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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Carroll, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Reusing dead hives

    I have three hives (two deep and one shallow super each) that didn't make it through the winter. I don't see signs of disease but the drawn comb is almost all empty so perhaps they starved to death? Anyway, can I add a queen and a package this spring or do I have to do something to ready of frames? Is it OK to re-use these hives at all?
    Thanks
    BillFishlore

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,583

    Default Re: Reusing dead hives

    In the absence of signs of disease, its fine to add new bees this spring.

    You may also get other opinions warning of potentially dire consequences, but hey, you could get hit by a truck tomorrow ...
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    336

    Default Re: Reusing dead hives

    I would put my drawn frames in the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill most pests that reside in the comb. Even if they look OK, can't hurt.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,583

    Default Re: Reusing dead hives

    Hmm, BillFishlore is in New Hampshire. I'd say his (outdoors) frames are already in a deep freeze.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    336

    Default Re: Reusing dead hives

    I guess that would make a difference!! I went to our county's club meeting this weekend and there was a show of hands from the people who had experienced winter losses this year. It was quite surprising and there were quite a few who had lost 50 - 60 % of their hives! I lost one of mine and it was full of honey and no sign of mites. I treated early fall.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,764

    Default Re: Reusing dead hives

    wow, that's a lot of losses bb. were the others able to figure out a cause? how did you treat? are you around any big bee yards?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    336

    Default Re: Reusing dead hives

    No big yards. I have (or had) 4 hives...3 now. I treated w/ Formic Acid and a fume board. I think the general conclusion is starvation. We had a pretty dry summer...not much coming in. If you were light going in to winter, you probably won't make it out. And this winter has been crazy. It was in the 70's last week then dropped to the 40's the next day. One day there is a lot of activity and the next day lows in the teens. I've had a bunch of bees taking water from my dogs bowl. Yesterday, there was about 50 "dead" bees all around the bowl. I scoop them up, bring them in the house (in a container) and when they warm up, turn them loose at the hives. Most fly back in. The hive I lost was a strong Italian hive. About a month ago I knocked on the side and didn't hear anything. Opened it up and saw a couple of hundred in a cluster. About a week later they were dead as well...including the original marked queen. There was plenty of honey and very little brood. No sign of mites or anything else. This seems to be the same scenario most people are saying and I've read the same on this site as well. I think this warm weather makes them consume a lot of their stores and when a cold snap occurs, there's nothing close to the cluster to consume. Other than that...I have no idea. But I have started feeding candy to my lite hive and I'm going to take some of the left-over frames of honey, rip the caps off and lay the frame on top of my hive's frames. Its mostly sugar honey anyway. Since this is my first winter, I've become paranoid!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,583

    Default Re: Reusing dead hives

    Hmm, I'm puzzled why you would want to uncap the donor honey frames. The bees are fully capable of doing that themselves.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    336

    Default Re: Reusing dead hives

    Yes they are capable. Like I said...I've grown paranoid. I wanted to make sure it gets to them and gets to them ASAP. Overkill? You betcha. And to top it all off... I just heard a long range weather forecast. 50's to mid 60's for the next 3 weeks and then another cold snap. I'd better stock up on sugar.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Reusing dead hives

    Seeing your from New Hampshire, I doubt you'll surpass mother nature's hive treatment over winter. A trusted codger who ran 1,000 hives and a complete soup to retail operation routinely installed packages in failed northern PA hives leaving the new girls to clean out the digs.

    Years ago two of mine clustered in the top deep and by spring I fount the bottom moldy. Before I could find a solution, the girls completed spring cleaning and only my memories remained.

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