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Author Topic: Prep used hive and location for new bees?  (Read 844 times)
MikeG
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« on: April 29, 2009, 04:13:16 PM »

For some unknown reason, my bees didn't make it through the winter.  There was still honey, but the bees (not very many) all died.

I've been prepping the hive boxes for the new bees arriving in a week.  I had a fully screened bottom board.  Is there anything I should do to the ground underneath the hive?  Might there be mites, beetles, or other detrimental organisms harbored in the mulch located about 10" under the hive?

Is there any reason I shouldn't run a torch lightly over all the interior surfaces to kill any eggs or organisms that could be in wood cracks and crevices of the boxes?  I'm putting in all new frames.

Thanks, everyone, for any tips you may have and also for being such a good source!

Mike
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Rich V
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2009, 05:59:24 PM »

Can you give us anymore information about the condition of the hives when you opened them up this spring. For example. Did the bees have their heads stuck into the cells? Even with honey in the hive, they could have starved. Were they started from a package the previous spring? Did you check for mites going into winter? Was their a lot of fecal material on the  hive?
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benny
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2009, 06:07:40 PM »

I'm new at this also.  So I'm confused, they could still starve even if there was honey available?  I thought if they had their heads into the honey and died that they just got to cold.
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jason58104
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2009, 06:24:39 PM »

it has been a cold winter here in the upper midwest.  if you see a lot of bees with there head in the cells the starved to death.  if the weather is to cold for the girls to break cluster and move to stores they can still starve to death
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MikeG
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2009, 08:07:55 PM »

Well, I wouldn't describe them as having their heads stuck into the cells.  There were a 20 or so on the tops of the frames.  There was a fairly intense but small core  on about 3 frames that were moldy  (I just dissassembled the hive today).  The rest were simply scattered on top of the comb but they were virtually all facing straight up.  Quite in an orderly fashion.

This was their second year.  I left them a deep and two mediums while harvesting one medium from on top.  The top medium that I left them had a significant amount of honey but there was very little honey from there down.  Only a few patches here and there.  There were very few bees located in that top super.  They were virtually all in the deep.  The small amount of honey left in the deep was mostly in the outer frames.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2009, 12:24:45 AM »

Contrary to popular belief the cluster of bees doesn't move up in the hive during the winter.  The usually cluster at the top of the brood chamber, often the 2 deep or 3rd medium, and then gather honey from the capped stores in the other areas of the hive when needed.  They gather it, bring it back to the cluster and deposit in open combs the bees are clustered over. The bees will then consume that honey and then gather more and deposit where they had the other, and so on, and so on, and so forth.
Weather can be a killer because if it is too cold too long the bees can't break cluster to gather the stores and they starve in place with as much as a full larder.  Once the temps drop into the teens it is usually too cold for the bees to fetch stores from other places in the hive. 
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MikeG
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Location: Matthews Missouri (SE part of state)

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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2009, 06:05:13 AM »

That is very interesting.  It was much colder than normal this winter, BUT I live in southeastern Missouri.  If it was too cold here, how could bees survive further north?  What could I have done to help them?

Also, I haven't gotten a reaction to my question about flaming the inside of my boxes or treating the ground beneath the hive.  Any comments on those questions?

I'm very appreciative of all the comments given.

Mike
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MacfromNS
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2009, 06:28:55 AM »

Flaming the inside of the box ,sure go for it .It doesn't take long,
 if there is nothing for it to kill it doesn't hurt anything and will
make you feel safer.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2009, 11:26:07 PM »

Actually bees seem to prefer boxes that have been burnt out on the inside.  Off and on I've toyed with the idea of burning the insides of my new boxes before I use them but I alway end up on some other home maintence chore and forget to do it.

As for burning the ground that's a no-no in my book, they used a propane torch to burn the weeds out of the gravel on the walking paths of the park next door,  my son and I had to put out 3 grass fires last year when the wind picked up.  people seem to forget that the roots burn too.  I notified the community association that presides over the park that if their gardner set another fire, while I was away and unable to respond to it and my house and barn burnt up that I'd own all of their houses.  They stopped using the propane torch for a weeder.

If you are talking about using chemicals, I wouldn't advise using as much as would be necessary to kill the weeds, and maybe the grass, and then plant bee hives on it.
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