If they've made it this far.
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    West Bloomfield, Michigan
    Posts
    24

    Default If they've made it this far.

    I'm in SE Michigan. I bought 2 nucs last May. They seemed to do OK, other than they seemed light/low on honey going into the fall, even though populations in the hive seemed pretty normal. Also, I seemed to be able to keep mites off of them for the most part -- I used Apistan strips and also Apiguard.

    I attribute the light weight of the hives to the nasty weather year we had, without a lot of good foraging. Much too cold all summer, kind of dry at times. When there was a good crop of late fall flowers, mostly asters, in October, it was WAY too cold for good flight, most days in the 40's with rain.

    I put a lot of dry sugar on them using the Mountain Camp method.

    Well, so far, so good. It was around 40 degrees friday and saturday, with clear skies and light winds. They were out taking cleansing flights, and it looked like they did a little housecleaning and threw some deed bees out, but not a lot, just a small handful from each hive. I was actually kind of surprised that they would come out when it was that cold, but the numbers coming and going from each hive seemed decent for that temperature, like there must be a pretty good population alive in each hive.

    So, my question is, if they made it this far, what are the odds they'll make it the next four to six weeks before the weather really breaks here?

    And, when it does break, if I have some nice days in March, should I medicate them with anything? Stuff for nosema or foulbrood? And, what about pollen supplementation or sugar syrup?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Elmira, OR
    Posts
    2,136

    Default Re: If they've made it this far.

    Other than hives that I combine in September, I lose 90% of my hives from Feb. 1 - March 30. So we are not quite half way through the "moment of truth". Your location may be different.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Troupsburg, NY
    Posts
    4,071

    Default Re: If they've made it this far.

    "I lose 90% of my hives from Feb. 1 - March 30."

    Same here....
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,309

    Default Re: If they've made it this far.

    Yes, now is the time to worry. It is when they starve...so keep the feed on them if they're low on honey stores.
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    730

    Default Re: If they've made it this far.

    Quote Originally Posted by Denninmi View Post
    ...what are the odds they'll make it the next four to six weeks before the weather really breaks here?
    I would say you have good odds, assuming you watch for starvation. Some add pollen patties, some don't. Some do Spring feeding, others just have losses.


    Quote Originally Posted by Denninmi View Post
    ...should I medicate them with anything? Stuff for nosema or foulbrood?
    Medicate only if you find symptoms of disease.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Elmira, OR
    Posts
    2,136

    Default Re: If they've made it this far.

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    Yes, now is the time to worry. It is when they starve...so keep the feed on them if they're low on honey stores.
    My losses are not from starvation. It just seems that some colonies dwindle over the winter and succumb in late winter.

    What I always thought was small clusters stuck on small patches of brood in various areas of the hive, turned out to be tracheal mites (according to an article in the last ABJ).

    Some queens just seem to fail over winter. Mostly the cluster shrinks over winter, probably from a variety of problems like mites, nosema, viruses, etc. until it gets too small to keep warm gets robbed and dies.

    On the other hand, you are right. This is the time to keep an eye on hive weight. Atfer Feb. 1 I try to lift the back of hives every two weeks until they start building up weight again.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Azle Texas USA
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: If they've made it this far.

    Bee ready to put out sugar water and Mega bee if they start flying (temps above 45-50). If warm enough open and put honey directly on top of frames. I put honey directly on top of frames this winter on 2 small nucs. Seems like thy are going to make it.

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