46 pm »
Any update on the bees Egglady?

They should have been fairly busy this weekend as the willow buds are opening now - mine have been as busy as bees today  ;D
Tunkey Herd - registered Kune Kune & rare breed poultry - www.tunkeyherdkunekune.com

starcana

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2011, 09:00:08 pm »
Hi, I'm in Cornwall and did a full inspection yesterday (warm and sunny) as I had to move/change hives to one I'd painted. I wanted to free up the other hive for painting, ready for when I get my next swarm - hopefully a nice early one.

They seemed good and lively, had eaten all the fondant I'd left just after Christmas (only about half a packet). so a couple of questions if anyone can help.
There was little sign of brood, should I give them some more fondant now?
There was a blackish thick looking liquidy stuff in the wax cells of the frame that I've not seen before. What is that?
any other advice welcome
Thanks

Beewyched

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • South Wales
    • tunkeyherd.co.uk
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2011, 09:29:56 pm »
starcana,

If their not getting out to feed because of the weather or you've not got much food around (though the tree pollen should be opening out, especially willow) keep feeding for a little while longer.

Don't want to worry you - but from what you describe you MAY have AFB.

Are you a member of a local beekeeping society -even if you're not, if you contact them someone will come out & have a look for you, to get an accurate diagnosis.  This is as much of their benefit as yours - AFB is highly contagious & is terminal for your hive, notifiable too - your local society will be really helpful & supportive in any case.

Best of luck  :bee:
Tunkey Herd - registered Kune Kune & rare breed poultry - www.tunkeyherdkunekune.com

Andrew

  • Joined Dec 2007
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2011, 09:38:37 pm »
We have two hives side by side, both similar in size going into winter and with the same amount of stores. One has taken down about 3 kg of fondant and the other has barely touched any at all. Today both had a large amount of bees taking pollen in, so hopefully your hive will be similar to our no2 hive in its fondant use

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2011, 09:41:50 pm »
They should have a fair size brood nest by now, if no brood at all I think your queen might not be doing so well.

Your gooey stuff sounds like AFB, but get advice from either the local beekeepers or DEFRA has bee inspectors that would come and check your hive for you. In the meantime don't move your bees into any new hive or similar, cause if it is AFB all will be burned! Also keep all your beekeeping clothing etc separate and wash as hot as possible.

starcana

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2011, 09:58:58 pm »
OMG - as the kids would say. Will ring my friendly 'mentor' in the morning, and let you know his view. Thanks

Beewyched

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • South Wales
    • tunkeyherd.co.uk
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2011, 10:03:35 pm »
I really hope it's not AFB, just better to be safe than sorry.

Tunkey Herd - registered Kune Kune & rare breed poultry - www.tunkeyherdkunekune.com

egglady

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2011, 10:21:18 pm »
oh starcana, i hope it isnt.  keep us posted though.

re mine, checked fondant bag again and they have take quite a lot and there were loads of bees inside it.  they've also started building comb in it - is this 'normal'?

too cold to a hive inspection just yet.  should i swap fondant for 2:1 or 1:1?

and loads of dead bees outside hive - is this just housekeeping or something more sinister?

Beewyched

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • South Wales
    • tunkeyherd.co.uk
Re: Can I do anything to help them?
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2011, 10:29:34 pm »
OMG - as the kids would say. Will ring my friendly 'mentor' in the morning, and let you know his view. Thanks

Now, I really don't want to worry you - but there has been 5 cases of AFB outbreaks reported in Cornwall last month - sorry  :'(

If you go onto www.secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/maps/map.cfm you can see where outbreaks of bee diseases have been recorded.  

Egglady - not heard of comb building in the fondant bag  ???  If it's too cold to inspect, don't swap to sugar syrup - they'll get bad tummies.  The dead bees outside the hive should be a sign of good houskeeping - just spring cleaning  ;D
Tunkey Herd - registered Kune Kune & rare breed poultry - www.tunkeyherdkunekune.com

 

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