I was finally able to check my one hive at Bernheim today, after we witnessed a release of a Golden Eagle from rehab. (beautiful and touching sight)
The hive was dead due to "starvation." Adjoining the dead cluster, on either side, was 2 frames of honey. It appears the cluster would not move away from what tiny bit of brood was there. So they sacrificed themselves to try and save the brood. So they starved but they didn't have to because honey was available right next door. You all are so witty and intelligent.....is there a term we can come up with when this happens other than starvation? It sounds like I neglected them. Did I? And if I had fed them fondant or dry sugar, would it really have made a difference?
PS: When lifting the brood chamber to clean out the dead bees there felt like there was a good 35 pounds still in there.
Thanks for any input.
Good question. I've thought the same thing. I've heard of this kind of death referred to as "cold-starvation". Now, everyone knows cold doesn't kill bees, so this may be a little misleading to newcomers. This only happens to a SMALL COLONY, because they don't have enough bees to cover the brood and heat the cluster enough to move out and get food.
So... what we have here is Small Colony-Cold-Starvation. You know, I don't think we have enough acroynms and abbreviations in the world yet, so we should just call it SCCS (or "success" as the acronym).
So... success is what killed your bees!
>>So... success is what killed your bees!
sure thing there curry
I agree, when someone says their bees starved, my first inclination is to think they took too much honey off and left them without enough food. But they often mean just what you describe. But they DID starve, but not from neglect, but from it staying too cold too long, or they were unwilling to move etc.
I suppose we COULD make up a new term. Shall we take suggestions and have a vote?
Yeah, Michael. I hope everyone will participate. If anything, it will be fun reading what you all have to say. On some of these threads I laugh out loud after reading some of the comments and find myself wishing we could all just sit around a campfire and swap stories. With everyone's sense of humor, etc. we should be able to coin a new phrase.
This has nothing to do with bees but I came up with a new word when I was in college....
I didn't date much, I was painfully shy, so I spent many "rotic" evenings on the steps of the library watching the sun go down.
Rotic--romantic without the man.
A better term might be "failure to maintain
critical mass", as the bees did not have
a large enough cluster to be able to move
from were they were to where the stores
A warmer day might have "saved" them, but
the cold kept them from moving the cluster
or extending the cluster from "spherical"
to "elongated" and moving as a group.
I've seen this with some pretty large
clusters, in hives left with stores in
much the same configuration as adjancent
hives. In these cases, I'd just call them
"fataly stupid" bees.
I do have a good name for one bee behavior - you know that one bee that will "ping" into and off your forehead (or off your veil) as a very pointed warning in the first few minutes when one is doing a complete tear-down of a hive? No attempt to sting, just
a high-speed ramming run, most often done
with a nearly horizontal attack angle.
I call them "Kamakaz-bees".
[This message has been edited by jfischer (edited March 14, 2004).]
A more descriptive term might be:
denise_ky; First, PLEASE DO NOT take any of my reply, personally. "WE" are all GOOD beekeepers.
Trying to learn from others, I must ask; "Was a "failure" made in the fall (at close of brood rearing) by not having a productive young queen and a large number of young bees?" Could this loss have been prevented?
Will the following prevent "starvation"?
1) POPULATION - Bees covering 20 or more frames.
2) FOOD RESERVE - Sufficient amount of BOTH pollen and honey.
3) ORGANIZATION of STORES - Bee's ability to reach the food. During a LATE WINTER inspection, improperly organized reserves can be adjusted (centering cluster and rotating frames) to ensure honey is in contact w/ cluster.
Please comment . . .
The hive was requeened last fall.
Ummm, I did see pollen but I don't think it was near the cluster. There was plenty of honey though. The cluster was all the way to the top bar and all they had to do was just go over the top bar to the other side of the frame to get stores. The cluster was about--hmmm, how to measure it? I'd say about 4-5 cups of loosely packed bees.
As for organization of stores--I've never really done that and it seems whenever we had decent weather to inspect, I wasn't home. It does make sense though to do that, although I never have. It will certainly be something to consider next winter.
I simply refer to these colonies as weak colonies. They died during winter because they were weak, and could not hold a healthy maintainable cluster, so they died as they natually would
I like the term "cluster stasis" in a weak hive.
Thanks for all the input.
I like cluster stasis as well.
Or perhaps the acronym MDBWHWABOHRNTT.
"My **** bees went hungry with a bunch of honey right next to them."
No wait, how about "shiver-itis"