This year too successful...didn't expect that one!
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MI
    Posts
    36

    Default This year too successful...didn't expect that one!

    Hello everyone,
    I am going into my third year of beekeeping and have really learned a ton. Like many others, I suffered heavy losses over last winter and lost 6 of my 8 hives. When I inspected both of the survivor hives, they were getting low on stores, but made it, the hives I lost still had some stores, but the dead bees in all of the hives were soaking wet, it seems moisture was the culprit. I used all 8 frame mediums with top entrances and migratory covers which were insulated, the hive bodies are also insulated with 1/2" exterior house insulation board. I had screened bottom boards on, but I did close them back up with their covers. Going into spring 2014, I decided to buy two 3# packages and one extra queen and try to get three hives going from those. The day the bees came, I worked the semi handing them out to other beekeepers and something happened to the cooling system in the semi and many packages overheated and the sugar syrup ran out all over nearly 100of the 1000 packages of bees. While talking to the business owner, we were lamenting the losses and he asked "Do you think you can save any of them?" I replied "Well, we know they will die if I don't try something" and I ended up finding 26 nearly dead or dying packages and took them home and using my bushkill bee vac, ended up making 13 colonies from the surviving stock without sucking up the syrup covered bees. All of the overheated queens either failed, or were quickly superceeded, but only one of the 13 hives died out. I also decided to start doing cut outs, for experience and possibly stong local genetics, and have done several calls along with my best swarm season ever to date (15 swarm catches minus 2 that left again). So, my blessings have also become my challenge as I currentlly have 31 hives in various states of development. I have successfully requeened all of the hives using the OTS method and those queens are doing great. I plan on feeding 2:1 simple syrup with Honey B Healthy as soon as our flow begins to slow. I am also going to combine several of my smaller hives that have not expanded more than two medium boxes. I am looking for suggestions to help me try to maximize their chances of survival. I plan on using a candy board of some type as I used regular sugar placed over newspaper on the top of the frames, but when I opened the hives this spring the sugar was a big wet glob of a mess and I wonder if the newspaper actually drew moisture into the hive. Any suggestions are much appreciated. I absolutely love bee keeping and I want to help them as much as I can to make it through winter. How does everyone place their frames in such a way that they don't get honeybound? Do you leave a couple of frames of comb in each box so the queen can travel around the capped honey through the boxes? Thanks to all of my fellow beekeepers on here, the more I learn...the more I realize I don't know. I am having no problems with hive beetles at this point and will continue to monitor for those, I have also not noticed any varroa on any of my bees, but I do know they are there, I will be doing a mite count this Saturday as well. Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: This year too successful...didn't expect that one!

    One way that I have seen is make a frame about 2" high. Screw a queen excluder to what will become the bottom. Drill a vent/ entrance hole in one end. Mix 16 lb of sugar to 3 cups of water. Put one sheet of news paper down. Then pack the sugar in the frame leaving the vent hole open. Set a side to harden up. Then place when you need it.
    David

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    1,472

    Default Re: This year too successful...didn't expect that one!

    You are also going to need to reduce to reduce moisture build up. Put a 3/4 hole in the feed rim and keep it open.

    Suggest also should add inner covers. I suggest notch up - this vents space between inner cover and migratory cover and there is subsequently less dripping. Inner cover will catch any drippings off the top/migratory cover.

    Also close screen bottom board.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    1,028

    Default Re: This year too successful...didn't expect that one!

    When I put the sugar on I make sure to leave 2-3 inches all the way around for ventilation. I think I am going to sugar bricks this year rather than the dry sugar on newspaper.
    20 hives, 10 years, T and TF, All local stock

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MI
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: This year too successful...didn't expect that one!

    Thank you for your advice, so far everything I am reading seems to make perfect sense to try. I have realized that sometimes you can "do everything right" and still lose bees and I understand that, I am trying to not create more problems than I have by monkeying with them in the first place. Please keep the suggestions coming.

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