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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    erie, pa
    Posts
    44

    Default Dead bees whats next

    I have been keeping bees for a few years, I have been pretty fortunate over the past 3 years I have experienced no losses. However we had a rough winter here in N.W. Pennsylvania. It just drug on. Today was the first day temperatures hit 50 in the entire month of march. So I went to the apery to check the gorls, and get them started for the long awaited spring. All three colonies were dead. The were all flying one warm day in February.

    Being my first loss I need some advice. All the frames are fairly clean. I removed all the dead bees, and replaced the frames in the hive. There is one thing I do not know about. Many of the frames have cells that have a snow white substance in them. It is suspended in liquid. It sort of resembles a huge pile of eggs, or maybe pollen, as I said I do not know what it is, or what to do. Do I remove the frames that have it? Or leave them for the new residents to take care of? Any help would be appreciated..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,582

    Default Re: Dead bees whats next

    Not sure what they are as I am still new.
    A picture speaks a thousand words as the saying goes.
    Please show us some for the evaluation. Mite droppings I would guess.
    If in doubt leave them out I would say. Only use the clean frames because
    we don't know what is the cause of death yet.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,736

    Default Re: Dead bees whats next

    A picture would be helpful but I'm leaning towards letting the new residents clean house. I generally shake or knock (carefully...especially in cold weather) the dead bees off the frames. I sweep off the bottom board and scrape anything off the boxes and frames that doesn't belong there like propolis or burr comb. After that, it's time for new bees!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    erie, pa
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Dead bees whats next

    I feel fairly sure they died from a combination of near starvation, and freezing. In all three hives the bees were clustered in the top super, although there was some honey on the peripheries of the super, they had consumed the available honey from the center, I do not know why they had not consumed all the candy from the top of the frames. but the clusters were not real large. I believe the nurse count got so low from the unusually long and windy winter that they could not generate ample heat to keep the group going. we has temperatures in the upper twenties, to low thirties with snow and high winds throughout the entire month of March.
    I will try to put up pictures later today, but I do not know if I can get any taken, it is snowing again today, and again we have high wind conditions..

    Here is one of the frames you can see the white stuff in the cells in the left center




    here is a close up. I believe it is uncaped honey that is beginning to chrystalize. but I really do not know

    Last edited by I'llbeedan; 04-01-2013 at 06:18 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    erie, pa
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Dead bees whats next

    Any Ideas

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,582

    Default Re: Dead bees whats next

    I have seen those in my old combs. Either they are moth droppings or they are the
    rotten pollen powder. Most likely if no moth inside then they are the old pollen.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,708

    Default Re: Dead bees whats next

    Old honey in a comb can granulate & go like that, that's all it is, no worries.

    The only disease you need to worry about is AFB, anything else the new bees will clean up. Doesn't look like there is any dead brood in the hive, so it wasn't AFB that killed them.

    Go ahead & re stock.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,242

    Default Re: Dead bees whats next

    yup looks like sugar crystals, the cold weather in an empty hive will do that. the bees will enjoy cleaning it up.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Corry, PA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Dead bees whats next

    I'llbeedan: Sounds identical to how I lost one of my hives about 35 miles east of you, I'm hoping to just chalk it up to this abnormally crappy weather we had this winter.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,736

    Default Re: Dead bees whats next

    I agree. Nothing to worry about. You should be good to go!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    erie, pa
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Dead bees whats next

    Greg L.
    I agree we have had the oddest winter I can recall., Today April 2, it is still snowing. Are we ever going to get a break? I knew when march was so horrible that my girls were at risk, I had put food patties in each hive on a nice February day. But was still worried because I had taken a lot of honey off in the fall.
    But I don’t starvation was the sole culprit.. Although the lack of stores most likely took its toll. Mother nature just fooled me. By the second week of March the girls had been flying and swamp cabbage was blooming for the past 3 years. So I used that knowledge to determine how much feed they would need. I guess in the future I will ere on the side of caution.



    Ravenseye: we were once neighbors, I grew up in Shirley until my teens. ran all over mass many years. It will always be home.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Corry, PA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Dead bees whats next

    That is interesting....We were overly cautious and left more than enough honey for them to survive over the winter, in fact when we had that nice weekend about 3 weeks ago is when we found out we had a dead out (they were flying when we had that nice weekend in February), we ended up with a whole super with frames full of honey plus 4 medium honey supers we left them for the winter that the girls never ended up moving to in order to get something to eat.

    We will do the same and be much more cautious next winter

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