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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Bonneville County, Idaho

    Default Another newbie with a dead hive...

    Hi All!

    My husband and I got our first NUC last spring. The girls did very very well over the summer/fall. We finally got a chance to open the hive last week as it was 50 here but we have had some very long cold snaps of -10 or more for weeks. Occasionally I would go outside and knock on the hive with my ear to it and hear nothing. What we found was a carpet of dead bees on the bottom, plenty of honey, and brood in various stages. There was zero activity and several "clusters" throughout the super. On some of the frames there were bees headfirst into the cells and they were surrounded by prob 100 or so bees on the outside clinging to the outside of the cells. This was on 3-4 frames. There was also brood cells in the super? The bottom box also had the same scenario. Upon further inspection I noticed tiny brown sesame seed looking things which Im assuming are varoa mites. I suspect they were weakened by the mites and the extreme cold further compounded the problem. We are getting two new packages of bees this spring and hope to start over again. I also couldn't find the queen anywhere although there was evidence of her presence. We are planning on reusing all the frames but what do I do with the dead brood frames in the meantime?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Rowley, MA

    Default Re: Another newbie with a dead hive...

    You can shake them out but the new bees will clean them up in no time

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Evansville, IN

    Default Re: Another newbie with a dead hive...

    You will get your new packages before the wax moths become a problem. Make sure you put drawn comb, preferably brood comb, in the center of each box you put a package in, as the queen will lay in that drawn comb no matter where it is! Center is better, the bees do better expanding from the center rather than from one side. I know this because I put a single frame of old comb in my first hive one frame in from the side. Guess where the brood was!

    If you don't treat for mites, you are going to lose hives, usually fairly early in the winter. You should also feed protein and make SURE you have adequate stores of honey by inspection in the fall, otherwise they are going to die off on you fairly often. Protein nutrition is often overlooked -- check your hives to see if there is any pollen left. If not, or there is very little around the brood, they were short in the fall. Protein deficient bees will die when they attempt to raise brood in late winter, and the loss of too many nurse bees means the cluster gets too small to keep warm and the hive dies out.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Great Falls Montana

    Default Re: Another newbie with a dead hive...

    When bees are scattered and died in little clusters, it is probable that the queen died or quit being a rich source of pheromones that hold the bees in a cluster. Mites need dealt with always but they may not be the culprit here. Shake off what you can and the bees will clean up the boxes. Your new bees will have a head start and as you gain experience, your bees will fare better. -10 is not extreme cold for colonies in an environmentally protected hive that has no gaping hole in the bottom and other holes on the column that allow a chimney effect wind. My wrapped bees had -35 temperatures with high winds to deal with and made it so far.


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