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Thread: Frames of honey

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Grand Blanc, MI
    Posts
    165

    Default Frames of honey

    I went into winter with 5 hives and all but one died this winter. They all died from starvation. My question is now combined I have about 6 full deeps full of honey that I'm not sure what to do with. I'm not going to buy any packages of bees this year, I just going to split the one hive and catch swarms to fill the others. So the new bees will need somewhere to lay but almost all of my deeps are full of honey. Should I just let robbers rob them out to get some empty frames?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,081

    Default

    Keep the frames and place them in the second brood box deep, after you split or get swarms established in the first box that has open comb or foundation. Store them in a freezer or seal them up now after freezing the boxes individually for about 24 hours each.

    BTW, how do you know they all starved? I have seen many so-called "starved" hives, and I question this diagnosis all the time. Many just say that because the bees had their head in the cells, that it must be starvation.

    I think for many hives, the fall flow is not allowing for enough winter bees to be raised. Beekeepers say "In September, those boxes were full of bees!". But if asked "how much brood did they raise in September and October?", the answer is usually "I don't know".

    Around here, the last couple summers have been drought like conditions. By the time the fall flow comes along and stimulates brood, the first frost is usually within 6 weeks later. This is cutting the brood production of the winter bees (The bees going to carry the hive to spring) with not enough brood cycles.

    So a hive goes into winter with many old bees. Looks great on the surface, but the cluster quickly diminishes and by the time January or February rolls around, the cluster can not handle the cold low temps. And bees will fill in every cell and space in trying to heat a cluster. They will go into cells and dislocate their wings from their muscles, and will pump these muscles to generate heat. So not all bees dead head first in a hive died from starvation.

    I think with the changing forage from years ago, when honey production across the board was more than it is today, that beekeepers in the north may need to consider stimulating feeding (Feeding away from the hive where bees must go get it and bring it back, thus simulating a flow) to ensure brood starts prior to the traditional fall flow. I feel that low or shortened fall brood production and a small cluster (after the summer bees die) result in many of those so-called starved hives to die.

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