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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We lost our hive this winter, but it didn't get as cold as it has in the past here (central Wisconsin). The 2 deeps weight roughly 50 pounds from what I can tell right now, so there is certainly honey left in them.
Could the death be due to mites? (we didn't treat for this or anything to be honest).

When treating for mites, do you just get some sort of strip to place between the 2 deeps for a week or two and let it do it's thing or is there a specific way to do this properly?

Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Is that 50 pounds total for a 2 deep colony?
Yes, I'm guessing that by lifting them. It's certainly more than just empty boxes and I noticed they were dead in mid-Feb. when it warmed up. The boxes were full in October.
 

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You are close to honey bee ware in Greenville wi he has had classes on beekeeping. You should take them. He had instructors from the bee lab in Minnesota do some a couple of years ago.
 

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The weight of 50 lbs would be extremely light if it is anywhere near accurate. They cannot scrounge up every last bit of honey from frame corners in cold weather.

I use 70 lbs figure for empty equipment top to bottom, and bees, for a double deep; in excess of that is stores. Going into winter should be in the 125 to 140lb gross weight range in the north.

If you can, take some pictures. See how many square inches of stores still is left. Weighing the hive in that condition would be a good baseline for future reference. A digital luggage scale can be rigged up for not much over $10. Knowing what colonies weigh in the fall makes for peace of mind.
 

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We lost our hive this winter, but it didn't get as cold as it has in the past here (central Wisconsin). The 2 deeps weight roughly 50 pounds from what I can tell right now, so there is certainly honey left in them.
I want my deeps weighing 60+ lbs each, basically, if I cant hold one chest high for more than two minutes it's good.

Could the death be due to mites? (we didn't treat for this or anything to be honest).
Well, if you didn't try to do anything about the mites, then it could very well be. Mites are just a fact of beekeeping, and mites tend to kill bees since they weaken them by feeding off them, and transmit viruses in the process.

When treating for mites, do you just get some sort of strip to place between the 2 deeps for a week or two and let it do it's thing or is there a specific way to do this properly?
Mite Away Quick Strips, AKA MAQS, work very well to control mites...but you must follow the instructions closely. Failure to follow the instructions precisely will give poor results. The treatment period for a full dose (two strips for a double-deep hive) is one week.
 

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You're going to have to open up the hive to tell anything.
 

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When we started beekeeping, we didnt treat for mites. I know lots of people who dont. But now, 5 years later, we treat and have much better survival rates. Im not trying to start a treat or not conversation but if you dont treat just because you didnt get around to it, you are just rolling dice on bee survival.
 

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Yes, I'm guessing that by lifting them. It's certainly more than just empty boxes and I noticed they were dead in mid-Feb. when it warmed up. The boxes were full in October.
If they were that light sometime before mid Feb they were going to starve to death before warm weather. But, it sounds like you probably killed the hive way before that as a result of not doing anything to control mites. Likely it was mites that killed this hive. You say both boxes were full in the fall. What it sounds like to me is the fall explosion in the mite population resulted in a late fall disease epidemic that weakened the hive enough that robbers probably cleaned out much of the honey. In Wisc the robbing could have happened on warm days in late Oct or even in early Nov.
 

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When treating for mites, do you just get some sort of strip to place between the 2 deeps for a week or two and let it do it's thing or is there a specific way to do this properly?
There are many proven methods. Study up on a few different ones. Some work best during specific parts of the season, others like MAQS are temperature dependent and some cannot be used during the honey flow. The one you seem to be referring to is Apivar which is delivered via plastic strips impregnated with Amitraz; a miticide. They are very effective but cannot be used during the honey flow or with honey supers on. They are placed in the hive for about 6 weeks so its important to know when your flow begins and ends. Please read all directions carefully and seek guidance if you have questions.
 
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