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My little bitty colony is still hanging in there, and even seems to be thriving. I have some frames of honey and drawn comb from my other hive that did not make it through the winter, and I am wondering if it would be a good idea to put together a medium using some of the frames from the other hive, and put that on top of the little colony, which is currently living in a single deep that did not even have all frames drawn out or filled with honey.

We have had a very tough winter with close to record snowfalls and extremely cold temperatures. That seems to be coming to an end, and I would like to get the bees back outside of the pole building I moved them into in December to provide them with more protection. Should I wait to add the medium with the honey and empty comb frames until I get them back outside? They are currently surviving on sugar--they really didn't have any useful stores to speak of going into winter.

I'm afraid of messing them up after they have done such a good job of holding on through this long cold winter.
 

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Pioneer I have a single deep that started with a late June swarm, the size of a baseball. Lost the queen, added brood from other hive and they re-queened. A bunch of fighters. I live a little south of you but tough temps all winter. My girls were flying today! I have not opened mine yet as I am afraid at these temps. Are yours open to fly out of the pole barn? When Warm enough 55-60 slip a frame or two of honey, adding space right now may be iffy. I'm a nube, but in a similar situation. Good luck!
 

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Mr. Beeman, I haven't opened the inner cover all winter, and I am hesitant to do that while they are in the pole barn. I don't want them flying for the light panels and forgetting to come back to the hive. A few bees escaped from the top this afternoon, and they did orient in front of the hive, but I can't say for sure that they found their way back :/ Since they are accustomed to coming up to feed on the sugar on top of the inner cover, would it work to just hang a frame in the existing empty medium? I'm counting on the upcoming colder temps to drive them back into the deep--they were buzzing around in the empty medium like crazy this afternoon.

Hautions11, I hope yours make it! such a similar situation indeed! :D
 

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Same situation here with a single deep colony. The winter has been brutal and long. These girls were flying today, cleansing and cleaning. They do have a partial sugar cake, I don't know what other stores as it was my wife that saw them not me. She didn't dive into the box or frames, just observed. Saw a lot of dead bees scattered about in front of the box in the snow. Some would be dead that were removed I would guess. We lost one other colony that 3.5 weeks ago was the strongest of them all. Now they're gone (dead), looked like they were in suspended animation. Some had crawled up into any gap they could find inside, almost like hiding. Others just still, on top of the frames. Some inside the sugar cake bag. This colony I will dive into this weekend to see if I can figure out what happened. If there is still some honey there, I'll give it to the single deep hive. Other than that I have no frames of honey. So I'll watch this thread to see I can learn something too.
My thought is that they (the small single deep colony) will need food/protein more than space for now. I am considering making pollen patties to feed to them. Winter is not over yet. They have the partial sugar cake. I just hope they can pull through as they're a tough group of girls. Losing the other colony after 10 months of effort is heartbreaking. Learning a lot in this first year regarding over-wintering a colony.
 

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Same situation here with a single deep colony. The winter has been brutal and long. These girls were flying today, cleansing and cleaning. They do have a partial sugar cake, I don't know what other stores as it was my wife that saw them not me. She didn't dive into the box or frames, just observed. Saw a lot of dead bees scattered about in front of the box in the snow. Some would be dead that were removed I would guess. We lost one other colony that 3.5 weeks ago was the strongest of them all. Now they're gone (dead), looked like they were in suspended animation. Some had crawled up into any gap they could find inside, almost like hiding. Others just still, on top of the frames. Some inside the sugar cake bag. This colony I will dive into this weekend to see if I can figure out what happened. If there is still some honey there, I'll give it to the single deep hive. Other than that I have no frames of honey. So I'll watch this thread to see I can learn something too.
My thought is that they (the small single deep colony) will need food/protein more than space for now. I am considering making pollen patties to feed to them. Winter is not over yet. They have the partial sugar cake. I just hope they can pull through as they're a tough group of girls. Losing the other colony after 10 months of effort is heartbreaking. Learning a lot in this first year regarding over-wintering a colony.
Pappy, was there any indication of water, parasties or nosema in the hive? Did you take any pictures?

Maybe they starved. Did you inspect the combs yet?

I'm in the same boat. I'm going to try and take my hive apart on a warm day this week and see whats left alive - I doubt i'll find much.
 

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Pappy, was there any indication of water, parasties or nosema in the hive? Did you take any pictures?

Maybe they starved. Did you inspect the combs yet?

I'm in the same boat. I'm going to try and take my hive apart on a warm day this week and see whats left alive - I doubt i'll find much.
Wags - I will inspect this weekend and take the hive apart and plan to photograph what I find. Going into winter they were pretty well off, seemed to falter a bit, and then built back up strong. I did discover mite infestation, but this was after it had turned cold and I wasn't sure what to do or how bad the infestation was. I probably would not have discovered it at all if not for using a sliding bottom board in the slot beneath the SBB. I slid it out to look for sugar crumbs, wax cappings and found the mites. We thought our hives were clean. I remembered someone in the bee club stating "It's not a question of 'if' you will get mites, but when." Other than the mites, I saw no indication of anything out of the ordinary. Like I said though, I plan a thourough inspection this weekend, and to check to see if there is anything that can help the other colonies. I'll take photos and post. We also have two Log hives. One small one did not make it. I do suspect they froze. A larger Walnut log hive, is going gang busters and very strong. They are taking care of bee business without any human interference. They're doing it all on their own. These are the ones I'd like to get a "trap start" from this Spring.
 

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OK Pioneer, it sounds like you already have a medium box over your deep. In that case hanging a frame or two of honey/pollen is fine. I believe the concensus is not to add any empty space. I would get them outside the first sign of a warm stretch.
 

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I had a colony like that last season, coming out of the winter they were a queen and about a half frame of bees strong. I broke them down into a nuc and fed them syrup. I made a split out of them in June. They were my strongest colony going into winter this year and the split did well too.

My theory, put them in a nuc, less frames to cover and heat, less space to heat. I think they were back in a 10 frame deep by May last year, drawn and filled out most of another 10 frame deep by late June when I made a split off of them. They did not make any surplus honey on either colony, but both had ample stores for winter.
 
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