Late arrival of Winter

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BDT123
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Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by BDT123 » December 11th, 2016, 4:34 pm

We have had a couple weeks of 'real Winter', starting end of November. I am still seeing dead bees on top of the fairly fresh snow, a few every day. Is it possible that it has taken this long for the last of the summer bees to die?
We did have some really warm weather in early and mid-November.
Hives have tar-paper wrap, bottom entrances reduced, upper ventilation, insulated lids. Treated for mites with Apivar in Sept-Oct. Fed them heavy at that time. They had good honey load at end of October. Anyone else seeing lots of dead bees at this time of year?

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Countryboy
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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by Countryboy » December 11th, 2016, 6:10 pm

I am still seeing dead bees on top of the fairly fresh snow, a few every day.

Anyone else seeing lots of dead bees at this time of year?
Are you asking about lots of dead bees, or are you asking about a few dead bees in the snow?

On sunny days through the winter, you will see a few bees end up in the snow and die. I've found them 100 yards from the hives before.

I don't recall ever seeing lots of dead bees. Probably the most I've seen in the snow are 50 dead bees per hive maybe, but 10 or 20 is common I think. (In my mind, 10 or 20 or even 50 bees out of a winter colony of 10K-20K bees isn't lots of dead bees.)

I'm pretty sure Allen has pictures in his diary from previous years showing dead bees in the snow before. That may give you an idea of what is normal and what is not normal numbers of dead bees for your area.
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio

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BDT123
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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by BDT123 » December 11th, 2016, 8:37 pm

Country,
I guess about 80-100 bees in last 5 days.
I checked Randy Oliver's site again and his graph of hive demography looks like I'm flanged up with the Manitoba data from 20 years ago. Last summer bees dying in late Nov.- early Dec.
Whew!
Original data from Lloyd Harris per Randy Oliver
ScientificBeekeeping.com
- Bee Behaviour and Biology
- Understanding Colony Buildup & Decline
Great hive demographic chart, now printed and on the wall in my shop!
Also, really good info on things us juniors need to keep an eye on re: swarming
Sorry, would attach links but my skills are a bit remiss.

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BDT123
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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by BDT123 » December 11th, 2016, 9:06 pm

If anyone out there has skills, it's a really informative chart that might be of good use to those of us in Northern latitudes. Even Ohio, just sayin'....

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BDT123
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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by BDT123 » December 11th, 2016, 9:08 pm

Countryboy, looks like the polar vortex could be headed your way too!

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Countryboy
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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by Countryboy » December 11th, 2016, 10:25 pm

You can keep it. LOL

We had a couple inches of snow, but it is turning into rain now.

Thursday's high and low is 12 and 3 Fahrenheit but by Saturday it is supposed to be 45.
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio

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BDT123
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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by BDT123 » December 12th, 2016, 7:52 pm

Ok, today, about 300 dead bees outside one hive! WTF. My big strong 3 framer! 3 times what there was yesterday. No panic, there were at least 50k bees in there in October. No fat bees, all skinnies.
'Warmed up' to -12 C today. But worrisome. If it snowed, I wouldn't know. But I do now. Still dying summer bees? Hope so

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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by BDT123 » December 12th, 2016, 7:55 pm

Found upper entrance blocked with ice. Cleared that out. Same on second 2-frame hive, upper blocked with ice. Cleared it too. We'll see if it helps.

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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by BDT123 » December 12th, 2016, 10:15 pm

Ice was probably frozen 'bee breath'. Exhudation of some sort. Very fractal.
Wow, getting a real picture of hive action.
What an education!

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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by BDT123 » December 12th, 2016, 10:22 pm

Bees in 3-high were buzzing a lot, maybe trying to get dead bees out? Or blocked entrance? I cleared it a bit, not too much. Enough to get dead bees out, and a bit of air in.
I think the best I did for them was un-clog upper air way.

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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by BDT123 » December 12th, 2016, 10:29 pm

Crap, this was the strongest hive possible! I know we all lose hives, didn't think it would be this one. Hope I'm reading this wrong!
The 2 box hive is looking good and no excess dead bees.
Like, none externally.
Spring will tell, I guess.

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BDT123
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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by BDT123 » December 12th, 2016, 10:45 pm

Countryboy, today it was a 'lot' of dead bees. About 300, or more. All skinnies, no fat Winter bees.
Should I just wait? It's freakin' cool here; -13C with a brisk wind. Ok, Cold!
No change in sight, we're in Winter. Some snow, lots of wind. Cold.
Wait for Spring, right?

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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by Countryboy » December 13th, 2016, 5:19 am

How do you determine that they are skinny bees and not fat bees?

Whether they are fat bees or skinny bees is determined by what they ate while they were developing. They look the same though.

Are the dead bees shiny bees (not fuzzy) with tattered wings that are just really old summer bees that are finally dying off? Or are these dead bees younger fuzzy bees?

When the weather warms up a little, I would be popping the lid and looking inside the hive to see what is going on. Do you still have a nice big cluster of young looking bees?
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio

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BDT123
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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by BDT123 » December 13th, 2016, 11:05 pm

Yeah, we get occasional days above freezing, not many until March usually. Most of the bees are a bit 'ratty', weathered I guess. A cold week is forecast, maybe moderating in the week following.
I think the die is cast but will check cluster asap. Thanks
Maybe I should get a borescope! Hmm, all interesting jobs should justify purchase of a new tool!

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Re: Late arrival of Winter

Unread post by Jiminycric » December 15th, 2016, 9:43 pm

Hey BDT123, I'm around Calgary - and have had some of my bees crawling out to the entrance and die. Not too many. I could not answer if 300+ is bad, on a given day, although a hive may not sustain such loses if it were to continue. I would say if its not continuous it shouldn't be much to worry about.

Jiminycric
- Jiminycric
Strathmore, Alberta

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