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Hi All

I am new to beekeeping last year and have a question regarding bee losses over winter. I live in Ontario, Canada and typically have a few weeks every year of minus 30 degrees and at least 4 months of sub zero temps.
I have searched everywhere but can't seem to find any info. on how many dead bees it's normal to find mid winter on the bottom boards. I removed the mouse guards yesterday and cleaned out about 3 to 4 cups of dead bees off the bottom boards of both hives. The hives are still alive as I can still hear loud humming from the centre. This number seemed excessive to me but I don't have any point of reference. Both hives were strong with lots of stores going into winter.
Thanks in advance for any help.

Aylen
 

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winter death rates are dependent on many variables- the number of bees going into winter,their relative ages,the ammount of stores, the location of stores, the breed of bee(or mix thereof)the LOCAL weather(flying days etc) the air "drainage" at the hive... thousands and thousands of variables. its not like cooking where you follow a recipe and temp and get a fixed result. therein lies the frustration and wonderment of beekeeping. good luck,mike
 

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If they were strong colonies, 3-4 cups does not seem too bad to me. I would not disturb them though. I have an upper entrance so if lots of bees pile up at the bottom, they can get out the top.

I keep the landing board clean of dead bees. So everytime I take a walk through the apiary in winter I can tell which hives are still alive and active. If I see no new dead bees on the landing board I worry that maybe this hive is dead. I've noticed the strongest colonies always have the most new dead bees out on the landing board.
 

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Thanks for the input, very clear. A bit relived to hear those numbers don't seem too crazy. Had a listen today and they're still humming along. Warm temps seem so far off, at least two more months to go!!
 
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