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Author Topic: Survival rates/location/brief description of your hive  (Read 5116 times)
ccar2000
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« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2011, 10:26:59 PM »

Lost both of my hives again this year. My second year and I went into winter feeling more confident that the previous.
My first two hives were Italian nucs that I hived in Sept 2009. Late start, lack of experience and perhaps the wrong race for my area? Ultimately they starved out. They stovepiped straight up through two deeps and died in January 2010.
Last year I started packages of russian/carniolian in the two dead outs in April 2010. They built up real good, filling the two deeps. One filled a medium super and the other filled two. They died in February. One of the hives the queen flew off during an inspection and the other the cluster was just too small to raise brood. Eventually they got robbed out and killed by some other bees. I will try again with the russian/carniolians again this year. I will try to get the bee population built up going into winter somehow.
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Countryboy
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« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2011, 10:50:15 PM »

I think it would also be interesting to note the age of the hives lost.

The 11/15 that died - first year hives using drawn comb to start out with.

6/27 local stock that died - first year nucs.
21/27 local stock still alive - everything from swarms to 3 years old.
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saritacoleman
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« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2011, 12:04:40 AM »

Louisville, KY.

We are new (this will be our second year) and quite frankly we are very grateful for all of ya'lls help.
Hive is still kicking on warm days. We went in last week and the queen is laying. Unfortunately there was comb on the middle top bars of the lower deep and that was where we found it.

Upper deep is still full of honey. We went to our supplier to pick up a second hive. The lady at the front was surprised that ours made it. She said lots of folks lost theirs this last winter.

We have a very nice windbreak between houses...I'm guessing that made all of the difference.

First warm day that broke though...I almost had a heart attack to see how many dead bees were outside of the hive.

Still colder than snot for me though on a bad day like today.

Geese...bring on Spring!

Hope all is well with everyone.

Best,
Sarita
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MTWIBadger
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« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2011, 12:49:11 AM »

So far have all 4 hives alive but we had a mild winter here in the Banana Belt of Montana.  Only had 5 nights below zero.  I wintered my three package hives in 2 deeps and a shallow, covered with 2 inch rigid foam insulsation.  Fourth hive was a first year trapout wintered in 2 deep with a SBB set on the ground with two 7watt lights underneath to provide some warmth when single digits were expected.

Lost 2/2 swarm hives last year due to my inexperience. 
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Boom Buzz
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« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2011, 01:28:28 AM »

Located northwest of Denver about 40 miles.
2 of 2 survived - yay!
Second winter for one hive - a cut out from summer of 2009.
First winter for the second hive - swarm capture from last year.
No winter wrap.
Both are a deep and a medium.
Both hives had good stores heading into winter.
I've been feeding on and off the last three weeks (between the snows) and the bees have been slurping up the sugar water.
Both hives were pretty light by mid February.
Have only peeked in.  No inspection yet.  Tried to yesterday but toooo windy!  Maybe tomorrow.
First two seasons I lost my package colonies in the fall - both times the queen went missing!?  So very happy to have both survive thus far!

John

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NWIN Beekeeper
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« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2011, 02:57:33 AM »

In my area near Chicago, the hive age and beekeeper experience doesn't seem to matter much for the losses.

Small and large beekeepers alike are reporting 50-75% losses in general.
That lines up a little high on the losses side for most my yards (survival of 35/50 on average).

We just did not experience the typical mid-winter thaw that would have allowed for the bees to eat and re-energize.
I also can't recall mutiple warmer days, and the one or two were follwed by a 20-25 degree temperature drop the next day.
Again another serious hardship on bees.

Many deadouts are full clusters, mid-box, starvation/freeze admist good honey stores above and next to the cluster.
More honey, or honey in other placements would not have improved survival.
There are no significant signs of nosema, dampness, or other ailment.
Younger queens did fair better, which may attribute some of the loss, not most, to mite induced stresses.

It just appears that 'Nature' was extra selective this winter.
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skflyfish
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« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2011, 07:55:07 AM »

I think it would also be interesting to note the age of the hives lost.

Two second year hives. One strong and one weak. One a nuc from the previous season and the other an overwintered hive(weak one).

Two spring nucs that ended very strong.

Three swarms. Two very strong (May swarms), and one weak (early August swarm)

One spring (May) split. A strong single deep.
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woodchopper
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« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2011, 11:40:36 AM »

 We have hives in So.Maine [2] and two locations in SE MA. [8]. All mediums,open SBB, Wilbanks packages. Lost three hives out of ten and all three of them had extensive mouse damage because some knuckle head put the mouse guards on too late. Remaining hive in Maine is still alive and just finishing it's third winter. Remaining hive the next town over is just finishing it's second winter and is very strong. The five out of six remaining in our backyard are somewhat strong with the exception of one hive that might not make it.
 The mouse damage to my drawn out comb in the brood chamber was very disappointing because of the amount I'll have to replace. No wonder those three hives didn't make it. Dumb mistake on my part.
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greenbtree
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« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2011, 02:04:47 PM »

New beek.  Summer 8, One original full hive bought in late March (Italians, I think?), split from same hive, rest swarms and cut outs.  Early fall, one absconded due to ants, combined 4 down to 2.  Late fall, entrance reducer smallest hole, solid bottom boards. Fed in fall, also put large fondant topper (wood frame that didn't cover whole top of frames with medium around it, fondant poured in to fill before going on hive.) on each hive.  Regular inner cover and telescoping lid.  No wrap.  Lost all 5 hives.  Not enough ventilation, too small of colonies on some.  I think.   Just made a bunch of SBBs.  Going to wrap and add top entrances next year.

JC
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Jim 134
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« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2011, 02:21:08 PM »

because some knuckle head put the mouse guards on too late.


 Who me LOL


 BEE HAPPY Jim 134  Smiley
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woodchopper
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« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2011, 03:49:02 PM »

because some knuckle head put the mouse guards on too late.


 Who me LOL


 BEE HAPPY Jim 134  Smiley
It's against forum rules for me to mention the gentleman who made the dumb mistake. grin
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2011, 03:24:45 AM »

I had 5 of 5 survive the winter so far.  They are out and foraging anytime weather permits, ie party sunny, not strong winds, no rain, and temps 35F+.

I must admit that I've keep improving my hive survivabilty rate, from to solid bottom boards and telescopic tops; to solid bottoms and migratory tops; to vented tops; to solid bottoms and slatted racks and vented tops; to screen bottom boards, slatted racks, and vented tops; to bottomless hives, slatted racks, and vented tops.  survivability went up with each change, not that there weren't losses, because there were, but over all each change made for less losses.  Oh, did I mention I also use 8 frame mediums.
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AR Beekeeper
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« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2011, 07:00:45 AM »

I went into winter with 26 field colonies and 32 nucs in 5 frame boxes.  The field colonies are in a mix of deep and medium 10 frame boxes and most of the nucs are in two boxes, all have screened bottom boards.  2 nucs and 1 field colony have gone queenless and have been taken out of service.  They will be remade in April.  All the others are in good condition.  The bees are Minnesota Hygenics and Russians.  The bees are in full sun and have reasonable protection from the wind, no upper ventilation is used.  Entrances on hives and nucs are 3/8 in. high by 2 in. long.  Hive stands have legs 12 inches high and the grass is short so I have not had mouse problems.

Our winters are mild compared to the northern states.  We seldom go longer than 2 or 3 weeks without a day that the bees can fly to take a dump and our temps seldom go below the teens.  This year we did see some days with below 0 for the night time temps.
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phill
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« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2011, 09:06:47 AM »

I had 2 hives going into the winter.

1 was a 1st-year colony from a package. (Actually 2 packages, since one had lost a queen and I combined.) It was a bit light, and I considered combining again before winter. Wish I had; it was dead early in January.

The other was a strong 2nd-year colony with lots of stores. Still looked strong on New Year's day: the last time it was warm enough for a peak. By the end of January it was gone. Adequate stores still left, but they froze in a cluster a few inches away. Bummer.

Starting again this year. Switching from Italians to Italian/Carny mix. Planning more insulation around hives and more pre-winter feeding.
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wadehump
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« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2011, 10:51:31 AM »

entered winter with 7 hives  6 of these hives are cut outs 1 is a swarm. 2 of the cut outs were done early to mid sept. due to downed trees from storms. 1 of the cut outs is entering its 3rd year for me.didnt have a lot of hope for the late cutouts but i did get a lot of honey from them when cutting out that was fed back to them. on 3-12-11 i did a full inspection on these hives im still 7 for 7  all 7 have some brood started. pollen is being brought in on good flying days. overall stores are good to very good considering the winter we have had i will be putting supers on soon if not sooner. did notice that the darker colured bees have less population and more stores than the light colured bees all of these bees are on there cutout combs or foundation starter strips. no treatment at all on these hives. Smiley
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skflyfish
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« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2011, 11:47:30 AM »

to bottomless hives,

Brian, could you please explain a bottomless hive? Thx.
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The Bix
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« Reply #36 on: March 13, 2011, 01:32:44 PM »

Did my first inspections this year.  Lost two hives out of twelve.  1 due to starvation, 1 due to a failed queen.  This queen was from 2009, she still seemed to be a decent enough performer last summer, but didn't survive.  I thought I should have replaced her, but I had three other queenless hives in the fall and I allowed myself to get completely distracted on those.  I got them all queen right, and hoped that the old queen would hang in there.  Alas, it was not to be.  That's the last time I make that mistake.  New queens in the fall, every hive.  Of the two that I lost, one was a screened bottom board (failed queen) and the other was a solid bottom board.  I don't wrap my hives.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #37 on: March 13, 2011, 09:39:32 PM »

to bottomless hives,

Brian, could you please explain a bottomless hive? Thx.

                                                                                                                                                                 X          X                   
Picture 2 4X4s cut to 20 inches spaced the width of the hive apart (14 inches for 8 frame, 16 3/4 for 10 frame) thusly : X          X with the brood box place directly on the 4X4s, no bottom, although I do use a slatted rack of my own design. The bees can enter from eith the front or back of the hive and cleaning the dead bees out after a long winter is as simple as pushing a shovel or broom through the open space to level or push away the pile of bees.  I also recommend using a veneer or light plywood on the bottom of the 4X4s to prevent grass and weed and even small brush from growing up into the hive.
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Ollie
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« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2011, 06:53:59 PM »

Well this is quite a lot of responses to sift through.
Top entrances seem to make a huge difference, open bottom or screened or solid do not seem to be much of a factor in the bee's survival.
Light hives going into winter die off easily.



BTW all my hives were at least two years old, one was a split from a three year old, both the original and the split made it.

Thank you to all who posted.
O
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caticind
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« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2011, 10:59:20 AM »

Central NC, 2 for 2.

Both are first-year hives split from the same package. 

One is in a Lang, single 10-frame deep, screened BB open with telescoping top.  This hive was weaker going into the winter, and is slower to build up.  They replaced their queen at least once last fall, and got some very interesting genetics.  The workers have longer-than-average abdomens, and are darker, some almost black.  They also have very dense fuzz around the eyes, making their eyes look smaller.  Clearly there were a couple of feral drones in the mix.  That may be the reason why they have been slow to start rearing brood.  We'll see how they do once the flow really kicks in.

The other was split off the first colony in late June last year.  In a long hive (takes 33 deep lang frames, migratory tops, 3 1" entrance holes, bottom screened with 1/8" mesh), bottom left open except for a couple of nights during a windstorm at 17 degrees, when I put our homemade "mite board" in to reduce wind blowing up into hive.  This colony went into winter with less than 20 frames bees and honey together, with a follower board used to insulate the used from the empty section of the hive.  They have the original Italian queen from the package (although right before cluster I spotted two mated queens in this hive, so I don't know whether I now have the mother, daughter or both).  This hive is BOOMING, incredibly healthy.  Went from 2 frames of brood to 8 in a month, and now they draw a new foundationless frame every 3 days.  We are just trying to keep ahead of them and getting ready to split next month.

I've heard that long hives are swarm-prone, and we are definitely going to find out.
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
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