Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I started beekeeping last year and had a great time. I had a very healthy hive when I packed it up but it did not survive the winter.

My question is. I want two hives this year. I have both supers from the past hive that are still filled with honey. Can I use both of these supers two start two hives. I'm very sure the past hive did not make it because...it was just too cold around here this past winter.

Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,055 Posts
I doubt it was too cold as people winter bees successfully outside where it is -40 every winter. If you see no sign of brood with perforated cappings then by all means start you packages on the drawn comb. Just make sure that there are about three frames of empty comb for the bees to cluster on and start raising brood. The honey filled frames will be turned into bees at an amazing rate. Try to place any frames with pollen near the center. Pollen in capped frames is often hard to see until you hold it up to the sun and see the dark patches.
If you don't have enough frames of empty comb, put a frame or two of foundation in. Your packages will take off with the great store of honey and will not require feeding until they have used it up or flowers start producing nectar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Vance. I should not have said the too cold remark so easily. They are tough characters that's for sure. Iwas told that wrapping the hive did not do much good, so I Didn't do that. Perhaps my reducer may have been too large..about an inch and a half. I don't know. But people do lose hives around her. Any and all info is very much appreciated
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,397 Posts
I suggest you wrap and insulate above the top box. However if you are sure you don't have AFB defiantly use the honey and comb to start back up this year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,055 Posts
Personally I believe in wrapping, top insulating and making sure there is an upper entrance. Mine is a hole bored in the front end of the upper brood body right below the handhold. I never worry about clearing out or removing snow blocking the bottom entrance and my wrap covers it loosely to prevent the wind blowing in. Bees don't freeze but often they get pinned to brood or the cluster when facing falling temps shrinks away from their food source and they starve. One row of empty cells away from lots of honey equals starvation. That is why I pretty much use mountain camp on all wintering hives as they often starve with many bees on the lid. If the lid is sugar, they tend not to starve. Best of luck with your two colonies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,540 Posts
OK, I'll chime in with the customary question: what were your mite levels last fall, going into the winter?

You might want to think about some types of winter protection next year. There's a whole range of stuff that's fairly easy, cheap and low tech (wrapping, quilt boxes, windbreaks, foam insulation panels on the outside of hives, and under the telecover, if you use one, etc.) that may help protect your bees from the extremes of winter weather, because losing your bees can't be a fun experience. In an easy winter, you might not need anything. Last winter was very tough, though no one could have predicted it beforehand. Bees aren't cheap in either money or the time and effort you invested in them. Many beekeepers choose to add a little extra insurance. But doing any (or all) of these things still may not work - particularly if your bees were already under stress from mites late in the season.

I wish you very good luck with your bees this season. They will be getting off to a good start with the drawn comb and honey.

Enj.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Enj, V and R..I learned something from every reply. Very cool. I do not think I had any mites at all..at least I saw no sign of them. The good weather is coming and if it's anything like last year all will be well. But I need to prepare better for next year...and your tips definitely helped. I gotta tell you this is a great forum. I asked this questions a few hours ago and the replies have been great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,540 Posts
Um, you wrote, "I saw no sign of them," (i.e. mites). I never "see" them, either. But I know my hives have at least some level of mites, because I run tests which reveal them. Or perhaps you meant you tested and they weren't any? That's remarkable.

I started with three 2013 swarms last year. I hoped I wouldn't have mites, either. Mites are so tiny that one would rarely see one on a live bee, even if you hold well-populated frames up and examined them with a magnifying glass. But that wouldn't mean you don't have mites. Even my least-affected colony, which I have never treated, and which regularly tests "zero drop per 24 hours", does have some mites during other tests so I know they are there, albeit at a very low level.

If you don't have a testing program in place, that would be one thing you could do that would help avoid a repeat of your deadout. May I recommend getting set up with sticky boards on your two new colonies and running tests every week through out the season? Perhaps you'll also have no mites seen during the tests this summer, too, then you'll know that at least that factor couldn't have caused or contributed to your loss this year and be able to concentrate more on winterization to prevent another one.

Sticky boards are dead easy to do and completely non-disruptive to the bees. Over the course of the season, regular testing will give you a good handle on your mite levels. (I could make some suggestions on how to set up a sticky board and manage the testing, if you want help with that.) If you truly have "no mites", I want to know where you got your bees!

Enj.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
13,203 Posts
I do not think I had any mites at all..at least I saw no sign of them.
It is very helpful to know why your colony perished and that is not always possible. Mite infestation will have white specks in the brood comb. Water stains on the frames will indicate condensation. Poop stains on the comb indicates nosema or dysentery. Lack of honey could be starvation. In the absence of these traits and no bees found in the hive might be CCD. It is hard for a newbie to know for sure but you should make the effort.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
If you see no sign of brood with perforated cappings then by all means start you packages on the drawn comb.
Why would this be a bad thing? Would it be detrimental to the bees? Won't they clean it up?
::: shrug :::
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,108 Posts
>>If you see no sign of brood with perforated cappings then by all means start you packages on the drawn comb.
>Why would this be a bad thing? Would it be detrimental to the bees? Won't they clean it up?

Vance is assuming that perforated cappings is a sign of AFB. In the summer on a moderately strong hive, I would agree. In the winter on a weak hive, it's likely to be chilled brood. I would always do a rope test on dead capped brood to check, but odds are they died in the winter from something other than AFB.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top