Pre-Spring check

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Hobie, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Well, yesterday it got to about 55 degrees, and I saw evidence of bees at both hives. Lots of brown splotches at the one - hope it's not too bad. Not as much activity at the other.

    I wanted to open and maybe put dry sugar on today, but now they are calling for rain turning to snow and back down to 30F.

    If I do get a chance, is it better to put the sugar on top of the inner cover, or open that, add an empty shallow, and put on newspapers underneath?

    On another note, will the sugar make things worse if the one hive has dysentery?
     
  2. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    The warmish temps held out, so I looked in both hives today. Did not even take the inner cover off the one, since I could see many bees milling about just below. Put some dry sugar on top of the inner cover.

    The other hive may be a goner, and too bad, because that was the stronger of the two (I thought.) It is 2 deeps and a shallow. I could only see a few lethargic bees in the shallow. There were very little stores in the couple frames I pulled, but it was not completely gone. No dead bees in the cells. I did not dig any deeper. All my mucking about did not cause any bees to start buzzing at the entrance. I put some dry sugar on top of the shallow frames, just in case. I hope they are in there somewhere, because this hive was wonderfully calm and gentle. Swarmed last year, though.
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Is there brown stains all over the inside of the hive as well especially on the top bars. was the blotches on the outside bad enough the ran in streaks down the side of the hive. that and lathargic bees i would say you have a case of nosema. especially if they have the xame stains inside the hive. I have never saved a hive that I have had get in this condition. Some feed fumagilan (spell?) but in this case its a little early to put liquid feed on. If they have been locked down due to cold temps for an extended period of time and there is no staining inside the hive I would venture to guess they may have been ready to go on a flyin run for a cleansing flight. the lathargic can be temps starvation or nosema. I would put a newspaper down and put dry sugar down for them or better yet if you got a frame of honey from another hive that is heavy I would rob it and put it in near the cluster. all you can do at this point is experiment and see what you can do
     
  4. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Thanks for the input, Rat. Actually, the hive with the brown splotches is the one that I could see bees in. I did not remove the inner cover on that one, so I'm not sure about stains inside.

    The one with the lethargic bees, I could not see brown, but that hive does not have a traditional landing board, and it is hard to tell on the ground around it. I did not see any signs of staining inside the hive, but only looked in the top super. There was nothing on the SBB tray except old wax debris.

    The hive doing poorly had bees flying a few days ago when the sun came out, but it was only 40F. There were yellow spots all over the snow, but also many bees lying on the snow. I revived 3 or 4 and put them back, so I assume they were fooled by the sun and the cold temps got them.

    I will keep in mind moving a frame of honey, assuming the other hive has stores to spare. But it's back to the 20's again today, calling for snow, so that may have to wait.
     
  5. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Do you have the hive wrapped for winter. The bees outside sound like it got to warm in the hive and the bees went on cleansing flights and didnt make it back. Was this hive low on stores. I have had bees get lathargic when starvation sets in. If low on stores I would put some dry sugar on top a soon as you can
     
  6. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    The hive is wrapped in tar paper only, mostly to keep the wind out and maybe add a little warmth when the sun comes out (which is rare here Nov-Apr). The sun was out the day they flew, and the hive does get direct sun for a few hours. I have seen the same thing happen with a feral hive that was in the south facing barn wall a few years back.

    I'm not sure about the level of stores. They went into winter with a good supply in 2 deeps and the shallow, but we've had some cold temps, and the wind here has to be experienced to be believed. (55 mph yesterday, and that's not all that unusual)

    I put dry sugar on the top of the shallow yesterday, but if it gets cold, I'm not sure they will get to it. I was going to take the frames out of the shallow and put the sugar lower, but there was still some honey in those frames, although widely dispersed. I probably should have taken out half the frames, but I didn't.
     
  7. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I would heft the back of the hive to see how heavy it is. If there is still a considerable amount of weight to the hive I would say it will be fine. Leave it be until later when spring gets here.
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Hobie writes:
    The hive doing poorly had bees flying a few days ago when the sun came out, but it was only 40F.

    tecumseh:
    0ne of the several traits of nosema affected bees is they will fly at cooler than usual temperatures.

    ps... other minor clues suggesting nosema 1) bees in the hive body that appear stressed or weak 2) the brood nest appears untidy (not spotless) or the comb face appears to be soiled or dirty and 3) in frame type feeders lots of dead bees in the feeder and the feeder is never really cleaned out of syrup.