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The variability depends on the stock and the beek. Experience beeks around me I have talked to are happy if their loss is 10% or less.
 

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I have been losing 50% in a temperate climate.
 

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As a former pollinator, ten percent or less was a very good range to be in. Very unlikely though with all the pesticides that were sprayed. The fun of the hobby is to try to have them come through the winter without any loss. It's not easy but it is doable. Choosing N.W. Carniolans would be a first step. OMTCW
 

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I don't overwinter most here in WI and I have lost 30% from July to Nov. I had 950. The few hives I didn't take to CA last year and overwintered in WI had a 25% loss over winter- 0% loss over summer. All I did to them was mite treatment in spring, supered, and pulled honey. 200 yds from them were CA bees that suffered 25% summer loss. Go figure!
 

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200 yds from them were CA bees that suffered 25% summer loss. Go figure!
Somebody mentioned that it all started with the Australian imports. Those Australian imports to California.
 

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Read George Imirie's "Pink Pages". He says no bees should be lost because of the cold. He says bees are lost during winter because of poor management practices. He cites research done where bees were subjected to -60 for 30 days and they survived.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Read George Imirie's "Pink Pages".... He says bees are lost during winter because of poor management practices...bees were subjected to -60 for 30 days and they survived.
ACBEES,

Does he describe the 'proper' management techniques to get bees through such temperatures? And have you tried his suggestions?

Adam
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Oh, I've got t here. From George Imirie's "Pink Pages" (at http://pxbacher.home.comcast.net/~pxbacher/PinkPages/2005_Feb_-_It_is_FEBRUARY_and_COLD_-_Are_your_bees_ALIVE.html)

I quote:

"EVERY spring, one always hears the standard beekeeper excuse that the cold winter killed his bees. WHAT A BUNCH OF BALONEY! This is only MARYLAND. How do the WILD bees survive in Maine, Minnesota, Canada,Scotland, or Siberia?

DR. Southwick, before his death, kept colonies in freezers with temperatures as low as -6O° for as long as a month, and PROVED that very cold temperatures does NOT kill HEALTHY bees!

Note that word: HEALTHY! Had YOU killed both the tracheal mites and the varroa mites before November? Was your queen less than 2 years old, or preferably less than 1 year old? Did YOU have at feast 70 pounds of honey in the colony in November?

Did YOU have an UPPER ENTRANCE to allow HUMIDITY to escape the colony? Was the colony protected from northwest winds? Did the colony SLOPE FORWARD so rain or snow could drain out the front door?

Was there at least 20,000 bees in the colony in NOVEMBER? Are you SURE that the colony did not have AFB, or are YOU dependent on a bee inspector to identify AFB?

Please note that I did NOT mention any other diseases such as Nosema, because all other diseases except AFB don't kill, particularly in the cold months. Sure, there are cases where a healthy colony died in the winter because the queen dropped dead, just like a few 20-40 year humans drop dead, but these are exceptions.

Go ahead, HATE me for saying it; but most winter deaths are caused by INSUFFICIENT food, WEAK hives entering November, forgetting tracheal mite kill in August, and POOR TIMING in varroa mite kill; and You, and I repeat YOU, could have prevented these deaths if you just were better EDUCATED in successful beeKEEPING. "

These are George's words, from his site. (Seems that George has a bad case of the 'typographic SHOUTS... :)
 

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Read George Imirie's "Pink Pages". He says no bees should be lost because of the cold. He says bees are lost during winter because of poor management practices. He cites research done where bees were subjected to -60 for 30 days and they survived.
And this, imo, is why this question is too limited in scope. Winterloss, in the modern age of beekeeping, has less to do w/ winter than it does w/ other factors, such as mites, nosema and other stressors.

In 2006 my year went from 732 colonies in May to 432 in Nov. to 100 in March 2007. Pre-CCD? Or just earlier than others? No, I think it was mites and ineffective mite controls. But I don't really know for sure.

Since then, winterlosses have been about 30%. W/ many of them actually lost during the summer and fall.

A more encompassing question may be, from the point of year when you have the most colonies, how many die between then and the next time you have the most for the year again? For me that would be from July 1st to June 30. I would have to pay more attention to actually have an accurate answer.

Is this question on the USDA Bee/Honey Survey? Just kidding. But maybe it should be.

ps: cold doesn't kill bees, moisture, starvation and stressors such as mites, nosema, and diseases kill bees.
 

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Well it's december, and I'm down one out of nine so far.. But I was fairly convinced it wasn't going to make it in July. I didn't combine, just to see. Last year the bees I lost, I lost in March, during freeze thaw cycles, and they were caught away from stores trying to cover brood..
 

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I checked 20 hives the other day and all are OK. Some nucs look a little poorly but that's about what I expected. Here in Ct it's about 20F with wind today.

I talked with Dave Hackenberg at EAS about this. He said that 15% was the usual for many years. Now it's up to 30%. Let's not forget that the big guys winter in Fl. and Tx. I think their bees would sissy out up north. I lost most of my bees last year. They starved with plenty of stores that they couldn't move to. (Cold starved).

dickm
 

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Discussion Starter #17
And this, imo, is why this question is too limited in scope. Winterloss, in the modern age of beekeeping, has less to do w/ winter than it does w/ other factors, such as mites, nosema and other stressors....cold doesn't kill bees, moisture, starvation and stressors such as mites, nosema, and diseases kill bees.
So Mark, Mike Palmer and others seem to suggest that the cold temperatures of winter are less a killer in themselves, and more a 'stress test' to see if other factors (disease, pests, stores - and beekeeping management issues like stores (again), ventilation, feeding, etc.)

Correct?

Adam
 

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Here is a pic of one of my hives that didn't make the cut to Calf. The cluster going into winter was too small to handle the below 0 temps we had. Notice the positions of the bees with tails out. This is their position when heating the cluster. Also notice the queen and where she is located. You will notice the pattie I fed them and also that they had emptied their honey stores close to the cluster. I suspect they were too small to move to where more honey stores were.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4193375050/
 

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I have learned that feeding sugar and water to late into the year is not good to much water in the hive. You have to get the humidityout of the hive. If you feed to late into the year all that water is in the hive and it cools down to 10 degrees they are frozen. We had a bad year for honey so I had to feed 2 hives. I have extra boxes for next year now. Tony
 
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