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I went and put patties and feed on the gals yesterday. All were alive except one. I didn't expect them to make it.

Good thing I checked on them when I did. A couple have gotten really low on stores. To the point they were starving. One hive had 2-3 hundred dead on the bottom board, with another 100+ dead with them buried in the cells. The classic starvation sign. I wish I had my camera. It would have been classic pic to be able to post to show starvation. When I check them this weekend I will take my pic. If the workers have not cleaned them out I will post a pic of what starvation looks like.

Key is: I thought I left them enough. We have had a pretty gloomy winter and they have used more than I thought. Leave more than you think.

Side note: This is not what all my hives looked like. 2 of 10. But all 10 were pretty dang low on stores. 2 were really low.
 

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Key is: I thought I left them enough. We have had a pretty gloomy winter and they have used more than I thought. Leave more than you think.
Derik (a.k.a. Hambone:rolleyes::
I always try to leave mine 100-120# of honey+4-5 frames of pollen. That seems like a lot, but they will start building up earlier and stronger in the early spring with excess stores. Several times I had thought they had plenty/to much, but after a month of brood raising they can deplete those excess stores in a hurry. Your strongest colonies will use the most because they have the resources to start fast and strong which requires many resources. Then if the weather turns bad for a while you will be glad you had the extra. I am keeping a close eye on all of mine also, as 2 of my late splits were a little light, but I did add dry sugar. I don't sprinkle with water here as the sugar absorbs plenty of moisture from the air, and they are crusted over and hard as candy. Sorry for your loss.

DRU
 

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Have you tried throwing on a couple of slabs of bacon to fatten them up?
 

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well I have lost 2 hives and a nuc so far to starving, it is my fault, I didn't get them ready like I should have in the fall, now that it is in the 60's temp wise I have been filling feeders and they are taking it fast, looks like the rest will be fine. good think you caught them when you did :thumbsup:
 

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I also lost one to starvation and felt so bad about it. It killed me seeing about five/six full frames of dead bees clustered up. Nothing was left in the hive, not a single capped cell with honey and most of the dry sugar I'd added was also gone. It had been a large healthy hive but was in a bad place with little to store up for the winter and even though we are much milder than much of the country, we have had a colder than normal winter with some pretty cold weather in December and early January. Guess I should have added more sugar and checked more frequently. Lesson learned I suppose.
 

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There's nothing like the heartbreak of a good, solid highly productive hive starving. Especially when there's still 80+# of honey in frames maybe an inch from the starved dead cluster. I lost two so far, but they had stores- just not within reach of the cluster due to the long cold blast we just went through. I have a few Russians started last summer and we'll see how the small cluster bees do this winter. So far, so good except for the two dead outs.
 

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i have lost all my hives thay had lots of honey like you said thay will not move to get it this is where i need some info any one out there have info lot of my friends have lost bees the same way we can not keep buying bees
 

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So BUMMED:cry:!
First day decent enough to take a peek at my one and only hive--italians, and it was a sad sight: piles of dead, and lots of little rear ends hanging out of cells. Still LOTS of honey (probably at least 80 pounds), and some of it in comb just adjacent to the starved-out frames. Some capped brood sitting there, and what looks like the attempt at a queen cell in the middle of a frame.
No obvious signs of disease or attack.
We had an extended spell of cold, but nothing too freaky for this part of the country.
Guess the first year didn't go so well.:(
Suggestions for next? Should I try a hardier strain?
I'm going to go have a beer and find a dog to kick. (kidding about the dog...)
Trina
 

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Trina,
I am so sorry. I am a new beek and am really flummoxed by this. I wonder if it was too moist, or not ventilated enough, or not protected from the wind?
I have one hive and am so afraid of this. So much can go wrong....
Don't give up though...
Does this happen to feral hives? I have so many questions!!
 

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If anything, I wonder if I was 'over-ventilated' after reading that it is a common error to make. Left the bottom off the screened board, and had the inner cover propped up with popsicle sticks to get a little gap. No signs of mold, and the dead bees weren't mushy or nasty, just dead. The hive is protected from the brunt of the wind.
As far as I can tell in the happy land of inexperience, it was a good-sized healthy colony going into the winter. There sure were lots of little corpses.
So, don't know. No, won't give up but don't want to repeat my mistakes.
Anyone?
 

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It is always difficult to experience a starved colony. Always prepare a colony for winter before cold weather arrives in the fall. Heft the hives or examine them for stores and if found to be light, feed them in the warm days of autumn. In the cold weather of winter you can feed fondant, sugar candy or dry granulated sugar. T-mites also do severe damage in winter, particularly January and February. Take care of this problem, if any, in the fall. Good luck.

[email protected]
 

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I am new, but from what I have been learning, feed plenty of syrup in the fall and prepare the hive for winter by having food available directly ABOVE the center of the brood/cluster area. Bees will move upwards in cold weather. Even if there is available stores on the next frame over, they will starve if there is not food directly above them. Do the Mountain Camp method by placing a sheet of newspaper on top of of the super with honey stores, then spread granular sugar on top. Sprinkle it with water to crust it a little. Sorry about your losses and Good Luck!!
 

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I've lost 2 nucs & one single deep so far this winter. The last one was the single deep, and I'm pretty sure they died during a prolonged cold weather in Dec. I wrap my hives, and also include an empty feeding chamber at top. Most of my hives were prepared with enough feeding in the Fall, but these didn't quite have enough stores going into winter, so I'd been feeding syrup but still had the jar in the center of the box on the top bars. I'd forgotten one important thing to remember that I noticed from previous winters .....that the bees tend to move towards the front of the hive because of the warmth from the solar gain on the dark hivewrap. Well, when I found them dead, the syrup jar was still half full, and the bees were not near it , but clustered towards the front, many had fallen dead on the bottom board, the remainder were between frames clung to the comb, or down in cells with butts up,.. comb was empty of stores where they were, but there was capped honey beneath and towards the rear.

Here's a photo of one of the frames they were on after bees had fallen ...they had been in the left/top corner (front of hive)
http://i48.tinypic.com/20auyk8.jpg

....Here's the frame on which I found the dead queen with her entourage of core supporters, all up in the top/front of the frame...just inches away from stores beneath them & to the rear.
http://i46.tinypic.com/i6vyx3.jpg

Now I'm making sure to move the feeding jars to where the cluster is......these girls have been woofing it down and are doing well.
http://i47.tinypic.com/2metl6h.jpg

I used to do the emergency feeding like this with the dry sugar, too, but then found lots of the dry sugar on the bottom boards at the spring cleanout, ....which leads me to suspect that much of what looks like them eating the dry sugar is actually them cleaning the hive and much of it falls to the bottom. I've never had the 2:1 syrup freeze and they always seem to take it if they need it. I put a dash of HBH in the syrup as well.
 

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First day decent enough to take a peek at my one and only hive--

This advice may not help to mitigate starvation, but it has many good attributes. This season build up two hives instead of one. In having at least two hives you are now able to compare and contrast hive strength, and a strong hive can now become a donor to a week hive if need be. During the summer you can keep them side by side on a pallet with a foot between them to help reduce drifting, but when the cold weather comes, push them flush, side to side (having migratory covers helps with this). The two colonies will share what warmth they have and often clusters will match location in each of the two colonies.
 

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They had lots of honey above them.
Which leads to the next question: I've got a dozen + full frames of honey, should I save all this for my next TWO hives, (and a nuc, don't call me a quitter!)? I didn't extract this fall b/c didn't want to leave the hive short. Is extrcting old honey worth a shot?
I did not wrap the hive-- and yes, I will next year.
Didn't expect to get so fond of a bunch of bugs.
 

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I lost one hive so far this winter to starvation. Like some of you, plenty of honey was just inches away. I've been keeping about 15 hives for 15 years and I average 1 or 2 losses each winter in just that way. Why? It just looks like the bees would be able to move over a few inches even though it's very cold for a few days. Can anyone explain how to prevent this?
 

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I lost one hive so far this winter to starvation. Like some of you, plenty of honey was just inches away. I've been keeping about 15 hives for 15 years and I average 1 or 2 losses each winter in just that way. Why? It just looks like the bees would be able to move over a few inches even though it's very cold for a few days. Can anyone explain how to prevent this?
heaflaw,...that's a good question.

I don't know if you wrap your hives or not, but other than making sure the bees go into winter with ample stores, I would recommend wrapping the hives with a dark, wind resistant material such as tarpaper. This gives them a solar gain factor so that even when the temps dip down for a prolonged period, during the sunny days the interior of the upper portion of the hive can warm up enough so the cluster might be able to shift some, or perhaps the cluster can expand out enough to allow bees to feed on adjacent comb with honey. The one thing I consistently find when I periodically inspect them on these sunny winter days, is that many of the clusters have moved to the front/south side of the box, and particularly favor the southwest side, towards that warmer wall.....so in this situation , when emergency feeding during the winter I try to place the feed toward the front of the box.
 

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Sorry, I have been so busy, I haven't had much time to read posts much less do a lot of postings. Thought about posting this before, but just now remembered it. In the past when I kept bees I never fed as I let them keep everything after my final extractions which I did early to mid June here in Texas. Our summer and fall flow was usually much darker and stronger tasting honey so I left it all with the bees.

This year I made late splits and some of my colonies were light because of late splits. Others seemed to have plenty of stores, but just to be safe I provided my bees with dry sugar after it became to cold for them to take syrup. I laid a sheet of newpaper over the frames in the top box and poured four pounds of sugar over this newspaper. I did not sprinkle water, but it wasn't long before a hard rock like sugar crust formed from the moisture absorbed from the colony, but here in cental part of east Texas we have high humidity and a lot of moisture. I then placed an empty medium box on, inner cover and top.

Derek, this probably would have saved your colony from starvation, and I used it just as an insurance to protect against starvation. I usually check/checked these colonies several (4-5) times a week by just removing the top and inner cover. Don't ever suit up, just a quick look to be sure there is plenty of sugar left, and until recently the bees had very little interest. I guess mine are also low on stores at this point.
 

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Randall had it right. They need the honey/feed immediately overhead. They can migrate the cluster upward into the heat rise when it's difficult to move laterally into adjacent comb outside the cluster at ambient temps.

denny:
Nice pics. Your deep photos look more like "freeze out" than starvation. Don't see enough upended bees in cells to suggest starvation. The basic problem appears to be population attrition/ cluster shrinkage. The cluster needs enough bees to insulate the interior heat-producing bees for them to perform their function. If they get chilled, it's all over. In my milder winter that's about grapefruit size, or a little smaller. In your colder area, it might be more than cantalope size. Note that cluster shrinkage also increases the separation from surrounding honey stores - a double whammy.

Walt
 

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Randall had it right. They need the honey/feed immediately overhead. They can migrate the cluster upward into the heat rise when it's difficult to move laterally into adjacent comb outside the cluster at ambient temps.

Walt
Okay, so what is the management technique to be certain the stores are above the cluster? I run 2 mostly deeps which is common around here. If I notice in late fall that the bees are in the center of the top deep with not much honey above but lots on the side, should I move the cluster down & move frames of honey above them? Should the same thing be done in mid winter if the same situation is present?

I've never seen wrapped hives in this area, but it has been unusually cold this winter, so maybe that is a good idea for us here.
 
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