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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Barre, NH
    Posts
    21

    Default Winter Kill Already

    After our first big snow storm last night, I went out to clear the entrance of my two hives.
    Afterward, I put my ear to each and gave a knock...one replied with a healthy amount of buzzing...the other was silent. Upon inspection, it would appear that they starved...not a bit of stores to be found.

    During the latter part of last season, I fed both with sugar water until it started to freeze and then gave each a protien patty figuring that and thier honey would be sufficient to get them thru the winter.
    No such luck.

    Now I need some advice about what to do to keep the other hive strong til spring.
    There probably not much I can do at this point, right?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,605

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Feed dry sugar (5#'s) on newspaper on top of the top bars.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,205

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Were they equal regarding stores after you were done feeding?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Barre, NH
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    Were they equal regarding stores after you were done feeding?
    No. Three supers on the remaining hive, only two on the one I lost...the one I lost was also new this spring.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Barre, NH
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    Feed dry sugar (5#'s) on newspaper on top of the top bars.
    I will do that. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,098

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    it's possible that one hive robbed the other.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Barre, NH
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    Feed dry sugar (5#'s) on newspaper on top of the top bars.
    Just getting around to posting this, since the news is kind of depressing...

    Went out to add the sugar and found nothing but dead bees in the other hive.
    I have not opened up the hive to look at every frame, but it would appear that the same fate came to these girls too...almost no honey left.

    Chalk it up to experience, I suppose. I'll dismantle both of them over the holiday to see if I can find any telltale signs...hopefully post some pictures too, so others might help me figure out what to do differently next season.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    487

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Are these 10 frame deeps you had on? or? And each frame was drawn and full? To me, that sounds like a good solid amount of honey. It makes me nervous for my girls. What race of bees were they, out of curiosity?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,299

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    I am wondering if you reduced the entrances on these hives going into winter, a good bit of robbing can happen on warm days during the winter if the entrances are left wide open. When winterizing in November I will reduce my entrances down to at least 1" or smaller.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    I have a situation similar to yours Currier!. My question is this.. what do I do with the dead hive? Clean out the bees? uncap the comb that was untouched for the other hives to rob, or hang up in shed for a new spring hive? Freeze brood frames to kill anything? This is my first hive to have not survived, hoping that the other makes it through the rest of the winter. Thanks all for any suggestions.
    jim the cook

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,546

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Quote Originally Posted by currier1 View Post
    Upon inspection, it would appear that they starved...not a bit of stores to be found.
    I didn't do an inspection but I think two of my hives suffered the same fate, maybe all three. I am not going to call it winter kill or starvation just yet. They should not be starving in December judging from past years. They don't consume much in early winter. It is late winter or early spring when they raise brood that they plow through stores. Robbing has got me wondering but I do not see a lot of dead bees on the porch or anywhere on the ground. Being a non treater it is probably a varroa crash for me but shouldn't there be dead bees around? Have you treated your hives for varroa? I don't want to say it is CCD just because I don't know what happened this year.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,546

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Quote Originally Posted by jim the cook View Post
    uncap the comb that was untouched for the other hives to rob,
    I wouldn't uncap it. If you want to give it to the other bees freeze the frames and then just give them the frames when it is safe to open the hive. I don't think robbing is ever a good thing.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,299

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    It saddens me to hear about you and currier1 losing your hives Ace. I wish you guys the best.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,098

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Actually they can go through a surprising amount of food any time that the weather is warm enough for them to be active - even if they have little or no brood.

    This happens every year to people who thought they had plenty of stores.

    If you sugar them all it takes is a quick peek under the hood to know what's going on. It might not be the very best option, but it's way better than starvation.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    472

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    I weighed our hives weekly all through the fall this year. With minimal to no brood, and temperatures in the flying range the hives consumed 4 -10 pounds of syrup per week. There was no forage for the hives during this period. They were not bringing in any pollen so I assume there was no nectar either. The strongest hives were consuming 10 pounds a week for 6 weeks. Once the temperature dropped below 40 the weight loss dropped way down. I only have one weight after the temperatures dropped due to shoulder surgery.
    Dave

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,299

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    If you sugar them all it takes is a quick peek under the hood to know what's going on. It might not be the very best option, but it's way better than starvation.
    Good advise, I sugared 2 nuc's and 2 production hives last week, not because they were out of stores but because they felt a little lighter compared to the other hives. If you wait until they deplete their stores it is usually too late.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Not sure how the nectar flows were up there, but just leaving supers on and not knowing exactly how much was in them sounds like an issue. What was a full super in Aug, could have very well been empty come Oct. fall flows can be very bad to non existiant. this year for use there was no fall flow. luckily I saw it and fed.

    You need to know how many frames of bees and how many frames of brood a cpl weeks before first frost. weak hives then should be killed or combined (or fed like crazy) in order to make sure you have the stores for the others. I am sticking with 1 1/2 frames of food for each frame of bees in my area.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,212

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    They very well might be dead, but I don't consider bees dead until they are warm and dead... sometimes they "miraculouslly" come alive when they warm up.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Barre, NH
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan. NY View Post
    Are these 10 frame deeps you had on? or? And each frame was drawn and full? To me, that sounds like a good solid amount of honey. It makes me nervous for my girls. What race of bees were they, out of curiosity?
    10 frame deeps = yes
    All frames drawn & full? = no...more like 60-70% full; 100% drawn

    These were Italians.
    This is my second winter as a beek, last winter they did fine up until the end of March...then a cold snap (single numbers) hit in April...lost 1 of 2 hives at that point.
    They almost made it last year.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Barre, NH
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Winter Kill Already

    Quote Originally Posted by WWW View Post
    I am wondering if you reduced the entrances on these hives going into winter, a good bit of robbing can happen on warm days during the winter if the entrances are left wide open. When winterizing in November I will reduce my entrances down to at least 1" or smaller.
    Reducer was in place...smallest opening.

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