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Poll
Question: How many colonies (full or nucs) have you lost this winter ?  (Voting closed: June 05, 2010, 09:11:57 AM)
0 - 36 (35%)
1 - 22 (21.4%)
2 - 17 (16.5%)
3 - 7 (6.8%)
4 - 6 (5.8%)
5 - 3 (2.9%)
6+ - 7 (6.8%)
10+ - 3 (2.9%)
20+ - 2 (1.9%)
50+ - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 101


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Author Topic: Winter Losses 2009/2010 Poll  (Read 3531 times)
Somerford
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« on: March 07, 2010, 08:11:57 AM »

Out of interest, post your losses here - world wide results !


If you have suffered badly - or suspect a cause, eg. Starvation, colony too small, Varroa, SHB then please add a note below too.

regards

S
« Last Edit: March 07, 2010, 08:54:00 AM by Somerford » Logged

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bassman1977
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2010, 08:22:08 AM »

I lost everything this year.  Confirmed yesterday that my last hive his gone.  I'm depressed.   Cry

Correction:  1 hive still remains at my out yard.

What is interesting is this:  After the last winter, and the amount of starvation I had, I decided to go into this winter with an extra brood box.  I gave it to them this past spring to allow them to use it for brood building and honey storage for winter.  The hives were full going into winter.  4 of the 5 hives I had were configured like this.  The surviving hive was 3 mediums tall.  The dead outs were 4 mediums tall.  I've always went into winter with 3 mediums.  Never tried with 4.  I think 3 is apparently the max around here.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2010, 02:37:18 PM by bassman1977 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2010, 08:40:24 AM »

Rough fall and winter here in Pa. I have never seen hives this light going into winter. Then long cold weeks that started early in late Dec. I had 16 in Nov. down to 8 by Jan 1. which all looked health. Weather turned warm this weekend . 5 hives flying strong
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2010, 09:24:12 AM »

We lost the two hives that we had, first year beekeepers.  Have no idea what they died of, one hive still has honey.  Bees appear to be in all different locations in the hive.   huh
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2010, 10:12:48 AM »

i suspect combination of cold weather and starvation, there was small clusters scattered everywhere and they were dead, there was not a big cluster
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2010, 10:36:08 AM »

only lost 1. looks like they starved fromm not moving to where there were stores but the other hives are doing well.
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Somerford
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2010, 02:10:28 PM »

We lost the two hives that we had, first year beekeepers.  Have no idea what they died of, one hive still has honey.  Bees appear to be in all different locations in the hive.   huh

Diane - this suggest starvation - the cluster broke up in search of stores as there wasn't enough close to the cluster to sustain them when it got really cold.
bad luck I know, but this autumn, make sure the hives are really well fed and wrap the hives if that is what is done locally.

best of luck for 2010 !

regards

S
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2010, 02:16:20 PM »

i have lost 1   for now. it was a split made to late last year.  rip.  starved  to death. but it is grtting warm here now. hope summer is on it way i hope.
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2010, 03:57:32 PM »

I left a good bit more feed than last winter and it made a huge difference. Looking good and in a warm up trend but my bees are behind numbers wise due to an unusually cold winter.

Did a removal yesterday and the poor darlings were on the verge of starving as they had zero honey capped/open in the entire hive. They are happy and feeding today on sugar water.

This small colony was most likely a late swarm. I have a feeling there are many little colonies out there just like this one that may or may not squeak by until a decent flow is on.

Global warming, my asprin!


...JP
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2010, 04:33:54 PM »

i was biting my nails this winter - we got hit with some big snow late in the season and i was worried the girls would run out of stores.  got in today and checked things out - down to about 2 frames of honey - i've got the 1:1 sugar cooling in a snow bank.  the pollen is all but gone, but they are bringing it in now.  i think it will be a good season.
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2010, 04:59:54 PM »

I know that in december we had some real cold weather down in the teens and lower. I did every thing Right I figur? might not work next year.
this is what I did feed 2:1 going in to fall befor the big freez i did mountain camp feeding. I was laughed at by other local beeks but my bees are alive and thiers are chicken feed.
I hope this might help others this year.
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2010, 05:12:35 PM »

I have 3 hives 1 died of starvation from not being able to move to more honey stores. A little depressing for a first year beekeeper Cry (but I have to look on the bright side I still have two hives going for now.  I am going to clean the 1 hive up and start it again.
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2010, 06:37:39 PM »

Both of my hives managed to survive their first winter. They started as NUCs from a local supplier, I fed them almost constantly because they kept taking the syrup. I also gave the hives lots of dry sugar and hard candy at the beginning of winter and added more to the top of the inner cover a few times when the temperature creeped above 40. I fed about 75-100 lbs of sugar to the 2 hives since getting them last spring. Was that a bit excessive?
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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2010, 06:51:12 PM »

Out of 19 hives I have 12 left. I didn't have enough bees in the hives for this winter which is the coldest since 1917. I can't believe it. I worked my A$$ off making sure all the colonies had plenty of stores and we get hit  with this incredibly cold winter. We typically have red maple flowing at this point but I can see we are at least a month behind. The hives I have look good but it only takes a few cold nights to kill a hive if they are not populated well enough to stay warm and we are looking at low 30's at night this week and it was 27 last night. I am angry off and this hobby is starting to become less fun and more fruitless work than I am thinking I'd like to stay with.
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« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2010, 09:32:25 PM »

6 out of 7 living. I think that not taking too much honey in the fall really helps, but I really think that it was because I gave them a sugar treatment after the queens were done laying, that when all the mites are out on the bees...
Anyway the one that died, I think from the condensation running right in the middle of the inner cover. all the other hives have little shims to tilt them forward, that one was dead level.
BTW, it would be interesting to find out how many over winter theirs on screen bottoms (all of mine) just added one inch of foam insulation to the top of the hive, above the inner cover and of course a BIG rock on top...I also think the rock is key!
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sarafina
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2010, 10:44:18 PM »

Both of mine made it, but their numbers are sure down and if it wasn't warm enough for them to be sucking down syrup right now I probably would have lost one by now as they are completely out of stores.  My other hive had more stores and must still have because they are barely taking the syrup right now.

I know our winter doesn't compare to you guys up north, but it took me by surprise.  When the first freeze hit (it hasn't gotten below freezing in several years now) I didn't have the trays in under my screened bottom boards and still had the entrances wide open.  I got the trays in and reduced down to the medium size and kept a nervous eye on my hives.  I did an oxalic acid drip in Jan when it warmed up to the 60's and I was so happy to see live bees when I popped the top because they hadn't been flying and I was worried about the girls.

Our spring is at least 3 weeks later this year but everything is starting to wake up and starting to bloom and the girls are bringing in pollen so we will be ok, I think.
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« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2010, 11:31:07 PM »

I lost three this winter, one probbaly due to varroa weakened colony ( I don't treat), one from starvation and on one the wind blew off the cover and they froze.  I hated losing the one to Varroa but really hated losing the other two because I felt that those were more a result of my being careless/stupid. Still have a lot to learn.
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2010, 05:06:51 AM »

Out of 19 hives I have 12 left. I didn't have enough bees in the hives for this winter which is the coldest since 1917. I can't believe it. I worked my a$$ off making sure all the colonies had plenty of stores and we get hit  with this incredibly cold winter. We typically have red maple flowing at this point but I can see we are at least a month behind. The hives I have look good but it only takes a few cold nights to kill a hive if they are not populated well enough to stay warm and we are looking at low 30's at night this week and it was 27 last night. I am pee'd off and this hobby is starting to become less fun and more fruitless work than I am thinking I'd like to stay with.


HANG ON IN THERE challenger ! 

We all take a few knocks now and then and to be running 12 let alone 19 hives is great. There is nothing we can do about such harsh weather and I hope that, after some reflection, you'll be able to pick yourself up and go for 20 this year !

best wishes

S
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2010, 09:01:58 AM »

I lost two of the three i had, one was from a late trap out but the other was strong with two hive bodies and a med with four frames of cap honey. I guess they couldn't make it up in the med.  Is there a way to line the honey or put them in the box's so the bees can cluster and don't have to move? I took the med. with the capped honey off the  hive and put it on the one that is living, it has two med. hive bodies. will they go up for the honey or should i put the in the hive body? we still have allot of bad weather coming before any kind of flow and i sure don't want to lose them.
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2010, 09:13:42 AM »

Manfre, I did the same thing when I set up my two packages in 2008.  I fed them a lot because they were building comb and stores.  I now have six hives that resulted from one split and capture 3 swarms.  Check on them yesterday and all six are doing great!  Put 1.7 to 1 syrup on all hives to ensure that they have plenty of food should we get a cold snap before the real Spring arrives in 2-3 weeks.  Now, I just hope that they don't starve even though they have food available.
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« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2010, 09:20:33 AM »

I attended our State's Spring Conference this weekend and one of the veteran beeks was teaching a workshop on wintering hives.  He has 62 years of experience and lost his strongest hive this winter that had plenty of stores.   He said that "sometimes things just happen!"
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« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2010, 03:56:29 PM »

4 hives and 1 nuc all made it through the winter alive!!!

2 hives already have 10+ frames of brood, looks like I'll have more nuc's for sale than I planned!

Winter was very mild in the Pacific NW this year.
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« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2010, 07:32:24 PM »

Lost 1 out of 18.  Cluster was too small to move to the side to get to honey stores.  My fault: I should have given them a couple of frames of brood in the fall or combined or made sure honey was above the cluster or maybe wrapped the hive so it would warm during the day so they could move to the honey.
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« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2010, 09:27:23 PM »

I have just the one hive, and as of Saturday the girls where going gang busters.  I ordered some more Carniolan's in February so this year I will defiantly have three hive unless this hive has a collapse which don't look like it will happen. 
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« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2010, 11:24:37 PM »

So far 4 going into winter, and 4 coming out of winter. Cross fingers as more cold weather coming this week.

I think they will all make it.



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« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2010, 11:35:19 PM »

Two going into winter. One now. The deadout was a package. The survivor (so far) was a cut out. I'm pretty sure the dead hive was starvation. I will be doing a more complete investigation in a few days. For now I secured the hive.
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« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2010, 11:50:35 PM »

I checked mine today. It was 70 degrees. Ten hives and 4 nucs. All had alot more brood than I expected. Also seeing a little drone brood. Should explode soon.
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« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2010, 07:16:26 AM »

I lost 6 of 30 colonies.  Almost all were frozen out.  I left on average 80 pounds of honey per colony.  Even my nucs (doubles) had good stored.  We had VERY cold weather here in Southwestern Ohio.  The previous year I lost one colony.

I do not treat.  I have sen toff bee samples to Beltsville and nothing to report.  5 of the six colonies were within 1" of honey and had several thousand bees.  All but one were from 2009 packages.  The one that was not was declining and I think was robbed out by its sister colony.  This was my furthest outyard and I admit that my neglect may have caused this.  All swarms caught this year, splits from mutts, and three of my original no treat colonies are doing well, good numbers, small brood pattern the size of the cluster.  Just put patties on to stimulate since they all have good stores still (relative to the season).

Hoping to double up again this year, mainly with later splits this time and more swarms.
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« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2010, 01:44:34 PM »

All six hives have made it so far!
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« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2010, 03:50:31 PM »

I have just read on another forum that there have been losses of 90% on Vancouver Island this winter.

Not good at all !

S
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JP
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« Reply #30 on: March 10, 2010, 09:30:57 PM »

Had a peek at my main beeyard today it was nice and warm. Of my three yards 31 have survived, lost 5.

Leaving a lot more feed this season has been the difference.


...JP
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« Reply #31 on: March 10, 2010, 09:58:03 PM »

Lost one of the three, I haven't done a post-mortum yet, but a quick look shows the top two mediums with 17 full frames of what I suppose is my feed from last fall.  I blocked the hive up and feed the other two.
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« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2010, 11:23:20 AM »

Nine hives going into winter. Five left at the moment however one is marginal. We had a nonexistent flow last year and had to feed heavily to get them through. My OH consumed all their supplies and I fed them throughout the winter. Looks like they will be fine. We need a good year to keep up the momentum and hopefully make some increases.
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« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2010, 03:00:34 PM »

This poll is nice, although in itself it tells very little - ideally polls of this type should be based on percentage, than we would see how relatively mild or devastating losses are.

Example, if I choose one colony lost, it doesn't sound like much, but after 74 inches of snow this year with out a day above 30 degrees for 3 months (so I never saw the ground from mid December until last week) my one hive took a dump and I didn't just have 1 lost hive, I had 100% loss. That is why loss percentage is so important.

It is interesting to hear the stories (as sad as many are) but statistically, someone with 1 hive or someone with 3000 hives aren't represented well by colony count alone. Just a thought for any future polls Smiley

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« Reply #34 on: March 11, 2010, 04:12:56 PM »

I did consider using a % instead but for everyone to work it out prior to posting might well have caused errors / fraught language ! Therefore I went for a colony loss in numbers instead - so far it is interesting that 40% or 2/5th of beekeepers (rounded up) have had no colony loss this winter out of 70 odd postings

regards

S
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« Reply #35 on: March 12, 2010, 07:47:02 AM »

What the heck are all you people talking about!  It is STILL winter here!  We had 4 inches of snow yesterday and last year it snowed on JUNE 6!

To date, I have lost 3 of 6.  The three lost were the weakest going in.  Two starved out.  The last one was more directly my fault (which is most upsetting).  I put dry sugar on them because they were out of food - but didn't notice that the newspaper was covering the entire top.  As a result, there was little/no ventilation, they got wet.  Two weeks later when I checked, they were dead.  It happened with a second hive also, but I caught it and cleaned it up.  Hopefully, they recovered.

For what it is worth, of my remaining hives, the two strongest both had screened bottom boards all winter.  The hives with solid bottoms died first.  All other equipment (lids, hive wraps, etc.) were the same (populations going in did differ).

Next year, they will all have screened bottom boards.
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« Reply #36 on: March 12, 2010, 11:23:17 AM »

Someone mentioned overwintering with screened bottom boards on.
I did and all of them are still alive.
The only hive I lost was not from winter, it was the fall and it was a hive that I got late season, it went queenless and kept rejecting new queens. I would put the cage in, they would release her, she would lay for a short time and then be killed.
It drove me nuts and I actually didn't really care for their genetics anyway so it wasn't a big loss since they were a headache for me.

So having said that, the winter although it was cold and I left the screened bottom boards on did not do in any of my hives.
Being that these colonies were new last year and I wasn't sure how much food they needed to overwinter on I also left them all their honey and figure I can always collect it in the spring if there is any left.
I see a ton of bees coming in and out of their hives on the warm days.
I was concerned about two of my langs because I didn't think they were going into winter with a big enough colony but kept my fingers crossed and they made it.

I responded to this thread to address someone's screened bottom board question but I run 8 frame medium hives on foundationless frames, don't know if that is relevant but just to be sure I included all the facts.

I am real sorry to hear of those that lost hives, especially a bunch of hives but hopefully this spring will be much warmer and drier than last year and the colonies will be much better prepared for next winter.
Keep the faith. Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2010, 03:34:37 AM »

I also figure it would be interesting to know whether there is a greater % loss from conventional hives than eco hives or vice versa....

I might have a look at survey monkey !

regards

s
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« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2010, 09:37:40 AM »

All of my colonies are ZERO treatment with a combination of early and late season splits.

I purchased six packages last year.  I was converting from all mediums to double deeps and I needed as many hives drawing out wax that I could afford to purchase.  I also caught or split a dozen more colonies (swarms or from last year's survivor stock).

Of my six losses five were from the packages from the business as usual chemically kept supplier.  The single loss from the swarm/local stock was a late split.  Even my two test nucs and an august swarm made it through (so far).

None of this is scientific just my experience this last season (2209 - 2010).
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« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2010, 11:09:29 AM »

Lost 1 hive. Believe it was a combo of small hive beetles and excessively frigid cold snap we had.
They still had a little honey but it seemed to be to far away from them.
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« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2010, 07:25:22 PM »

Lost 24 of 24  shocked  Needless to say I'll be setting up plenty of swarm traps in the next week or two.  What I think happened... Nearly all colonies did late supercedures last fall and didn't build up like they should have.  When I looked in on them in Feb, the ones that had already perished were very small clusters.  The ones that made it through until last week were also small clusters, then a nearby commercial beek got 2 truckloads of bees back from the almonds.  Two days of 65F+ temps, me off at work, nothing blooming yet, and my weak colonies less than 1/4 mile from a lot full of hives busting at the seams and my colonies were quickly finished off.
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« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2010, 12:41:46 PM »

Oh Man, I am so sorry to hear that. Best of luck building back up again.
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« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2010, 01:53:27 PM »

What the heck are all you people talking about!  It is STILL winter here!  We had 4 inches of snow yesterday and last year it snowed on JUNE 6!

  YUK! Now I know why I live in Florida!  grin

...DOUG
KD4MOJ


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Location: Carroll Valley, PA

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« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2010, 02:55:24 PM »

Lost 24 of 24  shocked  Needless to say I'll be setting up plenty of swarm traps in the next week or two.  What I think happened... Nearly all colonies did late supercedures last fall and didn't build up like they should have.  When I looked in on them in Feb, the ones that had already perished were very small clusters. 

Seriously sucky news Ben and since I barely live 45 min from you that is bothering.  I work in Frederick and live just PA side of Emmitsburg.  If you need a hand with anything (purely labor related)  Just let me know I am starving for experience since I am a first year.  Good luck with the build up.

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