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Total hive winter kill

515 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Wes Kootenay
Hi, first post.
In 2021 we decided to try raising bees, originally just for pollination and to share our plants and uncontrollable Oregano meadow. Our friend recommended we get a Carniolan nuke to start and build a Langstroth hive, sized to accept a flow frame box at a later time if we wanted to.
Things went well, after a swollen nose and ear I bought a good suit, veil, gloves and a smoker. I read up on preparing the hive for winter, they made it through without any problems. Spring of 2022 they were out earlier than I expected and, despite a couple of attacks, things went well. We decided to install the flow frame box. As summer got hotter, the bees would 'beard' on the hive front, I figured the hive was overheating so I added a medium honey box and improved the top cover venting.
Unfortunately, Fall came early. A storm sprung up while we were away for a day and blew the roof off the hive, I didn't think of rain entering the hive, but I'm guessing it did.
Started to notice a lot of dead bees around the hive front after Christmas but I put it down to normal winter kill. Tapped on the hive and heard activity, there was bee poop on the snow, so I figured all was well. The amount of dead bees increased and the hive went quiet.
It took a while for the snow to melt enough that I could take the hive apart. Here's what I found:
Wood Road surface Asphalt Trunk Grass
Beehive Apiary Pollinator Insect Arthropod
Beehive Apiary Pollinator Insect Arthropod
Beehive Apiary Pollinator Insect Natural material

Wood Beehive Natural material Pollinator Apiary
Wood Grass Font Rectangle Pollinator
Beehive Apiary Pollinator Insect Arthropod

These are the frames from the brood box:
Beehive Pollinator Natural material Wood Arthropod
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Sorry for the loss. Did you ever treat for mites? As a rule, I won't go into my hives for an inspection if the temperatures are below 60 degrees. And I never want to get them wet because if colder weather sets in, they will freeze. Did you feed them through the winter with sugar bricks or dry sugar to help them along if their honey stores got used up?
I lost My hive this winter because of lack of ventilation, when I opened the top I saw dead bee's and noted mold growing on the frame tops, I'm in NW Indiana I had a insulated wrap around the 2 box's and a moisture board in between the inner top and the extended top, we did have one very cold week where Temps. where -20 degrees with wind chill, any suggestions?
I went into winter with 7 hives and came out with 7 hives. 3 of mine didn't have hardly any top ventilation at all. All were wrapped. Are your hives tilted pretty good to the front? I stuck a 2x4 under the back of mine so that any water build-up would drain towards the front entrance and out.
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