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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went out to check the hives this weekend when the temps finally came up some. Lost 8 of 9 hives. :cry: I lost one about a month ago. Most had some stores left but looks like they got stuck and could not move with the temps so cold. I did not tear down the hives to check for sure. Got too frustrated after finding so many dead. I was just starting to build up the yard and was hoping to be able to expand this year. Now back to the starting line. After a bad spring, almost no honey harvest over the summer and now this. Now to decide what to do in the spring and to try and find bees.
 

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Eight out of nine? Fall mite counts?
 

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Awful news, but you have a survivor. Is that hive looking strong? If so you have something to split from. If your goal is to grow, and you're willing to forgo honey production, you could use all that drawn comb to expand on and not have to buy many bees by growing and splitting. Good luck.
 

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Went out to check the hives this weekend when the temps finally came up some. Lost 8 of 9 hives. Most had some stores left but looks like they got stuck and could not move with the temps so cold.
How many frames did the dead clusters cover, or how big were they? Tennis ball, softball, melon, basketball? Did they have honey above the cluster? Last fall, how did you determine they had enough feed for winter? Did you have to feed them? How much did you feed them and how? Did they swarm late? How do you manage your mite population?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Michael Palmer,

I have not torn the hives down yet (maple syrup season is in full swing now and time is short), from looking in most of the clusters look to be larger than a softball to melon size. Most had honey to the sides and a couple over the cluster. Again once I get them apart I will have a better idea. I used weight to determine and did feed some based on weight we only pulled two and a half supers this year. Honey production was not very good and I even left all the fall flow for the bees. I also gave them all dry sugar as emergency food. I had two that swarmed in Aug. One of them was the first to die, the other is the one surviving hive. Two of the losses were the captured swarms (in Nucs), they were small but they had good stores (2-3 frames solid honey each) going into winter and had no stores left. The warm Nov and Dec may have been part of my down fall. I do not treat with chemicals, but work split timing for brood breaks, sugar dusting etc. I expect larger winter die off from not treating but this is by far the worst i have ever had. Not using chemicals is a choice I have made and is consistant with how we run our small farm. Not so much anti treatment, but the farm is a sidline business and it is just the market we have tried to cater to due to our scale.

Beemandan,
As I said above mite counts were not bad, I have had hives with a higher count make it through in the past. I went into the winter feeling pretty good about stores and the overal status of the hives. Guess I was a little premature on that one.

This winter has me thinking about how to change my operations. I am thinking of reworking my feeding routine/process and having more stores on the hives in the future. I normally shoot for around 100lbs on a full hive. I was going to concentrate on Nucs this year and working toward an overwintered nucs to add to the business. Guess that one will have to wait a year or two.
 

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I don't advocate treating to those who have chosen not to. On the other hand, I always recommend using a dependable, objective mite testing method. It isn't about changing your philosophy but allowing you to make an informed assessment of any failures and successes.
Good luck.
 

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How many frames did the dead clusters cover, or how big were they? Tennis ball, softball, melon, basketball? Did they have honey above the cluster? Last fall, how did you determine they had enough feed for winter? Did you have to feed them? How much did you feed them and how? Did they swarm late? How do you manage your mite population?
Mr. Palmer I along with a lot of other people wish you would write a book explaining what the correct answers to those questions should be. Your ideas would be a big help to everyone in managing our hives.
 
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