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Author Topic: WINTERING BEES..NEW  (Read 1103 times)

Offline silkiechick

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WINTERING BEES..NEW
« on: February 20, 2007, 02:24:58 PM »
  I am quite new to beekeeping and must have done something terribly wrong.  I checked my bees this morning and found the entire hive had died.  Would they have frozen?  There was still honey in the hive and still some bees in combs that I left alone.  There didn't seem to be many bees in total.  I bought my hive from a gentleman last spring and they seemed to multiply most of the summer but it didn't seem there was much honey.  Could there just have not been enough bees to survive the winter?  There was activity last month when the temps got above 50, would they have left then?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 01:02:55 PM by silkiechick »

Offline Robo

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Re: WINTERING BEES..NEW
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2007, 03:41:59 PM »
Did you do any type of treatment for varroa? Do you see dead varroa on the bottom board?
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Online kathyp

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Re: WINTERING BEES..NEW
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2007, 04:34:17 PM »
how far into the hive did you get?  maybe they are down deeper and you didn't see them?  i know i have opened mine and it looked empty from the top, but they were in there.

.....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.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline silkiechick

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Re: WINTERING BEES..NEW
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2007, 05:10:32 PM »
I got all the way into the hive, the dead ones were at the bottom and a few clustered in the center frames.  No, I didn't treat for anything, they hadn't showed any signs of disease and there wasn't any signs today either, just dead bees.  The temps here have been crazy, it went from the mid 60's to the teens overnight, and windchills have been terrible.  I emptied the dead ones out and put everything back like it was.  Didn't really know what else to do.  Any suggestions would help.  Thanks!

Online kathyp

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Re: WINTERING BEES..NEW
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2007, 06:07:40 PM »
i had the same problem with temps this year.  big swings in short periods of time.  there are others with more experience that can probably give you better ideas, but one question comes to my mind.  are the stores of honey in your hive near the cluster?

i had to move mine in toward the middle some.  there was plenty of honey in the outside frames, but they were not moving to get at it.

a couple of other things i did:  my hives face east, but we had very strong, cold east winds.  i closed the hive entrance down to just a very small hole.  i left the 1 in vent hole in the top, back, open.  when the temp dropped into the teens, i wrapped cardboard around the windward side temporarily.

i have treated with terramycin and will treat for mites as soon as the weather warms.  even though our weather now is not great, i have put pollen patty on hive.  we are getting enough warm days for bees to be coming out a few times a week,  but nothing blooming yet.
.....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.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline Kirk-o

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Re: WINTERING BEES..NEW
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2007, 06:46:42 PM »
It is hard to say don't give up get some more bees
kirk-o
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Offline pdmattox

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Re: WINTERING BEES..NEW
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2007, 07:48:27 PM »
My guess is they did'nt have enough bees to survive the cold spell.  Also as kathy said about the eratic temps this winter is hard on the bees.   Varroa could also be a factor or part of a combination of things.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: WINTERING BEES..NEW
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2007, 08:32:01 PM »
I've seen bees survive -40 F.  But the sudden changes are hard on them.  I lost quite few that were trying to rear brood this last winter when it had stayed in the 50s F up until Christmas.  Then it plunged to -12 F and the ones with brood perished because they wouldn't leave the brood to get to stores.

Another possibility is Varroa mites.  You won't see them unless you check the bottom board for them.  They are small and difficult to see until you know what they look like:

http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm#varroa
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Varroa2.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Varroa3.jpg
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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