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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Bowling Green, KY USA
    Posts
    52
    I went out to check my bees today - we have had single digit temperature and have 5 inches of snow on the ground now for the last three days. When I press my ear against the hive there was a solid buzzing from inside the upper box. In the last two weeks the hive has lost about 5-7 lbs. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that next week will bring a warm day or two that will melt the snow and allow for a clensing flight or two.

    Martin
    Bowling Green, KY

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,553

    Post

    The other thing the bees do when it warms up is rearrange the stores. So they don't starve with honey still in the hive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Huntington, WV
    Posts
    24

    Post

    This is my first winter with my bees. I checked them two weeks ago and noticed about a handful of dead bees on the screened bottom board. I didn't open the hive nor did I listen for a "buzz"; I hope to hear them tomorrow. It has been very cold here in Huntington WV these past days. I'll keep my fingers crossed; it's supposed to warm to @50 this week. Hope I did things right!

    Sean

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
    Posts
    261

    Thumbs down

    Hi,

    I checked my bees today and it was a sad sight: all dead. It has been extremely cold for the past 10 days or so. There where some stores unused (20-30lbs of honey I guess, and a bunch of pollen in the bottom box - I had only 2 large boxes). I was surprised to see quite few bees in the hive, only a couple of thousand at the most. Many of them where dead inside cells buts pointing out, and some where dead heads pointing out. SO the queen had been laying some eggs.
    There where some Varroa on the bottom board but not large quantities. So, I have a few questions for those experienced. This was the only hive (good thing I did not start with many, I guess) I had and this is my first winter:
    1) How does one save the frames with pollen and honey in them for the speing when I get new bees? I am concerned about the buildup of fungus all over (I sow some cells fungied up)
    2) Some of the cells where filled with uncapped honey and some with nectar. I shook down some of the nectar but I am thinking of spinning the frames to get rid of most of it before storing them. DO i need to?
    3) When I get new bee packages in April, I was thinking on starting them right away on 4.9mm foundation. Should I use those frames with pollen and honey (and melt the other ones)? Perhaps just the ones with pollen and feed them nectar to start, and replace those frames with 4.9 ones as they get used up?
    Thanks for any suggestions.

    jorge

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,553

    Post

    Part of the dilemma of what to do is tied to not knowing what killed the bees. My guess is mites. Varroa and Tracheal would be my first guess. If it's mites, then the mites are all dead too. There is the possibility of other things, and if it’s something that the next batch of bees will catch.

    Assuming we have decided it’s mites, then I would go ahead and extract all the honey. The combs that are full of dead bees are probably not worth messing with but you can melt them down and strain out the dead bees. I’ve tried pulling them out when they are like that and it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

    If you have fully drawn clean comb (meaning it’s not full of dead bees in the cells) and you weren’t going to go to 4.9mm I’d use it in the brood chamber so the queen would have somewhere to lay right away.

    Since you want to regress anyway, I’d just use the 4.9mm foundation for your package and render the rest of it as honey and wax.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    medesto,indiana,usa
    Posts
    257

    Post

    Jorge Sorry about your hive It sounds like they starved to death becaused maybe the cold forced them to stay on that frame or the queen started laying too early and had too big a brood nest.Or it could be mites.You can store the frames then start your bees on small cells then let them rob the honey from the big cell frames.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Hi Michael & Franc,

    Thanks for the tips. I am still not decided if I should render the comb and start from scratch, or reuse the comb to help a new hive get started. If I were to do this, what is the best way to keep the frames that have pollen and honey in them and prevent mold from destroying them?

    Thanks again,

    Jorge

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,553

    Post

    I would salvage it if you weren't regressing. But if you're regressing, what's the point?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    mn, wi, tx
    Posts
    174

    Post

    just brush off the dead bees that you can with a soft bristled bee brush and store the comb with capped honey and pollen in a cool dry place. Then use it in the spring. The new bees will clean out most of the dead bees that have their heads stuck in the comb. The honey and pollen will be just fine until you put in a package, and will help the new package get started. Cleanup is something bees are much better at than you or I, so let them get the dead bees out of the comb. If you try you will destroy the comb, if you let them everything will turn out beautiful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
    Posts
    261

    Lightbulb

    Thanks beeman!
    Michael, couldn't the following bee done. When starting the package, place 6 frames with 4.9 cfoundtion at the center and flank them with large size comb containing the pollen and honey. I assume the bees will use up the pollen & honey from these 4 frames quickly. Then replace those with 4.9 mm foundation. Will the bees get confused. My thinking is that, since the bees tend to build small size cells mostly at the center of the nest, the periphery does not matter as much anyway. Am I make to much of a deal of a couple of frames worth of pollen? I would tend to think that the bees would benefit.

    Just a thought.

    Jorge

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi Jorge,

    Michael, couldn't the following bee done. When starting the package, place 6 frames with 4.9 cfoundtion at the center and flank them with large size comb containing the pollen and honey. I assume the bees will use up the pollen & honey from these 4 frames quickly. Then replace those with 4.9 mm foundation. Will the bees get confused. My thinking is that, since the bees tend to build small size cells mostly at the center of the nest, the periphery does not matter as much anyway. Am I make to much of a deal of a couple of frames worth of pollen? I would tend to think that the bees would benefit.

    reply:

    You could do this. I have seen some (not all) colonies take to the frames on the sides and clean up and start work there (Brooding). I discontinued this quickly. Wouldn't it be easier to just give the bees a division board of feed or other feeding method and get the frames ready with 4.9 and ready to roll? Even without those frames the bees will collect pollen quickly. I'd make a clean break, actually I did. Don't forget the queen includer when shaking bees down, trust me I have learned the hard way.

    Clay


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,553

    Post

    Bees will do what they want, of course and we are trying to predict.

    I agree with everyone really. If you want to regress, I agree with Clay. Just make a clean break and do it. They will be fine and life will be simple. If you really want to use the frames, you can try, but the queen is going to start laying in any empty cell she can find and that will include the ones you gave them which are large cells. You already have a shakdown with a package. Why not use it to your advantage?

    If you weren't regressing, I agree the bees will clean it up and use it, so why not give it back to them. But you are regressing.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Clay,

    you say not to forget the queen includer. Since I lost my only hive and will start again from packages (and I guess as recommended with new 4.9mm foundation all over), why do I need an includer?

    Jorge

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,553

    Post

    >you say not to forget the queen includer. Since I lost my only hive and will start again from packages (and I guess as recommended with new 4.9mm foundation all over), why do I need an includer?


    Clay was refering to shake downs. When you shake down a hive, you take away all of their comb and they sometimes try to abscond (run away from home). If you put a queen excluder on the bottom then the queen can't leave and they can't abscond (at least not with the queen). If you're starting from a package it probably won't matter. I have had a package abscond once. I think it moved into the hive next to it, though.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Clay,
    you say not to forget the queen includer. Since I lost my only hive and will start again from packages (and I guess as recommended with new 4.9mm foundation all over), why do I need an includer?

    reply:

    Yes I was talking about shaken hives here. But On occasion packages can abscond too(rate seems to incresae while placed on small cell foundation). So why take a chance? Put the includer under if the bees get to business and the queen starts a laying pull it out. Better than bees in the trees!

    Clay

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Dousman,Wi.U.S.A.
    Posts
    209

    Post

    Checked hives here today in S.E. Wisconsin. Temps in low 30s. 6 of 7 hives looked great with lots of bees visible. 7th hive was a cause of concern when I wrapped them in fall. No bees were seen but I have some rock candy sitting under inner cover so there is still hope they are there. hoping now for an early spring. A lot can change between now and the arrival of warm weather.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ithaca, MI
    Posts
    26

    Post

    Checked bees here in Mid Michigan today, temps in the high 20's. 12 for 12 still alive, 2 will need feed soon.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Bowling Green, KY USA
    Posts
    52

    Cool

    Temps have been steadily climbing up from the single digits here and by Sunday, it's supposed to be in the low 60's. Going to check the hives in detail, maybe even put in Aphistan strips as well. By mid week it will be back down to the 30's & 40's. We'll see what happens. Atleast the girls will have a day or so to get out and fly.

    Martin
    Bowling Green, KY

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Lima, Ohio
    Posts
    14

    Post

    Gunner63 - how do you check the hives when it is in the 20's?

    Do you actually open the hive or just listen?

    Thank you.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ithaca, MI
    Posts
    26

    Post

    Was able to listen, also had bees around the vent holes in our 2nd brood chambers. We also get a relative feel for how much feeding we will have to do by just lifting on the whole hive.

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