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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been at this a while, I'm no expert but I'd say I'm getting it ok. (friend gave me his hives in august, ten frames and two stories each. and the bees did awsome this fall bringing in lots of honey on there legs) . lately here with the weather they are really cold and are dying. Theres plenty of dead ones around the hives . This is Delaware and it's in the 30s today, I was doing my weekly inspection and they just weren't moving all that much, just a big clump of bees, I mean some were flying around and pissed like normal but alot just fell off the clumps and weren't moving.

Is there a way to heat them up? I have a small engine block heat wrap and was thinking I could put that in bottom of hive during next week inspection, use it on real cold days?
 

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I've been at this a while, I'm no expert but I'd say I'm getting it ok. (friend gave me his hives in august, ten frames and two stories each. and the bees did awsome this fall bringing in lots of honey on there legs) . lately here with the weather they are really cold and are dying. Theres plenty of dead ones around the hives . This is Delaware and it's in the 30s today, I was doing my weekly inspection and they just weren't moving all that much, just a big clump of bees, I mean some were flying around and pissed like normal but alot just fell off the clumps and weren't moving.

Is there a way to heat them up? I have a small engine block heat wrap and was thinking I could put that in bottom of hive during next week inspection, use it on real cold days?
Very humorous! :eek:
 

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I hope this post was an attempt at winter humor. Brought in honey on their legs,,, That was a good one. But if you were serious, not to be mean, I would be remiss if I didn't say you're not "getting it". You really need to spend hours on here in the forum on Beekeeping 101. Read them all. You need to order some books. You need to stay out of your hives until a nice day over 55 degrees. Next time your in them you need to put down some paper on the top bars and pour some white sugar on it as an emergency feed if they need it. Your inexperience is doing more harm than good. If your not willing to invest the time in learning the craft then give them away to a beekeeper who is. But I really hope this was just humor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yeah my plan is to take a corse or read some books in the spring this was kind of sprung on me by my friend in august he had to move quick and get rid of the bees and the hives, he showed me the basics and told me to inspect every week. With them doing pretty good this fall I figured I was getting it down! from these replies i'm guessing winter is out though for keeping the inspections going , makes sense ! it seemed to cold,

I'll pour some sugar in so they eat it

I'll read this website seems like a lot of stuff on here

thanks
 

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...I'll read this website seems like a lot of stuff on here

thanks
Hey - "do nothing" is always a good option.
If unsure - do nothing.
Seriously.

Your bees are going to be just fine.
They don't even need you, really.
 

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So you were being serious - sorry about the rough intro, but as you'll realise after you've got some mileage in - your post sounded rather like an experienced beekeeper flagging-up some elementary beginner mistakes in order to 'have a laugh'. In the northern hemisphere we're just entering the 'dead period' of the year, when folks tend to suffer from cabin fever and that's the kind of stunt they can get up to.

Sounds like you've been dropped in the deep end all right - most people start-off by reading books, attending classes, asking lots of questions on forums and so forth - before acquiring any bees. Looks like you're doing things in reverse order. That's no problem - but suggest you ask questions in the 101 forum for a while before doing anything, or if you're concerned about anything. As already said, there's a whole heap of stuff to wade through about what to do, and what NOT to do. But we've all been beginners at some time, and so know well-enough what it's like. And we've all screwed-up too - no-one's immune from that.

By the way - Welcome aboard ! :)
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks for help, and yeah I'm reading the 101 forum and can already see I've made a binch of mistakes so far,. time to read up :), ok, so no inspections when it's cold, makes sense!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But I'll go into hive again in a few days to dump all that sugar into them

I did check this morning andcouldn't see a queen, but maybe she was hiding because the cold, thanks everyone

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
oh, yeah, . and my original question is about using the block heater to heat them up on real cold days, I bet that's not a good idea

And is that real what someone said here about moving them inside? I can do that in my garage but my mom freaked about them getting out, do you just tape up the openings? I probably won't do that because I don't feel like moving them !*(*!!!!
 

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....
I did check this morning andcouldn't see a queen, but maybe she was hiding because the cold, thanks everyone

Bill
Man, you should not be looking for a queen just about now (just so you don't squish her at about the worst time to do so).
Seriously, leave them alone.
:)
The less you monkey about now, the better off everyone will be.
OK - put a slab of sugar on the top (nothing to loose there).
Then live em.
Cold - does not matter.
 

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And is that real what someone said here about moving them inside?
It is best to not touch them at all.
OK, make sure the covers are ON them to be sure no rain/snow gets inside.
This is all.

Dry sugar - look at the pictures here and do the same:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm

Then live them until spring (where ever you are).
Do something else; ice fish or something.
 

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Don't heat them - it will make more problems than it will solve. If you have just finished inspecting today, and you had the ability to do so, a little heat right now might be useful. But NOT at the cost of reopening the hive. Micro-waved gel heating pads (the kind you use for injuries) slipped in the front entrance are one thing I have used occasionally when I think a cluster has been disturbed in very cold weather. But by this time (likely hours afterward) there may not be any point of doing this. I have been known to wrap my hives with wool blankets, too, when a quick fix was needed.

Put a piece of insulation foam up inside the cover next time you open it up. (You'll need a heavy weight on the cover afterward - if not a ratchet strap- to make up for the reduced overhang.)

If you like, you can add a hive wrapping like a BeeCozy, or just cut-to-measure foam insulation panels all around the hive, leaving the front entrance open.

Add a piece of hardware cloth - 1/2" mesh - over the lower entrance. as a mouse guard. Your entrance reducer should be in and on the small setting, notch rotated upwards

If you have a screened bottom board, close up the slot.

Next time you open the hive, leave the inner cover so the notch in the rim (if there is one) faces downward and leave that uncovered by the telecover's overhang to make an upper entrance.

What do you guess the total weight of the hive is? If you have a game scale, you could use that to weigh the front and back to get an estimated weight. This, along with the number of boxes, would help us advise whether your hive is in danger of starvation.

Bees bring nectar back to the hive inside their bodies in their honey stomach, then they regurgitate it back out to house bees who stow it in cells and ripen it down to honey. What you saw on their legs is pollen, which they'll use to feed babies next spring. In the winter, bees eat almost exclusively honey which they need to keep their body temperatures up to a viable level.

They need to keep the cluster of bees at 70- 90 F all winter long. Opening and inspecting at 30 F (a temp which will quickly cold-stun bees into immobility) may leave them unable to recreate the cluster fast enough to survive. By doing this you inadvertently put your bees at extraordinarily high risk. (That's why we thought you were pulling our legs.)

(But don't fret, chances are they will survive because bees are exceptionally tough creatures. And don't fret, too, about pulling a bone-headed move. There is not a single beekeeper - and I emphatically include myself here -on BS who hasn't done something equally risky - or worse - at one time or another. And most of us probably don't have a complete bee-ginner's lack of knowledge as a valid excuse for our dumb mistakes.)

Opening the top of the hive to install newspaper and sugar, while it lets the air out, doesn't break up the cluster. Do it on a warm-ish (40+) day, when there is no wind, And plan ahead so everything is all set for rapid, safe work.

Every hive inspection carries the risk of killing or injuring the queen (This is for everybody, not just newbies. ) At this season there is no fix for that, even if you realized you had done so. And a queenless hive will perish over the winter, since she has to start laying again long before it is over. It's a race between the deaths of the previous fall's bees (from old age) and the maturing of the new bees born in Jan and Feb. And there has to be enough of the old bees alive to tend to and keep the new babies alive.

Nancy
 

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And is that real what someone said here about moving them inside? I can do that in my garage but my mom freaked about them getting out, do you just tape up the openings? I probably won't do that because I don't feel like moving them !*(*!!!!
Just a quick reply to that one. Yes - in the 'old days' (meaning the 1850's onwards) many of the big historical names in beekeeping used to keep their hives in cellars where it was quiet and the temperature held low and constant. Ideal conditions for over-wintering. But over the years this gradually fell out of favour with most beekeepers.
However, in extremely cold environments (such as Canada) many big operators keep their thousands of hives in huge temperature-controlled sheds - at around 4 degrees C. if memory serves, which is bl##dy cold for us, but it keeps the colonies in a kind of semi-dormant state (almost like hibernation) during which their metabolism is minimal and so they eat very little.

Another way of keeping bees 'indoors' is to place hives inside a building, but to run the hive entrances out through a wall, so that the bees can enjoy clearance flights on any warm winter days. Perhaps the best example of this can be seen in the A-Z hives and bee-houses of Slovenia.

But all of the above is just a taste of the sort of stuff you'll no doubt be learning about over the winter, and not a recommendation for you to start converting the garage !

'best
LJ
 

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op all those dead bees are most likley due to mites. Guessing you didnt test or do any treatments? Is this a solid bottom? As said no opening hives after 50 degree weather hits. bees should not need any heat. putting in a heat source will cause them to starve as they will cluster near it, eat all the food, and not move. You are at a crisis point right now. read and read and google. Before doing anything at this point ask us in this thread. Normally you'll get brow beat but i'd rather answer a few questions you can't find then have you kill the hive trying something you saw on the internet
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
wow that's a lot of information! I'll read and read to learn some before messing around,
thanks everyone,

and no I didn't treat for mites, I 'll go learn about that too, maybe I'll just treat for mites anyway to be safe and stuff before it's too late

thanks everone, bill
 

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wow that's a lot of information! I'll read and read to learn some before messing around,
thanks everyone,

and no I didn't treat for mites, I 'll go learn about that too, maybe I'll just treat for mites anyway to be safe and stuff before it's too late

thanks everone, bill
It's been too late to treat for for a long time I start treating in august with a follow up OAV late in october hopefully you get lucky and they make it. good luck new bee
 

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Wildzain, you started beekeeping just like I did back in 2011. I was given my hives in August as well. I saw the same symptoms and by the end of December, all the bees were dead. I hope you are luckier than I was and they live. I found after that first 3 months of having bees that I was totally hooked and never quit. I hope you have also developed the same love of bees I have.

A healthy hive will do just fine in the cold weather. There are beekeepers on this forum from the far north and they see extended temperatures well below 0 degrees (F) on a regular basis and their bees survive just fine. If they do die, it will not be from the cold.
 
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