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Author Topic: 3 of 8 hives gone - Zero Honey....Not a good bee year.  (Read 1624 times)
hollybees
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« on: November 14, 2010, 09:03:50 AM »


Hello Everyone,

Yesterday hit 65 degrees here in Michigan. I took the opportunity to get into the hives......
I started 3 new hives this spring and they were booming all summer.
Well now their just gone!  shocked
One hive had maybe 30 bees and I found the queen in the middle of an empty frame with 3 other bees with her.
I saw no dead bees, no signs of something disastrous they were there in Sept. too late for a swarm I would think.
Each hive had one medium super packed full of honey mid July and then it all stopped....that's all the honey they collected for the season.

Oh well I split up the resources between them, it's really a good thing the 2 hives were gone as I was able to give their honey to the other hives.
This is my 4th year beekeeping never had this happen before.

Paul
I really miss the whole honey experience, I never realized how much I enjoyed that part of beekeeping.
I remember reading that the honey is why some people quit beekeeping, now I know that's my favorite part.

Has anyone else had a bad year? I spoke with a few other beeks in this area and they had the same problem of no honey.
One guy said that it was because there was not enough rain for the plants to produce nectar.
It's weird because I didn't think it was that bad of a year we had some dry spells but the plants looked healthy enough.



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alfred
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2010, 09:13:00 AM »

Wow what an incredible bummer!
I have no idea how to advise hopefully others here who are more knowlegable will chime in.
I just wanted to let you know that I feel your pain...Sounds like my year last year, not much honey and lost allmost all hives.
Well atleast there is always next year!
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Hemlock
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2010, 09:44:26 AM »

We didn't get honey last year or this year.  Last year due to too much rain.  Not entirely sure why not this year.  it is my 3rd season with the bees.  More or less lost a colony last year and might have a queenless hive right now.  But with every problem you learn something right? 

I had planned to have 5 colonies at his time.  Hoping to have at least 2 come Spring.
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greenbtree
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2010, 12:42:35 PM »

I was up to eight hives earlier this year, down to six now.  One absconded, one just dwindled, so I pulled the queen and combined it with a swarm hive that wasn't going to make through the winter on their own (that one is very iffy on making it, IMO).  My oldest hive that should of had honey put up didn't have nearly enough.  My oldest swarm hive had twice as much honey, although not enough for winter.  I don't know what their issue is.  I just finished putting whomping big candy boards on ALL of my hives.  At least that seems to have put paid to the robbing behavior that was starting to kick up.  All of my hives were from cutouts or swarms except for two so I'm not too surprised. Crossing my fingers for next year.

JC
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AllenF
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2010, 04:04:17 PM »

We had an OK summer honey and bee wise.   Lost one hive mid summer and had to shake out an queenless hive this weekend.   I noticed that they were a little itchy when I was feeding them last week.  They had no stores that I could see.  Out of all the hives, that one was getting mobbed by robber bees trying to get in.   I already closed them up good.  This weekend when feeding all the bees, I tore that hive apart.   Saw no queens or young, no stores, just 5 to 10 pounds of bees.   Bees everywhere on all the frames.  Just no queen.   I figure they made it into all the other ten hives as I shook them out in the front yard.   The hive is in the freezer for the spring.   No clumps of bees anywhere to be found by the hives, so I am guessing they all made it into another hive. 
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twb
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2010, 07:27:45 PM »

Bummer, Hollybees.  I've heard similar stories from others on your side of the state.  My side it was spotty.  We had our best year ever but only because one yard did well over 150lbs per hive average.  Another yard was only less than 30 lbs per hive on average and the two yards are only 8 miles apart.
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tecumseh
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2010, 07:22:01 AM »

Holly writes:
Has anyone else had a bad year?

tecumseh:
for myself every year spent with the bees is good.  some years I make a crop and sometimes I do not.

a question: just for my information how long have you been keeping bees?

It you need to be encourage to feel better at this point in time read CC Miller's '50 Years Amongst the Bees' (or something like that).  If you are facing a bit of downside his failures during his early start in beekeeper should provide some comfort.  Mr Miller did persist beyond his early failures to become one of the greatest beekeepers of his era.

and good luck...   
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2010, 08:44:14 AM »

I had a good year...they were swarming already in April, collected honey right up till August, then stopped collecting, nothing, nada.  Since I usually pull honey in early august and leave the rest of the summer for them, this presented a problem and I had to feed in the fall.  The plants did look fine, and we had enough rain, so I don't know if the whole season shifted to be a little earlier or what....

I haven't done a lot with them since October, so can't really tell you what state that they're in right now.

Sorry to hear of your losses.  Strange to lose a hive with honey on it...could be a mite problem or CCD...
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Rick
tillie
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 08:55:13 AM »

Hi Holly,  I'm sad for your losses.  I had a similar year - first time in five years of beekeeping - not a smidgen of honey.  I did take two frames from a hive I have in N Georgia so I could taste the sourwood, but I shouldn't have done that in that I've had to feed them going into winter. 

Beekeeping is an up/down business and I've had two low/no honey years in a row, but I learn something from everything that happens/goes wrong.

I'll hope for both of us that better years are to come.

Linda T in Atlanta
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Cindi
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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2010, 11:36:24 AM »

Hollybees, and others, sorry to hear of this, there will be years where one must feed the bees, other years that bounty.  I had two swarms from our new home area move in when I brought up empty bee boxes.  One of the swams produced an entire deep of honey for us, the other swarm only enough for the winter for them.  I can only presume that the honey flow was good in this climate this year.  There will be another year where you will have that beautiful golden beauty from the honeybees.  Keep the chins up, have that wonderful day, with health, love and peace, Cindi
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brer
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2010, 08:57:18 PM »

This is my first year as a beek.

I received a mostly dead package in spring.  With helpful advice from a few of you, I managed to get it up and keep it up.

It never thrived.  Throughout the summer I have had to feed because there were absolutely no stores built up.

I'm feeding like a madman at the moment, the little ladies took in a gallon of one to one today, trying to get them up to strength for the winter.

I'm figuring on ordering a new queen and doing a split come spring.  I would have hoped to have some semi ferals but my honeybees are the only ones around for quite a few miles. Before I got bees, there were no honeybees to be seen in these parts. This might be another issue for next year.

BTW, A dog waterer with a one gallon jar works amazingly good for feeding out a single hive. cool
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Buzzen
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2010, 09:51:25 PM »

Wow, I hope next year goes better for you!
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