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Lazy bees


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.



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?



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.



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.




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.