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Author Topic: winter deadout obvious...yes?  (Read 919 times)
windfall
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« on: January 23, 2012, 12:45:24 PM »

I have 2- 5 frame nucs I was trying to over winter.

Today it reached 43F. So I popped the inner cover on one....nothing moving, nothing to hear. Went to the other and got the same result. Even when I gently dig down a little into the cluster.

Now I assume these are history. But I am new and have no experience with winter clusters, but I have read about folks saying don't clean them up until they are "warm and dead".

I assume this is for full sized hives, with large clusters and lots of room to "hide"? I am pretty anxious to clean these up, see what I can learn and save out the combs. But I don't want to let my assumptions and impatience make me do dumb......

In the meantime, I think I need to read up on Postmortems Sad
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greenbtree
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2012, 10:29:59 AM »

I wouldn't do anything yet, they probably are dead, but as long as you have mouse guards on and the temps are cold, nothing really bad will happen in there, I would think.  40s are a bit cold to do more than a peek and close right up inspection - even then best to leave them alone.  Did they have stores left?  Start hefting hives from the back to start getting the feel for what a hive with stores left and a hive with nothing left feels like.  As long as they have stores there isn't really anything you can do for them anyway.

JC
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BlueBee
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 10:49:15 AM »

They’re probably dead, but to be sure you can bring them into a heated garage/workshop to verify.  If they are alive, they’ll revive in the heat.  If they are dead, they won’t. 

If there a numerous bees with their heads buried into cells, they probably starved.  Check the bottom board for signs of varroa.

I cleaned out my deadout nuc yesterday.  Easy to do if you have a heated area and a light colony like a nuc.  Dead bees and mold just get worse as the weather warms.
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windfall
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 01:23:01 PM »

Another 40+ day and I just found one of my full hives in the same state more or less....although these all seem to be spread out and not so much in a "cluster". This one had lots of bees head first in cells...and lots of stores.
Again I was just looking down from above, had not dug in.

Does a cold still cluster every really fire back up? I did not think bees were capable of true deep torpor? I had thought that at least the core of the cluster had to stay warm.

I want to open them up mostly out of curiosity. But also, this drops me to 3 living (maybe). At some point I need to know if I should be chasing fresh bees for the spring.

I will pull at least the nucs into the shop. I suspect I will be back soon with lots of pictures and a few questions
thanks
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backyard warrior
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 02:11:56 PM »

Greeting Windfall i just got done looking in my inner covers today I looked at 10 hives and two nucs they are all alive and well.  I had to give them some more fondant.  I put my fondant on the inner cover the food was eatin immediately over the inner cover hole so i moved the bag so they had direct contact with the food. Its very important to make sure your bees dont have to travel far to get to the stores.   Id say if there is no noise or movement they are dead.  I wrap my hives with insulation and tar paper?? I havent lost a hive yet luck or am i on something i dont know we will see in spring.  Chris
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Vance G
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2012, 03:59:41 PM »

The ones taht aren't flying when all the others are---are usually dead!  Clean them out and put the dead bees on the garden, they are excellent fertilizer.  If you have sealed brood, look to see if any of it is perforated and if it is stick a toothpick in to see if it's ropey.  If neither apply, after shaking or carefully brushing off all the bees that are going to turn into a moldy gob on your frames, stack it up tight to keep vermin and bees out.  Look on the bottom board and see how many dead mites are in the debris.  They may have been the problem!  If there are good frames of honey and pollen, separate them for use on the nucs your going to order or to feed your survivors in the spring.   Cleaning out deadouts is always a troublesome job,  as you say, you need to know where you are at to plan your bee order.   Think local wintered nucs if you can find them and make a plan to control mites.
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windfall
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2012, 05:31:39 PM »

Local wintered nucs....that was the idea!

I just cleaned them up. I assume they just froze out, lots of stores right next to bees with thier heads in the cell...I mean right next to, as in the adjacent cell (sometimes). We have had some hard cold, but these guys were in some very insulated nucs...guess it didn't help.

One of them I know had some varroa issues in fall. at one point they cast out a half cup of larva and DWV bees. But even in that nuc I could still count the varroa on the bottom...certainly not hundreds and hundreds. It kind of looked like that nuc went in stages. There was a small dead cluster in the frames, under that a big pile of dead bees with capping wax on them, and under those a number of loose partial pupated bees.
This nuc also had some eggs, but no brood. There are maybe 4-5 brown streaks inside, but I assume nosema is massive streaking?

The other had a larger cluster still in the frames and many fewer on the hive floor. Some mites but fewer than nuc 1. No streaking. Again, lots of stores. Lots of bees with head in comb. Neither Nuc had much pollen, just small patches of cells here and there. Both had very minor condensation...realy just some light frost in the corners.

Both were started from swarms in the beginning of July.

I guess I will tackle the full hive tomorrow and see what went on there

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wildbeekeeper
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2012, 08:32:05 PM »

whats your definition of a large cluster and small cluster?  1 frame?  three frames?  or just a small and large circle on 1 frame or two?  they may have just had too small of a cluster to maintain enough heat...
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BlueBee
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2012, 08:53:14 PM »

I just cleaned them up. I assume they just froze out, lots of stores right next to bees with thier heads in the cell...I mean right next to, as in the adjacent cell (sometimes). We have had some hard cold, but these guys were in some very insulated nucs...guess it didn't help.

Same thing in my super insulated dead out.  I will have to admit I am a bit puzzled by that. huh
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windfall
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2012, 09:09:17 PM »

Wildbeekeeper, I suspect you have it.

I don't really have the experience to categorize cluster size. Both Nucs seemed to have clusters about the size of a soft ball or perhaps 50% larger than that...judging from what was left in the frames. I don't know how to add/account for the pile of dead under the cluster....maybe 1/2-1/3 the total number of bees? I really don't know what the cluster should size at for a 5 frame nuc this time of year in VT. Believe me I will be asking around.

In one nuc the cluster spanned all five frames but only along the top front of each. In the other they were on 3 frames in the top middle.
I took a bunch of pics which I hope to get up when I have some time so folks can give me some feedback without my "filter" of what I saw. I simply have to find a local mentor to help me understand what I see better.

Bluebee, I was going to put some pics and info on the Styrofoam nuc thread. It could be that somehow they were responsible/contributed. I have a couple ideas I want think through first, and compare the nucs to what I see in the full size hive. But the bouncing temps we have had may come into play somehow?
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backyard warrior
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2012, 10:38:01 PM »

Hey guys i have two nucs in styro foam and they were late summer splits so far so good.  I think its more of a mite or pathogen like noseman or k wing virus something like that kinda issue that the bees die overwinter then it being a heat thing.  Just my 2 cents. 
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