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Author Topic: My bees are all dead... again  (Read 4944 times)
Sean Kelly
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« on: March 08, 2011, 12:28:08 PM »

Hey ya'll.  It's been forever since I was on here last, thought I'd give you guys all a little update.

Last year we had the best tasting and the largest harvest of honey since I started keeping bees 4 years ago.  Sold all of it to friends and family and co-workers and I still get phone calls from people I don't know asking if I have any more.
My grandfather is currently in the process of making a batch of mead from this same harvest (can't wait to try it).
But as the subject says, I've once again lost everything during the winter.  My last three hives died sometime during our last cold snap.  I did everything I could to prevent disaster, but there's still a pile of molding bees on the bottom board and honey leaking from the molding frames.
This is the second time in the last 4 years that I've been struck by death in my colonies.  I wonder why I keep doing this.  I'm seriously on the edge of giving up and selling all my stuff.
On top of all of this, last year I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  The food I love the best, honey, has become my worst enemy.  The irony of a diabetic beekeeper!
So I don't know the point of it any more.  I don't make enough money from honey sales to justify the costs of beekeeping, I can't eat honey any more, and obviously I have the touch of death when it comes to stinging insects.

Sorry folks, I'm kind of venting here.  I don't know how I'm going to afford to keep bees any more.  I have such a strong passion for beekeeping and I think that's all that's keeping me going here.  I don't know what to do.

Sean Kelly
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"My son,  eat  thou honey,  because it is good;  and the honeycomb,  which is sweet  to thy taste"          - Proverbs 24:13
kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2011, 12:48:53 PM »

Sean, where do you get your bees?  

we had a wacky winter.  February usually sees some warm up, but instead we had snow and cold.  mine were already raising brood when the last really cold snap hit.  

don't know what to tell you.  finally got to check mine and have lost 3 with a 4th looking really weak.  they are the swarms i picked up from the pollination hives.  they were most likely treated bees that didn't survive not being treated wink.  like you, i got plenty of honey from them.  all but one went into winter very strong.  i know why i lost a couple of them, but the others are a mystery.

the ones that have come through and are looking good are the cutout hives and a bee tree swarm.

maybe just pick up some swarms and don't spend any  money buying bees?  
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2011, 01:24:16 PM »

Sean
Sorry for your loses and more importantly you new health problems.   You have equipment already so why dont you focus on replacements with free swarm.  Most hobbies pay with the experience not something material.  Keep the passion going, enjoy the hobby and the smiles you put on peoples faces with the honey
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Course Bee
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2011, 01:32:35 PM »

Sean, I'm also sorry about your losses. On the health side, my first mentor is a diabetic and he has one teaspoon of honey each day and doesn't have a problem with his diabetes from it. He's 96 now and has had bees for a very long time. Don't give up hope, and please don't make a quick decision to give it up.
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Tim
JP
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2011, 01:42:23 PM »

Sean, don't give it up buddy, we'd sure miss you on here. My wife came down with type two about five years ago or so and does include some honey in her diet. You'll have to make some diet changes but its not the end of the world.

Please rethink your decision to give up on your passion to keep bees. You have the equipment, now just need to get some more bees, perhaps from local stock, swarms would be nice.


...JP
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

My pictures can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus
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lenape13
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2011, 01:46:51 PM »

I'm a diabetic as well, and you'll have to pry my hives out of my cold, dead fingers, just not too soon, hopefully!  grin  As others have mentioned, try to get your hands on some local bees.  My ferals out-perform my package bees in every way.
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2011, 02:03:38 PM »

My bees have come from a variety of places.  From swarms to cut outs to packages.  My last 3 hives were a swarm I caught two years ago and the other two were a split I did from my very first package I ever did 4 years ago.
I should have requeened.  Got lazy and didn't.
As for catching swarms, I'm usually at work when they pop up.  I didn't get a single swarm call last year that I could go to.  As a truck driver, my work schedule really conflicts with everything since I usually work 12 to 16 hours a day, 5 days a week.  
I've had several friends and my grandfather (the mead maker) offer to help out with the costs of bringing my apiary back from the dead.  My wife agrees that we should use some of our tax return to buy new packages and frames/foundation.
I'm just fearful that I'll kill the next batch too.

So yesterday, I cleaned out my old apiary, burned frames, and disassembled my hive stands.  I think part of my issue has been the location of the apiary.  It's in a shallow, shaded area of the property, under a cottonwood tree, with a bank of blackberry bushes behind them.
I moved the hive stands near the center of the property, next to the veggie garden and placed the empty hives back on them.  This area has sun from early morning to late evening.  The only problem is it's directly on top of the septic drain field plumbing and I can't put up a fence there to keep dogs and children out.

I'm gunna try and keep on keeping bees.  I'm just kinda depressed about the whole situation.  At one point, I had 7 colonies and now I'm down to nothing.

As for diabetes, right now I am not taking any medication for my diabetes.  I've been very strict with my diet and have been able to control it with diet and exercise alone, which most people can not.
In doing this I've been able to go from 318lbs to 260lbs!!!  We canceled out satellite television and joined the local gym.  I took a $1600 diabetes education course at the local hospital which doing both has changed my life.

Diabetes is not a "sugar" disease like most people thing.  It's a issue with carbohydrates, which your body breaks down into glucose so you can feed your muscles and brain.  I'm insulin resistant, which is type 2 diabetes.  Insulin is the key to allowing your cells to open and take the sugars from carbohydrates.  So, like adding flour to water, my blood thickens with sugar and salt and looses water, causing the symptoms and eventually heart disease or stroke.

So I watch my carbohydrates VERY closely.  In my class I took at the hospital, we determined with just diet and exercise, I'm allowed a MAX of 45 grams of carbohydrates per meal or snack.  3 meals a day, 3 snacks.  It has to be equal, so no borrowing from one meal or snack and adding it to another.

With honey, one tablespoon is about 17.5 grams of carbohydrates.  Not very much since I would several times a day, squeeze a honey bear directly in my mouth while my children laugh at me.
So lets say a buttermilk biscuit about 4" in diameter is about 35g or carbs and I add a tablespoon of honey, that's already over my entire allotment for one MEAL!!!  Makes for a small dinner.

So, that's why I'm a bummed out dude.  32 years old, have to eat like a grandpa, and I kill bees.

Sean Kelly
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"My son,  eat  thou honey,  because it is good;  and the honeycomb,  which is sweet  to thy taste"          - Proverbs 24:13
kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2011, 03:08:11 PM »

that whole diet thing can be tough.  a couple of years ago we determined that were were losing the battle of the middle age bulge.   grin  we decided to try limiting carbs, especially the processed carbs.  we knocked out everything except veggies and salad with the occasional potato thrown in. we eat lots of meat.  any pasta or bread was a treat and it had to be multi grain.  i thought it would be hard, but it actually made life easier.  meals were pretty simple!  my carbs for the day are usually under 20.  i'll have veggies or salad at night.  a treat is unflavored yogurt with 1 tsp of honey.  still low carb and low calorie, but yummy.

didn't want you to feel alone in the diet thing   Wink  seems we all come to that point whether we develop a medical condition or just want to fit in our clothes!  hang in there.  
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
danno
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2011, 03:27:57 PM »

Although multi grain bread and pasta with piles of home grow vegi's (plus a ton of meat) have always been our staple diet,  My wife and I do the ab's diet every spring http://www.absdiet.com/uof/absdiet/withemail/   At 53 the sixpack ab's looks more like a 5 qt pale but this is a diet that is VERY healthy and helps in the prevention of adult onset diabetes.  You are never hungry and after just a few days you start feeling better.   One day a week you get to cheat.  The only part that gets me is I have to limit my home made porter and stouts to one day
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Cascadebee
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2011, 03:40:49 PM »

Sorry to hear about the hive losses. This winter has been schizo in the PNW, hard on bees. Drove to work in white-out conditions this morning and now at lunchtime the snow's melted and its sunny. Honey's just a fringe benefit of associating with bees anyway. Glad to encounter another picker on here, old-timey fiddle and mandolin here.
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showme714
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2011, 03:56:16 PM »

My bees have come from a variety of places.  From swarms to cut outs to packages.  My last 3 hives were a swarm I caught two years ago and the other two were a split I did from my very first package I ever did 4 years ago.
I should have requeened.  Got lazy and didn't.
As for catching swarms, I'm usually at work when they pop up.  I didn't get a single swarm call last year that I could go to.  As a truck driver, my work schedule really conflicts with everything since I usually work 12 to 16 hours a day, 5 days a week.  
I've had several friends and my grandfather (the mead maker) offer to help out with the costs of bringing my apiary back from the dead.  My wife agrees that we should use some of our tax return to buy new packages and frames/foundation.
I'm just fearful that I'll kill the next batch too.

So yesterday, I cleaned out my old apiary, burned frames, and disassembled my hive stands.  I think part of my issue has been the location of the apiary.  It's in a shallow, shaded area of the property, under a cottonwood tree, with a bank of blackberry bushes behind them.
I moved the hive stands near the center of the property, next to the veggie garden and placed the empty hives back on them.  This area has sun from early morning to late evening.  The only problem is it's directly on top of the septic drain field plumbing and I can't put up a fence there to keep dogs and children out.

I'm gunna try and keep on keeping bees.  I'm just kinda depressed about the whole situation.  At one point, I had 7 colonies and now I'm down to nothing.

As for diabetes, right now I am not taking any medication for my diabetes.  I've been very strict with my diet and have been able to control it with diet and exercise alone, which most people can not.
In doing this I've been able to go from 318lbs to 260lbs!!!  We canceled out satellite television and joined the local gym.  I took a $1600 diabetes education course at the local hospital which doing both has changed my life.

Diabetes is not a "sugar" disease like most people thing.  It's a issue with carbohydrates, which your body breaks down into glucose so you can feed your muscles and brain.  I'm insulin resistant, which is type 2 diabetes.  Insulin is the key to allowing your cells to open and take the sugars from carbohydrates.  So, like adding flour to water, my blood thickens with sugar and salt and looses water, causing the symptoms and eventually heart disease or stroke.

So I watch my carbohydrates VERY closely.  In my class I took at the hospital, we determined with just diet and exercise, I'm allowed a MAX of 45 grams of carbohydrates per meal or snack.  3 meals a day, 3 snacks.  It has to be equal, so no borrowing from one meal or snack and adding it to another.

With honey, one tablespoon is about 17.5 grams of carbohydrates.  Not very much since I would several times a day, squeeze a honey bear directly in my mouth while my children laugh at me.
So lets say a buttermilk biscuit about 4" in diameter is about 35g or carbs and I add a tablespoon of honey, that's already over my entire allotment for one MEAL!!!  Makes for a small dinner.

So, that's why I'm a bummed out dude.  32 years old, have to eat like a grandpa, and I kill bees.

Sean Kelly

Diabetes runs in my family. Fortunately, I don't have it. I'm sorry about your bees. I am new to this and am still waiting for my first package but I can imagine how you must feel. I agree with the consensus that you should continue. Your story about your comeback from your disease is inspiring. You should use that victory alone to motivate you because you are right. You have done something that a lot of others can never do. So what you have done for yourself is certainly harder than caring for bees. Doing things that you love extends life as well. So, isn't living life to the fullest what it's all about? I'm proud of you and I don't even know you. Keep making yourself happy by doing something you love that also makes others happy. God bless!
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CAHighwind
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2011, 04:18:19 PM »

Another type II here... and actually the bees and honey are a plus to me.  I HATE whole grain bread with a passion, but it's "Better" for diabetics with the whole harder to break down carbohydrate ordeal, however, I bake my own now and do so with honey in it and I've actually gotten to like the stuff.  I use the honey in a lot of my cooking and baking instead of regular sugar as it is a preferred sweetener over white sugar when ya have diabetes.  You might just come to a point with the weight loss where your symptoms become incredibly easier to control, to the point where you're completely asymptomatic for the disease.  Heck, if I can do it and I'm the biggest junk food hound ever, anyone can.  Follow that diabetic diet and the weight comes off as you're already seeing.  I had to take off about 90lbs, but when you get down to a good size, it becomes pretty easy to maintain.  And hey, the bees do force us to get out there and mosey around.
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2011, 07:53:26 PM »

Thanks everyone for your support.
But I just got some more bad news today.  My wife's van just blew a head gasket/cracked a head.  It's toast.  We're broke.  No bees this year for sure now.

When it rains it pours.

Sean Kelly
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"My son,  eat  thou honey,  because it is good;  and the honeycomb,  which is sweet  to thy taste"          - Proverbs 24:13
kathyp
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2011, 08:16:36 PM »

hey, if you are ever coming this way in spring, drop me a note.  if my hives are doing well, i can set aside a few frames for you.  no promises, but i was thinking about splitting a couple anyway, and hope i'll get some swarms too.  hate to see you go beeless  evil
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
MTWIBadger
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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2011, 09:21:16 PM »

Sean,

You are making great progress on your weight loss going from 318 to 260.  I bet your blood sugars and Hb A1C have improved with this weight loss.  Keep losing weight and burn some calories with exercise and you will get off your oral hypoglycemic meds or insulin.  You are well on your way to being a diet controlled diabetic so don't get discouraged.  Find a local beekeeper to give you a 2-3 frame split or two and return the favor later. If you were near me, I would love to help you out.  I have an agreement between three hobby beekeepers to share bees and avoid the cost of package bees.

Luke
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2011, 11:22:09 PM »

Sean,
sorry to hear about all your troubles. Don't forget to put a little lemon grass oil in one of your old hives. You just may get a swarm to settle in. If you've had swarm calls,bees are out there. Chin up my friend!! Smiley
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JP
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« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2011, 08:20:05 AM »

If ever a brother amongst us needed a hand, Sean needs it now folks. Anyone near him please see if you can help him with some bees.

Try and keep your chin up Sean.


...JP
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

My pictures can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus
and
http://picasaweb.google.com/112138792165178452970

My Youtube videos can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=JPthebeeman&aq=f

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Lone
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« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2011, 08:47:51 AM »

G'day Sean,

You might have broke one banjer string, but you just got to replace the string and keep rolling..

Lone
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T Beek
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« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2011, 10:33:34 AM »

Sean;  Seems like your in the 'right' place.  Everyone kills bees. Its discouraging for sure, but don't give up yet, you're too young to give up something that can be enjoyed at nearly ANY age, and if you really enjoy it....well......

I'm gonna bet that you 'will' have bees this year, whether they're caught swarms or from a good neighbor.

The only diet secret I can share is;  "Eat less, do more"  (but it seems you already know that Smiley

Playing my drums has "always" kept me trim Wink I tell my guitar playing friends that alot lately

thomas
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2011, 12:10:36 PM »

Sean,
 Keep losing weight and burn some calories with exercise and you will get off your oral hypoglycemic meds or insulin.  You are well on your way to being a diet controlled diabetic so don't get discouraged. 
Luke
I think this is exactly right!  I'm insulin resistant and have a family history of diabetes.  So I'm in the process of losing weight and I eat a balanced diet without too much carb.  You don't have to stop eating honey.  The pleasure of honey is subtle and long lasting on the palette. You don't have to knock back an entire honeybear.  Just eat a teaspoon of honey very slowly.  Savor it and don't eat or drink anything else for an hour.  You will keep enjoying that teaspoon for a long time.
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"You never can tell with bees."  --  Winnie-the-Pooh
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