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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    65

    Default Dead Bees under harvested supers

    Hi,
    I am a very new beekeeper. I have had 3 hives since last spring.
    This is my first post on a forum, though I have done a lot of reading and visiting of pages and forums on beekeeping.
    A few days ago, we harvested honey from the top supers of our hives. After doing so, I placed the supers on top of the hives (just sitting on top of the telescoping cover) so that the bees could clean up the honey residue and I could store the frames over the winter for use next spring.
    When I picked the supers up yesterday, they were indeed pretty clean, however there were dozens of dead bees under each one.
    Where did I go wrong? What happened to these bees?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cameron, Texas, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Dead Bees under harvested supers

    They were drowned, but don't worry a few dozen bees will not hurt a healthy hive. To stop that let them drain a little better during your harvest process, but congrats on the harvest and welcome to the forum.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Asheville, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: Dead Bees under harvested supers

    Well, you don't have to worry about teaching the bees to swim...and here's the real answer:

    When you put wet supers in the open, bees fight over the honey. The dead bees you saw were casualties of war. A small, or maybe even large, battle happened in those supers. If you want to let the bees clean them up, just place them on top of the hive UNDER the telescoping cover. This allows only the bees in that hive access, therefore no fighting to the death. I would keep an eye out for robbing now. IF you see signs, reduce the entrance of the hive immediately. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,973

    Default Re: Dead Bees under harvested supers

    If you put honey out in the open there is more than honey bees that come to the feast. I do this on occasion. depending on how much honey there is there will be a lot of honeybees then the wasps, fly's, bugs of all sorts and then big fat mean bees that bully they way in and take over what is left.
    I don't see this as a huge mistake because the season is winding down and the old bees are near their end anyway. I suspect that is why they fight so hard. In about three or four days they will forget it ever happened because they can't remember much longer than that. I haven't witnessed a robbing of the hive due to open feeding. They remember where the honey was for about two days it seems and then they give up as long as you don't add another plate to the feast. I have just about another cup of cappings that is mostly honey from harvests in the past left to give to my bees and then I will get a new supply this year.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Dead Bees under harvested supers

    Thank you for clearing that up for me. I don't think I will be doing that again.

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