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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nelson, BC Canada
    Posts
    24

    Default Daily Death Rate Observed for an Indoor Winter Hive

    I'm overwintering a single 10-frame deep box inside the basement. (it was a weak hive, but seemed free of any noticeable pests before I brought inside). It has a clear entrance tube to the outdoors which I monitor every day. I've observed the workers dragging dead bees out from the hive and then leaving them in the tube. I find 5-10 newly dead bees in the tube every day. (I empty it every day). The actual rate be several higher/day - as some may be pushed to the outdoors.

    Does anyone have any idea if this should be a concern? Or perhaps this is a natural mortality rate during winter.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Sarasota, fl
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Daily Death Rate Observed for an Indoor Winter Hive

    I am in sunny south west Florida. Daily lows at mid 40's and High's in mid 70's. I have hives with at least a cup or two of bees on the ground outside the entrance. My hives have 1 or 2 frames of brood and I feed sugar water . They drink a gallon a week of 1:1 mix sugar syrup. Our weather may be like your summer. I rarely see dead bees in the summer, so piles in front of my hives is alarming to me. This is my first over winter "not real winter" but chilly for us. Mine seem to keep raising brood in spite of the cool nights. I also put 1/2 of a hybrid pollen patty on them in mid November. They fly a lot during the warm part of the day and I see them bringing in some limited pollen from native swamp land plants. Do you have brood in any frames. I think that as long as you have brood hatching out to replace the dead workers you will be fine. Jim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: Daily Death Rate Observed for an Indoor Winter Hive

    Its sounds normal. How many frames of bees do you have?
    Since you are keeping the hive warmer than normal bees are more active and will require more food. They should also have a higher mortality rate then a winter cluster, and they should be raising brood at least later and earlier than they normally would.

    I would feed them as much as they will take. Sugar and a pollen sub. To promote comb building and raising brood.

    Are you monitoring your mites?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,760

    Default Re: Daily Death Rate Observed for an Indoor Winter Hive

    mpmurray, just curious about your basement temperature, have you ever wintered indoors before? Thanks, John.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Creston bc canada
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Daily Death Rate Observed for an Indoor Winter Hive

    I think it's normal , and nothing to worry about.

    When you have hives in a place where the dead bees are more noticeable , you would expect to find more dead ones.

    I have mine on a covered deck and have been noticing that there are about 200 dead bees every week , this was a very healthy hive with a large number of bees in the fall.

    So , assuming there was 30 - 50,000 bees in the hive in fall , (I have no way of knowing for sure , but the 2 deeps were VERY full of bees , and I have read that is a average number) , at 200 per week , it would take ten weeks to find 2,000 dead bees , still not a large portion of the original population.

    I've looked in on them and there are still a lot of bees in there , a huge cluster.

    Now if you only had a few thousand to begin with , then it may be a problem.

    Just on a side note , I originally had twice that ammount of dead ones every week or so , I treated with OA vapor and the rate has gone down , could just be a coincidence , but if you're concerned , there's not much else you can do this time of year.

    I just noticed you're in Nelson BC , I'm in Creston BC , just an hour or so away , my work takes me to Nelson a lot in the summer months.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,481

    Default Re: Daily Death Rate Observed for an Indoor Winter Hive

    I keep my wintering shed at 5-7 degrees C through out the winter. Warmer and they want to leave the hives. I have my hives in a different arrangement than you do though,
    Old bees will die off through the winter just as they do during the summer, especially this time of year when your still seeing the last bit of the summer bees die off. I have swept up a drum of bees so far.
    providing an exit/entry for the bees would provide an advantage of spring flights during periods where the storage temp increases too much

    cheers
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,972

    Default Re: Daily Death Rate Observed for an Indoor Winter Hive

    Ian,

    You must maintain a cooling system in case you get freakish warm weather, is that right?

    Adam

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,481

    Default Re: Daily Death Rate Observed for an Indoor Winter Hive

    nope, its just always cold here, and if we do get some warming, we turn on the vent fans and pump the air flow through the shed.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nelson, BC Canada
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Daily Death Rate Observed for an Indoor Winter Hive

    Great feedback, thanks! My basement is unheated, and stays between 50-60degrees. This is the first time I've brought indoors. I'm not sure how many bees were in the hive when I brought it indoors - I should have looked closer, but they were getting aggresive and I chickened-out. I don't want to open it now that we're inside. Am feeding 1:1 syrup jar through the inner cover hole. Pollen patty gets pushed down through the wire mesh at this hole. I don't know how to get them the patty otherwise.

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