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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My very first hive all died. I went to take a quick look in the above average tempos we are having in NY and they were all dead.

Ideas on what killed them ? Let me describe...pockets of them on many foundations. A bunch on the floor of the hive. On some foundations there were many bees in the little cells with their butts out and other bees were piled on them, but only about 2 bees thick. Bees here and there looked like they were mid-walking and just died.

There was honey in the hive and a few covered brood. A very few.

If I was to guess, I think it was too wet as I located the hive in a wetter place.

I did see (only) 3 cells with white cotton omn them ?????

Help ?

I will buy more and try again.

Nan :cry:
 

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I'm so sorry Nan, the first hive loss is always so despairing. It could be many things, but wet, especially along with cold is very hard on bees. Perhaps change the location and make sure you have upper ventilation in the hive for moisture to escape from inside the hive. You're doing good by getting more right away. Get 2 or 3 going if you can as it gives you more resources. Best of luck this year.
 

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sounds of starvation
how much honey did they have stored???
also check for mites -

but clean out the loose dead bees and restart-
do you have more then one hive?? if not please consider 2 or 3 that way you can compair and borrow resourses

good luck this year -
 

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Nan,
Sorry to hear about your loss.

As Calvin Coolidge once said, "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence."

What would be your estimate of the number of bees per hive going INTO the winter?

If there are not enough bees for whatever reason(s), they cannot maintain temperature necessary to survive. Another thing to consider, were they exposed to the wind? Did the exposure to moisture result in condensation of water in the hive?

You might call your local extension office and see if there's an apiarist who could give her/his diagnosis.

Best of luck
 

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starvation...just because honey is in the hive doenst mean they didnt starve. Bees wont leave brood and if it stays cold will starve with stores just a inch away. Last fall we had NO FALL flow. Bees had a super of honey on them. It was 70's - 80's and they had lotsof brood. First of Nov it turned cold fast..highs in 30's. bees wouldnt leave brood and starved. (7-8 frames of bees). There was little fall flow inmany areas this fall....clusters get smaller as we go thru winter, if you have no fall flow and dont feed in Aug/Sept to stimulate brood rearing you go into winter with lots of old bees. THe cluster cant reach the honey in long cold periods if they are trying to cover brood. Colon may appera ok in OCt but you have old bees. THis is not uncommon to beginners or beekeepers who dont pay attention to little details! heads in cells is sign of starvation....
 

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Nan, I am in the very same boat as you, and in New York as well. My very first hive, so wonderful and healthy and vital....seems they are now dead as a doornail. Last year was a REALLY bad weather year for bees especially in the northeast.
I know just how you are feeling, it's so sad.
I am now making plans for getting several new colonies going for next year. I hope to go into next winter with 3-4 strong colonies instead of just one.
Let's keep going forward and keep learning!
 

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Last year in NY was a poor year to build comb. It sounds to me, since you mentioned the bees being on foundation, as though the bees didn't have enuf comb drawn out and filled w/ honey for the winter stores. So, from here, it sounds to me like starvation due to lack of stored honey.

Education is expensive. Take your experience and build on it. When you get your bees in spring, get a nuc. And then feed them sugar syrup until they don't take it anymore, so they can get comb drawn out. Then in the fall, feed them again so that they fill as much of the comb that they have built w/ winter feed.

Get a copy of Roger Morse's book "A Year in the Beeyard". It is a great guide for beekeepers in NY, especially those near Ithaca, NY, but also the rest of the state.

Good luck. Good beekeeping. Keep on keepin' on. Tomorrow is another day.
 

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Nan, so sorry to hear about your lost colony. That can't be easy. Although I haven't experienced a loss yet, for me it would be like losing a whole bunch of little pets. But I'm happy to hear you are not giving up.
 

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Yeah same thing happened to me a few weeks ago. Had a good cluster then checked it a couple days later and they all died in the cluster. It was like they couldn't make it just a few cells over where the stores were. Some had heads in the cells right beside of a store cell. Always a learning experienece.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am not giving up. And will get more bees in the spring.

But how can one assure that the bees will not starve since it seems that even though there is honey they can still starve. In my case, there was honey, but they didn't go to it.

Thanks for your sympathies and support. ;)

Nan
 

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Hello Nan,

Very sorry about your loss. I experienced the same thing at the same time. I'm just a bit further northeast of you.

Best guess of my similar hive loss: Starvation, secondary to freezing. This is the second year I've run into this problem trying to overwinter new colonies with plenty of stores they can't seem to reach. This year I'm doing an experiment with the use of supplemental heat. Basically I put a 100 watt light bulb covered with a metal coffee can (eliminate the light factor) in an empty hive body with a thermostat set at 50F degrees. I stack the complete double deep hive on top of this "box" and remove the IPM board from the screened bottom board. I also feed them a quart mason jar full of 2:1 sugar syrup with lemon juice (invert the sugar) placed over the hole of the inner cover and inside an empty deep filled with alpaca fleece for insulation. I even warm up the sugar syrup every day in the microwave to baby-bottle warm and top it off for the girls. (It's so cute to see them all lined up waiting for their warm syrup!) It seems to be working in an emergency situation with these goofy sub-zero temperature swings Mother Nature keeps throwing at us! Too early to tell for sure, so far so good!

Probably not practical, but I can't just stand by and let them all die again. I just hope I'm not screwing them up. I justifying the cost of the electricity by thinking buying new nucs would be more expensive.

Here's an interesting link to get you thinking:

http://www.capabees.com/main/files/pdf/winteringpdf.pdf
 

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Onge,

I agree with you, but I think this common sub-zero temperature dilemma requires thinking outside the box. They have all you've noted. Having two almost identical hives sitting together lent itself to a good experiment for my conditions. The only variable I've changed is the internal hive temperature. The one without heat perished. The one with heat is alive and seems to be thriving. I'm as skeptical as anyone, but I'm not willing to unplug my surviving hive at this point. Would anyone else?
 
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