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Thread: Dead Out?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    7

    Exclamation Dead Out?

    So something weird is going on in one of my hives. A few weeks ago I did the knock on the side test to listen for that familiar buzz, to check to make sure they were alive. The hive in question didn't buzz, so I looked up underneath through the screened bottom board and I saw bees walking around. Then I saw a couple bees at a time coming and going, nothing big and nothing compared to the hive right beside it which was a busy highway. The temps were in upper 40s and sunny but I assumed they were sluggish due to colder weather. Today weather got up in mid 60s so I decided to do a quick inspection and feeding if necessary on my hives. Other hives were doing great, still 20-30lbs of stored honey/syrup and good pollen stores. That's when things got weird. I opened the top and there were bees, but probably only 10,000 or so, but not a ton of dead bees inside the hive or outside the front...odd. This was a much stronger hive in early November. I checked weights on the top box for food stores and wow, it was packed, probably 25lbs easy. We run 1 deep + 1 medium here in winter, or 3 mediums. I took off the medium and begin looking down in the deep to find brood and that's where my heart sunk...couldn't find a trace of an egg, larva, or capped brood. In fact, the bees have extended their food storage to cover 75% of the deeps frames too, they probably have at least 40lbs total. I looked everywhere for the queen, but she's not marked and I had no luck. I guess she died sometime in November/December? Another observation, these bees were extremely calm, like not aggressive at all calm. I guess they're all just sitting around drunk on honey...
    With all that food those bees can probably live out the next few months, but is there any sense in trying to reintroduce a queen come march if they make it? I'm guessing requeening is unheard of in January. Or should I just let 'em die? Or is it possible there is a queen but she isn't laying for some reason because of winter? Very strange, it's not like they starved and she was laying back in November, in fact I saw her on that inspection. What should I do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rowan County NC
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Dead Out?

    There are all kinds of possibilities. It would have been nice to find the queen, but she may have been gone. I may be able to help you out with a queen in Feb. The bees should be fine without a queen until then. I have seen a hive in winter go almost two month when they are queenless. I would not add brood from another hive at this time of year. With the weather being the 70's this weekend, you should be able to go through the hive completely to see if there is a queen. If not, you could combine it with another, or let them tough it out and wait for a queen.

    I have a handful of Hawiian queens coming in Feb. I might could hook you up with one.
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Dead Out?

    Thanks Goldprospector, I appreciate that offer. I wasn't able to get back in there to do a more thorough look for her, so it's possible she's still there and just shut down laying. After I posted this I realized that I didn't see any worker-laid eggs or any drones so that might be more evidence for her still being alive somewhere in there. I'm going to watch the hive closely the next few weeks and first chance I can when the temps are up I'll check for her again. If I figure she's gone for good, I'll send you a message on the forums about that generous offer of yours.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,670

    Default Re: Dead Out?

    She should start laying soon if she is indeed in the hive. If not, sounds like Goldprospector has you hooked up. Great people on this site.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Dead Out?

    So i did a super quick check today when the sun was bright. Found the clustering location and eggs/larvae! Still didn't see the queen, but these eggs were laid like a queen (straight up in the center), and there are no drones. So it looks like there is a queen after all! Still a long way to go before spring, but good to know it's still buzzing.

    Thanks for the responses to my thread.

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