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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last yr I started with a nuc and a package and spit until I ended up with 8 colonies. 4 of which were small going into winter. I got sidetracked last fall building a new house and didn't realize my hives got robbed out and we didn't have much of a fall flow that I was expecting. I fed them a lot and even mountain camped them. The 4 smaller ones were simply not large enough to make it through our harsh winter. The other 4 made it through just fine but got stuck on brood early when we had an extended cold snap at the end of winter and they starved out with honey 2 in away. What can I do differently this yr. I have 2 late start nucs that should be up to 3 med on one and a deep and 2 med on the other. Obviously I will check on them sooner/ more often in the fall and feed earlier if need be, but my main question is what do you do in the early spring/late winter to ensure they don't get stuck on brood with no stores within reach?
 

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... but my main question is what do you do in the early spring/late winter to ensure they don't get stuck on brood with no stores within reach?
Well in my opinion it's too late then. You have to start in late summer and early fall to make sure that your hives have large clusters (equalize) going into winter and they are not weakened by mites or nosema (treat if necessary).
 

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Last yr I started with a nuc and a package and spit until I ended up with 8 colonies. 4 of which were small going into winter. I got sidetracked last fall building a new house and didn't realize my hives got robbed out and we didn't have much of a fall flow that I was expecting. I fed them a lot and even mountain camped them. The 4 smaller ones were simply not large enough to make it through our harsh winter. The other 4 made it through just fine but got stuck on brood early when we had an extended cold snap at the end of winter and they starved out with honey 2 in away. What can I do differently this yr. I have 2 late start nucs that should be up to 3 med on one and a deep and 2 med on the other. Obviously I will check on them sooner/ more often in the fall and feed earlier if need be, but my main question is what do you do in the early spring/late winter to ensure they don't get stuck on brood with no stores within reach?
Ensure the are fed properly and then check them during warm spells. Suit up and carefully move a frame of feed into the cluster if they need it.
Luke
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
wow 178 views and only 2 opinions on how to prevent it ? Is this not a common problem with extended winters?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well in my opinion it's too late then. You have to start in late summer and early fall to make sure that your hives have large clusters (equalize) going into winter and they are not weakened by mites or nosema (treat if necessary).

and thank you for this too, I deffantly plan to feed earlier if need be this yr, I was just more concerned with them getting stuck on brood, I bet they had 10-20 lbs of honey left and never touched the mountaincamp sugar ..... they just couldn't reach it because the queen went down and started laying and then it turned crazy cold again for another month.
 

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I think all you can do is make sure you go into the winter with a large, healthy (low mites) cluster and plenty of stores. If all of those conditions are met, then you shouldn't have more than an occasional loss like you've described. Just my opinion.
If you want an expert's opinion....review Michael Palmer's posts.
 

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In my opintion 1) Would just start to feed early this year. 2) Insure that if you have a weak hive combine with a strong hive. 3) Make sure your hives are facing to the south for the winter sun, insulation of hives will help,along with a top entrance for ventilation, wind breaks. 4) Check your weight of your hives if they are light feed like crazy start winter out as heavy as you can get, add a spacer 1 1/2 inch add food foundant,candy bricks. 5) Make sure to set hives up as to channel any moisture away from the bees.

If you have Nuc's place them together insulate them as one unit, make a space for a feeder(s) and feed them. Add a sugerbrick or foundant to the nuc's
If your hives go into winter heavy and make it until spring you can early feed if temps out side will let you. Just check them early and watch them. Cross your fingers hope for the best and do quick checks when it is warm out in the winter add food if needed.

Also a big help check with bee keepers in your area talk to them. You will get other ideas that have worked in that area.
Hope this helps...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
-Also a big help check with bee keepers in your area talk to them. You will get other ideas that have worked in that area.
Hope this helps-

I know 2 close by, one just doesn't worry about it and buys packages in the spring and installs them on drawn comb ( I don't want to go this route) The other, my mentor was stumped because less than 3 miles away he lost several as well, yet overwinterd 8 frame med singles non insulated and not even stacked together just fine. I think I'm on the right track even though I got started late with some nucs and had some laying issues with one and the other swarmed 2 days after I got it. I think our extended flow this yr will be my saving grace they are flying a mile a min and last yr at this time the only thing going on was a buch of hot bees hanging out on the front porch.
 

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Maybe I missed it but I don't recall you mentioning any varroa control strategy.
Do you have one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Maybe I missed it but I don't recall you mentioning any varroa control strategy.
Do you have one?
Brood breaks that was pretty much it. The clusters on the ones that got stuck on brood weren't that small and I didn't see a lot of dead veroa on the bottom board when I cleaned them out
 

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False springs that start early brooding, then the following cold snap; it may be hard to dodge that bullet. If you wrap or insulate hives, dont be early at getting them uncovered and opened up entrances. They stand a better chance of surviving if it turns cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
False springs that start early brooding, then the following cold snap; it may be hard to dodge that bullet. If you wrap or insulate hives, dont be early at getting them uncovered and opened up entrances. They stand a better chance of surviving if it turns cold.
Thank you this is in line with some PMS I've recieved , I've basically been told that there really isnt a way to prevent it, you just don't want to encourage it
 

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on bees that died last winter ? Is there a correlation between varoa and false spring starts ?
Yes. Bees that are weakened, by varroa or nosema will be the ones that have the problem moving a short distance to honey during very cold weather. Small clusters may have the problem also, but many times those are also caused by the same underlying problems of mites and nosema. Before mites, I really didn't have many issues of bees dying within a couple of inches of honey. Sometimes I would find nosema staining and dead bees near honey, but it wasn't that common for me.

Now if the honey was a couple of frames away, that might be another matter.
 

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My plan for this winter;
-last month I treated with oav three times, 5 days apart.
-will finish extracting honey first or second week in August. In past years, I extracted during the last week of July- but everything is running late this year. I extracted some last weekend but most frames had too much uncapped honey to pull off.
- Mid August-- add MAQS to all hives and do a sticky board test.
_November - insulate hives leaving a top entrance for moisture to escape. Most beeks in Mid Missouri do not insulate. However, we do not usually have winters like last winter.

We still have a flow going on here.
Charlie
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yes. Bees that are weakened, by varroa or nosema will be the ones that have the problem moving a short distance to honey during very cold weather. Small clusters may have the problem also, but many times those are also caused by the same underlying problems of mites and nosema. Before mites, I really didn't have many issues of bees dying within a couple of inches of honey. Sometimes I would find nosema staining and dead bees near honey, but it wasn't that common for me.

Now if the honey was a couple of frames away, that might be another matter.
Everything I've read said that when inspecting a deadout, if varoa were a problem you would find piles of dead varoa, which wasn't the case sure there were some but it wasn't excessive. The smaller colonies that kept the queens when I did late splits that wasn't the case. There were tons of dead veroa mixed with the bees, so that very well could have been a leading factor. I simply refuse to treat for varoa, we have to many survivor bees in the area. I know of one location that has had a Ferrell colony continuous for 3 yrs and beekeepers who have had untreated hives for 4-5 yrs. There is no reason I can't do this too, I just wanted to make sure I didn't do something that caused it, because I did aquire some survivor genetics this yr and I want to make sure that they don't die because of something I did not because of something they didn't do
 

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Everything I've read said that when inspecting a deadout, if varoa were a problem you would find piles of dead varoa,
Yes. I've read those posts too. Unfortunately, testing after the collapse can be extremely misleading. The real test is what was the level when the bees began producing winter brood. I wouldn't advise anyone who was philosophically opposed to treating to treat. I always advise testing.....while the colony is alive. I believe that this is especially important for those who are taking a treatment free path. How else can you rule out varroa? How else can you effectively select stock?
I really wish you the best....and am only suggesting that you make informed choices.
 
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