Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chilled Brood?

It's all bees this week!  I took the opportunity tonight to have a look though the hives that reside in the garden down the street.  It's been a while since I last had a look at these (April 21st) so I was interested to see what had happened.

Nearly four weeks ago I expanded one hive and moved two frames up into a new deep - along with just frames of foundation.  I did not feed this hive.  When I went in to inspect the hive this time around I found that there was a lot of uncapped pupae in these two frames.  At the time I thought it was probably a mistake to move the frames! Just after I moved the frames I thought it was way too early, but I still did it!

I think the bees that occupied these frames could not keep the brood warm and they have therefore been unable to rear new brood successfully. Interestingly I did see the Queen walking across the frames containing the "chilled" brood.

I didn't expand the hive that is adjacent to this "chilled" hive until May 5th when I thought the hive was ready to be expanded. At this time I added a second deep to the hive but again just moved a couple of frames up into it.  Like the other hive I didn't feed this hive.  When I did the inspection this afternoon I found the brood to have none of the issues the neighbouring hive has.  The brood is compact and there were few if any signs of any open cells containing pupae.

I do have supers on both hives.  The "chilled" hive predictably has no activity in it, but the other hive has some brood being developed in it. This super had partially drawn wax foundation in it. Clearly the queen prefers this to the frames of wax foundation that are next to the brood frames.

To conclude, I believe that by moving too few frames of brood up into the second deep, before the brood had sufficiently developed in the bottom deep, i.e. too early! I have compromised the development of the hive. The bees were not present in sufficient numbers to keep the brood warm. Also, I think that by not feeding the bees I have restricted their growth.

Therefore I intend to start feeding both hives in earnest! Even if these do not produce honey this year I can at least get them stronger for next winter!

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