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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    140

    Default dead bees, couple wintering thoughts/?'s....

    Well I looked today being we are 40+ I took a peek through the observation window. My strong hive is solid ice on the window. At one point this Jan they were coming out of the vent hole at the rear and at the time I had no idea why. Today I pulled the insulation back to have a look and saw a bunch of dead bees that likely died of dysentary or not being to able to get back in before freezing that night, or both. So I'm assuming that hive is dead. I believe it went into winter too strong possibly.

    The other hive I have no idea. All winter I've had a clear spot on the rear part of the window so it either died early or is possibly doing 'ok'. They havent tried getting out. It did go into winter as a weaker numbers wise hive. Either way the ice on the window doesnt look very thick and it doesnt cover the hole glass. Hopefully this is a sing of good ventilation? or?

    What exactly IS enough ventilation and how do you know if you have it or not? I'd assume by the time I hit -20 outside its too late to be screwing with the hives too much.

    I have yet to open either hive up. At what point should I start looking to see if they are alive and have enough feed to get through atleast 2 more months of winter? And when if they are alive should I start putting in proten patties again? I have a 3rd tbh built I may sell and try and build a couple warre's or foundationless langs instead.

    I'm hoping to build a shed this summer for the girls and go that route next winter. Ran out of time as usual, winters come fast. Either way I have to figure out how to get rid of the moisture. I have a front entrance, and left a gap towards the rear top of the hive on both sides.

    I did get prices today on bees for this spring. 150 bucks for a 4lb package of Russian-Carni's....gonna have to make some major changes if i plan on continuing as a beek!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    414

    Default Re: dead bees, couple wintering thoughts/?'s....

    I see you said both hives have observation windows. Are you running TBH's? No such thing as a hive being too strong for the winter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    466

    Default Re: dead bees, couple wintering thoughts/?'s....

    there's ice on the window because the water will collect there because it gets cold the fastest.i wintered over two observation hives two winters in a row they both made it both times always gets ice there.i check all my hives by placing my ear on the hive to see if i can hear there slight buzzing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: dead bees, couple wintering thoughts/?'s....

    Yes they are both tbh's, goldenmean design (first good looking one I found when I originally started searching and figured I could build it easy enough lol).

    Makes sense on the windows. What about the bees coming out the back of the hive and dying? There was quite a few and at one poin the entrance was almost plugged with dead bees? I'll try the buzzing ear thing and report back.

    I've been told they'll make it, but by spring there's quite the lull between old bees dying and the queen laying it usually takes a good portion of summer to catch back up.

    The one hive is concerning to see all the bees dead, crawling out the two gaps I left for a gap and at the entrance. is this normal?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,861

    Default Re: dead bees, couple wintering thoughts/?'s....

    North Pole AK. That is Fairbanks area right? I went to college there for a semester.

    To be honest I can't imagine beehives wintering there, especially a TBH.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    454

    Default Re: dead bees, couple wintering thoughts/?'s....

    You can have too many bees to winter. An overly large cluster uses up more food stores, but I don't think that is a very common problem.
    I winter in single deeps and have no experience with TBH's.
    Any day above freezing is ok for a quick check. Avoid taking out any frames in the cluster at this time if you can. I try to place honey frames next to the cluster if they need it on my first visit in spring.
    Ventilation is something you will need to experiment with since that is dependent on local conditions.
    I add pollen sub once the weather will allow cleansing flights at least every week or so. Patties are used to increase or stimulate brood production so the hive will start using up their honey quickly and feed levels will need to be monitored closely.

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