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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I went to check on my bees after a very snowy and cold 2 week stretch. Temps below zero almost every day until now. I had been very careful of making sure the hive entrances were uncovered up until now. We hadn’t had any snow recently, but some wind made a drift in front of each of my hives. I guess my question is if that amount of scat on the hive is normal or bad (the bees had been using that top entrance since the bottom was blocked) and if the amount of dead bees is concerning. The bottom board in front of the entrance was completely covered with bees as well, but I scraped that off before taking the picture. The wrap hadn’t been removed since I put it on in October/November. This hive has had the most activity with the most bees flying out and dying, my other has barely had anything outside until now. Very confusing as to which one is a sign of better health or not, as I know some dead bees is good, but this many seems like a bit much. I opened both hives and got a response when knocked on.

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That does look like an excessive amount of dead bees, unless the colony was extremely populous. I am wondering why there are so many are outside, did they somehow get stuck between your insulation and the boxes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That does look like an excessive amount of dead bees, unless the colony was extremely populous. I am wondering why there are so many are outside, did they somehow get stuck between your insulation and the boxes?
When they would leave the top entrance they would just plop out and fall in between the boxes and insulation
 

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When they would leave the top entrance they would just plop out and fall in between the boxes and insulation
I've seen that with the bee cozy wraps. Makes me think the wrap makes it hard/confusing for bees to leave somehow. I often wondered if these were bees that were leaving at the end of their lifecycle, or bees trying to get cleansing flights in.
 

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When they would leave the top entrance they would just plop out and fall in between the boxes and insulation
You need to fasten a strip of wood tightly screwed across above the lower entrance and screw a plywood doughnut tight over the upper entrance. Leave no possibility of access to the gap between hive bodies and the wrap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You need to fasten a strip of wood tightly screwed across above the lower entrance and screw a plywood doughnut tight over the upper entrance. Leave no possibility of access to the gap between hive bodies and the wrap.
I just ended up taking the wrap off, temps are supposed to be around mid 30’s from here on out
 

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I just ended up taking the wrap off, temps are supposed to be around mid 30’s from here on out
You will just have to wait and see what you have left when you can get into them. I lost most of my colonies one spring when we had drifting snow then heavy rain then drastic temp drop. Bottom entrances iced in and had no upper entrance or vent. Last time I will go without at least a very small upper escape. That is a scary amount of dead bees but being held in perhaps prevented the dispersal that would happen with normal winter die off. Spread out over 20 feet around the colony, they would not appear near as impressive. Hope for the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You will just have to wait and see what you have left when you can get into them. I lost most of my colonies one spring when we had drifting snow then heavy rain then drastic temp drop. Bottom entrances iced in and had no upper entrance or vent. Last time I will go without at least a very small upper escape. That is a scary amount of dead bees but being held in perhaps prevented the dispersal that would happen with normal winter die off. Spread out over 20 feet around the colony, they would not appear near as impressive. Hope for the best.
Thanks, my other hive has barely had anything outside the hive, so I probably take that as a good thing, since I can still hear them when I open them up and knock on the hive. They were aggressive towards the end of the year, so hopefully they are more hardy than the other hive.
 

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I agree with others that the bees got trapped by the insulation cover and that is why there are more dead bees than one would consider "normal". But it really is not an alarming amount assuming the hive was a decent size going into winter. I would certainly come up with a fix next winter, or ditch the cozy and go with foamboard. J
 
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