What to do with dead-out?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Indiana Dave, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. Indiana Dave

    Indiana Dave New Member

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    Just discovered that one of my two hives is dead. They were a package that I got last April from a reputable supplier in KY. My question is do I leave the dead hive out for my other hive to rob the honey before storing the equipment away until I get new bees, or should I remove it now? My fear is that wax moths will infest the dead hive and create bigger problems before the dead hive is cleaned out.
    Thanks, Dave
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hi Indiana:
    First thing I think I would do is figure out why it died (any signs of disease, starved, etc.) If you are seeing bees dead head first in cells it probably starved.
    If you are sure that there is no presence of disease, just shake off any dead bees and bring your stuff home. If you really want to make sure moths don't get the combs, there is a concoction sold by a member called sundance on this site that you can mix up and spray your comb to keep it safe. (matter of fact he just posted today).
    It is still really cold up here so I haven't done anything with the one deadout I have, too cold for moths.
    Congratulations on making it through winter with a survivor in your first year.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Good post, Perry. I'll just add, when you get it home, be sure mice or other pests can't get into it. I remove the hive body from the bottom board and place it in a plastic trash bag. Then seal all openings with tape. It will give your new bees a much needed boost.
     
  4. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    you can let the other hive rob the honey, or you can harvest it for yourself. Either way the comb will come in as a great help to you this year. Sorry you lost your hive, it's always sad to have to clean up the equipment. Maybe you can split your existing hive this year to make up the difference?.
     
  5. rast

    rast New Member

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    If your bees are flying and anywhere close to the deadout, as long as it didn't die from a communicable disease (AFB, EFB, etc.). Weather permitting, I would leave the hive cover off and they will clean it out in 1-2 days. Give them a probably much needed boost. Freeze the comb for a few days, doesn't have to be all at one time if it won't fit in your freezer, then spray it with BT like Perry said and protect it like IDDEE said. That comb will be like gold to you when you need it.
    You can also freeze the frames of honey and give them to a new package, nuc or split.
     
  6. Indiana Dave

    Indiana Dave New Member

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    Thanks for all the great comments. The wealth of knowledge on this site is such a great resource.
    I know I had some Varroa mites, but the infestation level was not significant based on what I was seeing on my debris board counts. Only a handful of bees died with their heads in the comb. I did not see any dead brood, or sealed brood for that matter. I think maybe they got wet. I have screened bottoms boards on both hives and placed the debris boards in place in December just before it got down into the single digits. On February 13 this year, it got up to 50 degrees and was sunny. There were bees taking cleansing flights from both hives. For some reason, I decided to Mountain Camp both hives in case they were running low on reserves. I put newspaper and sugar on the top bars of the top supers, and misted the sugar with water. On February 20, (sunny and 58 degrees) I checked both hives to see how well they had taken to the sugar. My wild caught bees had eaten about 1/3 of what I gave them. The Russian bees (package) had not touched theirs. When I pulled the debris boards, the Russian hive had a lot of watery 'honey' on it. Kind of like the honey went bad and started to run. Maybe they got wet from the mountain camp, I'm not sure. It shouldn't have been from poor ventilation, both hives have vents near the top. I did have A LOT of dead bees on the bottom board earlier in the winter, but figured that was just bees dying from attrition. Kind of at a loss, but nonetheless, I am happy to have one hive left. They are working on 1/2 of a pollen patty now.

    One last question, and I will stop rambling (as I am so prone to do). How strong must my surviving hive be to split? When I Mtn. camped them, they were all over the top bars of the top hive body, as well as when I gave them their pollen patty last week. Or is this something I will have to determine when it is warmer and I can get into the hive for an inspection?

    Thanks again, Dave
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You should not split until the chance of a hard freeze has passed. Then not until the hive has 8 or more frames of brood.

    Now you will get 10 other opinions, but that is mine.
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I think Iddee model of split goes something like this...

    if you still have a chance of severe freeze or a long bout of cold weather, then do not split until you have a full deep box of bees and brood.

    once severe freezing has past smaller splits are perfectly ok. once summer temperature prevail smaller splits (less brood and bees) are usually the recommendation.
     
  9. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Yes, you'll need to get into the hive to assess if it's strong enough to split. Are you planning on buying a queen for the split, or letting them make their own? If the latter, then you need to wait until you're sure there are mature drones.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Dave writes:
    On February 13 this year, it got up to 50 degrees and was sunny. There were bees taking cleansing flights from both hives. For some reason, I decided to Mountain Camp both hives in case they were running low on reserves. I put newspaper and sugar on the top bars of the top supers, and misted the sugar with water. On February 20, (sunny and 58 degrees) I checked both hives to see how well they had taken to the sugar. My wild caught bees had eaten about 1/3 of what I gave them. The Russian bees (package) had not touched theirs. When I pulled the debris boards, the Russian hive had a lot of watery 'honey' on it. Kind of like the honey went bad and started to run.

    tecumseh:
    a small guess from a southern bee keeper..... at your location you likely need to set a hive up late in the fall to make the winter and disturb it at a minimum thru the winter months. most certainly those kinds of bees that make the winter in small clusters should be disturbed as little as possible. things like the mountain camp procedure should be done late in the fall and not at the middle to end of winter. at your location the fall preparation of a hive is extremely important... both in terms of feed and any health issues a hive may encounter.

    sounds to me like you broke the seal between the hive bodies and then blowing snow or water or both was the likely cause of the hive's demise. please don't take this analysis personally... no matter what strategy you might employ things can and do go wrong.

    and the best of luck to ya' in the coming season.