Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Schoharie, NY
    Posts
    16

    Default Trouble with my first hive

    Hello all, I started one top bar last year in May. They were doing well and had drawn out about 15 bars of comb by the fall. They did have stores of honey and I even fed them some sugar syrup and dry sugar crystals when I packed them away for winter. It's been real cold and we finally got a day in the 40's so I decided to check in on them. Well I found them all frozen in time...all dead with honey not far away. The outside bars of honey were pretty full and it looked like all syrup and dry sugar was gone. My question is what did I do wrong? I didn't harvest any honey this year so they would have enough. I put a piece of insulation on top of the bars between them and the cover. The hive is made of half inch pine. I have 4 more hives coming this year and I don't want to do the same thing next year. Please give me some advice. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Stromness, Scotland
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: Trouble with my first hive

    Sorry to hear that you have lost your hive.

    The big question is, if the majority of the bees was still in the hive or not.
    If you think that their number was greatly reduced, then they died from CCD, caused by neonicotinoid pesticides.

    Please check the area around you for sources of these pesticides. If you can't move your bees away from them it might not be possible to keep bees alive in your area.

    Please help to get these pesticides banned.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    289

    Default Re: Trouble with my first hive

    That's quite a leap to blame neonicotinoid pesticides in the middle of the winter. They more likely starved as they couldn't get to the nearby honey in the cold weather. Do you know if you had any varroa issues?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Talbott tn
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Trouble with my first hive

    Ok I may be to new to beekeeping to answer this but I was somewhat in the same boat recently and while looking for an answer I came across something another member had wrote saying that if the weather was very cold bees would ball up in an area and not move around to look for food while they were trying to keep warm. I don't know if this helps but I lost two of my hives one of which had dead bees in it, (we think from cold) and the other almost had no bees left [(those that were were older and we had no queen and no new larvae) actually think that one we had lost the queen right after we closed them up for winter]. Not to sure to think about CCD it's a possibility but I don't have enough years to comment on this one, hope this helps, We recieved great advice in that if we were purchasing packages to just put them in the old hives and allow them to use up the stores and clean up as they see fit. Hope this helped!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Trouble with my first hive

    If you didn’t treat for varroa and your bees were heavily parasitized, as untreated bees often are, then the winter bee population will dwindle and the cluster be too small to maintain sufficient heat to survive. In my opinion, this is the most common cause of overwintering failure.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Schoharie, NY
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Trouble with my first hive

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    If you didn’t treat for varroa and your bees were heavily parasitized, as untreated bees often are, then the winter bee population will dwindle and the cluster be too small to maintain sufficient heat to survive. In my opinion, this is the most common cause of overwintering failure.
    I did see a few varroa in the fall. There was only a few so I didn't treat, not because I wouldn't, from what I read online it didn't seem it was necessary. When should they be treated for and is there a way you recommend? One thing I noticed was I installed them in late May, they took off like gangbusters but then things got really dry out. They seemed to stall around 12 bars in. Maybe that contributed. So your saying that if for any reason there wasn't enough bees they wouldn't be able to produce enough heat for themselves? Should I insulate with hay bails or is that unnecessary?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Schoharie, NY
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Trouble with my first hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Regina Campbell View Post
    Ok I may be to new to beekeeping to answer this but I was somewhat in the same boat recently and while looking for an answer I came across something another member had wrote saying that if the weather was very cold bees would ball up in an area and not move around to look for food while they were trying to keep warm. I don't know if this helps but I lost two of my hives one of which had dead bees in it, (we think from cold) and the other almost had no bees left [(those that were were older and we had no queen and no new larvae) actually think that one we had lost the queen right after we closed them up for winter]. Not to sure to think about CCD it's a possibility but I don't have enough years to comment on this one, hope this helps, We recieved great advice in that if we were purchasing packages to just put them in the old hives and allow them to use up the stores and clean up as they see fit. Hope this helped!
    Thanks for the assistance, this does sound like what happend as the bees had honey but seemed unable to get to it. It was like they were frozen in time. I don't believe it would be CCD because most of the bees are in there dead on the floor or were they stood.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Schoharie, NY
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Trouble with my first hive

    Quote Originally Posted by DPBsbees View Post
    That's quite a leap to blame neonicotinoid pesticides in the middle of the winter. They more likely starved as they couldn't get to the nearby honey in the cold weather. Do you know if you had any varroa issues?
    Noticed a few in the fall, I didn't treat because I read that a few was not a big deal. Should I have treated at that time? What do you recommend?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    289

    Default Re: Trouble with my first hive

    If you noticed a few with your naked eye, you most likely had a lot more than that. I recommend testing for them. I like the alcohol wash, but you can use a sugar roll if you don't want to kill any bees. Check out Randy Oliver's site "ScientificBeekeeping.com". He has the best info on varroa, in my opinion.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Trouble with my first hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth Summers View Post
    Should I insulate with hay bails or is that unnecessary?
    In my opinion you are better off going into winter with a good population of healthy bees....although extra insulation up your way may help.

    I don't know what top bar folks use for mites or how they apply it but I'm sure someone will chime in with a suggestion.

    Good luck.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,937

    Default Re: Trouble with my first hive

    Kenneth, you may not have done anything wrong. With only one hive you don't have a good reference point.

    In my opinion, 15 bars of comb from a new package is a little shy of optimum. If there wasn't adequate incoming nectar to get more built, I would have fed syrup. My TBHs started from packages in March 2012 built 25+ bars over the season, with only about 2 gallons each of syrup at installation.

    Aside from the varroa issue brought up above, I would look also at how your hive ventilation works.
    My TBH hives are all top entrance following the Michael Bush design. This should eliminate any condensation in the hive issues.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads