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Author Topic: Late season ?brood break? ?  (Read 249 times)

Offline Aroc

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Late season ?brood break? ?
« on: October 05, 2020, 09:40:36 pm »
We have about 12-14 hives.  We?ve harvested and are ready to think about winter.  We seem to have a few hives with little to no brood but what appears to be ?polished? cells.  No queen cells so I?m assuming there is a queen there. 

I?ve heard often some will stop laying eggs this time of year and pick back up again.

Any thoughts?
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Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Late season ?brood break? ?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2020, 10:24:56 pm »
They may have just gone through a mass emergence leaving a lot of open cells. The queens will go back and lay them out, but yes she will lay much smaller patches this time as she works across the nest. The bees will be backfilling the nest with honey constraining her to those smaller brood patches. There will not be a brood break.  Just patches about 1/4 to 1/3 the size that you had been seeing up to now.  Check in a week, you will see what I am describing.

The other possibility is those few hives you noticed that have little to no brood with polished cells could be on the tail end of a supercedure that is in progress.  Meaning there is a virgin or newly mated queen in there that they are expectant will startup in those polished cells very soon. Make some notes in your apiary notebook and keep an eye on those hives as the failure rate of late supercedures is high.  Same prescription, check in a week to see that there are small patches of eggs/brood laid to confirm their SC success.  If you have nothing in a week, then you have a problem and some hard decisions to make.

As for queens stopping laying and going broodless. The extent that they slowdown/shutdown really depends on the strain of bee as well as your area and climate. I am in the far North and run a carniolan/caucasion mix. Personally by investigative experience, ie inspections mid winter, the hives are never truly broodless. They always have a small patch on the go in the centre of the cluster. In other words, queens never shut down completely. If you have a queenrite colony, you should always be able to find some brood in there at any time of the year.  Mid winter it is going to be small, maybe only 50-150 cells, but it will be there.

Oh, and the other tale/myth. The bees will kick out all the drones in the fall.  Yes, but no. They do not toss every drone. They definitely carry some through the winter, 20-100.

Hope that helps!


« Last Edit: October 05, 2020, 10:52:16 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Late season ?brood break? ?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2020, 10:58:25 pm »
HoneyPump. Interesting and good to know about there always being some small amount of brood. Thanks for the info.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Late season ?brood break? ?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2020, 11:40:50 pm »
I appreciate the information also Mr HP. I knew that would be the case here but I did not know that would be the case in the far North where it gets so cold. Thank you.
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Offline Aroc

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Re: Late season ?brood break? ?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2020, 09:53:46 pm »
 I don?t know? Something seems very different. We probably have eight hives that do not have open brood or eggs.   There is another hobbyist with a couple hives down the road about 10 miles that has the same thing. Could it somehow be weather related. I find it hard to believe that this many hives have chosen to supersede this late in the year.  Watching a beekeeper from Canada has stated the same thing.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Late season ?brood break? ?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2020, 03:06:25 pm »
From my point of view, the most important batch of brood is the last one.  That's when the "fat" winter bees are raised.  If the break is because of the seasons, then fine, but if there is a dearth that is causing it, I would feed.  Make sure you go into winter with that last batch of young fat bees.
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Offline Aroc

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Re: Late season ?brood break? ?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2020, 10:47:01 pm »
Thanks Michael.  I?m convinced it?s season related.  We are a bit late ?putting them to bed? for winter and I think they?ve done this before I just haven?t seen it. 
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Offline JojoBeeBoy

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Re: Late season ?brood break? ?
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2020, 10:41:59 pm »
We recently went on a week-long trip. When I returned I checked on my hives (and nucs) and found an Italian queen that has been passed around and used for a donor all year had just began to lay a few eggs after an almost 3 week hiatus. She was in a 5-frame nuc with a small patch of emerging brood and I had to look carefully to see anything else. After blowing on them I could see several hundred fresh eggs. She is back to blowing up the box.

Most of my others are Russians and they slowed down with cooler nights, but only this queen stopped cold. This while having access to sugar water and a pretty strong goldenrod, aster/pollen flow. I like to think it was instinctual toward mites or something, but if they all had all done this I would be looking deeper. Keep us posted. Thanks