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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,925

    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
    4,149

    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
    3,280

    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
    4,901

    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
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    2,058

    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

  9. #9
    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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,925

    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.

  12. #12
    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..

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Olmsted County, MN USA
    Posts
    74

    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.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,925

    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
    4,149

    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
    147

    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
    Jan 2005
    Location
    omaha nebr. USA
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    We over winter & 2010 to 2011 losses were around 15%.
    2011 to 2012 winter loss was below 4%.
    As of today our winter loss is close to 50%.
    We start our winter loss count about 1 month after we finish pulling the last honey off & begin to feed the bees to heavy them up for winter.
    All hives have insulated winter covers installed along with a 15# pound candy board for safe keeping thru the winter.
    The honey flow started last April & lasted untill the middle of September.
    We made a good honey crop, probably a crop that ranks up there with one of the better ones in the past 30 years. So the bees were in real good shape.
    The bee loss are among new queens, ( 4 different breeders ) old queens, & cells that we raised here in Nebr.
    Queen people were telling me in early January as to all the early calls for queens & packages and to all the losses already this early.
    So now that leaves us with one heck of a bill for testing of bees, pollen, wax, & honey
    that I figured would show nothing when I sent the samples in for testing.
    And that's just what the tests showed, nothing, nothing other than how clean the tests were.
    So I am getting old and also they tell me I have forgot how to keep bees & or I no longer remember how to get them in shape for winter.
    I always tell my son if this deal was easy everyone would keep bees & yet I have seen that deal come & go a good many times in my lifetime with bees!
    Something has got to change & change before there is nothing left us to change!!!

  19. #19

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by soupcan View Post
    As of today our winter loss is close to 50%.
    Do you have an opinion as to what caused the loss?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    omaha nebr. USA
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    I have my ideas & thoughts but can not prove any of it!
    Darn tough to prove when the tests are negitive!

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