shinbone, I had some similar winters. with wide ranging temp swings, what do you do for insulation? I have been trying different things, it is perhaps ancidonal but the better insulated hives do the best. I have 1 I build with 3.5x1.75 stud walls insulated, they are going gang busters. Some I have strapped 1.5 foam around and they are doing fine as well. Most of the ones I have with Screen bottom board have died , over and over, too much draft or something, so I likely will retire those except for splits and emergency hives. IMO anything you can do to slow the temp swings, will help, when the cluster expands , contracts , etc it is hard on the bees. If Mites are in the area then some plan there is a must. Also look for some "northern" bees. I have been doing bees since "79" time frame . Some places in the South, if you get bees there, you will have heavy losses. Sometime they take the Saz or the russians down there to get an early start then "open mate" well most of the drones are local. the F1s and F2s really struggle. If you can, I would split from what survives, swarm trap, look for a northern queen source or NUC source and get some stock that winters are not a problem with. then you just have the Range weather and the Mites lets to deal with.And so begins a new Front Range roller coaster thread. So named because of the wide weather swings us beekeepers along the Front Range of the Rockies experience during Spring.
Unfortunately, my first report of the new year is unusually large losses in my apiary - 7 out of 10 hives have died in the last two weeks, during a cold snap. The cold snap went down to 6F, and so wasn't all that bad. The hives sure suffered, though. A brief post mortem showed that all the hives still had honey reserves. Some hives had dead clusters on the combs, and some hives were simply empty of bees. The hives got a later-than-usual mite treatment in the Fall, though, so that may have been the cause of the high mortality rate. I'll probably be feeding them hard and doing some splits this Spring to make up the losses.
cool one more to be able to splitA little bit of good news. A couple days ago, I was walking by one of the hives that I had declared dead a few weeks ago, only to see a few bees entering with pollen. Knowing robbers don't carry pollen into a victim hive, I was hoping the hive was alive, afterall. Yesterday I opened it up, and not only is it alive, but it is absolutely massive for this time of year - 1 deep and 2 mediums packed wall-to-wall with bees. If it was closer to the end of April, I'd be worried the hive would be swarming soon. I ripped open a couple dozen drone cells, and did not see any mites. All-in-all, a very pleasant surprise. Not sure how I originally missed the hive being alive, but that is the kind of mistake I'll take.
Good point! My usual goal with my hives is honey production, but considering how well this queen is doing, I might just forgo plans to harvest honey from this particular hive and dedicate it to making splits. Especially since it is already off to such a great start for doing so. I wouldn't mind spreading those genetics around as much as possible.cool one more to be able to split
Just talked to a friend in Unity SK and he says they have two feet of fresh snow on the ground! We are sending warm air north looking at the weather map and we have mid sixties forecast this next week so hopefully you will benefit from it.Still Winter on the Northern Tier. Had 2 days of flight this year. Snowing again today.
Not sure if I’ll get them through this. Toughest Winter since I started 4 years ago.
On top of that, no packages coming in - no flights from Oz or New Zealand.
Gonna be grim in Alberta beekeeping this year. Will split like crazy if I have a viable hive.
53 N, 115 W, El. 850M