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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Did I over feed my bees last fall?

    I lost both my hives this winter. There were not nearly a many dead bees in either hives as I would have expected to see, and although there were several frames of honey left, I found a bunch of bees head down in the cells indicating starvation.

    Is it possible that I fed too much and they were honey bound and did not have room to raise sufficient brood resulting in too small a cluster going into winter?
    Last edited by ralittlefield; 03-27-2012 at 07:35 PM.
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    Ralph

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: Did I over feed my bees last fall?

    Could you give details about amount and timing of your fall feeding?
    The problem of a honey bound hive in fall is that there are no empty cells for the bees to make a proper cluster.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Did I over feed my bees last fall?

    Thanks for the reply. It seems that you have confirmed my suspicions.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    oxford, ohio usa
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Did I over feed my bees last fall?

    You also could of had a varroa infestation that started moving into worker cells since no drone cells are made in late fall and devistated your population of workers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: Did I over feed my bees last fall?

    Your post mortem does not give enough information for an accurate diagnosis. Where were the frames full of honey, in relation to the starved bees? Was there empty comb between the bees and the frames. For example, here is a 10-frame box, h=honey, e=empty, b=starved bees.

    hhhheeebbe or hheeebbeeh There you have 10 frames in each example, plenty of honey, but the bees still starved. A sudden cold snap can trap the cluster and make it unable to move to honey, then it starves. Happens all too frequently. It isn't that you necessarily overfed, it just happens.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: Did I over feed my bees last fall?

    Hi Ralph,

    It is doubtful that you over fed.

    Just to help me have confidence in the above statement, when did you stop feeding and what was your feeding method? (you were feeding 2:1 sugar syrup, right?)

    While we had a mild winter, there were times when it was cold and windy. What was your winter prep? Were the hives in a location with some wind protection?

    Will you remind me what race of bees you keep?

    Sounds like typical winter starvation to me. If the volume of bees was down (due perhaps to varoa infestation) there may not have been enough bees for the cluster to move to where there was honey in the hive. Without more info and/or pictures it is hard to tell what might have happened.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

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