Cowper and Sunshine Hives in Trouble

In the last post I mentioned about 3 continuous nights of hard frost, well, we had a few more nights of frost and it hasn’t ended yet. 2010 was just a weird weather year.

Anyways, I have not checked on the hives since the beginning of November before my business trip to Asia and then the most recent Amazon fishing adventure. Today the temperature rose to near 60F and the next few days with rain, so I had to pop open the cover of two hives that I notice of low activity and see what was going on.

First the Palo Alto Cowper Hive. If you have been following my blog you know that this colony created an emergency queen. The colony population halted and decreased while waiting for the new queen to emerge and start producing again. That happened but obviously it wasn’t enough. She laid good patterns but kind of slow, maybe from not being very experienced or that there weren’t enough nurse bees to take care of the young if she laid more.

Here’s the Cowper queen, lower left, she seems a little smaller. She completely stopped laying. I did a quick inspection and I didn’t notice any brood, eggs, larvae, or whatsoever. And to add to the situation, the cluster is small, or should I say tiny. I don’t have high hopes for this hive but I am still not giving up. I fed them today 2:1 sugar syrup, hoping to spark things and HOPEFULLY this weekend rain will bring warmer weather and get the queen going again before things get to be point of no return.

The bees have uncapped honey to feed on, so no food shortage. Here’s the small cluster I found the queen in.

The Los Altos Sunshine Hive. This external colony was rescued and hived with great success with almost no casualties during the transfer. We were able to save all the combs, the brood, and everything else. But this colony, even when it lived on the tree, didn’t have any honey at all. But the bee population was good.

At some point things turned and the population decreased. No pests to disturb the colony. The queen was laying good patterns. But they never picked back up and I’m really unsure why. Only thing I could think of is that they didn’t have enough food.

So here we are today, the population is like the Cowper hive, tiny! The Queen as you can see below, is still nice looking and fat. There are some capped brood but I don’t see any eggs or larvae, which can mean she also stopped laying like the Cowper queen probably due to low population of nurse bees and food.

Same situation with the Cowper hive. I fed them today hoping to get things started again. They do have uncapped honey but hopefully feeding them will help.

Three other hives that I did not inspect today but seem to be doing well is the Mountain View Hive, Wine Barrel Hive, and the Hayward Overhill Hive.

This entry was posted in Honey Bees, Los Altos, Palo Alto and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Cowper and Sunshine Hives in Trouble

  1. roy says:

    Nice pictures.. A picture is worth a thousand words.

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