Lost all 3 hives - Page 2
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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Clinton, Iowa
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    6,034

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    Bottom line, if someone is checking their hive daily (through a window) and they see non-moving bees after a cold spell, I think it might be possible to warm them back up. Don't know how long they can be in torpor without finally dying, but this will be something I try and answer as the years go on.
    Interesting, that answers my question. Occasionally I'll grab some dead ones from in front of the hive and put them in a little jar so my three year old daughter can look at them. Last time I did one of them 'came back to life' and she was very very excited. I think it's largely a luck thing I guess. If you happen to catch them really soon after they check out you might be able to salvage them, and in your case that's obviously the situation. I can't imagine bees being like you describe and surviving a -15*F night here. But I suppose 'anything is possible'!

    The ones that I've 'thawed out' have never returned to acting normally in the amount of time I've observed them. Were the bees you looked at in contact with food?
    I'm curious to know if there's any truth to the idea that bees that are not moving and "come back to life" when warmed up are really able to be saved.

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    5,486

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    to be clear, they don't freeze and come back to life. Insects are partially exothermic, depending on some heat from the environment to be active. The bees reached temperatures where they simply become inactive and are unable to move but are still alive. If they actually froze, they would be dead.

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
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    2,420

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    to be clear, they don't freeze and come back to life. Insects are partially exothermic, depending on some heat from the environment to be active. The bees reached temperatures where they simply become inactive and are unable to move but are still alive. If they actually froze, they would be dead.
    Hmm. What if they're cold and lying in a layer on the bottom board? I only say that because I scooped out a ton of bees from the bottom board today. They seemed kind of mushy and almost moving, but they weren't in a cluster, they were lying on the bottom board. Found the queen too. I just dumped them on the ground. Maybe I should've put them in a jar and brought them in the house and see what happens?

    I'd imagine the half-frozen bees would be on a frame tho. If they're covering the bottom board, my guess would be they're too far gone.

    [That hive was a split started with a new Russian queen in I think late July, got knocked over by a bear in September, and I don't think built up a good enough sized cluster. Plus the bottom board was screened and I didn't realize it had no solid bottom until after it got pretty cold - wondered if that could have been too cold on a small colony.]

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Strafford County, NH
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    2,420

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Beentown View Post
    I'm having the state inspector come out and chat with me about what he's seeing locally and we'll definitely check the count then.
    I hope you come back and let us know what he says! I heard a few stories of absolute absconding recently at our last bee meeting. Weird.

    Also, what kind of bees did you have? I haven't had luck with Italians, but my Russians seem to overwinter pretty well.

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,822

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    The ones that I've 'thawed out' have never returned to acting normally in the amount of time I've observed them. Were the bees you looked at in contact with food?
    I'm curious to know if there's any truth to the idea that bees that are not moving and "come back to life" when warmed up are really able to be saved.
    The worker bees in the nuc, that I could see from the window, were not in contact with the food source that I put in the hive last night at 6pm. However, when I put the nuc back outside and re-installed the queen, there were some on the tops of the bars that were feeding on the sugar slurry that I had placed in there. I was hoping that the workers would carry it down to the screen to the not-quite-up-and-moving gals. Had a few workers fly up at the flashlight as I was installing it last night.

    As for the workers tonight, it seems like the same amount are alive and kickin' as last night. They still have the sugar slurry on top, and I'm again seeing the wagging tongues hanging out the mesh that is blocking their hole. I also have some flyers on the window as I shine the light on them. Still most of them are barely moving on the screened bottom, so I added a sugar slurry beneath the screened bottom that some should be able to access from below. It will be an interesting experiment to see if they fully revive.

    The 4 stiffs that I stuck in with the warm queen this morning before I headed out to work, are as energetic as any other worker bee. I will have to watch this colony closely to see how it might affect them. My 4 nucs that I am overwintering are very small populations to begin with. I am trying to find a method to overwinter mated queens so we have them for early spring splits. So these colonies only have a handful of bees anyway. The 2 smaller nucs have a heater in the hive with them, and did very well in the cold snap. This one nuc was on the north side and took the brunt of the wind.

    4 nucs.jpg

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Worcester, MA
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    11

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    On a whim, I transferred all 3 hives into my ~50deg garage and stacked them all on top of each other. We'll see what happens in the AM. Currently researching vaporizing kits to see what's reasonable for treatment; I imagine I'll be treating at several intervals throughout this upcoming season.

  8. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Norfolk County, MA, USA
    Posts
    231

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Beentown View Post
    On a whim, I transferred all 3 hives into my ~50deg garage and stacked them all on top of each other. We'll see what happens in the AM. Currently researching vaporizing kits to see what's reasonable for treatment; I imagine I'll be treating at several intervals throughout this upcoming season.
    Curious how will the bee inspector be able to make a determination on cause of death now?
    Were the colonies with the small populations queenless? What about moisture? Do you have pics of the hives and frames before you mixed them?

    It's easy to blame mites, everyone here always does it, could have been that, bad beekeeping or several other things could have happened as well.
    Think about it....Buy American

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Worcester, MA
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    11

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    No, I literally took the whole hive and stacked it on top. They remain untouched on the interiors. I'll take the fall for bad beekeeping- I was not as active as I usually have been in the yard in previous seasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    Curious how will the bee inspector be able to make a determination on cause of death now?
    Were the colonies with the small populations queenless? What about moisture? Do you have pics of the hives and frames before you mixed them?

    It's easy to blame mites, everyone here always does it, could have been that, bad beekeeping or several other things could have happened as well.

  10. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Norfolk County, MA, USA
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    231

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    You should leave the hives outside just close down all the openings from robbers and mice until you get new bees this will save you from the wax moths.
    Think about it....Buy American

  11. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Worcester, MA
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    11

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    You should leave the hives outside just close down all the openings from robbers and mice until you get new bees this will save you from the wax moths.
    I'll be sure to tomorrow. I bagged them last year and it helped a great deal.

  12. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Isle of Wight, VA
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    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    wax moths still find their way into bags to destroy untreated comb. They don't like open, light spaces. My extra comb, after it goes in the freezer for 48 hours, hangs out in my Rec Room on a hanging file folder.

  13. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Don't feel bad, It took me 3 tries before I successfully had bees live thru the winter. I think inexperience & southern packages contribute to my problems. Now I have northern raise queens, which seems to help. I'm still learning from my mistakes.
    Hang in there.

    Best, Nardi

  14. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    I'm not saying package queens/bees are fantastic... don't get me wrong. But with mites under control and adequate food... the bees will surprise you, I think. In a way it is probably a good thing that you found them dead before spring so that you have time to get an order in if you want to re-buy. I bought bees once and I'm hoping I don't have to buy them (except queens to bring in bees that I want to try) ever again. It's much more fun that way, in my opinion... but not the fastest way to grow an operation.

  15. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    5,349

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    I'll assume you are a member of the worcester bee club, at the next meeting I'm sure someone can point you to a supplier of nucs in your area, or Ken Warchol when he inspects your dead out can point you in the correct direction. good luck
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  16. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Boerne TX
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    I agree it sounds like mites.

  17. #36
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Worcester, MA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Just to keep you all from waiting too long- had a meeting with the state inspector this past weekend. He said it was mites for sure.

    I'm firm on deciding to go through OAV treatments this season. I simply can't continue to do the same thing and expect a different result- he even said he prefers treatment-free but we simply don't have the environmental conditions right now favorable to TF.

    I'm going to also experiment with a late split into a 5-frame nuc to see how well it overwinters. It'll be a good experiment to see if they overwinter better here. Just need to do different things until a combination is found that works...

  18. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,407

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    I lost 2 2nd year hives this winter. One was obviously mites, lots of dead mites and dead bees on the bottom board. The other hive looked very different. Lots of drones in the dead cluster, a bit of drone brood, and packed with pollen. No mites on the bottom board. I'm guessing this was a mid fall queen loss.

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