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All Gone

2383 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  phil c
Went out yesterday to check the hives. No humming, no bees on the snow near the entrance, just silence. I had figured that I was going to lose 3 or possiblly 4 of the hives this winter as they were light going in and werent taking syrup well, but not all 7!
Ah well, time to order packages, and hope for a few spring swarm calls!
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Half of mine were not flying yesterday, but man I am feeling for you right now.
Iowa hasn't been the most forgiving place to winter bees this year, has it?
What kind of IPM did you do for mite control last fall?
How much Pollen Supplement or Pollen Substitute did you feed the hives to prep them for wintering.
How much honey is left in the hives?
I feel for you. Thought I was in the same boat (and we aren't done yet). I look at new packages as an opportunity to make new and different mistakes.
I didnt use a pollen supplement last year, I havent ever used one, due to the heavy goldenrod bloom around me. The girls were really bringing in the pollen.
I was feeding with 2:1, a couple hives taking in heavy the others not so much.
I treated with mite away pads, althought the application was shortened due to early onset of cold weather and needing to get the hives wrapped.
Like I said a couple of the hives were light going in and I expected some loss but not all of them.

Eastern Iowa has been beat up with winter this year. Lots of snow and alot of below normal temps. I cant remember how mant below zero and colder nights (and days) we have had not to mention the wind chills.
I dont know if the failure can be traced to just one cause or the cumulative effect of everything.

Like I said, get some new packages, hope for a few spring swarm calls, keep smilin and things will get better!
Phil, what was the temp and the weather like when you checked them? How did they compare with the previous time you took a look? Was it warm enough to pop the lid and take a quick peek?

Based on those answers, you may, or may not, have lost them. As has been reported elsewhere on the forum, sometimes we have pleasant surprises. I hope you get a couple. Good luck, sir!
I didnt use a pollen supplement last year, I havent ever used one, due to the heavy goldenrod bloom around me. The girls were really bringing in the pollen.
Sorry for your loss. Lately, there have been studies to show not all pollen is equal in it's nutritional value. Corn pollen is severely lacking in essential amino acides. I have no doubt the pollen influx was great, but I'm not sure how goldenrod stacks up or if it fills the bees real needs. The big boys are feeding pollen subs the year round. A couple of bucks for patties will bring big dividends. I've extended the pollen sub feeding window by a couple of months myself.

Jackson, MO
Phil, When you dismantal the dead outs this spring for clean up getting ready for your packages. Inspect for mold or anything else inside the hives. I use to have quite a few losses due to moisture problems. A moldy hive of dead bees or mold on north end of frames are really a downer. Of course other problems may show and you want to get an idea what happened.
I've been following Mike Palmers method of ventilation with a lower entrance and upper entrance with a Two inch piece of pink foam insulation board on top of notched inter cover. Even my ten frame Nucs are doing fine with this set up. This really helped me this year.
Iowa weather really has been rotten this year. I can not even remember the last date of fifty degrees or better here on the east side of Des Moines Iowa. Lite hives are getting Sugar on top, have to check weight of hives earlier this year.
I had to buy some packages last year so it happens to almost all of us but I think it made me a better beekeeper. Live & Learn, Best of luck this year. Jerry Kern
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I didnt use a pollen supplement last year, I havent ever used one, due to the heavy goldenrod bloom around me. The girls were really bringing in the pollen.
Just because they were bringing end of season pollen is not reason to think they have what they need. They need a variety of pollens. That said, pollen protien and nutrition depend alot on the weather, and if they are getting some foraging done in tame fields (planted vs wild or natural fields). The weather plays a role in the quality of pollen all year long...that said, what was the whole summer like...?
Then if the bees were foraging on tame hay fields or seeded acres, did the farmers or gardeners fertilize? A plant can be stressed from the lack of nutrition in the soil. If a plant does not get what it needs to grow proper, it is stressed and does not provide the nutrition to any animals which eat it.

Just a thought...
When I checked the hives it wasnt anywhere near warm enough to ta ke a peek, so I just put my ear up to the side and gave it a few thumps. Silence. next week the weather is supposed to warm into the low 40s. Maybe the girls will surprise me and I'll have some survivors.
I think I will be using some supplements this spring and fall, never used em before but it could be cheap insurance.
Just ordered some packages to help replenish, hopefully I can get a few swarms as well this spring.
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