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Author Topic: My bees are dead...  (Read 884 times)
tomofreno
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« on: March 05, 2013, 02:14:22 PM »

Looks like my bees are dead. Sad  We had some cold spells this winter.  One lasted about a week and a half with lows around 4 to 5 F and highs in the high teens to low 20’s F in December.  I have a TBH so no good way I know of to top feed.  I didn’t think adding syrup would do much good if it was too cold for them to move to it, and I didn’t want to open the hive in that cold weather anyway, so just waited.
 
We finally got some days with temp’s in the high 50’s F in late January and on each one I anxiously checked for signs of bees making cleansing flights… but not a bee in sight.  On a couple different warm days I went out and rapped hard on the hive… nothing.  They are dead.  darn, they looked strong last fall, had comb on about 26 bars…
 
It is warm today, so I decided I should clean out the dead bees so they wouldn’t mold.  I removed the lid and lifted some top bars near the back…wait!  Is that buzzing?!  It is, isn’t it?! Aww, I’m just hearing things…then some bees flew out from the combs into the back of the hive, they are alive!!!!!  I quickly replaced the top bars and went to the house to get some sugar.  I dumped about 4 cups in on the floor of the hive and closed it back up.  I don’t know if it will do any good, but felt nothing to lose doing it, and it was windy today so I didn’t want to open it later to give them sugar syrup.  Bad weather is forecast for the next few days, but then we get another spate of warm weather.  I’ll give them a couple qts of syrup then.
 
Boy, those top bars were sure in there tight, must have swelled with the moisture this winter.  I wonder why the bees haven’t been making cleansing flights?  Light bulb!  I bet the hive entrance is closed off due to swelling of the top bars.  I re-opened it and sure enough, only about 1/8 inch clearance at the front.  So I removed a narrower “spacer bar” I had at the back and started prying and sliding all the bars back.  Bees pouring out now!  I got a half inch clearance at the front, then brushed off the bees and closed the hive up.  There’s lots of activity at the front entrance now! Those poor girls were probably about to burst!  I put a pail of water near the entrance with some landing blocks in it.  There seemed to be quite a bit of honey in the combs, so maybe I don’t need to feed, but can’t hurt, right?  I’ll add some spacer blocks at the front too, so the top bars can’t close off the entrance again.  Sure is good to see those girls flying again!
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ziffabeek
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 02:22:37 PM »

YAY!!!  what a happy ending to a dismally titled post!  So glad they are ok tomofreno.  Hope spring comes soon to you so you can relax.  But is sounds like they are going to be just fine.

Oh Happy Spring!

love,
ziffa
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Joe D
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 06:15:03 PM »

Glad it turned out OK for you and your bees.  Glad we don't have the real cold winters down here.  We may have a real cold winter with single digits once ever ten or so.  Good luck Tomofreno




Joe
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 01:03:04 AM »

As we say down here in Georgia, "Hallelujah"

Very glad all is well.

Good luck.

David
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"Give it All You've Got"
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Sunnyboy2
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 05:48:44 AM »

Thank you for the post. You give me hope for my TBH after a very cold winter.
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Rurification
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 07:15:57 AM »

Great news!    Thanks for describing what you found and what you did.  Very helpful.
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tomofreno
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2013, 11:31:09 PM »

Great news!    Thanks for describing what you found and what you did.  Very helpful.
I guess people figured it out, but my tbh has a top entrance - like Michael Bush describes on his tbhs.  That's why the bees couldn't get out when the front most top bar was almost against the front of the hive.  They could have gotten out if I had a bottom entrance.  Please don't take advice from me. I just started beekeeping last spring and have made one mistake after another.  I had gotten to the point that I thought it best to just let them alone since it seemed I screwed something up each time I opened the hive - including dropping a comb on the top bars once and breaking it.  What a mess, bees stuck in the spilled honey...  But I obviously should have gone in immediately on those warm days to determine why they weren't flying.  Slowly learning.
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kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2013, 01:40:43 PM »

hey, don't feel bad.  my mouse hive was the same way.  i didn't realize that there was a mouse nest blocking the entrance.  i figured the hive was dead and i'd get to it when i got to it.
took some syrup out to the other hives and just for kicks, popped the top on the "dead" hive.  they boiled out!! 

so...we all can miss things, or make assumptions, and be wrong!   Smiley

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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.....

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tomofreno
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2013, 12:35:01 PM »

That makes me feel a bit better.  Smiley I always feel bad that I made some incorrect assumption when in hindsight it seems so obvious that it was incorrect.  I lost one hive last summer due to realizing too late I had lost a queen, then coming up to speed too late on laying workers...NOW it seems I should have suspected the loss of the queen as activity at that hive tapered off, but I was clueless at the time.  My reading was lagging my real time experiences.  If this hive pulls through strong enough this spring, I plan to order a queen and do a split to re-populate the other hive.
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Bee Happy
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that's me - setting a phoenix free


« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2013, 12:04:43 AM »

so...we all can miss things, or make assumptions, and be wrong!   Smiley

I got a list.
I probably read 8 posts for every 1 I comment on anymore. (trying to move more that way in the rest of my life too.) If new ways to make mistakes had value, I'd have several patents already.
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be happy and make others happy.
ScottAz
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 02:12:19 PM »

I am so glad that your bees are okay! Good thing you thought to check the entrance. Great work!
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