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Author Topic: Winter Feeding, One Hive Dead  (Read 838 times)
Steel Tiger
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« on: December 28, 2013, 05:09:28 PM »

 Today got to 45 degrees. After a week of 15 for a high and then plenty of snow, I figured it would be the best time to get some sugar out to the bees. I brought down 2 medium bodies, newspaper and 10 lbs of sugar.
 Getting down to the hives, there were several dead bees around one hive on the snow. If I had to guess, I would say they went for cleansing flights but didn't make it back. I opened that hive first and the cluster was right on top. I laid newspaper across the top (leaving an opening where the cluster was) and poured half the sugar, added the medium and closed them up.
 The second hive didn't fair so well. I took the top off and just saw frames full of honey and a couple dead bees. I pried the boc off and the cluster was in the brood box with no signs of life. There actually appeared to be two clusters. One in the center and one in a corner. I would guess that moisture got into the hive.
 I went ahead and reopened the first hive and added the rest of the sugar. The bees were already moving onto it.
 They're on their own again until March or April. Then I'll check the dead hive again to make sure they're really dead. If so, I'll move the all the honey over to the other hive.
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danno
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2013, 05:22:52 PM »

I colony at the very top with only 5 lbs of sugar and its not even Jan yet.   Sorry but I would worry.  I would see if there is any honey frames in the dead out.   Put them in the center of and add that box over the top of the live colony.   Raw sugar is a Feb maybe Mar emergency fix.   Winter just started a week ago
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10framer
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2013, 08:20:10 PM »

all those dead bees could be the result of the bees doing some housekeeping while they were able to break the cluster.
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2013, 08:41:59 PM »

all those dead bees could be the result of the bees doing some housekeeping while they were able to break the cluster.
The bees were clustered between the frames in the brood box. I thought of the possibility that there may be another cluster beneath which is why I choose to leave the full box of honey on until March. If there is a cluster beneath, they should move up by March. If there's no sign of alive bees by then, the other hive will get the honey.
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2013, 08:52:00 PM »

I colony at the very top with only 5 lbs of sugar and its not even Jan yet.   Sorry but I would worry.  I would see if there is any honey frames in the dead out.   Put them in the center of and add that box over the top of the live colony.   Raw sugar is a Feb maybe Mar emergency fix.   Winter just started a week ago
Each hive had a medium full of honey. The last time I looked inside, the surviving hive were in the top box and the "dead" hive were clustered in the brood box.
 The bees that are alive was given 10 lbs of sugar. I may take a quick peek on a warm day in a month or so to see if they need more. I left the honey on the other hive just in case there were a live cluster of bees that I didn't see. I didn't pull frames and couldn't see very far down between them. Even though I'm sure it's a dead hive, I see no reason to insure it by pulling frames and breaking any cluster that may be.
 I won't even be peeking into that hive until at least March. If there's no signs of life, I'll move the honey.
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danno
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2013, 09:16:58 PM »

go to the drug store and for about 20.00 buy a stethoscope.  listen for the hum.  If you don't hear it give the hive a little tap.   If they are alive they will tell you without lifting the lid
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Jim 134
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2013, 09:18:40 PM »

 th_thumbsupup



               BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2013, 09:51:56 PM »

go to the drug store and for about 20.00 buy a stethoscope.  listen for the hum.  If you don't hear it give the hive a little tap.   If they are alive they will tell you without lifting the lid
Sounds like a great plan. I've tried tapping with my ear against it but couldn't hear anything in either hive.
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Joe D
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2013, 09:56:49 PM »

I'm with Danno, get the stethscope, see if there are any bees in the possibly dead hive.  If they are dead then put the honey on the other hive under the sugar.  Good luck to you and your bees.

Down here we get 2 extractions a year, this year when it was time for the first my bees had very little honey, so I left it.  When it got close to the latter extraction time, the supers had honey but the brood chambers had very little, so I left it.  Was going the check again during or after golden rod flow, weather changed and I haven't got to check it so they have all that they have made this year.  Some had two medium ten frame supers on.



Joe
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2013, 10:15:41 PM »

I'm with Danno, get the stethscope, see if there are any bees in the possibly dead hive.  If they are dead then put the honey on the other hive under the sugar.  Good luck to you and your bees.

Down here we get 2 extractions a year, this year when it was time for the first my bees had very little honey, so I left it.  When it got close to the latter extraction time, the supers had honey but the brood chambers had very little, so I left it.  Was going the check again during or after golden rod flow, weather changed and I haven't got to check it so they have all that they have made this year.  Some had two medium ten frame supers on.



Joe
I pulled no honey from either hive. They used a lot of resources building this first year. I now have about 80 frames with either fully drawn comb or partially drawn that were placed in the freezer for a few days and are now in a safe place. They'll be set for next season.
 As of right now, each of the hives consist of one deep and one medium. I was planning on getting rid of the deeps in the spring, but now I may go ahead and use them for a single hive and have all mediums for the rest. That'll give me an extra unplanned hive.
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Joe D
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2013, 10:28:03 PM »

It has been a bad year for a good many of us, maybee it will bee better next year.  I didn't mean to offend you if I did.  Hope your bees make it Steel Tiger.  I would use it some how,and before I got rid of the deep I would cut it down to a med.  Good luck




Joe
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MsCarol
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2013, 09:44:17 AM »

go to the drug store and for about 20.00 buy a stethoscope.  listen for the hum.  If you don't hear it give the hive a little tap.   If they are alive they will tell you without lifting the lid

I was wondering if any beeks used a stethoscope. I thoroughly enjoy pressing my ear to the side of the hive and listen to all the odd noises. They do make a few.  Wink But it is a rather awkward position and the idea of a stethoscope came to me. Used to have one in my vet box, but I think it finally fell apart. Time to replace it.

Along that same thread, has anyone used one of those camera thingies they sell for inspections on engines and the like? To peer in and see what is going on without moving anything? Or maybe slipped down between the frames??

Fingers crossed, Steel Tiger that the girls make it through. This is my first winter and I am fussing like an old hen. My hives are set where I pass by every day. With our crazy weather, the girls are often out and flying.....and still bringing in pollen from somewhere.
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derekm
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2013, 06:23:01 PM »

Today got to 45 degrees. After a week of 15 for a high and then plenty of snow, I figured it would be the best time to get some sugar out to the bees. I brought down 2 medium bodies, newspaper and 10 lbs of sugar.
 Getting down to the hives, there were several dead bees around one hive on the snow. If I had to guess, I would say they went for cleansing flights but didn't make it back. I opened that hive first and the cluster was right on top. I laid newspaper across the top (leaving an opening where the cluster was) and poured half the sugar, added the medium and closed them up.
 The second hive didn't fair so well. I took the top off and just saw frames full of honey and a couple dead bees. I pried the boc off and the cluster was in the brood box with no signs of life. There actually appeared to be two clusters. One in the center and one in a corner. I would guess that moisture got into the hive.
 I went ahead and reopened the first hive and added the rest of the sugar. The bees were already moving onto it.
 They're on their own again until March or April. Then I'll check the dead hive again to make sure they're really dead. If so, I'll move the all the honey over to the other hive.
wood or poly? Top or bottom entrance?
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
Steel Tiger
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2013, 07:57:57 PM »

wood or poly? Top or bottom entrance?
Both hives are wood. Bottom entrances are closed up and each has a couple 1/2 inch holes in the top box.
 The hive that died actually had a far larger cluster going into winter than the surviving hive. That hive also is what I called the "weak hive". It took them much longer to start building comb when I got them.  They were a month or so behind the other hive as far a comb building and population growth. I gave them several frames of honey from the other hive in order to completely fill their box.
 Maybe it was bad genetics.
 I'm almost set for spring. I'll split my survivors into the dead hive, after I clean it out. Plus I have 8 more hives ready to go out as soon as I build or buy the rest of the frames.
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derekm
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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2013, 08:08:35 AM »

wood or poly? Top or bottom entrance?
Both hives are wood. Bottom entrances are closed up and each has a couple 1/2 inch holes in the top box.
 The hive that died actually had a far larger cluster going into winter than the surviving hive. That hive also is what I called the "weak hive". It took them much longer to start building comb when I got them.  They were a month or so behind the other hive as far a comb building and population growth. I gave them several frames of honey from the other hive in order to completely fill their box.
 Maybe it was bad genetics.
 I'm almost set for spring. I'll split my survivors into the dead hive, after I clean it out. Plus I have 8 more hives ready to go out as soon as I build or buy the rest of the frames.
next year put on 18" high  hive stands to keep out of snow, close top vent/entrance, open bottom entrance, insulate with 3" styrofoam.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
danno
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« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2013, 08:34:45 AM »

I overwinter about 70 colonies in Michigan each year.  My hives are all on pallets so about 5 inches off the ground. They all have 2 1/2 X 3/4 bottom entrances with mouse guards and 1 1/2 X 3/8 top entrances.   Most are double deeps but there are a few single deeps.   In Oct I add a 1 1/2" spacer on top.   This gives the bees time to glue it down.  Then mid Nov I add candy boards.   I ideally the cluster will be at the bottom center of the bottom deep.  These colonies spend the whole winter slowly eating there way to the top and just in case they get there early they have candy boards to hold them over.  Some colonies as I said earlier start to high, leaving many pounds of honey below and on the sides of the cluster.  They seldom reposition to take advantage of this food.   They simply get to the under side of the cover and starve within a couple of days.   In my colonies they at least have a fighting chance with the candy.  Where I have a problem up here is with snow fall that keeps me from checking on them a couple of times over winter.   the ones that are at or near the top will need a few more boards to last another 2 to 3 months
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sterling
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« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2013, 10:22:03 AM »

Do you put the candy boards directly on the top of the frames?
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danno
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« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2013, 12:16:04 PM »

Do you put the candy boards directly on the top of the frames?
Yes.   I set them right on top.   If the bee's are already up there I set them down gently on them I use Robo's recipe of 2 quarts water, six tablespoons vinigar and 25#s of sugar heated to 270F and poured  into dollar store foil pie tins.  I make them about 1" thick and they each get 2.   
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2013, 03:58:20 PM »

next year put on 18" high  hive stands to keep out of snow, close top vent/entrance, open bottom entrance, insulate with 3" styrofoam.
The hives are 12" off the ground. Some of the changes I'll be making this year are:
1- instead of tilting the entire stand, I'll level them and put a piece of wood beneath the rear of the hives to tilt them forward.
2- getting rid of the SBB. We only get a few weeks of 90 degree+ temps. The field they're in stays damp all year. Although the bees were able to cap honey, I believe it would be easier on them without the moisture coming up through the screen.
3- moving them to the east side of a hill/ stone wall. The area still gets afternoon and evening sun but should give them much better protection from the wind.
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