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I think I may have 3 dead colonies making for a 75% loss. First winter with bees up here in the great wild north of Montana and not sure its going well.
I checked the hives on a warm day last week and only heard buzzing in one hive. There was still MC sugar in each of them. I raked a pile of bees out of the bottom of one of them. There was also a big cluster of dead bees in the quilt box which seemed odd; but this is my first year actually using a quilt box so maybe its normal?

I am hoping for the best but realistically I am prepping for the worst. Ill get some more nucs ordered in the coming month and hopefully not duplicate whatever mistakes I find upon a thorough inspection.

Not sure what happened; but not much I can do about it. Perhaps mites but I did a OA dribble in the fall.....

Disheartening but not the first nor the last colony I will slaughter....


Perhaps bee tales of my destruction will help keep my future colonies obedient. Much like the govt saying "Im a beekeeper and I'm here to help"
 

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Much as I rely on OAV, an OA dribble in the Fall would not be enough to allow my bees to survive.

I do summer mites counts to make sure I don't need to treat at that point; then a four or five dose series of OAV in the Fall. And then a broodless period, one shot, in late December. I can get away without treating at other times because I monitor every week (sticky boards) and plus monthly (sugar rolls April through October) on every colony, all year long.

Set a up monitoring program next year, and treat when you reach thresholds. There are options for almost all seasons. Then plan on a series of OA in the fall to keep them clean and then the broodless period one-dose of OA once they are no longer flying out of your yard.

How could the bees get into the quilt box? You need to have the vent holes screened or else they will be tricked into following the scent paths rising through the shavings and think there is a pathway to the inside of the hive.

Sometimes bees that are really tightly clustered don't make much if any audible buzzing. Perhaps it's not as bad bad as you feared.

BTW, you're not a serial killer until you fail to learn from a bad experience and do the same thing over again and expect different results.

Nancy
 

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Much as I rely on OAV, an OA dribble in the Fall would not be enough to allow my bees to survive.

I do summer mites counts to make sure I don't need to treat at that point; then a four or five dose series of OAV in the Fall. And then a broodless period, one shot, in late December. I can get away without treating at other times because I monitor every week (sticky boards) and plus monthly (sugar rolls April through October) on every colony, all year long.

Set a up monitoring program next year, and treat when you reach thresholds. There are options for almost all seasons. Then plan on a series of OA in the fall to keep them clean and then the broodless period one-dose of OA once they are no longer flying out of your yard.

How could the bees get into the quilt box? You need to have the vent holes screened or else they will be tricked into following the scent paths rising through the shavings and think there is a pathway to the inside of the hive.

Sometimes bees that are really tightly clustered don't make much if any audible buzzing. Perhaps it's not as bad bad as you feared.

BTW, you're not a serial killer until you fail to learn from a bad experience and do the same thing over again and expect different results.

Nancy
I hope next year goes better. I ordered 4 new nucs. I see a few mistakes I made; but this is my first total loss. I wasnt really devastated until I had to pay for the new nucs. Ill plan to use smaller screen for the quilt boards, treat more proactively, and hopefully use my season observations to be more in the flow with them this year.

Ill put out a trap or 2 and hope for a few freebies.
 

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As Nancy stated, a single OAD in the fall is not enough. The fall treatments I find useful are MAQS, Apivar or a series of 3-4 OAV treatments. OAD is very useful for a single winter treatment which is how it is recommended to be used. Don't let it get you down, most of us have had the same experience our first year or two.

No, you are not a serial killer yet. Since you killed them all at the same time, mass murderer is the correct terminology. If you do it again next year, then you will be a serial killer!
 

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Ditto the above advice. I also have had hives that are silent to my ear and I think they are gone, but they weren't. So I wouldn't write it off just yet. J
 

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Zom - Have an experienced beekeeper or inspector visit your bee yard. Someone with experience should take a look. Too many variables to decide what happened.

I agree that OA treatment is a medium-level mite treatment in an IPM strategy. I use formic acid on August 15th. Zero mites remaining after that, though you'll likely have to re-queen soon afterwards.
 

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Everyone has lost bees and killed bees. It is part of the learning process. The goal is to get to the point where you are making more bees than you lose. Keep at it. The 3 main keys to success in my opinion is good mite control, good nutrition, and good queens.
 
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