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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Dallas, GA

    Default Thought a hive that over wintered got lost during this last cold snap

    Turns out I was wrong.

    Was a nice winter here just NW of Atlanta, until about mid March that is. One of my two hives that over wintered was booming and I wasn't feeding since they were bringing in lots of pollen and nectar. Well, that last cold snap we had at the end of March was almost their doom....I had put a super on and a queen excluder prior to it, then went out on a business trip for a bit. Came back lat Friday and checked the hive on Saturday.....lots of dead brood in the top box, looked like they got chilled. Poked around a couple of more frames and saw no stores, dead bees head first into the comb....lots of dead bees and brood on the bottom board! There were still quite a few bees in the hive, but I couldn't find the queen or any eggs. Threw a frame feeder with syrup in the deep chamber, put in a frame of eggs from my other hive, pulled the excluder, and closed the entrance so only 2 bees could get in at a time. Dug through the pile of dead bees but couldn't find the queen....figured either I just didn't see her or they took her off after she froze and/or starved.

    Well there must have been a ton of bees out foraging on Saturday (it was nice) as I just checked them again today and almost all of the frames are covered with bees, deep and 2 mediums. Found the queen as well as a ton of new eggs. Hive is packed with syrup now as well ( I also put out a pail feeder a ways away from the hive just in case my other hive decided they liked the smell of syup from the hive in question.

    In all, this event probably just saved my hive from swarming (at the moment at least). Guess the lack of food and cold shut the queen down for a week or so?

    Good lessons for me as this was my first year over wintering (going into 2nd year of having bees). Thought once we hit spring officially that we'd be fine....that appears to not be the case and I will be checking weather forcasts better next year when I have to leave on business. Also learned first hand how fast bees building up can go through stores, man it's quick.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    West Bath, Maine, United States

    Default Re: Thought a hive that over wintered got lost during this last cold snap

    A cold bee can look very very dead. Warm them up and they come back. I know it can be ok for several days as long as they do not dry out. Not recomended, just true.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Evansville, IN

    Default Re: Thought a hive that over wintered got lost during this last cold snap

    We lose more hives in March than the rest of the year in just this fashion, they get to booming with brood and we get a cold snap. Pays to keep a close eye on stores (easy, just lift the rear of the hive -- if you can tip it with one hand in late Feb/early March, feed).

    Good thing is that by now we are in the clover, so to speak -- lots of stuff in bloom that the bees go crazy over, so they can stash away enough to get them past a couple cool or rainy days.



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