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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Kanabec county, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Where the bees are

    When checking my two overwintered hives (in very cold Minn), I found one completely dead. A good cluster of bees centered in the back half of the 8 frame mediums I use. They had eaten all the honey in the back halves of the boxes and not touched the front halves. There were at least three half mediums (12 frames) of capped honey left untouched. The bees appeared in good condition (except being dead!). The bees were alive (by sound) up until a week of extremely cold weather in Feb. (no sound after that). I overwintered with six 8 frame mediums of bees and honey, wrapped hive, moisture board, fed in the fall. The other hive was set up exactly the same. They have a large active cluster in the middle and two frames of honey on each end left.
    This is my 1st overwintering of bees. With nearly identical hives, any ideas what happened to this one? Would losing a queen or some such thing cause this- or just bees being bees?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,032

    Default Re: Where the bees are

    When you say back half and front half, to me that means they only hate half of the frame or are you positioning yourself on a side of the hive? Looks like they didn't want to move laterally, which happens time to time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,702

    Default Re: Where the bees are

    > moisture board

    Could you explain what a "moisture board" is, please?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Kanabec county, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Where the bees are

    If you numbered your frames 1-8, they only ate from frames 5-8 in each box.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Kanabec county, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Where the bees are

    moisture board goes on top of the inner cover over winter, made of material to absorb moisture ( probably a cold climate thing)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,702

    Default Re: Where the bees are

    If the "moisture board" is intended to absorb moisture into the board material (rather than venting to the outside), what happens when the board has absorbed all the moisture it can hold? Do you swap out the wet board for a dry one?

    I don't keep bees in a particularly cold climate, true, but condensation inside a hive is a potential problem even here. It is routine for our low temperatures (Fahrenheit) over a winter to drop into the 'teens.

    Some beeks use a top vent to allow moisture to escape directly. Others employ a "quilt box" of some kind that also forms a top vent, but also blocks drafts. Making sure that condensation doesn't drip on bees is important for successful overwintering.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,133

    Default Re: Where the bees are

    Quote Originally Posted by jimblo View Post
    fed in the fall.
    My question, why? For how long? This could be a variable.

    Check for evidence of mites, another variable. Look for brood pattern. Was it off center of the hive to begin with? Wind block- was there a draft in the front of the hive? Was one hive protecting the other from wind?

    The truth is you may never know the answer...
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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