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Discussion Starter #1
The hives were wrapped for th winter and full of honey. Two large hive bodies most frames full to the top with honey. This is an extreme amount of honey in the boxes. I have oredered new Russian bees to replace the Italians, I want to try something different the winter here this year was rough. It appears that the ventilation was not enough and moisture was my problem.
My question is can I reuse the frames of honey etc. for my new packages of bees that are coming ?
Of course I know I will have to go into every frame and get out the dead bees and makes sure there is no brood.
Can anyone tell me what they have done in the past ?
I really need some advice.

Thanks
 

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Of course you can use the honey, and as long as foul brood is not present, you can use the brood frames. I would strip the brood frames out, store them in the freezer for a couple of days, then put new foundation in them. I would sure want to check with other area bee keepers, to make sure there is not something else going around, that may have killed them, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the information. I am just so upset over these hives. I am just starting my 3rd summer. Last winter all went well. It was really really cold here this winter. I think I should of had the inner covers shimmed open some. I didn't have them shimmed at all. I can see the condensation inside the hive, not real bad but it was probably enough. I feel so stupid. I think it was a combination of the hives being wrapped and the inner covers not being shimmed was the problem. All the hives were very strong going into winter. However we did have a lot of single digit nights this winter and broke a record for snow fall in Feb. I think it was 28 inches of snow. I feel so bad, not to mention the money factor.
Thanks for the info.
Bruce
 

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I have had about a 60% loss this winter. I'm planning to split survivor colonies and add feral colonies.

You've had a rough winter in the South this year, but you guys are tough,I know you will get through this too.
 

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Bruce, So sorry for your loss. I considered wrapping my hives. Now I am glad I did not. I usually leave my inner covers down, but prop my telescoping top so that the humidity goes through the hole in the IC and condenses on the lid and runs down the angle and drips outside the hive.
Good news is that you have a great start on your next hives. Unless you suspect problems, I would not waste the wax work of the previous tenants. If you don't fell confident about them, use them for swarm traps. (Btw, I have been at this about as long as you, so take other more experienced advice over mine anyday.)
 

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I have lost all my hives once when I began beekeeping, 2nd or 3rd year. Thats a hard lesson to take, once the lesson is figured out.

Keep with it!
 

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Kentucky bee,

I am sorry about your bees...
By ordering Russians, they will fare no diferent than the Italians did. Changing race is not the answer for your problem - humidity is!
I have to chuckle a bit (to myself and not putting nobody down here?) when I hear people complaining about winter.
(I do admit that if people get something, which is a bit different from what they are used to - that perhaps qualifies to be "winter?")

What winter?
We had minus 56 C ! Yes, 56 below, (-59 F) twice for a spell... Othervise minus 30 and 40 is the norm.
Yesterday I went to my summer home in the wilderness, where the bees are. They all came out, from the top holes, to great me! But had to leave for home, cause they were falling into the snow. It was a nice day, but only one degree above zero!
Yes, they are Italians and are attuned to the surroundings and conditions where they are at. If anybody would need Russians, it should probably be me?

Take a friendly advice: Fix your hive problem and stick to local bees, cause they are attuned to your area... Local bee is the best bee!
I would tell you how to, but last time I posted some "nitpickers" were having some fun - so the best answer for that is - of course silence.
(Although I would like to give them a piece of my mind, at the same time I would love to see them trying to keep bees in the wilds of the North for 55 years, cause only than would their buckets hold some water? Only some, but not much. . .

Good luck...
 

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Check for disease before you decide what to do with equipment and stores. If there is none, you can certainly feed back the honey. Seems like a lot of people have their worst losses in the second or third year. Don't let it discourage you but, as you are doing, ask yourself what you could have done better....shouldn't have done at all......should have done different or what you should have done to begin with.
 

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You're very correct about the shimming of one front corner of the inner cover. You should have also cut a hole in the tar paper wrap of ea. hive right near the shimmed corner area so that the warm moisture would have beem drawn out to the colder air through the open hole in the wrap. Make also sure that the bottom has some small opening so that there is a sort of current of air passing over the inner front of the hive from bottom to top to also speed the drawing out of the moisture. OMTCW
 

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Before I was migratory I wintered 150 hives incentral Ky from 1979 to 1999. Some of those winters were much worse that this. Put a popsicle stick between the inner cover and the lid or better you can put a porus board (to absorb moisture)on top of inner over with slit from opening in inner cover to outside. THe put a stick between lid and and board. I donthtink this is necessary but does absorb the moisture. I would change my queen to Italian....I do not like russians....swarm, queen quits laying during dearth(saves stores but you end up with weak hive in winter..worse) heard to requeen. I know of No large commercial beekeepers using RUssians...must mean somethig! If you gave me a russian first thing I would do is pinch her head off!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the help, everyone. I will start to feel better after I go to sleep today and get used to the idea that I did such a bad job. Last winter went great with 2 hives. I added 4 more last spring. Then this happens. I'll get better. I was going to add 2 hives this year and I still will. I am just going to spend the money and get it done. I'll break down the hives and split out the honey frames and they will be way ahead of a empty box. I promise I'll get better. I have too if I keep trying, learn from your mistakes and keep going.
Bruce
 

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I did use the screened bottoms and I also installed the white board before winter. In the slot under the screen. I did not put in any dry sugar in the top. How much do you put in ? Thanks
 

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I'm in Brandenburg, KY. My hives are OK. I haven't heard of anything going around. I have ventilated bottom boards on two (the green plastic ones) and use a screened cover instead of an inner cover on the other three.

The only issue I had this year was that I did have to feed recently as they were out of food. They went into winter with heavy stores, but for some reason it was not enough all but one hive had pretty much eaten through their stores. Have no clue why this year was different from all the other years.... This is the first time in 10 years at this location that I had to feed.
 

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A good beekeeper taught me to put about 5 pounds of dry granulated sugar on a special feeder board under the inner cover. The theory is the moisture is absorbed by the sugar and if needed the bees can then feed on it if they run out of honey. So it serves two purposes. Good luck. I wrap my hives as well. I think it is good insurance.
 

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I did use the screened bottoms and I also installed the white board before winter. In the slot under the screen. I did not put in any dry sugar in the top. How much do you put in ? Thanks
Next year, you might try pulling back that "white board" about an inch to allow an upper flow of air on the inner front of the hive. This will help to draw the condensation out through the small slit made by lifting one front corner of the inner cover slightly (approx. 1/4" ). Usually as much sugar as the inner cover will take without spilling over (approx 3 - 4 lbs.) Sugar usage causes an ant problem later on during the year, so don't forget to "reclaim" any sugar that they don't use. Any thrown or dropped on the ground will draw them to the bees and may cause them a problem. OMTCW
 

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KentuckyBee,

I just posted about a similar situation and I am in your area. Butler KY, maybe we can discuss and compare notes. I am on my third year and lost 2 of three hives and am down to 1. My problem appeared to be starvation but it would be good to talk to another local guy. I am at work now but shoot me a message and we can talk.

Greg
 
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