Hive down and out this winter

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Jiminycric
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Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by Jiminycric » February 12th, 2017, 8:31 pm

Well, I am sad to say, my single hive did not survive this winter - was seeing how they were fairing today and had noticed no activity at all. Popped the top off, nothing. Bees are all crowded at the bottom of the hive... not sure why or what all went wrong. Still tons of honey (at least a full deep super of honey) and plus some. Had thought that the recent cold snap may have been too much? But left with more questions than answers.


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Allen Dick
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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by Allen Dick » February 13th, 2017, 12:17 am

Sorry to hear that. Oftentimes there are no answers. Hives do sometimes die in winter in spite of the best preparations.

It's a matter of odds and the odds are about six to one in your favour. However, with only one hive, if luck is against you, you lose 100%.
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Biermann
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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by Biermann » February 13th, 2017, 7:35 am

Hello Jiminycric,

I was going to add a thread this morning with the same contents, but will use yours instead.

Same problem, I know the reasons: my hives were to strong late summer and I fed too much, with to much population and the hives must have swarmed when I was away in the fall, nobody monitored them and that is the only explanation I have (remember the syrup dripping out?).

I have two weak hives and one dead and will see Wednesday when it warms up what still fly's.

Question now, what to do and when.

What to do when one knows a hive is dead (pull it apart and remove all dead material?) or leave it till new nuc's are available?

Reuse the suppers with honey and pollen after careful inspection for disease etc.?

Cheers, Joerg

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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by Allen Dick » February 13th, 2017, 8:55 am

Unless there are other beekeepers nearby, there is no rush to pick up and store your boxes. You should probably exclude mice however. Otherwise you can leave them on the stand, especially if you plug all the holes.

You can look through them to try to determine what caused the laws is but more often than not there's nothing obvious. Varroa, viruses, and just poor bees don't leave a lot of evidence.
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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by Allen Dick » February 13th, 2017, 8:55 am

Unless there are other beekeepers nearby, there is no rush to pick up and store your boxes. You should probably exclude mice however. Otherwise you can leave them on the stand, especially if you plug all the holes.

You can look through them to try to determine what caused the loss but more often than not there's nothing obvious. Varroa, viruses, and just poor bees don't leave a lot of evidence.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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Biermann
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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by Biermann » February 13th, 2017, 10:54 am

Thanks Allen, my thought too. I will know more what goes on after this warm week and then may open and examine to close the hive up again until spring.

BTW, my findings come from my Broodminder's, how else could I know the hives are minus C°something inside.

Cheers, Joerg

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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by BDT123 » February 13th, 2017, 5:00 pm

Cleaned up my dead-out today. It got to +10 here today so I had the window.
I was a little shocked, but it was my first hive to expire. Appears to me that they starved; hundreds, maybe thousands with their butts sticking of cells, literally thousands on the bottom board. There were still 5 frames of honey in the upper deep, 2 outer frames of honey in the bottom deep, and an almost untouched sugar board above the upper deep. Clustered mostly at the back of the hive, generally centered in bottom deep/bottom board.
No sign of mite frass and no brood at all. No sign of DWV.
Big hive was flying today, cleansing flights judging by the snow.
Sorry for your losses.

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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by Jiminycric » February 15th, 2017, 6:24 pm

Yeah, sad when one hive is all i had. But, will look forward to this upcoming season, with 4 packages on order. I was chatting with the beekeeper nearby (Beepreppared Honey) he thinks maybe I did not feed enough sugar water in the fall - and all the honey i have in there is crystalized - with the bees not having enough water to dissolve the honey. I know his hives are not fairing well either with 3 of ten only showing activity. Will hopefully take a much better look here to see what i can see in the hive on a free day.


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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by BDT123 » February 15th, 2017, 9:12 pm

I decided to do an OAV today on my remaining hive. Should be lowest brood level of the year, and we were at +16 today! Unbelievable!
Tried to insert my OxaVap and no way! Bottom board completely blocked with a mass of dead bees. :shock: I made a rake with tubing and pulled out thousands of dead rotting bees. Yech!
Once I had cleaned the bottom board, did the OAV. Hundreds of bees flying and bearding at upper entrance. No apparent effect on bees from OAV.
Supposed to have warm day tomorrow again, will monitor. At least there will be ventilation now,so one plus for the day. Staying optimistic. It's a three hi deep. Had 2 deeps of honey before Nov.15, and sugar board above. Checked and they had eaten most of the sugar. Will add more tomorrow.
Gonna be a long lead up to Spring!
Brian

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Jiminycric
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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by Jiminycric » February 16th, 2017, 7:02 am

BDT123 wrote:
February 15th, 2017, 9:12 pm
Tried to insert my OxaVap and no way! Bottom board completely blocked with a mass of dead bees. :shock: I made a rake with tubing and pulled out thousands of dead rotting bees. Yech!

Thats what mine was looking like a cuople weeks ago, just a ton of dead bees at the bottom... 😥

Hope you have better success than I.


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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by bwind3 » March 27th, 2017, 12:55 pm

Looking for advice.
This is the 3rd year my bees didn't survive the winter(3rd year of bee keeping). I've read a good deal but possibly not enough and why I'm here asking. I have two hives (got the second last year) and they died this winter also. I treated for mites, can see no sign of varroa...no odd looking wings...made sure last fall that they had plenty of honey(have left all honey for them each year seeing as each year they were a young hive), made sure the hives are slightly tilted in case of condensation, made sure the mice blocks were in place, Gave extra feedings last fall. They have plenty around them to stop high winds (but I didn't wrap the hives] I can see that it shows signs of starvation as bee butts sticking out in circular pattern But there is LOTS of honey in the upper supers. By lots I want to say at least 14 frames of capped in the old and about 10 left in the new. But...it could be that some swarmed while some didn't? Do they do that? in each box the numbers seem lower, much lower than what I witnessed last fall. I think I cleared out maybe 3-500 bees this past weekend...seems like there should be many more...the packages I added certainly seemed like more.
I want to try and ensure it doesn't happen again. I read and did what I thought I should to ensure last year...except for wrapping the hives(I read mixed ideas about its necessity) Is it wrapping I need? Should I buy more than one package to set up each hive? If I did, would that give a greater boost to the potential for survival? All advice welcome. Thanks.

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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by Allen Dick » March 27th, 2017, 2:09 pm

Where are you located? Advice is different for different areas.
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Countryboy
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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by Countryboy » March 27th, 2017, 8:18 pm

I treated for mites, can see no sign of varroa...no odd looking wings..
What did you use to treat for mites, and when did you treat?

Not seeing deformed wings doesn't mean anything. Yes, deformed wings is a sign of a high mite load, but you can have lots of mites without deformed wings too.
made sure last fall that they had plenty of honey(have left all honey for them each year seeing as each year they were a young hive),

Gave extra feedings last fall.
How much honey did they have? How many boxes did you have on the hive?

Did you not give the bees enough room, and they quickly became honeybound, and then swarmed, and since they were honeybound, they never had any empty comb to raise winter bees in?

I helped a commercial honey producer in 2010. He started 600 hives as 2 pound packages that spring on drawn comb. Then he split 1/3 of his hives 2 months later to get to 820 hives. Then on those 820 hives, he averaged 196 pounds of honey per hive. These were first year hives. (I don't understand what you are talking about by leaving all the honey and feeding hives because they were young hives that you started on drawn combs.)
But there is LOTS of honey in the upper supers. By lots I want to say at least 14 frames of capped in the old and about 10 left in the new.
Old and new what?
I think I cleared out maybe 3-500 bees this past weekend...seems like there should be many more...the packages I added certainly seemed like more.
A hive full of honey and no bees is a sign of a high mite load.
A hive full of honey and no bees in winter can also be a sign of a honeybound hive, and the bees never had any space for raising winter bees, or for winter clustering. How much empty drawn comb is in these dead hives?

And just out of curiosity, have you ever had anyone knowledgeable inspect your dead hives for foulbrood scale? Is there a chance your hives became infected, and you keep starting bees on diseased comb every year?
Should I buy more than one package to set up each hive?
No, it will be a waste of money.

Do you have a local mentor, someone who is has successfully kept bees in your area for years? If not, find one. The local information they can give you is invaluable.
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio

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Re: Hive down and out this winter

Unread post by BDT123 » April 21st, 2017, 8:39 pm

CB, I successfully wintered one hive and lost another. I was fortunate that I tripled up on one hive, 3 deeps, but the one that failed was only 2 deeps. We had such a strange Winter where it would get way above freezing for a few days, then plunge down, then back up. It was crazy; bees would break cluster at the strangest times, eat whatever was next to them, and then starve. My two-deep had 7 frames of honey left when I cleaned them up in February. Really wild temperature swings...
They couldn't use the outside frames of honey. And they apparently couldn't get to the sugar board up top. Not sure what happened there, but going forward, all will be 3 deep for Winter. Top will be all honey/syrup for the bees. Like the one that survived...
Gotta manage based on evidence. For here.
No mite issues, I treat with Apivar and OAV. Next year adding Formic to the rotation, maybe Thymovar.
The Eastern slope of the Rockies continues to present challenges, but I'm learning, and kept one big hive alive, so far...
best to all,
Brian

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