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This week has got warm enough we got to check our yards. After the late summer and open fall last year we did not know what to expect. When we wrapped hives last year they were about the strongest we have seen. The two deeps were overflowing with bees. We were amazed to find that we have a 96% survival rate. We have not seen these numbers before. We are also starting to feed this week as the hives a still very stong and they are going to be hard on feed untill we see some blooms. I am wondering how others have made out?
 

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I am seeing good survival rates so far. That said, not out of the woods yet. I winter outdoors and have been feeding bulk syrup and pollen for almost two weeks now. The last warm spell when i checked my hives they were rather low on stores and i felt it was too cold for the feed on top. Bulk feeding has gone well. They have had many days to collect feed. When we wrapped the hives they were really really heavy. Some took in feed while others did not. However most were well over the 200 pound mark in weight. Two grown farm men had troubles lifting the hives to put into block formation.

One yard however, of 16 hives, 4 are alive. That said, I was expecting total loss for that yard. These hives had problems all spring and summer, troubles foraging and building. They were "survivor stock" from the previous year, from a previous owner. I suspect viruses. Am i happy with those losses? No, just expected
 

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Got through 1/3 of my indoor hives,
running 20% as of now,
the hives that are alive are very strong
Losses are comming from starvation, v mites and queen problems.
 

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I have only two hives, but so far they have both survived. Light going into the winter, fed heavily in late fall, light coming out of the winter, fed dry sugar and pollen patties for about 3-4 weeks now, and just put some 1:1 syrup on.

Grid.
 

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A guy asked me recently what the % of winter losses were 25 years ago. I told him the losses were so few that I never coverted them to a %. You just counted the losses on one hand.

Back on topic. 20% loss. The most encouraging trend over the last cpl of years is that the survivours are real healthy. I'm pleased.
 

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I am finding over half of my losses, 25% now, are starving over honey.
Its the old saying, bees don't winter well on canola honey.
Its true for me this year. We had big canola crops last year leading well into fall. Produced alot of honey, but also put alot in the brood boxes. I wasn't proactive enough to relieve the problem and I am finding hive losses because of it. at least 10-15% of my total losses.
My big hives must have had enough moisture to chew through the honey, but my smaller hives just didn't have enough, and I'm guessing dehydrated. The honey in the chamber was all uncapped, and dug into, but hard as a rock. It must of been like chewing on concrete!
I never had this kind of problem before. New experience to me,
 

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We did not have a canola problem as that would have been extracted. Our bees were able to bring in stores up into Nov last year. I do not think I have ever seen a fall where the frost held off like that before. Our hives were so heavey we had used a crowbar to slide boxes together for wrapping.
 

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Moved my hives out Sunday and Monday nights. I've gone through about 65% of them and the survival rates have been amazing. Running at 95+%. Even stuff I thought had no chance last fall has made it.
 

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We ran about 10-12% loss. Mostly queen problems. However we're nearing 500 nucs as of today. We are in good shape, bees even better, now the weather that's a different story. Lot's of rain lately, then it drizzles, then some showers etc...

Jean-Marc
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ian: I am wondering if the bees that are wintered outside may make better use of canola honey as these hives would have more condensation than those wintered inside at a constant temp. More condensation would gives the bees more water to use on the crystalized canola honey. ???
 

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However we're nearing 500 nucs as of today. Jean-Marc
lol, I was seeing frames with eggs in them and hoping for larva by the weekend.

It was one of those winters were absolutely everything seem to make it for me (unlike the last 2). I had a hive come thru which I thought had no chance last fall. While stripping the last super last fall we ended with a robbing frenzy and when we pulled the truck out of the yard this hive got the brunt of it. A week later when I came back to feed and it was starving and half of the bees had died. I poured some syrup on it and mark it for interest sake to see how it would winter. This spring it has three frames of bees and lots of eggs.

Another 10 hives were opened by a bear last Oct and were open for 2 weeks in cool rainy weather. Everyone of those hives made it.
 

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>>Ian: I am wondering if the bees that are wintered outside may make better use of canola honey as these hives would have more condensation than those wintered inside at a constant temp. More condensation would gives the bees more water to use on the crystalized canola honey. ???


Possibly,. Its frustrating. a good 15% lost on honey. There might be more to the story than just having trouble eating the honey. Stress and strain might of allowed some other ailment to take hold.
I am seeing evidence of DWV, and in those colonies I see the symptoms, they are dead or near dead.
might be a combination of things. Having trouble eating honey, that causing a stress that perhaps a virus took hold,.?

As for the rest of my hives, they look great. Alot of the hives are two boxes, some needing feed. How they handled the canola honey,.? Might be as simple as holding more humidity within a large cluster. Good thing my hives went into winter strong.

Some other were indoor feeding this winter to avoid starvation. I was thinking I should of tried some feeders also, perhaps the availability of liquid would of helped them along
 

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Went into winter with 125 and into 96 by feb 15. I did a lot of uniting of colonies with 4 frames of brood to colonies with 7 or 8, dispersing them through my strong hives so they would have about 10 frames of brood. so now i'm at about 75 hives but those hives are formidable. Been feeding cake and boost juice since jan and just finished giving the second feed of 1:1 syrup. I managed to get 2 formic treatments in too. I'm waiting to do the splits (3 ways of 6 frames each) to 50 of the colonies.

Best hives I've seen in years. Had good weather up til now. We had good pollen from the hazelnuts and pussywillows and other plants. The maples and dandiloions are just starting here but the weather has just turned for the worse (hopeful for a change for the better). I'm kinda glad I gave em feed when I did.
 

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Ian

I noticed that during the very cold weather the humidity in my wintering room was often at the 50% mark and that was with exhaust fan running only 15 min every 3 hours.

I was concerned about some of my hives last fall as well because they were on canola as late as September 15 and some of them were fairly heavy. I'm of the opinion that canola honey is useless for indoor wintering. If the bees do try to use it, there are a pile of crumbs under the frame. The problem is it is difficult to get enough syrup into a hive that is fairly full of honey.
 

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>> I'm of the opinion that canola honey is useless for indoor wintering. If the bees do try to use it, there are a pile of crumbs under the frame. The problem is it is difficult to get enough syrup into a hive that is fairly full of honey.


Allen, did you pull honey frames in your chamber to make room for surip?
Do you enterence feed during the winter months?
 

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Forcast is improving for this comming week. Should be able to get some open feeding into the hives.

What do you think Honeyshack? Are your hives falling back?
 

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In the last week and a half, I lost about 15 of the weaker hives. It got cold for a few days and they either did not have enough stored by the cluster, or tried to keep the cluster warm and chilled themselves. And they are going through feed like crazy right now. I think that was one of my problems. Couple of the yards ran out of food for a day or two. Kept checking, but all of a sudden, the feed went like mad.
The strong ones are going crazy, so we should be able use splits to make the difference, and hopefully a few extra. Still alot can happen between now and mid to the end of April. So unpredictable right now. If the willows would get busy and do their thing, it would make a big difference. Running low on pollen supplement. You are right Ian, they go through it faster in the barrel than in the pollen feeders, and cheaper too...the barrel that is.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ours were all wintered outdoors. Checked the feed today and they are using it but not in any great amount. One yard is bringing in a bit of pollin from the willows today. With the forcast we have that should pick up real fast.
 
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