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Very discouraged. Was warm enough to check on my two hives yesterday. one hive with not that many bees and all dead, the other seems ok, but I just opened the top enough to see bees coming out through the inner cover opening. This is my fourth year. I have lost my hives each year. First year, they just disappeared. Second year weak from mites and didn't make it. Third year, starved with plenty of honey they didn't move to. I have medicated with Fumigillin, used Api-Life Var as well as menthol and I have gone with screened bottom boards. Ventilation is not a problem.
I am running out of things to try to keep bees healthy and productive.
Bee inspector doesn't see any problems other than tough luck. I don't like relying in luck to be a good beekeeper. Did I just start beekeeping at a difficult time?
Anyway, for the hive that is still alive. Any advice about using the frames of honey from the dead out.
 

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Well you said it yourself one of the hives looks like it might make it and who knows maybe the other one as well. This might be the year you get to split your survivor hive and things will get better and better.
 

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Keep your head up Bacon !!!!
after 4 years you should know that you ARE a KEEPER and as a keeper you must keep trying - as ive heard before ... if beekeeping was easy everyone would do it.....

from what you wrote seems you are in a rut and should look on the bright side, you still have boxes and have learned from things you have done

if your bees are not eating their stored honey try the mountian camp dry sugar method .... its saved my rear from year to year - some bees just dont like winter honey but love sugar

one thing to look at is POLLEN - pollen is needed in the winter as a protien and there is not much ever said about it... im leading into doing more to make sure they have the stores

on that note ... what ive have noticed it that if we have a bad year on the fireweed - the bees have a hard winter ( no matter if i sleep out there with them)
but when we bring home the LBS of fireweed they survive the winters

so..... what ive learned is that we dont take pollen from them just the honey
so if they dont bring in the fireweed nector.... they dont bring in the pollen

kinda see where im leading your thinkin??

i used fireweed but you can use what ever is your last pollen plants in your area
its like going to the store to get milk and cereal, if you buy 50 gals on milk and only 2 boxes of cearal ..... after few weeks your going to stop just drinking milk to survive on

Hope this helps .... Keep your head up and keep us posted !!!!

Seth
 

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I am sorry for your loss!

That said, If you are going to have livestock, you will have dead stock. Comes with the territory.
If you like bees, go and put your big kid pants on and do what you have to do to get your numbers back up to where you want them to be.
Watch your feed, watch your pollen...just bringing in is not enough. Watch your weather for plant stress and bee stress. Supplement when you need to.
Watch your mite counts and correct when necessary
Watch your diseases and do what you need to do to keep the hive healthy. If that means assessing the hive as not able to make it through a winter, then tear it down and shore up another hive for winter and then make a split in the spring to replace the weak hives.

Sometimes i think we want to save every hive, will go to the expense of saving it, even though we did not take a step back and ask ourselves in the early fall..."will this hive make it through the winter?"

Learn from your mistakes, do what you can do, within economic reason, and then hope for the best...BECAUSE...just when you thought you knew all the ways they could die, they will surprise you and find another...it is the way with livestock...
 

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Don't give up man! Hang in there and keep trying.

Talk about a bad round of luck. Wish you better luck in the future.
 

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Started the winter with 6 hives, I'm down to 3. Lost a lid in the high winds on 2 of them, not sure as to why I lost the other, there appears to have been enough food in there. I'm bummed as I am sure you are, but don't give up.
 

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I have medicated with Fumigillin, used Api-Life Var as well as menthol and I have gone with screened bottom boards. Ventilation is not a problem.
when and how often did you medicate with the api-life var. the soft chemicals aren't as effective, here is a chart that explains that you should treat spring and fall. http://www.miteaway.com/html/varroa_doubling_info__understa.php

api life var is rated at 91% effective, from the chart, it will protect your bees fro around 12 weeks during the season. I would use two different methods one in the spring, one in the fall and also use the fumidil in spring and fall. if you didn't get local bees, find someone around you and get some bees from them. there are some excelent bee clubs in Mass. two that I am know about are the worcester bee club
http://www.honeybeeclub.org/
and another in middlesex county if either are near you join up.
http://www.middlesexbeekeepers.org/
You can read the worcester info at there web site, they bring in many excelent speakers year after year, they do a large order of honey jars for members to lower price, now if they would just do it for the chemicals.

good luck
 

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Use some apistan strips this spring for 4 weeks and get them out of the hive. This will do a quick job of knocking out a fair number of mites with out leading to resistance. Then in the fall treat as per directions and make sure you don't winter with the strips. Then next spring put a single frame of drone foundation and remove once capped. This will reduce your mite load going into season. Then treat in the fall with apistan.

The hives that I do drone foundation in the spring and apistan in the fall usually make it through the winter if they have food.
 

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Let's make the assumption that you're doing everything correctly. If the problem is not medication or ventilation, maybe you should try a different race of bees. Perhaps you're in a specialized micro climate and a different race of bees would handle it with greater ease. If the inspector tells you there is no problem with your technique, change something else.
 

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You now have one hive of bees that have overwintered in your locale. Good! Feed them well and make a "split" of 4 to 5 frames in late May or June and let them make their own queen. Hopefully you have Carniolans. Yes, you wanted some honey, you'll get some along the way. Every year is different when dealing with Nature, old beekeepers have losses just as well as newbies, it's a learning experience, albeit usually a pleasurable one. OMTCW
 
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