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Lazy bees


#1

Hi, all.

I have a top bar hive populated from a package this spring with twelve bars between the follower boards. The ladies quickly built out on 6 bars, with beginings of a seventh, but have not made any progress since. I am concerned that they are not going to have stores for the winter. Any suggestions? I live in Denver, and the bees are carniolans.


#2

Gerry,

Thanks for your post.

Do you know if the colony swarmed? Do you have any other hives to compare it to? As you assumed, 6-7 bars likely isn’t going to be enough to get them through winter. How does the colony look? Have you inspected for brood production, eggs, etc?

Matt


#3

Thanks for your response. As far as I know the hive did not swarm. It is new this year. They seem active enough. I do not have another hive to compare with. I have not examined the combs except through the view port I built into the hive, which is how I counted combs. I am reluctant to disrupt them any more than necessary until they built out more. Perhaps I should go ahead.


#4

Gerry,

I would at least go in and confirm that there’s a laying queen and that there’s ample nectar/honey in the combs that are there. I have had colonies successfully overwinter on 6-7 combs here in Portland, Oregon. These are usually nucleus hives, though.

Best,

Matt


#5

Ok, thanks. I’ll take a look. I don’t count on a Denver winter being as mild as Portland. If there is a laying queen, the question becomes whether this hive is worth trying to get through the winter. I guess it might be fun to try, but then there you are with a poor doer again come spring. Maybe I could combine them with another package then. Hmm, yeah.