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This is my second winter so I qualify as a new beek myself but I remember how anxious I was all of last winter and how elated I was last spring that my girls had made it through. I was having the same anxiety again this year because I haven't seen any activity in a long time (it's winter after all...) and because when I put my ear on the hive and knocked, I heard nothing.

Well, today in Charlotte it's in the mid 50's and the girls are spilling out of the hive enjoying the sunshine. *Of course* they were OK all along, it was just me who was nervous!

The only thing I noticed was that their buzz was a crabby buzz, not a busy buzz. I was going to stand and watch but the particular noise encouraged me to go on inside the house.

Waiting through the winter is hard, isn't it? Do you ever stop worrying?
 

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Same thing here in the Piedmont area of NC -- I was worried after seeing no sign of life for the past three to four weeks. They cleaned out the dead bees that were on the bottom board and seem to be taking some syrup. I am going to try MB's hint tomorrow -- adding some boiling syrup to warm up the feeder stores.

Debbie
 

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when you stop worrying I feel it is time to start thinking about another hobby. IMHO, I worry about the girls in the winter( to cold too long, to much snow) spring ( too wet/dry, too cool, too windy) summer (too dry, too hot, not enough to eat) fall ( not enough stores, too short, too cold). they are like my kid, I worry about them as much as I worry about her.
 

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yeah - we all worry wether one hive or 1000 hives they are like kids - sometime they even get more care the the kids themselves

but as with kids you do what you can till they are 18 the sit back and see if they turn profit for you --- same as the bees - do what you can do for them before winter and sit back and see if they turn profit for you - if they survive then you dont have to buy bees!!!!!

thats my 2 cents on worry warts like us
 

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Yup. I worry all the time. It gets worse. I worry that my weak hives will die, my strong ones will swarm too early in the spring. I worry that the food stores will run out in the late winter as the colony starts to increase and before the new pollen pops. I worry about all kinds of things! So don't worry...we all do it.
 

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Sadly, I think my only hive is dead. :(
Today was calm, 42F and sunny- really lovely out.
No signs of life, no buzzing to be heard by ear for the past few weeks of listening, no nothing. I even opened the top and looked/listened down into the top deep of frames....no sign of life at all.

What an awful feeling. I'll have to wait until the first 50F days just to be 100% sure (am 99% sure now), and then I'll have to tell the sweet neighbor who gave me those lovely bees as a wonderful gift- she had them for 5 years, her one beloved hive. I hate to have to tell her they died within 3 months of my having them. :cry: She's been quite ill and this will only make her feel so bad. Yet I don't want to lie to her. I run into her once every few weeks or so too.

Now I have to try to figure out my game plan for Spring. Here I am with three complete hives and no bees. I know several local folk with bees, but no one wants to sell me any- they are all too afraid of their own possible CCD losses and last year was so difficult around here for bees.
 

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Let me piggyback here. Newby. Bees are really flying today, and cleaning out their dead. The forecast for the next two weeks is 50s for highs and low 30s for lows. Should be granular sugar remaining from November.

When should I think about offering sugar water? Keep in mind we are 3,000 feet in elevation and are at a latitude similar to northern Oklahoma, southern Missouri, etc.... Spring begins "breaking" here between mid-Feb. and 1 March, but we can have freezes and snows through April.
 

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Omie:

Don't give up yet. I was where you are last week. No sign of life (audibly or visually) at 42 degrees. I had lots of dead bees on the bottom board, and they were not touching syrup or dry sugar. I was making plans for spring replacement. What a difference 8 degrees made! It hit 50 degrees on Wednesday. They cleaned up the dead from the bottom board. On Thursday they were doing lots of orientation flights. I added some warm syrup, thinking that would encourage them to eat. I got a sting on my forehead for my troubles. Apparently they are just fine.

Debbie
 

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Omie, don't lie to her...you don't know for sure yet...leave it at that.
If you do lose them, replace them quickly and let her know the bees are fine...
No need to upset her...IMHO
Yes, I won't say more to her than "I don't know yet" if I see her....because there's always that weird tiny chance that they in fact are not dead yet!
I'm keeping my lip buttoned hopefully till I know for sure. Once I know for sure (at 55F and sunny, still a few weeks away here) then I'll figure out what to do I guess.
Thanks. :eek:
 

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Omie,
For what reason should you believe that it was CCD ?
They where fine going into the winter, weren't they ?
No no, I don't think mine are CCD at all- I just meant that everyone around here is very reluctant to part with any bees because they are afraid that after they do, they might suffer from CCD and then regret they had sold any of their bees. I know a farmer near here who went from 16 hives to two hives last year. He was miserable about it. And because of the terrible weather year, most hives around here did not have enough honey going into this winter- that's what all 12 bk's said at a bee meeting I went to in October.
So people are hanging onto what bees they have, and I don't blame them!

Mine were fine at end of November. Then I found the dead queen outside during the first week of December. (ugh)

In reality, I'm suspecting there was/is not enough ventilation and maybe too much condensation in the hive, since there was a fine sheen of blue-grey mold on the tops of the upper frames (under the mountain camp newspaper) and a couple handfuls of soggy dead bees on top near the edge of the mountain camp sugar, and I could see some dead bees between the upper frames. All dead bees I found seemed soft, like they were soggy. Haven't seen any water dripping out of hive though. It's mostly been below freezing the past 3 weeks.
I didn't go in any further than looking down from above after removing the lid. It was plenty warm for that, but no way I'd take the hive apart until 50F.

What I did that one 40F warm sunny day a couple weeks ago (when i saw the mold under the newspaper and the dead bees) was to quickly pull the damp newspaper with hardened sugar and replace it with fresh newspaper and 5lbs of fresh dry sugar. I got it all ready and did the sugar substitution in about one minute and was back out of there.

They had plenty of honey stored for the winter...the hive was two deeps total, just about full, with lots of active healthy bees.
Now I'm thinking I should have just left the SBB wide open like they had been used to over their past 4 winters in their previous location.
 

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Omie:
Don't give up yet. I was where you are last week.
Thanks Debbie. :eek:
I am not giving up until it hits 52-55F and sunny and no one comes out.
I'm still hanging in there, even though I am pretty sure they are dead.
There are always miracles. ;)
Thanks for your encouragement.
 
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