Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I live in northern Minnesota. While I was in quarantine for covid we got a very heavy snow (mid October). By the time I got to my hive, a large amount of bees had suffocated from the snow covering the entrances (maybe a third of the hive died). The baseboard was covered in dead bees, wherein we realized we had a bad mite outbreak. The sub 32 degree weather has lasted two weeks and out hive is already compromised. I am conflicted and devastated.
Should we try to winter them and potentially subject them to a slow death?
Or should we intentionally dispatch of the hive and harvest the honey? (we have 70+ lbs)
If you think we should dispatch, what method would you recommend?
Thank you all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Getting them through the winter will be real hard, if not impossible, but I would try. Immediately do a oxalic acid sublimation to get the phoretic mites, put a couple strips of Apivar & mountain camp sugar & hope for the best. The honey will be there if they die off so I would leave it be for now. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,873 Posts
In addition to the above, I would reduce the interior hive space with follower or "dummy boards". Search this site with the Google for details. You can make them with wood, but a weak hive would benefit from foamboard covered with masonite or foil so they won't chew it. you need not do the box of honey. Keep that on top. I would also wrap the exterior with foamboard.
Unless you treat immediately for mites, the rest of the suggestions can be ignored.
To exterminate the hive, remove the box and any frames of honey, close the entrance, and pour a large bucket of soapy water into it. Best to do this on a cold or rainy day so you get most of them. J
 

·
Registered
6a 3rd yr 5 production hives 1/ 2 q resource hive
Joined
·
473 Posts
Full on crisis mode. Apivar strips, leave honey on, wrap/ventilate and put on emergency feed- sugar slurry or mountain camp. Sorry that you are devastated but not treating for mites ends this way. Bees can handle extreme amounts of cold. They can't handle virus loads from mites. I really hope you pull through this and double down on getting them healthy again. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
901 Posts
Lookingforadvice,

Sorry to hear about your dilemma, but we have all been there. It is very likely that you will not get your bees through the winter, but do (almost) everything mentioned above and give it a try. I would not recommend intentionally killing the bees, and as mentioned, the honey will be useable in the spring either for your consumption or for getting a colony(s) started next year.

In the meantime strongly consider finding a local bee club (or two) and joining it, going to all of their meetings, attending a bee school that is at least two days long, getting a mentor, and reading something here on BeeSource every day.

For starts you need to educate yourself about Varroa mites and what is required to mitigate them in your apiary on an ongoing basis. Recommend reading includes: 1) "Anatomy of a Mite Crash" which is located here on BeeSource when you first open the home page within the first 10 lines of print. It is lengthy, but you need to read it all. and 2) read about Varroa mite mitigation on the website at: " honeybeehealthcoalition.org"

I treat for Varroa mites with Oxalic Acid Vapor (OAV) and the optimum time to start treating with OAV because of the lifecycles of both the Varroa mite and the honey bee is about 1 August. Good luck with your bees and beekeeping, and hang in there. I started in 1947.

Cheers,
Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
NOTE:
Contrary to what some may imply.if you treat for mites with Apivar or Oxalic,your honey will NOT be suitable for human consumption.
And if some of that 70 lbs of stores was made from sugar syrup,you can't righteously call it honey either.

I have often been accused of being a pessimist but I consider myself to be a realist.
If that is truly honey,at $7-$8 lb.it has a retail value of about $500.
Contaminated with pesticide or sucrose,it is only worth at most $50.
If you think you have a mite issue,remember that the killers are the viruses that the mites vector.A severe virus infected hive will crash in the fall,no matter if you kill the mites or not.It takes a few generations of mite free brood(or close to it) for a colony to recover and that is not going to happen in your location this late in the season.

If you are basing your diagnosis of a mite problem solely on a pile of dead bees,keep in mind that this is the time of year that foragers are dieing and the hive population is transitioning to winter bees.If the entrance was blocked by snow,the dead bees have accumulated on the bottom board.
Also,you have not given us any past history of mite counts or mite treatments.

Sorry if I seem harsh.I have learned much of my beekeeping the hard way and I know the heartbreak of colony loss.
It has been said to take your losses in the fall and plan for a better future.
Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I don't think they suffocated, it must be the mites that killed them, many colonies dissappear under the snow each winter.
I don't think they suffocated, it must be the mites that killed them, many colonies dissappear under the snow each winter.
It went from 80 degrees to sub 30 in a few days. The snow melted and froze over the entrance so they couldn't get out all week while I was in quarantine. When I found them they were densely packed in around the entrance and between the deep hive bodies along all the cracks as if they were trying to get out and did not succeed. I
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Full on crisis mode. Apivar strips, leave honey on, wrap/ventilate and put on emergency feed- sugar slurry or mountain camp. Sorry that you are devastated but not treating for mites ends this way. Bees can handle extreme amounts of cold. They can't handle virus loads from mites. I really hope you pull through this and double down on getting them healthy again. Good luck.
It was full crisis ha. I feel as though sometimes their health reflects mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
NOTE:
Contrary to what some may imply.if you treat for mites with Apivar or Oxalic,your honey will NOT be suitable for human consumption.
And if some of that 70 lbs of stores was made from sugar syrup,you can't righteously call it honey either.

I have often been accused of being a pessimist but I consider myself to be a realist.
If that is truly honey,at $7-$8 lb.it has a retail value of about $500.
Contaminated with pesticide or sucrose,it is only worth at most $50.
If you think you have a mite issue,remember that the killers are the viruses that the mites vector.A severe virus infected hive will crash in the fall,no matter if you kill the mites or not.It takes a few generations of mite free brood(or close to it) for a colony to recover and that is not going to happen in your location this late in the season.

If you are basing your diagnosis of a mite problem solely on a pile of dead bees,keep in mind that this is the time of year that foragers are dieing and the hive population is transitioning to winter bees.If the entrance was blocked by snow,the dead bees have accumulated on the bottom board.
Also,you have not given us any past history of mite counts or mite treatments.

Sorry if I seem harsh.I have learned much of my beekeeping the hard way and I know the heartbreak of colony loss.
It has been said to take your losses in the fall and plan for a better future.
Good luck.
Pessimism is fine. This hive was a new this year. I used one pail of sugar water in the spring and they were off. They are the Saskatraz strain and considered to be more mite resistant, less susceptible to brood diseases and are very hygienic. They are incredible and have been clearing every dead bee out of the hive until the entrance was iced shut.
They definitely suffocated. They were packed tightly around the entrance and all the cracks between the boxes. The mites was not the main cause of death, but a secondary observation.
Almost all the honey is in the top deep hive body. If I do a sublimation with that box removed, it should be "pure" still correct? I wouldn't be selling any of the honey. I would be keeping it for myself and friends and family. I am not concerned about the value of it, but the quality of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Lookingforadvice,

Sorry to hear about your dilemma, but we have all been there. It is very likely that you will not get your bees through the winter, but do (almost) everything mentioned above and give it a try. I would not recommend intentionally killing the bees, and as mentioned, the honey will be useable in the spring either for your consumption or for getting a colony(s) started next year.

In the meantime strongly consider finding a local bee club (or two) and joining it, going to all of their meetings, attending a bee school that is at least two days long, getting a mentor, and reading something here on BeeSource every day.

For starts you need to educate yourself about Varroa mites and what is required to mitigate them in your apiary on an ongoing basis. Recommend reading includes: 1) "Anatomy of a Mite Crash" which is located here on BeeSource when you first open the home page within the first 10 lines of print. It is lengthy, but you need to read it all. and 2) read about Varroa mite mitigation on the website at: " honeybeehealthcoalition.org"

I treat for Varroa mites with Oxalic Acid Vapor (OAV) and the optimum time to start treating with OAV because of the lifecycles of both the Varroa mite and the honey bee is about 1 August. Good luck with your bees and beekeeping, and hang in there. I started in 1947.

Cheers,
Steve
Thank you so much for the response, Steve. I am reaching out to some locals now. I live in a pretty rural area, and there are not bee clubs, but a couple individuals out there I am sure of. Thank you so much for all the information. I will read it all. I really appreciate the support. I can only imagine the wealth of knowledge you must have with all those years of experience.
Cheers to you and your kind supportive words.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
In addition to the above, I would reduce the interior hive space with follower or "dummy boards". Search this site with the Google for details. You can make them with wood, but a weak hive would benefit from foamboard covered with masonite or foil so they won't chew it. you need not do the box of honey. Keep that on top. I would also wrap the exterior with foamboard.
Unless you treat immediately for mites, the rest of the suggestions can be ignored.
To exterminate the hive, remove the box and any frames of honey, close the entrance, and pour a large bucket of soapy water into it. Best to do this on a cold or rainy day so you get most of them. J
Thank you for the suggestion!
 

·
Registered
6a 3rd yr 5 production hives 1/ 2 q resource hive
Joined
·
473 Posts
Also as a follow up, any honey you leave on will only be for the bees if you use Apivar strips. Personally I find the topic of harvesting and timing of mite treatments to be one of the most confusing aspects of beekeeping. Personally I feel that mite treatments are so important that I’m willing to sacrifice any frames of honey for it. I use a permanent paint marker and mark the frame with a T for treated. Then it will never be extracted for human consumption. Good luck. We always route for people to come through hard times if you’re willing to do the work.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top