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Discussion Starter #1
Well I have lost 2 hives maybe probably even 3 in the last 2 weeks very cold here. Any way all the hives are different configurations 1is 5 over5 over 5{nuc} one is 2 DBL. deep and one is 5 over 5{nuc} .
When I get home for work tonight I'm going to do a Post-mortem on the 5+5+5 and see what's up .
I plan on doing all 3 but won't get to all 3 till tomorrow .
I will post pic's and results later . I still have 22 .
 

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Thank you for keeping us updated on your fogging/OAV treatments, it will be interesting to hear you conclusions on the dead outs. Did you manage to treat your hives in a broodless period with OAV?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Post-mortem on the 5+5+5

All the bees where in the top 5 frames there was sugar above them

And they had a nice cluster
three frames like this
The queen and even alittle brood
There was honey below them about 4 frames but they didn't move down for the honey or up for the sugar.

They starved to death with store's right under them:scratch:.

This is what was once a healthy hive.

sad day.
Got 2 more to do tomorrow.:(
No sign of PMS or virus a few mites on the sticky board but they may have been from when I treated in OCT.
 

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I am so sorry, but grateful for the pics. (You do a very good job on them!)

Are you sure all those bees are truly dead? I have scooped up many dead bees from my bottom boards (just to help the girls with their housekeeping when it's too cold to go out) and brought them inside to study, only to have some of them wake up and starting buzzing around. OOPS!

This winter has been cruel (I'm north of Albany, NY) but the last round of below-zero wasn't as cold as what we had in in the first round. Are you sure they made it through the first one?

I see on the sugar some little brown stains, do you think that is diarrhea from Nosema? Might not be a bad idea to ship some bees off to the Bee Lab to be checked.

I have a little brood, too, though that surprises me. When I pulled the dead bees on the SBB I had a few pupae that had been pulled out and tossed below.

Had they completely emptied the honey out of the box they were in? I have wondered occasionally whether adding sugar bricks (as insurance because I am new and cant't tell if my hives are "heavy enough") might not have lured my bees up to the top boxes prematurely, causing them to bypass stores that in the natural order of things they would munched up as they slowly rose from the bottom to top. But then, why didn't your bees just keep eating the sugar, instead?

Seems more likely it was the cold. I will be intersted to read what you find in the other two hives.

At least you've got some nice drawn comb to re-cycle. But I'm sure you would have been much happier to have the bees, instead. It is a sad turn of events.

(BTW, I hope you don't mind: I stole your idea of using wooden slabs as wind barriers in front of the entrances, only I use old political signs from losing candidates. It works very well, I think. Thanks!)

Enj.
 

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Food starvation - didn't want to leave the brood ( with brood they increased consumption), and it was cold to move below to bring honey up where they are, I presume.
We would never put sugar in cristal as winter feed. We put just fondant - pattie ( I don't know how exact You call it).
Minus temps by themselves are not the problem if plenty of stores available at right place.
 

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Post-mortem on the 5+5+5
All the bees where in the top 5 frames there was sugar above them
Yeah but no capped honey above them. Anything below is useless to them. Sugar won't cut it in bitter cold weather. That cluster looked big enough to me to be in a regular hive with 10 - 15 frames of honey.
 

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I have had "mountain camped" hives starve out in winter, too, leaving plenty of unaccessed sugar inches above the dead cluster. The local commercial beek told me that a strong hive can take advantage of granulated sugar, but a weak hive can't. Thus, the mountain camp method doesn't offer help where you need it, i.e. preventing a weak hive from starving. I am just a newbie, so have only limited experience with mountain camping hives. It does work well to absorb moisture, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have had "mountain camped" hives starve out in winter, too, leaving plenty of unaccessed sugar inches above the dead cluster. The local commercial beek told me that a strong hive can take advantage of the sugar, but a weak hive can't. Thus, the mountain camp method doesn't offer help where you need it, i.e. on a weak hive. It does work well to absorb moisture, though. I am just a newbie, so have only limited experience with mountain camping hives.
This was a strong cluster with a laying queen just did not move up or down . I can not really say much for this is only my 5th year coming up so I'm still learning but they where treated and there was not much as in the way of VARROA in the hive..
 

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GLOCK - BTW, great photos. The photos show a big cluster - so cluster size was not the cause of the deadout. I know you treated with OA - so mites were unlikely to be the cause. There is capped honey - so lack of food was not the cause. To my inexperienced eye, it seems the cluster got stuck on brood (as others mentioned). But, if the cluster could have moved to food, there was plenty of honey for it. I would say this is a situation where mountain camping would not, and did not, help.

I thought you have been having some pretty cold temperatures so far this winter, so it is surprising the hive had starting brooding up.

Just speculating and trying to learn from other's experience.
 

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Granulated sugar may help a bee colony but, at best, can only supplement stored honey. Honey is immediately ready to produce energy while granulated sugar requires conversions of its more complex sugars. Add to that honey requires little additional moisture to use while it takes considerable moisture to make granulated sugar consumable for bees. In spite of the biological moisture trapped in winter hive, not nearly enough makes its way into the sugar to make significant amounts readily useful at any given time. No matter how small or large the cluster, there is rarely enough palatable sugar, convertible to useable energy within the hive. If granulated sugar is all they have accessible, they are bound to starve.....in my opinion.
 

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:scratch:

So granulated sugar offered via the mountain camp method is of no value in 'bitter cold weather'? Have you tested this?
Test it yourself. Pull all the honey out of your hive and load up as much granulated sugar you can pack in one hive. The other hive, fill it full of honey and no granulated sugar and see what happens. I have a strong intuition.
 

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Come on Ace, no one suggested removing honey from the hive, except you. If the bees have eaten the honey, it is either feed sugar or let them starve. Seems simple to me.
 

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Test it yourself. Pull all the honey out of your hive and load up as much granulated sugar you can pack in one hive.
Actually Brian, I have done this. It was not intentional, but I did experience it. One year I had a hive go into winter with a huge cluster and I had failed to feed them properly before bad weather set in. Early winter the hive was light as a feather and had burned through most of their honey stores.

I added sugar via the "Mountain Camp Method" and it was the only source of sugar/nectar they had all winter. The cluster settled in right under the sugar and stayed there. I would check once in a while to see how they were doing and the bees stayed under and around the sides of the sugar until spring.

Not something I would recommend as a general practice, but it saved a hived that would have perished from beekeeper error.
 

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I would check once in a while to see how they were doing and the bees stayed under and around the sides of the sugar until spring.
Weeks of sub freezing temperatures with no break in sight?

Come on Rader, go back to my post #7 where I made the comment, there was no honey above them.
 

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I don't know how long this hive was inside and may have dried out, but I don't see any condensation in it at all... Bees cannot do anything with Granulated sugar if they don't have moisture as a catalyst.

A couple of things I would do different in a setup like this:
Never winter a nuc free standing on it's own, even wrapped. Either winter over another hive or side by side with another nuc.
I never wrap a hive like this, only insulate the top. IMO wrapping like that (especially with black wrap) causes too much of a warm up during the day when the sun is on the hive and then at night the temp plummets... Causes way too much of a gradient from day to night. The bees spread out during the day to cool brood and then have to scramble to get it covered again come night.

I tried the granulated sugar method once about 8 years ago and will never do it again. It is meant to be an emergency feeding program, not a means providing stores for wintering. My opinion was that there was plenty I could do in the fall if hives looked like they would go into winter light. Throwing dry sugar on them and calling it good isn't sufficient. For emergency feeding in the winter I use fondant which I make myself, grease patties are also a good alternative. Both provide the moisture the bees need to catalyze the sugar. With the dry sugar method you are depending on condensation being available, which if a hive is properly ventilated, isn't available. Also the colder a winter is, the dryer the air is... so when it is real cold the air will suck the moisture right out of the hive, rendering the sugar useless to the bees. Think of your hands all winter, how dry and cracked they become.
 

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GLOCK - BTW, great photos. The photos show a big cluster - so cluster size was not the cause of the deadout. I know you treated with OA - so mites were unlikely to be the cause. There is capped honey - so lack of food was not the cause. To my inexperienced eye, it seems the cluster got stuck on brood (as others mentioned). But, if the cluster could have moved to food, there was plenty of honey for it. I would say this is a situation where mountain camping would not, and did not, help.

I thought you have been having some pretty cold temperatures so far this winter, so it is surprising the hive had starting brooding up.

Just speculating and trying to learn from other's experience.
I have lost 4 of 6 hives this winter, and it appears that all of them had a small amount of brood that they wouldn't leave and starved. Is there a technique to combat this?
 
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