OK dear friends. I like to share the good, the bad and the ugly.
Today I have the ugly.
Went up today to do a powdered sugar dusting on my hives. We have had temps into the mid 50's all week.
The hives have been doing a very good job of cleaning the mites off themselves because I have found hundreds of mites on the bottom trays this week. So to help them along I got good advice to give them a powder sugar dusting to really get the rest of the mites off before the queen starts to lay again which could be soon since we usually start to warm up here in January.
OK went up to the knoll to powder sugar dust them today. It was around 1:15PM (I thought that would be the warmest part of the day). The thermometer said 50 degrees outside just before I walked up to the knoll. When I got up to the knoll, the bee hives were already in the shade, not a good thing I thought, but since I was all prepared to dust them and had all the equipment up there and the smoker going I decided to proceed. Opened up hive # 1, my very strongest hive and found the cluster right on the top and I thought that was great as I would be able to dust them and get most of the bees. I smoked them, closed up the hive for a few seconds and when I opened it back up, found the bees had not moved down like they usually do. Very unusual behavior and my instincts told me not to go any further, just to leave them alone,but I did not follow my instincts. I took the flour sifter and proceeded to dust them with about 1 cup of powdered sugar and the bees never moved down like they usually do, but sort of rolled around in the powdered sugar like they were drunk. I took the bee brush and kept sweeping the sugar on the frames to get the sugar down like I always do, but the bees never moved. They just got caught up in all the brushing and there was just a big pile of sugar and bees. I knew this was trouble. I kept brushing to try to get as much sugar off of them as possible and down into the frames. I just closed up the hive and watched. A few bees just fell out of the top ventilation hole and onto the ground and looked dead.
Bad feeling inside of me. By time I got all my equipment into the car and got ready to go, the bees were moving around inside the ventialtion hole on top and it looked more normal. I decided to wait about 1 hour and then remove the tray on the bottom to see how much powdered sugar fell down. Well after 1 hour there really was not much sugar on the tray. Usually there is about 1/4 inch of sugar piled up on the tray from all the cleaning they are doing. Not much on the tray after an hour.
So my dear friends, what do you all think. Obviously I killed a lot of bees in that powdered sugar, perhaps the outer ends of the cluster, but what about all that powdered sugar down inside clogging up the frames. Do you think the rest of the cluster will move down to the super down below to keep warm. Do you think I killed the queen???
What are the chances this hive will survive now???
Not feeling very happy about this.