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Thread: old frames

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Orland Park (Chicago area)
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    174

    Default old frames

    Looking into the hive, even thou alive, I found quite big pile of dead bees at the bottom. In addition there were like 5 partially empty frames with dead bees in the cells.

    I am wondering:

    1. Should I throw these frames out because maybe there is some bacteria or mold?
    2. Why the bees wont take these dead bees out themselves?
    3. Should the hive be disinfected with a flame torch to kill the bacteria?
    4. Why these hive was going to the winter the strongest but emerged the weakest?

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
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    6,176

    Default Re: old frames

    1) No. Clean them up a bit by shaking out the dead bees. Let the live bees take care of the rest unless they are just covered with mildew, etc. Bees do a great job cleaning things up...but see #2.
    2) A strong and healthy hive will do wonderful housekeeping. My guess is that you have a small cluster and they're much more concerned about their own space and not making space for growth. At least not yet. I would carefully watch this colony.
    3) No. Unless you suspect real bad disease, mold and mildew isn't a great cause for concern. Of course, you can always do it if you want. I wouldn't.
    4) Probably mite counts and / or food supply. There's a bunch of reasons. Be glad that you have them to work with and give them your utmost attention. I don't think you're quite out of the woods. Do you have a queen? Brood?

    Pre-spring for us is often late winter for bees. Watch them and see if they start to build up. By the way, if there is ample evidence of high moisture over the winter months, you have a ventilation issue and excessive moisture / condensation can kill a healthy colony.

    Good luck!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: old frames

    Ravenseye is spot on. Also if the bees are head first into the cells its a good indication they are starving. Check the stores they have to see if they are out of honey. If so then you need to feed them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    asheville, north carolina, USA
    Posts
    69

    Default

    This is just one possibility . The cluster dwindled down to where it was small enough to not be able to get to food stores when cold trying to keep brood warm then starved. Several causes could come into play here. Queen failure or mites. Do you still have a queen in the hive. If the colony died out then those bees could be from other hives after the honey. Robber bees or scavengers won't do any housekeeping such as removing dead bees. I am unable to detect your location while on my smartphone so maybe it wasn't that cold and hopefully that colony is still alive.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    asheville, north carolina, USA
    Posts
    69

    Default

    It takes me so long to type that I didn't read luv2beekeep post until after typing

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Orland Park (Chicago area)
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: old frames

    The queen is present and there is literally like 1 alley of bees. The brood is present. Also, there is maybe 4 full frames of honey present.
    The bees were located at the top box.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,986

    Default Re: old frames

    Amd we are back to mites. The OP is outside of Chicago so still dealing with cooler temps.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Orland Park (Chicago area)
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: old frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Luv2beekeep View Post
    Ravenseye is spot on. Also if the bees are head first into the cells its a good indication they are starving. Check the stores they have to see if they are out of honey. If so then you need to feed them.
    The heads were visible, so it seems the bees were too late to emerge, cut by cold or something. Can these frames (looking dark) be used for future honey?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    asheville, north carolina, USA
    Posts
    69

    Default

    In my area (wnc) I would consider putting them in a smaller box until they bounced back. But ask some local beekeepers first.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Northern Il, USA
    Posts
    630

    Default Re: old frames

    Quote Originally Posted by ncbeez View Post
    In my area (wnc) I would consider putting them in a smaller box until they bounced back. But ask some local beekeepers first.
    Well, I am local but not very experienced. I'd say put them in a 5-frame nuc and feed on top. In this area it is very easy to kill off winter bees with moisture. Don't need to ask why I know this. From the description this could be what happened. I have managed to nurse a puny hive back to life, but it's easier on the bees in a tighter space.

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