4 of my 9 hives died this winter. One was very small and weak last fall (did a bunch of splits last year) and I didn't expect it to survive, and I'm pretty sure I killed one this late winter that I fed via baggie and forgot to check. Appears to have dripped down onto the cluster.
I have a feeling they may all be lost come spring. However I have 21 sc TF nucs. Long as some of those survive I will restock the dead hives, and in fact I would see that as a move towards sustainability, ie taking some hard knocks but surviving. However if I lose every single last bee, I will be giving it up.
But let's see where this goes.
I'm down 12 out of 41, with 2 more that look weak (ouch). Finally pollen coming in this week so the worst may be over.
All but 3 of the losses are from the same bee yard. No pollen in the dead outs at that yard, drought and poor fall forage, I should have moved that yard to a better location. Some dead mites on the bottom boards but not many. Treatment free beginner mistakes are expensive.
Surviving hives look good.
Bummed regards. ....Don
"Bummed Regards" LOL
At least you are still smiling.
Even though it looks like you're off to an incredibly hard start with all the losses I wish you the best.
Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
Also, I read somewhere ( I can't find the article now) that bees that ingested dead spores developed a resistance to Nosema Ceranae. So, I hope that I am not ony preventing them from dying of Nosema this season, but making them resistant long term.
After the disappointment with my treatment free hives, went and checked the small cell treatment free nucs yesterday. Was kinda expecting the worst.
However, pleasant surprise! of the 21, 3 were queenless, as the last round of queen cells that went in around a month ago, 3 had failed to mate. So I pulled dividers and combined them with their neighbors. Last time I went there, when caged queens and planted cells a month ago, a number of nucs were looking poorly with mites, pms and dwv. This time, amazingly, all those nucs were fine. Not a sign of a mite.
Just wish somebody new how that works.
Just one nuc, one that had a few mites last time but was not the worst, is now looking pretty bad, really do doubt it will make the winter but have left it, to see.
Only bad thing that happened, winter's around the corner so all nucs that needed it were given a comb of honey. From somewhere and I don't know where, hoards of robbers showed up & all nucs were getting harassed. Nothing much I could do just shut everything and got out of there.
Feeling a bit better now, it's looking pretty likely there will be surviving small cell treatment free nucs next spring to restock the deadout small cell hives.
I have a question for you treatment free folks. I'll have to store the deadout hives over winter, with black combs, pollen, and dead brood, perfect wax moth fodder. If I do nothing, by spring, these will be totally destroyed by wax moths. What I normally do if storing anything that will attract wax moths, is put a fume board on top of the stack, and once a month or so I'll put a little formic acid on the fume board, kills any wax moths. Is that considered a treatment? and if it is what should I do? (deep freeze is out of the question). Oh by the way winters here are mild, wax moths are very active all winter.
great report ot, very encouraging.
i have been storing mine in my garage, with the boxes turned on end and no bottom or top so that the light can get in.
i have a freezer, but only so much room, so i have been rotating them.
do you think after freezing that some kind of mosquito netting would keep the moths out?
journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives
Or store them on a tx free hive. I believe that is the approach that Solomon uses.
Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.
I don't actually own a deep freeze.
Hi Rio, I think that works for Sol because of his cold winters.
For me, the 2 hives I have left (which may yet be lost), would not be able to cover all the combs in the other boxes if I put them on, and the weather is warm enough wax moths would run amuck.
A couple years ago, I acquired some old window screens (the kind with a metal frame) that someone had tossed out. I stacked a few boxes and put on a screen then a few more boxes then another screen, etc. My theory was that if one box did have wax moth eggs that hatched, they would be limited to just a few boxes. -js
Well it's possible Dixiebooks, although I have not put this suggestion to the "primary user of the kitchen" yet LOL.
Screens can work, sometimes. But being a cheapskate, I'm probably looking for an easier, and foolproof way. Reading a past thread on the treatment free forum, acetic acid and bleach were not considered treatments when used to sterilize equipment not in use, so I may just pump for a bit of formic in the boxes long as it's not used on any actual bees.
Yes, it is a PITA running them through the kitchen freezer. That is why I pried the wallet out of my pocket and bought a freezer. Initially looked for a good used one but wound up getting a new one at sears. I was able to get 6 months or something with no interest. So far, it is one of the best beekeeping tools I have bought to date. -js
NAH! I was getting at myself. I never met anyone more stingy... I mean, thrifty...than myself. lol -js