Hive Check 1-13-13

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Eddy Honey, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Nice and warm today and really cold air forcast next week or two so I figured I'd add candy as needed.

    I started this year with 17 colonies, some full size and some nucs.

    To date I've lost 5 colonies. Today I lost my first nuc and also two full sized hives. One of the full sized hives was last years best honey producer. I was able to find the dead queens in all 3 of todays dead-outs. Clusters were really small, lots of capped honey and open nectar, and lots of bees stuck head first in their cells.
    Does anyone have a tip for getting those bees out of those cells without destroying the comb? Can I just leave them for scavengers or next seasons occupants to clean out?
    Also, all that honey. I sealed the hive entrances for now but should I just let them get robbed out so the remaining 12 hives can benefit?

    Ten of the remaining hives are really strong while two others are mediocore (sp).

    I didn't treat with formic or thymol products this year because I needed to satisfy my curiosity about the the whole "mite" thing.
    The wife was a little upset but I assured her they might have died even if we did treat. Just look at the 10 really strong hives. If the mites were a guaranteed death sentence I would think the others would have perished as well. These hives are actually stronger this year than the three I had treated with formic last year. She wants me to treat from here on out but I'll save that for a different thread.

    I'm hoping the 10 really strong colonies make it and then I'll make splits from those. I have another cut-out sor the Spring and a trip to Georgia where I've secured 2 Russian nucs.
     
  2. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Well you still have 12 out of 17 colonies alive- that translates to 70% survival, or 30% loss, so far. Average hive losses during the past few years has hovered around 33-35%, so you are simply average. If you lose one more hive you'll still be within typical range. Nothing to get panicked about!
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    5 losses out of 17 is fair in my books. It is almost the new "normal".
    Just tap those frames with the bees stuck in the cells sideways, lightly on the side of your hive. Many will fall out but even if you don't, the bees will haul them out themselves. I would seal up those hives (beewise) but allow ventilation so stuff doesn't go mouldy. Use those honey frames for your splits next year to give them a head start.
     
  4. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Gently tap the frame so the top bar hits the supper side and rapidly tap and it will dislodge some or most of the the bees depending on how long they have been dead and the moisture in the hive.
     
  5. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Eddy H, can't bring myself to call a man honey.:grin: To get the dead bees out of frames i tap the bottom or top on something solid, most will drop out and the ones that don't and you have time i take out with tweezers. If you want to you can just put the frames with honey and the bees that didn't come out in a trash bag and put in the freezer, the hive you put them in this spring will clean them out, i'm assuming they died of starvation and not a diease. Jack
     
  6. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Letting the bees rob is not a good idea. You are better off placing the frames of honey where needed rather than letting the strongest hives that don't need it rob most of it and you could be feeding neighbors or feral colonies as well as your own.
     
  7. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    March, here is supposedly the crucial month. I think it is much too early to count losses. If a hive was strong in the fall and apparently did not starve, I would be scratching my head why. 35% losses over the whole winter was ~the average nationally I think.
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    at the next frozen moment at your location any dead bees are pretty much going to fall out any time you even jostle the frames. as far as comb with feed I would likely insert these into any hive that I even though might immediately benefit from the feed. most time this typically means I dig thru a box and exchange one very dry frame for one with feed. a robust population of bees will on any fairly mild day remove any dead bees that might remain in the comb <you could construct this into a fairly informal test of the hygienic characteristic of a hive. at a fairly constant near freezing temperature storage for a short duration is also an option. I would keep in mind that as you approaching freezing temperature any comb with weight also cracks very easily and should be somewhat treated like glass.

    I would also suggest any definition of a normal winter loss should be somewhat adjusted for location and a bee keeper's experience at that location.
     
  9. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Tecumseh,

    What is normal for Texas?

    Gypsi
     
  10. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    NEVER EVER* encourage robbing out a hive. Follow the advice given by ApisBees and Tecumseh.

    *except when you are cleaning out a trap-out---and there the robbers should be right next to the removed hive.
     
  11. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I should have thought of what efmesch just said: never get them started robbing. When they run out of dead hives they start on your live ones
     
  12. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    It's too warm to distribute the honey frames today. The bees were trying to get in the entrances of the dead hives so I don't want to crack them open and create a frenzy.
     
  13. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Can you remove them from the yard and get them out of reach? Or in an area where it won't feel like "robbing"? (maybe half a mile away)