Met up with Fuzzy the other day and told him my tale of woe. He concurred that Freddie was likely robbed clean and suggested (among other things) that I swap a few frames of brood from his namesake swarm hive in to Freddie to give it a jump start. Great idea.
So today I went out and began the inspection of the hives with opening up Freddie… boy, it’s looking weaker than ever. I pulled a fairly barren couple of frames, covered Freddie then headed down to Fuzzy and – seeing how Fuzzy’s got maybe 5 or 6 frames of capped brood – I swapped out bare frames from Freddie with 2 of Fuzzy’s and planted them in Freddie. When I closed up Freddie for the night, I also reduced the entrance to the hive by ~50% to reduce the amount of cold air coming in / heat loss. Next, I cracked open Ray and – boy howdy – Ray is absolutely jam packed with capped brood… it seems obvious now that Ray robbed Freddie’s honey and that has boosted Ray’s Queen production / the whole damn place is jumping. (In fact, it looks just like Freddie did before he was jumped, beaten, robbed and left dying and dead.)
In all the excitement I forgot to take a frame Ray and juice up Freddie a bit more, so I’ll have to do that tomorrow.
Shoulda stuck with cats.