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Author Topic: First winter - hive differences  (Read 586 times)
Rex
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« on: December 24, 2008, 01:47:33 PM »

This is my first winter with my two hives.  Hive 1 was always lagging a bit behind Hive 2 and seemed to have troubles in the summer with egg production to the point where I thought the hive might collapse so I took steps to move brood frames from Hive 2 (which was always a strong hive -- lots of brood and supplies, even got about 20 lbs of honey at the summer's end) to support the population.

Now winter has set in, temperatures down to the low 30s F at night, up to 45-50 F in the daytime.  Hive 1 is still pretty active when the sun is out and I've seen bees carrying loads of pollen into the hive.  Hive 2 is looking dead.  There are dead bees on the doorstep and very few bees moving in or out.  I pound a couple times on Hive 1 and bees come out to defend against me, Hive 2 shows no reaction.  I cleared the dead bees off the doorstep of Hive 2 and more dead bees appear the next day so its not completely inactive.

As I said, this is my first winter and I'm quick to worry and I'm not sure if I should take action or not.  Should I open up Hive 2 on a sunny day to check on them, clean out the hive if the bees are all dead?  Should I just let it go and wait?

Any advice is appreciated.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2008, 02:32:25 PM »

Dead bees are a common occurance during the winter.  the older bees left from summer die off and by spring only those bees hatched late in the fall or during the winter remain.  If your hive stuggled population wise and you stopped transfering frames of brood late in the summer, then it is possible that there is too small of quantity of late brood to sustain the hive through the entire winter.  Spring will tell the tale. 
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2008, 03:50:46 PM »

you have days in winter when your temps will be warm.  you can check for stores and health of hive.  wait until they are flying and do a check.  where i live, i will not open my hives for months.  you have a much milder temp for most of your winter.  the down side to that is that your bees will go through their stores if you don't keep an eye on things. 
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