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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    New york
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    6

    Default Hive starved in winter

    Not sure why but one of my top bar hives starved with a candy board inside the hive, so the food was there but they still starved. most of the bees were head first in the comb when I opened the hive up. I think maybe the candy board was to far from the cluster and it was to cold for them to eat any of it? It was about 6 bars away from the winter cluster. Does anyone have any experience with this issue because I'm clueless right now and very upset. I would like to know what went wrong so I don't make the same mistake. The hive was very healthy no diseases or pest issues. There honey supply was light this year so that's why I put the candy board inside.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Hive starved in winter

    Where is the entrance in the hive located? cooler climate beeks who keep TBH seem (I'm in a semi tropical location) have better success with a top end entrance. See the side entrance thread of late for more details as to why this might be important.....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,149

    Default Re: Hive starved in winter

    6 bars from the cluster can be a long way away for bees in a cold winter. With a candy board even if they get there, it can be a mission licking a meaningful amount off it in freezing conditions. If you found no honey in the combs, i'd say yes, starvation.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,758

    Default Re: Hive starved in winter

    A candy board needs to be in contact with the cluster to do any good. I'm sure they did starve, but "heads in the cells" is how they cluster. It does not necessarily mean they starved. However if the cluster was not in contact with stores, it's a pretty safe bet they DID starve.

    Going into winter I want the bees at one end and the stores in front of them with no gaps. Any empty combs should be at the opposite end from the bees or at the beginning, but not in the middle. Once a cluster starts slowly moving through the hive, they seldom change directions unless there are some warm days for them to get reoriented when the cluster breaks.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    New york
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Hive starved in winter

    The entrance is located toward the bottom image.jpg
    This is an old picture of the hive you can see where the entrance is on the far left. Ill send more pictures of how it looks inside now.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    451

    Default Re: Hive starved in winter

    It is very important to make sure they have properly back filled their nest with honey stores by late summer early fall giving nice bands of honey on the combs that the winter cluster forms on. With the combs next to the winter cluster having much deeper bands of honey. In a poor season you may need to help them out with this by feeding.

    A possibility, sometimes very populous colonies will have a large brood area that doesn't get back filled before the end of the season along with cold weather setting in. This will cause the bees to tighten up their cluster pulling them out of range of a good portion of the winter stores. Coupled with the population reduction it can easily leave them in a bad position.

    With emergency feeding you really need to get the food in contact with the bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,149

    Default Re: Hive starved in winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Oleanik View Post
    The entrance is located toward the bottom image.jpg
    This is an old picture of the hive you can see where the entrance is on the far left. Ill send more pictures of how it looks inside now.
    OK well for next time, all advice given so far is good. The bees will tend to have the brood at the end where the entrance is. This is better than having brood in the middle with honey both sides, as the bees will eat their way through the honey one direction, then when it's gone possibly starve if it's cold, while there is still honey down the other end. As per other posts, come winter they shrink the brood nest, your job is to make sure they cluster in a position where they know where the honey is, cos they are in contact with it, and they can gradually move along the hive as they consume it. When setting them up for winter, if there's an empty gap that used to be brood nest, between the bee cluster and the honey, either move combs, or feed syrup till they've filled it. Syrup that's going to be used for winter stores is kinder on the bees if it has some vinegar in it. What I use is white sugar mixed with very hot water, as thick as I can possibly get it. Then I add 1 cup of vinegar to 4 gallons syrup.

    Mites haven't been mentioned yet and I didn't really want to because we kind of get overdosed on mite advice, but if your hive goes into winter with a heavy mite load, they are much more likely to starve. The bees are not as vigorous and tend to just cluster, not move to much seeking honey, and it's a downwards spiral.

    For a candy board to work, it should be among the bees. That way it gets moisture from the bee cluster that slowly dissolves it so the bees can lick the wet layer off, and it has to be a bit warmed so the bees on it won't chill. But sugar syrup stored in comb is going to beat candy any day, in terms of how useable it is to the bees, plus they have put it where they want it.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    New york
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Hive starved in winter

    Wow thanks guys for all the quick responses! I hope I never have to see that many dead bees ever again. Ill send more pictures soon just to give you guys a better understanding in case some important information is being left out.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    New york
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    6

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    New york
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Hive starved in winter

    The first photo shows where the cluster was and where the candy board was. About 6 bars away.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    New york
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Hive starved in winter


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