Dead Bees

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by jaafallon, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. jaafallon

    jaafallon New Member

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    I have lost at least one of my three hives this winter. In preparation for the coming cold (about 8° F) I placed one of the wood entrance reducers in the hive entrance with only the small (approximately 1") opening available to them. When I went back a few weeks later the bees are all dead and obviously had worked hard trying to remove the entrance reducer before dying. My error I'm sure, but I thought it was the right thing to do. I live in Northern Nevada, USA (high Desert) and temps will occasionally get down to as low as -20° F but that is quite unusual. I have since opened up the entrance reducer on my two remaining hives but see evidence of having had problems there too.

    I have three questions: 1. Is it necessary to restrict hive openings in colder weather? 2. In this forum section there is a discussion on-going titled "Moisture under lid???" in which one person (PerryBee) mentions venting his hive via an inner cover notch on his hives. Is this a good idea (I've never heard of it before)? 3. What is the best practice for me to follow with the hive full of dead bees? I know just leaving it sit isn't the correct answer or else I'll be raising my own personal supply of Wax Moths. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    jim
     
  2. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    Jim, here is my 2 cents.....

    1. I doubt the bees died due to reducing the entrance. I reduce mine as well although I am in a much warmer winter climate. Reducing the entrance helps maintain heat.
    2. Perry's ventilation tactics are working for him in a colder climate so that may work for you too. I use the mtn camp (granulated sugar)method and luckily I have not had moisture issues, not to mention it has been a very mild winter here..
    3. I had a hive die out on me last year and I cleaned it up immediately. I froze the frames and reused them the next year with no incident.

    Hope this helps-the woes of beekeeping!

    Dave
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Jim, you might want to maintain a small 1/2" opening at the top of your hives under the cover next year, both winter and summer. The extra ventilation can help prevent moisture/condensation buildup. I have both top and bottom entrances plus a wide open screen bottom on my hives here in NY and it gets as cold as -15F sometimes. Personally I feel it's not the cold that kills bees but condensation, and of course starvation. Remember, bees that are colder will cluster tighter, be less active, and not eat as much.
    Wax moths will not be a problem until daily temps are reaching 65 or 70F. No need to worry yet about wax moths if it's below 50F every night. There won't be any robbing either until Spring, so you can safely leave your dead hive in place until Spring, but screen off the entrance against possible robbing on a warm day, if you want to save any honey to feed to other hives next year.
     
  4. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Sorry to hear of your loss,

    I would be interested to know why you believe they were trying to reopen the reducer?

    Also at that temp I doubt if wax moth will be an issue at those temps right now, but the correct thing is to close up the hive tightly (duct tape), or remove the frames and put them away safely
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    humm.. yes like zulu I would like more detail here about your bees and about what you think the bees were doing.

    speculating for sure... but if you totally closed in the hive then even one day of bright sunshine on a white box may have over heat and killed the bees inside (stress, lack of ventilation and most importantly lack of water would have have been this hypothetical cause).