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  Saturday, 21 January 2017
  10 Replies
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With the recent warmish spell I investigated my hives a little. Unfortunately I found that out of my 5 hives and 2 nucs, only 2 hives are still alive. One hive was still had a deep of honey untouched so at least that one probably didn't starve. Making the best of a bad situation, I moved honey onto my two surviving hives, which both had bees right at the top under the inner cover so I am sure they were happy to have the extra eats.

I would have liked to have had one or two more hives to allow me to aggressively split into the empty hives as well as keeping one hive untouched to maximize honey production next Summer, but two is better than one which is better than none.

How are other people faring?
I would say the blush gray is from moisture .

I have received many reports of Beekeepers finding they have lost their hives .
In most cases they have reported the colonies to be of small clusters in Sept and oct .

I would think a posable Managment tool would be to move the bees and resources in to
A Nuc , what do others think of this idea.
I would think a weak or small colony would be better served in a reduced space for a
Verity of reasons.
5 years ago
I opened my hives this morning and found similar losses to Brennan. Very discouraging, but I tend to think the lack of a fall flow really had a large negative impact. Small populations going into cold weather, despite having plenty of food spelled disaster for my apiary. It's going to be expensive to rebuild in 2017!

One question for you all though - has anyone ever noticed a bluish/gray haze on the comb after a colony has died? Several of my frames have this color and I can't figure out what it is.
5 years ago
I did Spring, and then mid Summer has my mite load in some of my hives was severe (easy to spot mites during drone brood removal and shriveled wings). Perhaps I needed a third round of treatment but the temperature is iffy late in the season. But in any case I think the real cause was not giving them enough attention in Sept and Oct. They probably needed feeding if not treatment. Something to mull on for the future. Though I am thinking that I may want to order some hopguard to toss on them in the Fall going into Winter when there is no brood.
5 years ago
For what it's worth: I use MAQS in my hives as well. The first application is usually in mid May, this nocks down the mites while the hive is building up. The second application is mid to late September. As stated the bees reduce in numbers toward fall but the mites increase. By waiting until late September there is a chance to really kill the mite load and allow the hive to make it. Of course mites are not the only possibility, stored food quantity and other diseases may also be a factor.
I like using MAQS due to their ability to kill the mites in the capped cells. I am not sure if the other treatments do the same, I understand not. However, it is always a good idea to shake things up to help keep the Mites from becoming resistant to treatments. Good luck.
5 years ago
Of the hives that died, one had a full deep of honey, which does make me suspicious of either something happening to the queen or mites. The others seem light. All but one hive that died were from a satellite yard that did get less attention in the Fall and were not fed. The hives that lived were at the central yard. One was a new hive and the other was an established hive. I fed the new hive heavily and had also given a lesser amount of feed to.

As for mites, I used MAQSII in the Spring and again mid-Summer. Another treatment might have been in order in late Summer or Fall. I have been musing about trying out Ox fuming or Hopguard to mix up the treatments a little.
5 years ago
The fall flow was certainly not great in our area Mike. We noticed quite a bit of robbing late in the season. Last year was the first time I had to feed hives in three years. I'm sure the lack of a fall flow will have an impact on people's hives if they weren't diligent about weighting and feeding.

I know I read an article a few years ago from some research on honey consumption in hives. The article noted findings that said bees were most conservative with their stores when average daily temps were around 40 degrees F. Now I'm racking my brain to remember who wrote the article. I believe it was published in Bee Culture.
5 years ago
Over the years, I haven't seen any huge difference in food consumption between warm winters and cold winters. Usual consumption is about 10 lb. a month in the winter. Of course, consumption goes way up when brood rearing starts in March.

As far as losses at this point, unless it's normal starvation or queenless, I would look to the drought we had this year...late summer and autumn. There was almost no Fall flow this year. Certainly no Goldenrod/Aster. If your bees were near Knotweed, then there was a bit of a flow. Because of the lack of a nectar flow, brood rearing was reduced. Varroa built up all summer, peaking when the bees experienced reduced brood rearing. Less brood and more mites per brood cell equals disaster for a honey bee colony.
5 years ago
Brennan, I am curious as to wether or not you treated for Veroa Mites last fall ??? Also, do you have any idea as to how much honey was left in the hives for over wintering?? I feel bad that you have lost hives, bummer...but with this crazy weather who knows how many of our hives will make it to spring. The temperature has been pretty mild but this dampness can not be good. We need some sunshine.
I have four hives the bees are in the top ,they where robbed very late fall.
However still they have a lot of bees so I have put some sugar on hopeful they will not starve
My other Nucs and production hives are doing great they had some cleansing flights last week
But still a long time to March .
Only lucky no dead hives yet.
Good luck to all.
5 years ago
Great topic Brennan. Your post inspired me to go out and visit a couple of my yards. Of the two yards I visited, 8 production hives were alive and well with no losses. I was able to inspect 42 nucs, only 2 were not alive. I'll be curios to see how other are doing. There is still quite a bit of time between now and March. Now I want to go visit my other yards and see how things are looking. :)
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