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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default What went wrong, and where do I go from here?

    A swarm came to my house last spring. The swarm had scouted out some 20-year old beekeeping equipment I had and settled in before I was ready to host them properly. My only intervention during the past year was to feed and water them, and move them to a sunny location + add the mouse excluder for winter. I also swapped out the very dirty (mouse nest) frames for fresh foundation, which they built out. There were some old frames remaining, but I didn't swap out because there were already eggs in them. I did not treat for mites because I wasn't sure what to do, and I had hoped since they had just swarmed, their mite count would be low. As they were a small cluster, they only utilized the bottom super by last season's end. Honey stores were in the outer frames. I left the the 2nd deep on top anyhow.

    Over winter, I opened only 2x to feed. In early winter(~nov), I fed sugar syrup, which they never touched. In late winter (~jan), I gave dry sugar pancakes which was touched, but just barely. When I opened on a warm day yesterday for a better inspection, all the bees were dead in the cluster. There was still some honey in the outer frames. See photos:

    I want to start again, so I was hoping for some insight:
    1) What went wrong - starvation, mites, or exposure? We had some extremely cold days this winter.
    2) Can I re-use all or parts of the hive, or should I build new? What about the frames with the dead bees?
    3) How about the frame or so of honey? It's a deep amber color, I think because it was stored in older, darker wax?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Hudson, WI USA

    Default Re: What went wrong, and where do I go from here?

    1) It looks like starvation to me - there is no honey around them and once the ambient temps get below 50 they won't take syrup. If there had been stores in the top box before the weather got cold they might have survived.

    2) I would use all the equipment again; Lightly brush off the bees, let the new bees pull the dead that are in the cells.

    3) New bees will enjoy that frame of honey.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA

    Default Re: What went wrong, and where do I go from here?

    I agree. They starved. They are not in contact with stores. Reuse it all. Give your new bees the honey.
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF


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