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Thread: Winter Losses

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
    Posts
    720

    Default Winter Losses

    I would be curious to know the percentage that you folks experience losses due to store shortage vs bee shortage (not enough bees to maintain a viable cluster).

    We all read about winter feeding methods, going into winter with enough stores, etc. I have a feeling that the majority of us err on the side of the liberal when it comes to how much we leave for them over the winter (and rightly so).

    What we also read is how bees die within inches of stores (as mine did) more often than not. For those of us that started with only one hive, there was little we could do - especially being inexperienced. Combining won't be a mistake I fail to be able to make in the future.

    I'm sitting on about 50 lbs of capped honey and uncapped nector with no bees to feed.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Loganville/Greensboro, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Winter Losses

    Sounds like swarm bait! My hives are limping along towards spring..fingers crossed. Last hive I lost was a fall split that I didn't feed..figured there was a good enough flow on for them to make it..oops. A friend of mine in Good Hope, Ga. lost both his hives this winter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,771

    Default Re: Winter Losses

    In my personal experience, a viable summer hive (one that has a laying queen, good brood patterns and consistently bringing in food) rarely has a cluster size problem in the winter. If that colony does die due to a small cluster, it's usually because of disease and is sometimes accompanied by a massive mite load. Naturally, mistakes can happen such as the accidental killing of the queen during a late summer inspection, etc. Also, colonies that die of pure starvation where those colonies were otherwise doing well during harvest may have been forced starved. In other words, the beekeeper took too much honey compared to what could be replaced during the late flow. This might be the result of a disappointing flow, a late harvest and / or a greedy beekeeper.

    Most of my colony dead outs have plenty of stores. A few don't and those colonies always seemed to have collection issues. Fortunately, I've gotten better at figuring out which colonies might not make it and deal with those in the fall rather than wait for the inevitable winter dead out. I'm still surprised now and again by a complete colony loss that, in my mind, shouldn't have happened.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
    Posts
    720

    Default Re: Winter Losses

    A good point and experienced observation, no doubt.

    I was set up from the beginning with a SBB and the bees were quite robust and we had a great year bloom-wise with rainfall finally breaking our drought conditions from the years before, when in late summer/early fall I was beset with a large SHB infestation.

    I placed an oil trap under the hive to drown the little buggers, then noticed some small sign of DWV and by late fall, my oil trap was full of varroa (the books said not to worry about that in the fisrts year - go figure).

    I quickly treated with PS & formic pads, but obviously too late. If they could have hung on for just about a week longer - we're finally above 60 for the first or second time since mid Nov.

    Live & learn - my next loss(es) will be for completely different reasons.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

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