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Author Topic: Much Sadness!  (Read 3661 times)
EOHenry
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« on: February 12, 2005, 11:31:38 PM »

cry   Today I went to check my only hive (as I am a 1st year keeper) because the temp got up to about 50.  I tapped on the sides as I did about a month ago, and listened for the hum.  I heard nothing.  I took off the top cover and looked under the inner cover to find many, many bees, all dead. They were all over to one corner and over about 3 frames. When I took off the the super, there was just as many dead bees in the same spot on the next super.  I had 4 deep supers on my hive with at least one full of honey  and the top one was starting to be capped agan after I extracted it last Oct.  The middle super had alot of honey left in it as heavy  as it was. What would have caused my bees to die off in the last couple weeks.  What do I do with my hive ? Clean off the frames of dead bees and take the frames inside to warm up and extract the remaining honey? I am really bummed up and wonder what I should have done differant.
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Jay
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2005, 12:12:35 AM »

There was probably nothing you could have done differently. Sometimes in the very coldest of cold days in the winter, the girls will migrate over to the warm side (the side the sun is on) of the hive and not be able once the sun goes down to move back to the honey stores. Even if they are only inches away! A bee can't move it's mussles at temps below 43 degrees F and if they get stuck too far away from the food, it can be fatal. Did you find many bees head in to the cells? This is usually an indication of starvation. I just opened a hive last tuesday with a friend of mine, that had the same situation.

You can either extract the honey (if you didn't have it on the hive during chemical treatments) or you can use it to start a new package or nuc in the spring. Sorry to hear of your troubles, don't let it discourage you! cry
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Finsky
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2005, 01:22:03 AM »

Quote from: EOHenry
.... They were all over to one corner and over about 3 frames. .


That happens Henry, even to me after 40 years experience. The trouble is one hive. It is 100%  - . My boy is Henri, by the way.

I have 20% extra hives for winter. Very seldom hive dies. Mostly queen is dissaperared or she get nosema of something.  I think that 3 hives is minimum for winter or to keep bees.

BUT FIRST! Do you know the mite situation in your hive?  If mites have destroyed most of your wintering bees at late Autumn and they have then executed the rest? It happens during winter.

3 frame colony for winter is too small. They have drifted to the corner and the food has consumed to end. When weather is cold, they are not able to move themself from the corner.

.
Quote


 I had 4 deep supers on my hive with at least one full of honey  and the top one was starting to be capped agan after I extracted it last Oct. .


Seems to be that you have had a good, normal hive.

.
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 The middle super had alot of honey left in it as heavy  as it was. .


How many boxes you left for winter?

.
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What would have caused my bees to die off in the last couple weeks.  What do I do with my hive ? Clean off the frames of dead bees and take the frames inside to warm up and extract the remaining honey?.


If frames are clean, and no feces on combs and if bees have died only for starving, you can use again those frames and honey.

 .
Quote

I am really bummed up and wonder what I should have done differant.


When I have been here in this forum, I can see that you have not a good concept of wintering there in USA . It means that you take very lightly the wintering in southern climate and you get a lot of harms.

Also noways it is nice to bee "natural" or "organic". It mens  "let them be". You need not to learn how bees live when you just "let them be".

Here is one concept when we go towars winter: You surely have 20 others.

1) When honey flow is over, extract capped honey away.
2) Look what size of hive they need. Take extra space away
3) Wait untill brooding have allmost stopped. You have some dead line on your area when hive is settling down to winter ball.
4) Before winterball feed sugar to the hive. If it has one box for winter, give it full of sugar.  In Finland we use  20 kg sugar for winter per colony. It is needed untill to summer.

5) You have no insulated walls in the hives. It means that they consume 50% more winterfood and spring develompent is slow.

6) In Southern Finland bees manage with sugar from September to end of May. It is 9 months.  It is gived once. Of course we check the winterfood soon after the cleansing flight.

7) Most hives here will be die after cleansing flight because they start brooding and they consume food many times more than in the cool winterball.

6) I even foodstuff between hives.  I need not to feed at spring.

It depends where you live. I can see that you live quite in warm climate if you extract in Oct. At that time we have bees in the winterball. And I extract the last honey in the first week of September and feed sugar in . I change honey to sugar.  It is half of yeild if you let honey be for winter. One box is 40 lbs honey.

There is odd point in your hive. You have had a good hive but you had quite small winterball. What have happened to your colony in late summer.

1) Did it have a swarm and new queen get not much enough wintering bees?
2) Did you had brood all the time at autumn and how much?
3) Winter ball will be as big as  brood area is  big 4 weeks before end of brooding.
4) Did you gived enough brood space to raise wintering bees  on late summer?
5)  You have had good pastures, because you got honey. There is some abnormal  with raising new bees at late summer, big hive enough for winter.

Have your hive been too cool in late summer. Too much ventilation or too much empty space above brood box? The warm of brood area escapes to the top, if you have too much space  at autumn

Also there is no advantage to keep honey on the top if flower summer is ceased.

When I go towards August, beehive is  4-5 boxes. I take  1-2 boxes away, so much I can. When I look hive at the end of August 3 weeks later, 2/3 of summer bees have expired.  I can put  colony to one or two boxes.  

Most of Finnish beekeepers put hives to one box. They use exluder.

You see, when flowers are allmost  gone, the colony will deminish 75% from summer space. In one month! There is no need to keep extra space for winter.

When I have seen your wintering hives in pictures, you have strange habits in your South! And restless mind.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2005, 07:29:25 AM »

So sorry to hear the news. You've recieved some good advice so far as to possible whys and what to plan for next.

Beth
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2005, 07:34:06 AM »

You have gotten much good advice already, but since we don't know your treatments, I will add the following.

You said the bees where off to one corner when they died.  Did you treat for tracheal mites?  Tracheal mites can cause the bees to become disoriented and not make the normal progression upwards, but off to the side and away from the stores.

I would take the hive and the honey, clean the dead bees as much as you can (don't worry too much about those head buried in a cell), split it into two and get 2 packages.  The drawn comb and honey will give them a big boost.
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2005, 08:42:25 AM »

Sad Sorry to hear of your loss. I have a good guess at to what happened to them since I also live in michigan and haqve lost a strong colony with lots of stores left too. I also lost my weak colony but I sort of expected that one to not make it.
 Sad Over here on the east side of the state we have had for the last two weeks warm days with the girls flying about. Then night falls and the temps drop like a rock from a tall building, still nothing out of the ordnary till about 6:30am and the fog rolls in, and the temps drop even farther into the low single digits. All that moisture in the fog isn't good. I read some where that moisture is the biggest killer of bees here in the US. during the winter.
  Sad The morning fog has been so bad in this area all the schools in a radias of about (TV weather coverage area) 100 miles are running on two hour delays.

 Sad My small hive died out in the last month, the cluster I believe was to small to with stand the sub zero nights we had during mid January. My strong colony died out in the last two weeks, I think it was the moisture.
 Cheesy Al
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Finsky
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2005, 12:56:39 PM »

Quote from: trail twister
My strong colony died out in the last two weeks, I think it was the moisture.
 Cheesy Al


Moisture does not kill hives. The reason is nosema, which arise when ventilation is poor. Finger size entrance is necessary during  winter.

When hives are totally under snow,  nosema easily easy rise in the colony.  

Also uncapped winter food may become fermented and it makes hive sick.
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Jay
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2005, 02:33:39 PM »

Quote from: Finsky

Moisture does not kill hives. The reason is nosema, which arise when ventilation is poor.


I dissagree that moisture does not kill bees. I agree that good  ventilation is key, but if enough moisture builds up inside the hive, condensation droplets form on the inside of the inner cover. They then become very cold, and when they drip down on the cluster, that ice cold water hits the bees and kills them.
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Finsky
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2005, 02:58:00 PM »

Quote from: Jay

I dissagree that moisture does not kill bees. I agree that good  ventilation is key, but if enough moisture builds up inside the hive, condensation droplets form on the inside of the inner cover. They then become very cold, and when they drip down on the cluster, that ice cold water hits the bees and kills them.


Never mind if you do not agree. Facts are facts. You just dont know  Cheesy
 In my hives moisture condensates in every hive into droplets, and it has killed none colony.  Water does not condensate over tha bee ball, because warm air rises over it. The coldest walls are on sides.
When I look inside hive, I can see ice sticks hanging from lower part of frames.

I he picture you can see, how much water vapour air can keep in certain temperature. When one kilo sugar burns inside bee, how much it generates water.  Calculate from mole weight ?

C 6 H 12 O 6 + 6O 2   → 6H 2 O + 6CO 2 .




These are  law of physics matters. See relative moisture.  When you blow against cold window, warm respiration cannot keep its moisture any more and extra water condensates in droplets. That happens in the hive. Balls temperature is 20c and the walls may be -15C.

We put our bottom board in slanting position, and water runs out.

Hive is allways very moist during winter,  100% and extra comes out. In wooden hives it goes into wood and in my plastic hives in runs to the floor. Moist wood keep moisture in the hive near 100%.  Then the wall is really cold. No insulation.

Bees ventilate in the middle of winter if they have too moist. I have seen many times.

Never happened that cold water kills the hive inside hive.

You really must learn how to bring hives over winter. You have black hole in your system. It is too easy to you. Warm climate and short winter. No problems. Just lack of information like I said varroa in Finland.
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Robo
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2005, 03:26:35 PM »

Speaking of hive moisture,  here is an interesting article.
http://wind.prohosting.com/tbhguy/bee/plex.htm

Some good pictures of plexiglass tops so you can see the condensation.

Finman, what do you do to prevent nosema?
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EOHenry
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2005, 03:30:27 PM »

Agan I am learning so much from this forum! Smiley  Have not felt this bad about losing something for a quite awhile. Bur, will use this as a learning experience.  I was just so happy with the growth of the colony this past year and being able to harvest a little honey to share with others and being told by other beekeepers that I was ina great location to get some honey from a 1st year hive.
I did experience a dif weather condition this past month or more with spikes in temp then rapid drops with heavey fog in mornings.
I also did not treat for mites as did for foul brood.  What are signs of mite destuction to a hive?  I am going to take the hive  apart and clean up the dead bees and store it in the garage until I can find a package or two of new bees.
Thanx agan!
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Finsky
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2005, 03:51:01 PM »

Quote from: Robo
Speaking of hive moisture,  here is an interesting article.
http://wind.prohosting.com/tbhguy/bee/plex.htm

Some good pictures of plexiglass tops so you can see the condensation.



That site do not work in Finland. Not at all. 30 years ago I lost 25% my hives, all little ones when I had not upper opening.  I learned from that. The hives were totally under snow.

If you go to the warm shover, your bath rooms windows are same kind as in pictures.

Quote
Some good pictures of plexiglass tops so you can see the condensation.


Of course. That fhenomenon you see when you go to cold car and respire to windows.

I use wooden 10 mm thick roof and 3 inch insulation. The moisture must come through the ceiling and it does. There is allways somewhere saturation point, where moisture makes droplets.  Who in the  hell use plex on winter as roof!!!

It must be ventilation also under water the uppermost roof. If it is closed, water  droplets go into insulation. Also in summer nights. It generates mould.

Sorry. Nothing to learn about that.

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Finman, what do you do to prevent nosema?.


15 years ago I bought Fumidil B, but it was expencive.  It was effective. very good.

Now I just care when I buy good winter resistant queens from professionals.
I keep good ventilation, low opening wide and upper finger size.
Many keep down floor open during winter (grid bottom) without upper hole.
I keep 20% extra hives. If someone is sick, I do not care.
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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2005, 04:03:36 PM »

Ashame you could not view the site.   It was done as an experiment and showed the condesation/ice at different temperatures down to -20F throughout the winter.  It also showed the bees using the condensation as a source of water to drink.  

Provided a good visualization of the lack of cndensation above the cluster.  As the winter went on the condensation ring grew wider and wider, but the area above the cluster had little to none.
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Finsky
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2005, 04:20:19 PM »

Quote from: Robo
Ashame you could not view the site.   It was done as an experiment and showed the condesation/ice at different temperatures down to -20F throughout the winter.  It also showed the bees using the condensation as a source of water to drink.  

Provided a good visualization of the lack of cndensation above the cluster.  As the winter went on the condensation ring grew wider and wider, but the area above the cluster had little to none.


Never heard that someone  use that system in Finland! During summer they use polytehene that they see through.

That site seems to be in Wyoming and I checked that they have same kind of winter cold as we have in Helsinki.

Of course it does. But he should keep insulation on the plex that moisture does not condensate to ceiling.

Also I have condensation water in the frame ends, but water also has mould and dirt.

Beekeeping is not so tiny sharp as he want to show. There is no use to watch over bees on winter. When hives are put in condition for winter in September, we will meet again at the beginning of March. They must be in peace 5 moths. Then is cleansing flight and again in peace 1 moth.

Nothing is to be done during winter. What you can do is only to disturb.

Bees  manage well over winter.

My winter losses are on the average 0,5 colonies per winter from 18 hives.
More losses I have when all queens are not in condition after winter. I think that it is nosema. A couple of queens, but I have extra for that.
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latebee
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2005, 06:52:37 PM »

So sorry to hear of yor losing the colony. I really have no sage advice, but I can relate to your predicament. This January local temperatures climbed into the 50 degree range one week and then plummeted to minus 27 degrees and minus 24 at nite for two days-I lost 2 colonies that seemed perfect.The thing that makes me wonder is, if they had not been flying for about 4 days perhaps they might have survived the cold. I am going to take Finman's advice and go to all styrofoam hive bodies. By the way all the colonies were medicated(coumaphos and menthol and fumagilin,plus grease patties) and had plenty of food left. Take heart there is always next year and chalk it up to experience. I am a slow learner when it relates to bees but with some patience I may master it someday.
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« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2005, 08:10:16 PM »

Quote from: Finsky
But he should keep insulation on the plex that moisture does not condensate to ceiling.


My bad description,  it was a plexiglass inner cover, and had a normal cover on top.  The outer cover was just removed to photogragh/track condensation.  It was not just a plexiglass top cover.  Once again showing why pictures explain better than words.
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Finsky
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2005, 02:29:22 AM »

Quote from: Robo
Speaking of hive moisture,  here is an interesting article.
http://wind.prohosting.com/tbhguy/bee/plex.htm

Some good pictures of plexiglass tops so you can see the condensation.


A new look

I looked the text carefully again. That text contains  much advices which does not work in Finland.  I wonder does he has real winter.

1) feeding  water during winter. In Finland bees just don't come out
2) uninsulated hives
3) wrabbed with plastic, which decay wooden boxes and keep hive wet
4) upper cover non respirative = don't let moisture out.

These all are against Finnish experience during tens of years.
I have tried those my self and result was really bad.

If place is windy, you can move the hives to the shelter. Wind during winter is really bad.  Plastic woud not help in that case.
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Finman
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« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2005, 09:55:41 AM »

Quote from: EOHenry
cry     The middle super had alot of honey left in it as heavy  as it was. What would have caused my bees to die off in the last couple weeks. .


Our bee researcher of university just described very same like style what happens when thracheal mites kill the hive.  Are you going to send the sample to somewhere?
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