Questions with Mike Palmer
Mike Palmer Answers Your Questions
Mike Palmer keeps bees at French Hill Apiaries in St. Albans. We are grateful that he has agreed to answer questions on beekeeping in Vermont, his workload permitting.
VBA Members: Ask Mike your question with this form. (Requires you to login to the site.) We'll post the best questions and answers here as regularly as possible. (Personal responses to questions will not be possible.)
Ted Albers writes:
Opened hive on 11/16/13 after a freeze. Could this be 'cold brood?' Note how many are head-down (to generate heat?) Not sure strength of hive before the freeze; plenty of honey but perhaps too far from center of hive. About 3 frames looked like this (clustered near one another.) Many fewer dead bees found than a full/robust hive should have so perhaps hive was already in decline. (Shelburne.) Thanks!
Mike Palmer Replies:
Yes, I would say the colony has been in decline for some time. While there are a number of bees head-first in open cells, indicating starvation, I don't believe the colony starved. I see colonies like this every year when I pick up winter losses. Diagnosis is confirmed by looking at the remaining cells of capped brood. In the lower left corner of your photograph, I see a worker that died while attempting to emerge from her cell. Do you see it? Open the cell with a pocket knife or the corner of your hive tool. Does she have fully formed wings? Does she have a normal sized abdomen, or is it flat and stunted?