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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
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    1,815

    Default worst winter ever?

    Just back from a talk by Jeff Pettis from the Beltsville bee lab. He said this may be the worst winter in history for bee losses. Says many producers are in the 50% loss range.

    He also was reporting that poor queens and drone layers appear to have around 50% of their sperm sterile. He is continuing this research about why this is happening. Doesn't have an answer but believes this is one of the causes of bee loss.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,016

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Apparently losses have been very high here in TN. I suspect that it is because our usual summer dearth started a month earlier than usual and there was little if any fall flow - on average we went into winter with hives that had been weakened by malnutrition. In other words bee keeper error in June and July.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    My conclusion here as well. It's like the dearth started and really never ended. I did not harvest honey and believed they would have more than sufficient honey for winter with the fall flow added. Nope. Lost a few before I caught it and fed dry sugar.
    Rick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,167

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    . I suspect that it is because our usual summer dearth started a month earlier than usual and there was little if any fall flow - on average we went into winter with hives that had been weakened by malnutrition. In other words bee keeper error in June and July.
    David, very very well said!
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,412

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    very interesting cam, thanks for the report.

    after three years of zero winter losses i had 33% this year. queen failure was the primary reason, but i don't know why they failed.

    please keep us posted.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bartlett, Illinois
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    I started with a single hive four years ago and went to two hives for the last three year, without a loss until this winter. Lost both hives....dang!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    fresno county ca usa
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Out of 45 colonys only 24 left and some ain't looking to good
    /Day and night with all your might /

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    very interesting cam, thanks for the report.

    after three years of zero winter losses i had 33% this year. queen failure was the primary reason, but i don't know why they failed.

    please keep us posted.
    I lost about the same percentage and for the exact Same reason. Every hive with failed queen had a fair amount of bees left with unfertilized cells in the middle of the frame. In some live hives I could see a few cells with unfertilizer in the worker brood-looks like failing queen. I 've never seen it so consistantly throughout the hives. Needless to say, I'll have to re-queen yearly to minimize this problem.

    I tried to reason out the cause and can't say for sure. Last year, I did have heavier then normal mite loads which started earlier, do to the non-existant winter. I had to treat w/formic 2X's.
    I migrate between PA and SC so queens don't get much of a break.
    I had higher then expected mite loads already this spring so I did a knock down treatment in mid-Jan(sounds early but the weather was warmer then average by at least a couple weeks at that point) before making nucs in March.
    Of course, poor nutrition or poor mating conditions seem to play a big part too.

    Please post if you find the cause for your losses!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,331

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by papar View Post
    Last year, I did have heavier then normal mite loads which started earlier, do to the non-existant winter.
    I had to treat w/formic 2X's.
    Do you think it could have been the 2x treatments with formic?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,880

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by papar View Post
    I tried to reason out the cause and can't say for sure. Last year, I did have heavier then normal mite loads which started earlier, do to the non-existant winter. I had to treat w/formic 2X's.

    I had higher then expected mite loads already this spring so I did a knock down treatment in mid-Jan(sounds early but the weather was warmer then average by at least a couple weeks at that point) before making nucs in March.
    You treated with MAQS in Oct., what did you treat with in mid-Jan? Is Dave seeing the same problems? Since we had a really good golden rod flow late and the hives looked good in the fall and you aren't that far from some of my hives, I'll check them when it gets warmer.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,880

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by camero7 View Post
    Says many producers are in the 50% loss range.

    He also was reporting that poor queens and drone layers appear to have around 50% of their sperm sterile. He is continuing this research about why this is happening. Doesn't have an answer but believes this is one of the causes of bee loss.
    when he says producers, I assume he means queen producers?
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Stromness, Scotland
    Posts
    124

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    .
    Worst colony losses ever and largest area ever treated with neonicotinoid pesticides.

    Rather than assuming that beekeepers have lost their skills - many of them after generations of doing well - I think the above correlation is quite telling.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,834

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    I'm at about 50% loss, at this point I believe it is due to mites weakening the winter bee population down to a small cluster, which then perished because they couldn't move to new food. There could be something to the malnutrition thing with me also, as we had a very poor fall flow. John

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
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    1,815

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stromnessbees View Post
    .
    Worst colony losses ever and largest area ever treated with neonicotinoid pesticides.

    Rather than assuming that beekeepers have lost their skills - many of them after generations of doing well - I think the above correlation is quite telling.
    You are so predictable... assertion without ANY proof.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    woodbine, MD, USA
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    It's snowing, so I'm stuck inside this morn and was reading this thread. And was curious what kind of over-winter problems others had. Think anyone would fill out this survey?

    http://www.esurveyspro.com/Survey.as...9-631e45a8d9b4

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,016

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Stromnessbees - If you mean me, I'm not asserting that anyone has lost their skills, but that we did what we always do, but the weather did something different. We failed to adapt. I think that the effects of agg chemicals are also significant, probably extremely so - I just think that the losses this year coincide with the unusual weather and associated dearth last summer.

    Keith - Thanks. I also suspect that the hives that are left in good shape now were probably the most adept robbers last summer.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Highland, Michigan
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Started with 18 in the fall. Checked them about 6 weeks ago and was down to 9. I had the same experience as jmji. Small clusters that couldn't move around for food.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
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    1,815

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by wildbranch2007 View Post
    when he says producers, I assume he means queen producers?
    Wrong word. He was talking about bees in general, not queen producers.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Hazard, Kentucky
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    So far I've lost 2 hives which I believe was due to mites as I did not treat last fall. I will be treating in the future. This wierd weather is another problem 50s and 60s a week ago and now more snow on ground than all winter..

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Olmsted County, MN USA
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    We polled our club members here in SE MN at our Feb club meeting about survival to date. At that point we had an overall survival rate pegged at 53%. That was across about 25 different Beeks with a wide range of experience, from newbees to grizzled veterans.

    That figure surely will be lower when all is said and done.

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