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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to beekeeping and am taking classes. I have a mentor who came out to the hive and he is perplexed as well. My hive is in the woods facing south east and has a good morning sun hitting it. It is made of cedar and one super is oak (free wood). I painted it with outdoor house paint storm coat. It had about 1 and a half weeks to dry.
I installed my bees on a windy evening but it was still warm. That night it got to freezing but the wind died. I purchased my bees from our club. I haven't heard back to find out if anyone else experienced this.
So the next day after installation it was pouring rain and pretty chilly. but not freezing. But I didn't go to the hive while it was raining. I then returned on the third day and they were either dead or in suspended animation. Kind of alive. Not walking around just kind of moving. The queen was dead.
Has anyone ever experienced this before. My mentor said he has never seen this. I am afraid to put any more bees into the hive again. I have no clue what could have gone wrong. They had sugar water available also. But they were all dead within 48 hours. Thanks to anyone who might know what it could be. We also took a sampling and will send it to the inspector to see what they might know.
 

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Well don't feel too bad, it took me 2 weeks to kill my 1st package way back in 1992! You don't tell us much about the package. A package would not freeze at 32F or even much colder. If you installed them without a top feeder for two days they may very well have starved. The hive equipment sounds fine, no issue with the paint. Here's a link which I hope will help a great deal.

http://www.howardcountybeekeepers.o...he-public/379-a-year-in-the-life-of-an-apiary

Don't be dissuaded, Watch the video, order some new bees, catch a swarm or get a nuc and try again.
 

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I'm new to beekeeping and am taking classes. I have a mentor who came out to the hive and he is perplexed as well.
I wished you had purchased an established nuc for the first year. Essentially a small hive that should be healthy so you don't need to wonder if you did something wrong on the install. I don't think it is the oak boxes.
 

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It may have been too cold to be feeding liquids. I checked some packages last week on Monday and am amazed at the amount of fondant the package has gone through. If I hadn't been out to a nice buffet myself this afternoon I'd be out giving them more fondant. Something for me to do tomorrow!
 

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Did syrup drip down on them maybe and chill then ?
Just a thought .
 

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I wished you had purchased an established nuc for the first year. Essentially a small hive that should be healthy so you don't need to wonder if you did something wrong on the install. I don't think it is the oak boxes.
Acebird, I argued this same point at a recent bee club meeting, where an experienced beek was speaking on installing packages, after awhile even I was confused trying to follow his instructions. An established nuc is by far the better choice for a new beek, we loose a lot of new beeks when they give up because their first package fails, after we have made everything sound so complicated to them, sometimes because we want people to think we are so smart.
 

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I installed my bees on a windy evening but it was still warm. That night it got to freezing but the wind died. I purchased my bees from our club. I haven't heard back to find out if anyone else experienced this.
So the next day after installation it was pouring rain and pretty chilly. but not freezing. But I didn't go to the hive while it was raining. I then returned on the third day and they were either dead or in suspended animation. Kind of alive. Not walking around just kind of moving. The queen was dead. They had sugar water available also. But they were all dead within 48 hours. Thanks to anyone who might know what it could be. We also took a sampling and will send it to the inspector to see what they might know.
Please let me know how you fed them?????? I almost can tell you the answer right now and I'm going to bet it was WAY WRONG considering the conditions. We hive packages in Alaska at nearly 0 and do it successfully Its all about technique.... Let me repeat that.... All about one that is commiserate with thew conditions. My guess is that your inexperience led you to failure.
 

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It's a virtual certainty death was because they were unable to take the syrup.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have a top feeder with a spacer under the feeder. the package was alive and buzzing when I installed them. The queen was alive with two attendance. My mentor didn't see anything wrong with the set up. My thoughts were the winds came up through the screen bottom because of the spacer with vents.
 

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What is the distance from the top of the cluster to the source of feed? You mentioned a spacer. Does the distance include this amount?
 

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Kguthrie don't worry about putting bees in the hive again there is nothing wrong with it.

In weather conditions such as you describe the only totally reliable way to feed syrup to the bees is to use a feeder that is a can, bucket, jar, or similar, with holes punched in the lid and put upside down on the top bars directly over the bee cluster, with the bees in direct contact with it.

Three inches separation, that is probably the three inches that killed your hive. The bees must be in actual contact. Put an empty super on to house it, and the hive lid on that. The cluster generates enough warmth for the bees to be able to withdraw the syrup. Although I have even seen one of these feeders fail cos the guy drilled such small holes in it the bees could not get their tongues through to withdraw syrup fast enough.

A side feeder, or any other feeder type that is not in direct contact with the bee cluster should not be used in cold conditions by beginner beekeepers.

If you do another package, use your gear again with confidence but feed as I've described. If someone tells you they did it different & it worked well they are probably telling the truth, but any other way will be less reliable in cold conditions. Screened bottoms cause problems when hiving packages and the screen should be blocked off.
 

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Well there is your answer. Try about 3/8ths to 1/2 at the max. Beyond an inch your bees are screwed in cold temps like happened this past week.
 

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And splash a little syrup on the bees plus smear some on the bottom of the feeder just so they realise it's there & will be looking for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Oh. I was told they needed the spacer. Or they would die. Maybe it is dependent on weather. And I use it later. I will surely rethink my set up. Thanks everyone.
 
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