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  Saturday, 29 March 2014
  9 Replies
  149 Visits
Saw one or two bees come out of the hive over the last few weeks and thought I'd check them to see of they needed food seeing that today was a bit warmer. When I opened the lid there were dead bees all over. Loaded with honey, bees looked like they were frozen place.
I did wrap the hive in the Fall with tar paper and used 2in. insulation under the lid and on the north east and west of the hive. (maybe too much and it created moisture?)
Fortunately I did order a Nuc for May.
Anybody else have a loss like this?
Pretty sad

Ron :(
thank-you for the news, Scott-
I saw the workshops on the calendar- will see if either are do-able!
7 years ago
Jody and Jeff,

In a few weeks there is the first Intervale workshop in Burlington.
However, there is also a Stowe club that has just started which might be a closer option for you. There is a meeting next week on Tuesday. Check the calendar for details.

As far cleaning out the frames it is important to be sure no bee diseases exist. You would not want to use bad frames with your new bees. They might be able to help you with this at the club as well.
If you cannot make it to those meetings let us know in this forum and we can provide some guidance to your questions.
sorry to say, that here in the Northeast Kingdom, I lost all 3 hives- I keep checking for a survivor but none in sight.
I think the colonies were too small, and perhaps I should've combined them at summers end.
This is my first year with beekeeping, and it makes me sick to think it was my fault that they
didn't make it. They were fine in Jan., when I added some sugar patties ( I had wrapped all 3 and put on a top moisture board, in the fall) Then in Feb., one was quiet, and when the below zero continued, I wrapped additional blankets around them. In March I was left with one, and now, there is no sign from the 3rd. I left all my honey in all three hives,so they would have enough food, too.
Needless to say, next Fall they will be relocated on a southern side of my house,for wind break- for the winter!
I have pre-ordered 2 packages for replacement- an expensive and heart-wrenching spring.

Does anyone have any tips for how to go about the cleaning of the dead hives?
Remove the foundation with the bees, and replace? I think part of beekeeping workshops, is how to deal with the death of the colony, and proper clean-up, etc? any thoughts?
7 years ago
Three hives died due to mice--in spite of mouse guards. (One mouse ran out when I opened the hive!)Mice must have come in through 5/8 inch upper entrance holes. Next time I'll cover the holes with screen wire. Remaining 2 hives, very active and flying 10 days ago, have now died, in spite of added sugar and pollen substitute. Perhaps clusters were too small to survive the intense cold.
Two neighboring experienced beekeepers--one with 3 hives and another with 5--lost all hives.
7 years ago
Hi Ron,

I looked at a fair number of dead bees yesterday too. One hive was as you described, a dead cluster with honey all around. I pegged that one as too small a cluster size. I even noted in the fall that the population seemed small. The rest of the dead bees I saw were in some Nucs that I put together too late in the summer. Although most of them built up a decent population, and I fed them through the fall, they just didn't have enought stores. My bad. No more August nucs hoping a goldenrod crop will pull us through.

I'm pretty sure that lack of stores was my biggest problem, and cluster size was my second problem. I took a lot of pictures to get a second opinion.
Here's one of the hive with the too-small cluster:

And one where there was no significant honey to be found anywhere else in the hive:

On to 2014.

7 years ago
Hi Scott,
I did do a varroa treatment in the fall. And yes, a few bees were head first in cells. I did notice however that during the winter there was some moisture leakage from the bottom super, and the top vent hole was plugged which lent me to believe that it was moisture.
Thanks, Ron
7 years ago
Hey Ron,
In the ten years I have been keeping bees I have not experienced the type of Winter which we seem to just now be coming out of. It has been too cold for too long. The description you provided implies the cluster was too small to handle the cold. Did you see any bees in head first in cells? If so the implication is that they starved. Yes, even if there was honey nearby they would not break the cluster to get to it. Based on your Winter setup I don't suspect moisture as the issue.
There are many circumstances that could have led to this end. Some of which could have been occured
before the Winter actually set in.

Did you do a varroa treatment in the Fall?

7 years ago
Thanks David,
Not giving up yet either.
Happy spring
7 years ago
Yes big loss here Ron. I put quilts (shallow boxes w/shavings) on top of my hives and it still looked like the moisture got to them. Even the strong hives going in, I was a bit concerned because of the low stores in the lower hive body (2 HB and super combo).
Very discouraging.
But not throwing in the towel.... we learn from our mistakes and experiences and move forward
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