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Author Topic: How Many Dead Bees Is Normal for Winter?  (Read 1698 times)
KONASDAD
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« on: February 07, 2007, 09:26:39 AM »

I have two hives and one is weak and has a mite issue. I'm concerned it wont make it to spring. Every two days or so I clean the bottom board w/ the entrance reducer and remove about a cup of dead bees. My other hive has only about a dozen dead soldiers or so. Is a cup of the dead  excesssive? I still hear the "hummmmm" inside both hives.(love that sound)
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Finsky
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2007, 09:54:17 AM »

Every two days or so I clean the bottom board w/ the entrance reducer and remove about a cup of dead bees.

That is far from normal. You should open the hive and look if they have food in frames.

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Mici
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2007, 10:21:16 AM »

doesn't the weather effect the ammount of dead bees? i see very little since they can fly almost every day-and clean the hive. the most i saw...maybe 3 on the bottom, they clean up to quickly. so...tell us, how's the weather?
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2007, 10:30:58 AM »

Every two days or so I clean the bottom board w/ the entrance reducer and remove about a cup of dead bees.

That is far from normal. You should open the hive and look if they have food in frames.


The hive still has weight, but they seem reluctant to go up and get stores. I am unaware if bthey have exhausted the bottom stores as its too cold to open up the hive this week.
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Finsky
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2007, 10:37:52 AM »


Yes, you have cold there. It is better stay away from hives and not disturb them
http://www.wunderground.com/US/NJ/Cherry_Hill.html


If bees back part is swollen it is nosema or food is fermented.

If dead bees are  1 cup per moth, it is normal. But if one hive gets nosema, it is normal too but a cup during 2 days is much.

It is difficult to do nothing in this case. Such happen. It is normal to me if I loose 20% of my hives during winter.  I keep 20% extra hives. That is my concept.  Still none of them die directly during winter or starve to death. Dwindling is usual.



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Trot
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2007, 11:03:03 AM »

It amazes me to no end, when I read, on all the different forums, how majority of beeks poke in and about their hives in winter?!
All I can say is: "Poor bees..."

Here a cardinal rule is being broken, much too often!  In winter, bees require/need total peace and quiet!
They are very attuned to vibrations!  Cleaning them out, every two days or so? Boy, with all that poking, they are surely to break cluster and try to investigate.
I have a feeling that a lot of beeks will even bang a bit more, just to see if any will come to the hole???
Look, I find no joy in telling grown-up-people, what to do in their own domain?! But, if one is accustomed to foolish behaviour, one should not be surprised if lees then perfect outcome is encountered- come Spring?!
Such behaviour hurts the bees more than one would think. Most, if not all inquisitive bees, which brake from the cluster are surely lost and cluster itself is every such time, under undue stress and danger of failure... Other negatives I won't even mention...

If beek was so (over) attentive the previous Fall - bees should be well provisioned!
With top entrance, they will do OK, even if bottom becomes plugged. In winter there is nothing one can do to save them, if proper wintering was not performed.
The best one can do - is to leave them alone!  Even walking about them, will disturb them, if such behaviour is not a normal occurrence. (Home yard - out yard!)

Now, this piece of advice is intended only to those with real winters and clustering bees!  Those lucky beeks in warmer regions, please disregard this. . . .

If one is concerned about them, grab a bee-book and brush up! Acquire some fresh knowledge! One needs to occasionally gain something, besides what some "tutor" may or may not tell...

Regards,
Trot
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2007, 11:38:49 AM »

My cleaning of bottom board takes about three seconds, involves no banging and is needed. I opened hive for about five seconds to inspect stores in top brood when it was about 50F and they were flying and gathering pollen about three weeks ago. I never broke the cluster. My hives seem to have plenty of stores. They got in trouble when I had 60F temps for over a two week period in early January. They began to raise brood, then mites and consume lots of food too. I want to save this hive(dont we all) and I am hoping someone can assist as opposed to complain/chastise. It is possible I have done nothing incorrectly and the hive may still die. Perhaps I did many things wrong and they will live. Thats why I am on this site to learn. I have done much reading and it helps, but it is no replacement for experienced eyes.

Presuming they may have exhausted their stores, do If eed a sugar board or the like?
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2007, 12:01:59 PM »

Here a cardinal rule is being broken, much too often!  In winter, bees require/need total peace and quiet!

That is waht they need. They do not need any cleaning.  They are alarmed for lightest disturb because they are ready to dfend their hive.

I have measure the theperure of alarmed hive. It is 42C! = 72F. Anmd it take a day to calm down to 23 C = 32F.

KONASDAD
Quote
My cleaning of bottom board takes about three seconds, involves no banging and is needed.

That cleaning is only harmfull. They need one cleaning after cleansing flight and I use to change the bottom and clean it with propan flame.

.
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Trot
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2007, 07:26:26 PM »

Quote
My cleaning of bottom board takes about three seconds, involves no banging and is needed. I opened hive for about five seconds to inspect stores in top brood when it was about 50F and they were flying. I never broke the cluster. My hives seem to have plenty of stores.

Exp.:
Sorry though, I do now realize that you did not break the cluster, nor did I imply anywhere that you did.
I simply stated that bees, if disturbed, will themselves break the cluster and go see/investigate...

Quote
I am hoping someone can assist as opposed to complain/chastise. It is possible I have done nothing incorrectly and the hive may still die. Perhaps I did many things wrong and they will live. That's why I am on this site to learn. I have done much reading and it helps, but it is no replacement for experienced eyes.
Presuming they may have exhausted their stores, do If eed a sugar board or the like?

Exp.:
Before I go any further, I must add that my post was not aimed at anyone in particular. It was just a general observation of things I note - here and elsewhere. I am sorry about you feeling chastised...
Since you have focused the attention on your predicament I might add that I find it hard to follow.
In general, I will in future refrain from posting! Cause I feel very inadequate and perhaps have no right to comment at all.  I do notice though, that newbies are the hardest to steer down the right road. Their knowledge and determination, as of late, is beyond what I can master from all my 52 years among bees.
In all fairness, I am not able to clean bottom board in three seconds, nor can I inspect a hive in five - not that I would in my wildest dreams  want to...
I will leave this chore to those who are more politically oriented and accustomed to constantly beat about the bushes...
I can only call it as I see it.

In all honesty? Why worry about breaking cluster at 50 -60 degrees? About food when they have it plenty of... Or occasional day when they don't fly? It is not like they will be confined in a box for weeks on end at minus 20 F ? Etc, etc...
About your other concerns? They have been answered... Lips Sealed Lips Sealed Lips Sealed

   

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Kirk-o
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2007, 09:45:25 PM »

I try not to worry about my bees I realised they are very smart.I learned to do less.Interested in those bugs wanted to do something with or for them.I read a article on Beesoruce by this guy named Simmon it helped me out then I kept reading this quote by Michael Bush" Everything works if you let it"
enjoy your beekeeping
kirk-o
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Cindi
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2007, 11:10:44 PM »

Oh brother, hmm.  Greatest of days.  Cindi
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kensfarm
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2007, 09:00:40 AM »

Did you try doing any feeding during the warm period..  I too noticed an increase mite counts during the warmer weather.. also some DWV too.  If it hits 50 degrees..  I try to do a powdered sugar treatment to help bring the mite counts down. 

I peek in the entrances when it's real cold.. if I see some dead bees..  I use a small stick to swipe them into my hand so I can look at them.. I don't see that they even notice. 

Hopefully we'll get some warmer days soon.. 
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John Quixote
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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2007, 11:42:56 AM »

I just got back from a visual check on my hives, and was surprised and concerned by what I saw.  Below are links and explanations of what I noticed. Any help or information you can give would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

John

(Sorry about not having links, I have been told by this forum's software that I can not yet post URL's or links as my count it too low.)

These links can be copied and pasted without any modification.

This is where my 2 hives have been all year:
sixblindsheep.com/unlinked/bees/DSCF3194.JPG

Those yellow specks radiate out from the hive for about 30 yards, there are also dead bees out that far:
sixblindsheep.com/unlinked/bees/DSCF3195.JPG

Front entrance to both hives:
sixblindsheep.com/unlinked/bees/DSCF3196.JPG

Hive on the left, I still hear humming inside when I lay my ear on the side:
sixblindsheep.com/unlinked/bees/DSCF3197.JPG

Hive on the right.  I don't hear anything from inside:
sixblindsheep.com/unlinked/bees/DSCF3199.JPG

Yellow specks in the snow, and dead bees:
sixblindsheep.com/unlinked/bees/DSCF3200.JPG

Close-up of yellow speck:
sixblindsheep.com/unlinked/bees/DSCF3202.JPG
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John Quixote
michelleb
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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2007, 12:46:17 PM »

John,

The yellow stuff is bee poop, and it's normal to see an apron of it for a distance in front of your hives in winter--most apparent when you have snow! Your bees have successfully made cleansing flights.

But looking at the photos--are your hives set directly on the ground, and is that rubber sheeting below them? Seems that that would cause the hives to sit in pooled rain and snowmelt.

Also, the pileup of dead bees on the landing board--perhaps the bees couldn't clear out their dead due to blockage by snow? Do you have any upper entrances available to them? When all the bees are shoved out at once, it can look alarming. I'm interested to hear what those with more experience have to say about the volume of carcasses.

To see that much bee poop on the front of the hives isn't abnormal. The pattern indicates that the bees are flying, which is a good sign.
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Pocket Meadow Farm
John Quixote
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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2007, 03:11:06 PM »

Michelleb,

Thanks for your response.

I'm glad to know that some of this stuff is normal.

That black plastic is not there to seal out the water, I over-lapped it a bit to allow water to flow out the bottom, and only prevent weeds from growing through.  I'll have to check it out though.  The gravel (about 2 inches of it) sits on top of the black plastic.

The left hive entrance was never blocked that I know of, even with the snow piled up this winter they had about an inch of access from the entrance up to the top of the snow.  The other hive on the right was blocked a while back, but I knew that they were alive 2 weeks ago when I saw that they had defended the hive from a raccoon (the raccoon didn't gain access to the hive, just scraped up the front a bit).
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John Quixote
thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2007, 04:01:28 PM »

I'm at the mouth of Parleys, and I see pretty much the same thing your seeing every winter.  I was concerned about the numbers of dead bees, thinking it indicated something wrong in the hive.  But they seem fine in the spring.  I've decided it's just the population is very large, they take their flights in marginal conditions, and don't make it back.  I've seen them out with temps in the 30's on a bright sunny day, and I'm sure the wings ice up and the engine conks out before they can get back.  Mine are all Italians, and they go into cluster with huge populations.  It's inevitable that there will be some die off in the winter.

I've been considering late summer splits because the populations are so large and my flows are pretty much over by August.  I believe I can split them onto drawn comb, and feed them up well enough to overwinter.  Maybe this year I'll be far enough ahead to do it instead of just consider it.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2007, 11:21:20 PM by thegolfpsycho » Logged
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