Inspected the hives on the first warm day and found that the hive didn't make it through the winter. I found very little honey stores and pollen, also found bees head first in the comb.The hives had one main cluster in the center of the hive with dead bee on bottom board. I put mite strips in the hive as directed and fuma-B with and fullframe feeder there was still 3/4 full.I didn't cover the hives I don't have a mentor but very willing for suggestion I don't know if It was the harsh winter we had or I didn't winter the hives right? Did I take too much honey? I left them with two deep supers that felt very heavy in the fall.
>I found very little honey stores and pollen, also found bees head first in the comb.
I didn't get to see if there were mites on the bottom board with the dead bees, and they are so small you won't see them if you don't know what to look for, but it sounds like starvation. If you have a really long cold spell they can starve even with quite a bit of food in the hive, and you had very little. Usually you'll have lots of honey and pollen left in the spring. I always seem to find bees head first in the comb even if it's mites.
>I put mite strips in the hive as directed
So did I, but the mites killed mine.
>and fuma-B with and fullframe feeder there was still 3/4 full.
They still don't take anything from the feeder unless the weather warms for a while.
>I didn't cover the hives
I have never wrapped mine, but there does seem to be a consensous that this is good idea in the northern climates.
>I don't have a mentor but very willing for suggestion I don't know if It was the harsh winter we had or I didn't winter the hives right?
Probably mostly the harsh winter.
>Did I take too much honey? I left them with two deep supers that felt very heavy in the fall.
I usually winter with just that, two deeps that are pretty heavy with honey, but maybe it was a longer harsher winter than most. Maybe you should plan on running three deeps for your brood chamber and leave them all of that for the winer. Of course three deeps is really heavy to handle. I think I'd go for four or five mediums myself. Either would give you an unlimited brood nest and more overwintering stores. How was the hive sealed up? Maybe it was too drafty and they burned more honey staying warm? Do you have a screened bottom board? Was it open or closed all winter? I would close it off.
I just got back from inspecting an apiary for a farmer who lost contact with the beekeeper. Story is that he had ms and nobody can reach him, even his friends.
When they called and said that the last time they saw him was jul/aug timeframe, I was expecting to find alot of dead hives. Especially since no gaurds or winter prep was done.
Here is what I found. 2 hives dead with mice. 2 hives completely devestated by wax moths. And the real shock, 14 great looking hives.
In this area, its the best I have heard of. Amazing that these bees still had as many as 2 hive bodies and 3 to 4 honey supers still in place. No queen excluders. Some were just sitting on the ground. No top entrances. And we had as much as two feet of snow on the ground at times.
I wonder how many would of been alive if strips and human intervention was more. I'm still scratching my head.
I'm going back next week to work the bees, and you bet some splits will take place. They sound like survivors.
IMHO most bees' biggest obstacle is the beekeeper. Bees do pretty well on their own. There are a lot of people who seem to think bees require a lot of intervention. Actually if they are doing well, I think you should let them do well.
"Everything works if you let it" (sign over the door of Art Carney's workshop in Roadie and quoted by Meat Loaf mutiple times during the movie)
This winter was hard on the bees, the combination of the early cold weather and the fact it hung tight till recently took it's toll.
If you are looking for help or ideas, there are a few beekeeping clubs. In the Eastern Upstate area, The Southern Adirondack Beekeepers and the Ctaskill Mountain Beekeepers are two.