Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 119 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,949 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
How did your hives fare after this extremely ugly winter? What will you do differently this year for fall prep? Everytime I heard the news this winter, it seemed Minnesota was getting hammered. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Minnesota had the 10th coldest winter on record and the coldest since 1936. My hives (new California packages installed April 2013) were wiped out. I need to find a better location. A location that gets early morning sun so the bees get going earlier in the day. I was too concerned about siting my hives to be protected from the north wind and so nestled them up against a shelter belt. The other change for 2014 is to attempt to produce overwintering nucs (thanks to Adrian Q. for filling me in on the details over breakfast this winter). I can't sustain this hobby (when I retire) by buying package bees every year. So, if I am able to start a nuc in June, I will purchase a queen produced locally.
Scott in the St. Croix Valley
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
395 Posts
I'm a little further south but we had plenty of below zero temps. I lost 22% but all my bees are from swarms I caught or colonies removed, no California queens or packages.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
983 Posts
Here in western Massachusetts we have a long and cold winter. I have been keeping bees for several years and always over estimate how much honey the bees need for winter. I never extract deep frames. I save all of them for winter feeding and nuc production. This winter the hives started with about 80-100 pounds of honey. I stared moving frames to the cluster in January. By early march I had to add multiple capped frames per hive. Just completed my first inspection this past Sunday. I had to emergency feed syrup.

The bees consumed 120+ pounds of honey this winter. The first nectar is just now being foraged.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
367 Posts
Here in western michigan one of the coldest ever on record and second snowiest ever. I myself lost 3 of 11 full size colonies, all to dysentery like symptoms. I also lost 4 of 5 nucs that just didn't have enough food or size to get through the very cold below zero nights. Amazingly they consumed near almost the entire honey stores. Easily 120 lbs + of sugar consumed. . I wintered in 4 mediums and put sugar cakes and scrubs sugar on newsprint in all the hives. I have just started goin through the survivors and very little honey left! Luckily we're starting to get some forage so they should be ok

Many in our local club were complete losses so I am feeling pretty lucky

The nuc that made it wasn't a huge cluster but is from a very frugal line of carnis
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,431 Posts
We are a bit south of you, but it has been an unusually cold and long winter -- typically the local farmers have corn six inches tall by this time, and no one has been in the fields at all yet. Winter wheat just greened up a couple weeks ago.

I had to feed my hive in February, they were very light, and my brother lost his in January (probably mites or protein starvation, they had plenty of honey).

My supplier of nucs in Indianapolis lost 90% of his hives and all but one overwintering nuc, never happened to him before. Brutal winter.

Next year I plan to feed them up more just in case -- I can always remove capped honey/syrup and use it for making splits if I need to, that's much better than having to feed them in the winter, I don't like opening up the hives. I may use quilt boxes too rather than just in inner and outer cover.

Peter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts
Duluth,MN coldest place possible this winter. i wrapped my hives with shrink wrap last week in october 2013. never looked at them again until yesterday and they look awesome. wintered in 3 deeps. 4th deep above screen was filled with paper towels. They still had lots of honey left.
over 60 days below zero
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Ohio: losses in be club in SE Ohio were close to 50 %. I have 5 dbl deeps , 4 dbl 5 frame nucs and one indoor obs hive. I lost one nuc so I am thrilled. Neighbor lost all their hives. One large hive was on the verge of collapse after the last cold spell. I had to put it in a nuc box. It looks more like a split. Was going to combine it but w all the losses here I think I can grow it back out. None of my hives look as good as last year as far as numbers of bees at this time. Too cold for too long here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,420 Posts
The general report from Wisconsin is "Bad", but not as bad as it could have been. If the yard had made a moderate surplus, it will recover with splits. Those that had bad forage, help will be needed. Any marginal hives where doomed.

Crazy Roland
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,540 Posts
I'm northern NY, and have lived and farmed here for a quarter century. This has been the longest and most sustained cold winter in my experience. Never has it started so early in December with deep cold, and stayed so deeply cold continuously; sort of like four months of January. My plants outside are delayed at least three weeks from recent years and two weeks off the longstanding norms.

And I picked this winter as my first one to keep bees! Though I've had bees living, unmanaged, in my barns for almost as long as I've been here - until the winter of 2012-2013. They mysteriously disappeared sometime in the late winter last year. When three new swarns took up residence late in the Spring I had them cut-out and hived. Last Fall I decided my goal was to simply to keep them alive through the upcoming winter - to just do better than my barn. Even as I insulated, quilt-boxed and wrapped them up, I had no idea what they would be facing.

But luckily I found BeeSource, and more importantly, Lauri, I read the recipe you generously posted for making sugar bricks and made some for my hives. I put the first ones in on December 22nd and restocked steadily all winter. Day after tomorrow it will finally be in the 60s, so I will have my first chance to open and really examine the hives, but I am sure that they survived due in large part to your sugar brick recipe. (I know they're doing OK because at the last restock point it was warm enough to take off the quilt box - briefly - and peer in at all those lovely bees brimming up in every seam. All well nurtured by your wonderful bricks through this long awful winter - and even now through these interminable weeks of waiting for the delayed start to the plants' growing season, when it's still too cold for syrup feeding.

So Polar Vortex: Be ****ed! My bees laughed merrily all winter, snuggly-wrapped up in their blankets and with a constant feast of Lauri's Magnificent Sugar Cookies to see them through the cold. Thank you, Lauri!

Enjambres
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,033 Posts
In a hard winter here I lost 7 out of 23. Everyone lost I can honestly say were queen failure or operator error. The ones strong and heavy going in survived if their queen wasn't failing going into winter. My purchased queens were not good last spring. I have queens ordered for spring but I will not be requeening any colony that wintered well and will follow mel Dissellkoens methodology with them for sure. I am going to requeen the dinks coming out of winter not counting five surviving nucs taken in to winter that were less than strong. I am starting to get good classes or orienting bees on warm less windy days now. Nice fuzzy little bees. I heard a report of bees bringing in brown pollen today. Three days ago, I had some carrying a white shiny dot in their pollen baskets I have never seen before. It looked like milk frankly and I am a quarter mile from a dairy barn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,291 Posts
We are a bit south of you, but it has been an unusually cold and long winter -- typically the local farmers have corn six inches tall by this time, and no one has been in the fields at all yet. Winter wheat just greened up a couple weeks ago.
r
Seriously fred, corn 6 inches tall at beginning of april. Thats a stretch, We are just about normal in Louisville. Winter was coldest in 25 years, all my hives made it. I fed in late fall. Just started a few splits, maple flow was great, really got them going.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
I lost both my hives , both started as packages last year , both were doing well .
between the 2 hives i had 14 frames that still had patches of honey and pollen on them, and about 1/3 their sugar block on top.
hive 1 = 2 deeps was completely packed with bees top to bottom when i cleaned it out.
hive 2 = 1 deep had a cluster the size of about 8" around.
found the queen in both the dead outs , but also found no sign of brood in any stage.

I'm going to try indoor wintering this year. at least it will get them out of the wind and hopefully keep their outside air temp. higher.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,625 Posts
Lost 1 out of 8 hives, future changes will consist of Earlier fall mite intervention and adding winter insulation wraps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,796 Posts
I had heavy losses in one county - tolerable losses in the county to the immediate south. I will be increasing the height of my hive stands (the hives in the northern county are about 3.5" off the ground) and keeping more colonies in triple deeps. The one colony in a triple deep in the northern county survived winter well and appears to be very strong.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,290 Posts
Bees have wintered well here. Dead and weak production colonies amount to a little less than 10%, with no starvation yet. 15% losses in the nuc yards with some starvation. Nice clusters and most have enough feed remaining for now. Light colonies are getting a slab of fondant because I can't get to the yards to feed syrup. For the last two weeks its been snowshoes and a toboggan. Just yesterday I finally got my jeep into three yards…blasting through snowbanks is way fun…when you get through. :) Off to VA for the weekend so maybe the snow will be gone or soft enough to start unwrapping when I get back, and some proper feed on those that need it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,050 Posts
Coldest and snowiest winter on record here. As of today, the maple in my yard is budded but not blooming yet. Hives are doing good - the doubles and singles made it. I lost the 4 frame nucs. That was my first winter trying to overwinter nucs. Not sure if I am going to try them again. I was able to crack the covers off on 3/31.

Here is a pic of one of my singles:


Here is one of the doubles:


I haven't been able to assess the brood status, yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
I'm in east central Minnesota and I just got through my first year of beekeeping. We still have knee deep snow around in much of the area. Five of the six hives made it through January where I lost one. I lost one in early March. I lost one in late March despite them still having honey and a pollen patty added to the last 3 hive. I have 2 hives remaining and they are going gang busters. One is Carniolans and the other was originally Carniolan but re-queened with a MN Hygienic queen early August last year. Of the hives that were lost, 3 were Italians and the hives. The one lost in late March was a Carniolan. I feel the March losses were from one of the few warm days (40 degrees) where they broke cluster. I looked last week and found them on honey but in 6 different clusters in the upper boxes. The tops were insulated, and moisture boards on and vented the covers. We have a 3 days of warm weather between 55 and 70 but next week it's back to highs in the 40's and low in the 30's and rain/snow mix predicted. Being the 2 remaining colonies survived and are hardy here in MN I hope to learn to make queens from them this year and possibly requeening later this summer for 8 Italian nucs I have coming. The 16 other colonies I have coming are Hygienic and Carniolans. BTW I did a mite count and treated in early October last year during a warm spell. I though I did things right but apparently I still did something wrong to lose 4 colonies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Also in east central men and lost both of my hives in mid January. They were both from the same package 2 lb package I got in the spring of 13. Built up super fast and was able to split in July. I figured the split would not make it. Surprised the other one didn't make it though.
 
1 - 20 of 119 Posts
Top