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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Sherman, CT USA
    Posts
    36

    Question

    Of the three hives at my house, I have already lost one. From this I have a question.

    It is 50-55 degrees here today and the stronger two hives are buzzing about. I checked the one that has been silent to find all of the bees inside long dead.

    This hive was the weakest one, a combined weak hive with a late Summer swarm.

    I had medicated all three hives, wrapped them in roof paper and placed a feeder on top. This hive had some of the best drawn comb and a good amount of honey, partially moved over from the neighboring hives to give the weak one a boost.

    Virtually everything remains intact as the day I wrapped them up. Dead bees (including drones) litter the bottom board, the scattered brood lie either partially emerged or only partially intact, still in cells.

    The only “grouping” of dead bees are a couple of clumps in the center of the upper deep, near the queen, many head-in to the combs. There is plenty of honey a frame away to either side and a feeder directly above.

    I assume that there were not enough bees in this weak hive to keep them warm enough to even get to the feeder, medicine or honey.

    My question is two fold.

    1) What should I do with this hive full of GREAT comb and a good deal of honey (as well as dead bees and brood)?

    2) Is there anything else that I should investigate before I do it?

    Being as this is only my second year in, I am very nervous about scavenging this hive for the other bees and transferring a parasite or disease to my otherwise healthy hives.

    Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated (as always).

    Thanks and, of course, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,359

    Post

    As long as it wasnt a brood disease that weakened the hive(MAKE SURE),it can be re-stocked with brood and bees from your two surviving hives(assuming they survive the rest of the winter).Do it just before the start of your normal swarm season -either with a purchased queen or let them raise one themselves.The stored honey and pollen will give them a great start.For now, try to clean out as many dead bees as possible(they will mold)You wont be able to get them all out.Store the equipment in a dry place where rodents cant get in and where bees wont be able to rob the honey after it warms up.Every beekeeper gets 'deadouts' and this is the best way to deal with them.I have always looked on this as a survival of the fittest shakeout of the weakest hives.I view it as an opportunity to re-stock with better genetics.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,359

    Post

    I should add that I inspect every deadout to find the cause of its demise.Usually its a drone laying queen or no queen.But mites are a big problem some seasons.If (God forbid) its AFB I will burn all the combs .I have seen no evidense that mite killed brood transmits the viruses into the next season.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Sherman, CT USA
    Posts
    36

    Post

    Thanks Guys!

    I did find the queen, not too far from the small clump of worker bees, face in. We had a cold snap of 5-15 deg for > 10 days. after looking through all frames, I think the hive was just way to weak.

    On the other hand, what should I be looking for ( I assume in the brood) to check for AFB or something else horrible that will neccesitate destroying the equipment?

    My plan was, as you say, to clean out the equipment as well as I could and store it in my shop until I can install a new package in the Spring.

    I have one VERY strong hive and would LOVE to use it for stock. It is as simple as bringing a few frames of brood over to the empty (w/ honey and pollen) hive come Springtime?

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    ___________________
    Rommie L. Duckworth
    <RomDuck@snet.net>

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Huntington, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    438

    Post

    Good luck, Rommie! Let us know how it went when you do the split next Spring.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    My guess is that you didn't insulate your hives at all, or not very well. Bees in the comb means they starved to death... and it was too cold for them to move even a few inches away to go bring honey to them. That's the benefit of insulating... not so much to keep the bees warmer (cause they are plenty capable of generating heat), but to allow them to move around the hive to access honey. The other benefit to insulating is that the bees don't use as much honey to over winter on. It is especially important to insulate above the hive... like a house, most of the heat goes thru the roof.

    Your frames are new and won't be diseased... don't let wax moths chew em up. I'd put them below your other hives (on the bottom board) if you don't think you can keep moths out.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Sherman, CT USA
    Posts
    36

    Post

    Although I didn't insulate AROUND the hives, I have a feeder bucket in the uppermost deep which is otherwise filled with insulation for warmth and to wick moisture. Perhaps it was not enough.

    Still, the other, much stronger hives appear well. It may have just been way to small of a hive after all of the problems that it had late into the season. Hmmmmm.

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    ___________________
    Rommie L. Duckworth
    <RomDuck@snet.net>

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Sherman, CT USA
    Posts
    36

    Post

    Although I didn't insulate AROUND the hives, I have a feeder bucket in the uppermost deep which is otherwise filled with insulation for warmth and to wick moisture. Perhaps it was not enough.

    Still, the other, much stronger hives appear well. It may have just been way to small of a hive after all of the problems that it had late into the season. Hmmmmm.

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    --
    ___________________
    Rommie L. Duckworth
    <RomDuck@snet.net>

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Sherman, CT USA
    Posts
    36
    OK, then the next question is...

    Now that I have cleaned out the rest of the hive, what can I do with the frames that have remaining immature or capped brood still. I cannot remove them completely and, of course, they will grow mold if they sit in the frames in my basement shop.

    Any thoughts? Do I have to get rid of the frames completely?

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    ___________________
    Rommie L. Duckworth
    <RomDuck@snet.net>

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    I'd leave them outside, sealed up to keep out moths and mice and such. The cold will kill any moths in it. You can put them on the hives in the spring and the bees will clean it out. If you have capped brood left this time of year, I'd look carefully at that. It's a bit late to still have capped brood.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Post

    Rommie,
    I just came back from cleaning out 2 deadouts today. (Out of 12 hives) One had a small cluster with no bees on the bottom board. Within the cluster they put their heads down in the cells. That seems to be how they transfer heat across the comb, maintaining the cluster. The second hive had a small cluster but also had 3 pints of bees on the bottom board. I think they got robbed, early in the winter cold.
    I'm just south of you. I think you are making too much of the insulation factor. In the first place we haven't had that much cold weather yet. Secondly they don't heat the hive. If it's 0%F outside its nearly that 2" from the cluster. Moisture, queen loss, mite killed brood or anything else that prevented the production of winter bees is more likely the problem.

    Dick Marron

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Sherman, CT USA
    Posts
    36

    Post

    Thanks Dick. I agree. It looks to me like they died out with the first cold snap that we had. They barely even touched the medication patties or the syrup in the feeder.

    This hive was the experiment anyway since I combined a VERY later swarm with a hive that was not doing well in the first place.

    I've brought the equipment inside since I have room in the basement. I guess I'll just order a package to insert or split off from my good hive early in the Spring.

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    --
    ___________________
    Rommie L. Duckworth
    <RomDuck@snet.net>

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    If you are going to do a split or order a package, now is the time to decide. Ordering early gets you the best shot at getting your bees when you want them.
    If you are going to do early spring splits, timing is everything. Timing when to do the split, to get the most out of it. Timing to jump start brood rearing with syrup and pollen supplement or substitute to have a strong population.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    I would put the equipment outside where the moths will be killed by the cold, rather than inside where any wax moths can flourish.

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