Winter hive deserted! What did I do?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by BellMountainHeather, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. BellMountainHeather

    BellMountainHeather New Member

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    Hello, I'm a one year beekeeper. I had a great start with a nuc last spring. Summer was great. I harvested one super of honey and all was great. Left two deeps and a super full of honey for the winter. I live in CO and we can have some rough weather, but often have warm days. As a new bee mom, I insulated my hive with foamobard. I went out to show my setup new years weekend and my hive was silent!!! i cracked it open and all my bees were gone. There were about 500 dead bees, but otherwise I was left with a hive FULL of honey and no live bees. What happened? Did they overheat and move out? Now I'm left with a full hive of honey. Should I just harvest it and start over in the spring? Any advice appreciated.
     
  2. BellMountainHeather

    BellMountainHeather New Member

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    Maybe I shouldn't have insulated and should have let nature do it's thing.....
     

  3. BellMountainHeather

    BellMountainHeather New Member

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    Thanks everyone for your advice....
     
  4. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Active Member

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    I dont have an answer for it, bees do some strange stuff for strange reasons, if they left in the winter season without having a new home togo to they will freeze if they just swarmed on a tree..you can scoop up the dead bees and send them out to the usda and find out what killed them for free and that may help determine why the others left and if you have any issues in your hive, I wouldnt consume the honey till you determined it was not contaminated and thats why the bees left..
    here is the link to where and how to send the dead bees..
    https://www.ars.usda.gov/northeast-...search-laboratory/docs/how-to-submit-samples/
     
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  5. BellMountainHeather

    BellMountainHeather New Member

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    Thanks so much for the advice! I will definitely send in my dead bees and see what they say. Stay tuned....
     
  6. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I am sorry, I've been out of pocket for a day or 2. Yes definitely send some dead bees to Belton, I think it is, the bee lab. The silence roars around here now and then, and as spring picks up and we go out the door, well I can't put a forum on my phone, I have to focus on where I am at. In the meantime welcome, and get those bees tested.

    Now, on the insulation, you insulate the roof with foam board, and wrap the hive in roofing black tar wrap I think it is called. The reason why is the black will soak up heat. and it will block the wind, the foam goes inside your outer cover, and it will keep the roof warmer, so condensation from the bees will drip down the side walls and not on your bees.

    I use screened bottom boards but with a sticky in (since my bee stand is open pipes) so there is a little ventilation from the bottom but only a little.

    Some folks use a top and bottom entrance, or just a top entrance, to help humidity rise out of the hive
     
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  7. BellMountainHeather

    BellMountainHeather New Member

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  8. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood Member

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    In this newsletter is an excellent article entitled, "Why did my honey bees die?" by Megan Milbrath. Scroll down to page 3 to find her article. It will help you figure out what happened. It is important to try to learn from this sad event. That will make you a better beekeeper.
    http://www.pastatebeekeepers.org/pdf/Newsletters/2016/April2016.pdf
    I would guess that your cluster was too small to maintain warmth. The real question is why was the cluster so small?
     
  9. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have found my smallest nuc died. I was not terribly surprised, as they were a small weak cutout, with a couple of varroa transmitted viruses so I did not merge them with my healthier hives until I got them treated with OA fog. Unfortunately we had a family crisis in December and I didn't get them merged or even stacked over a larger hive after treatment. On at least one warm day my healthy hives conducted some robbery and stole some stored syrup before I caught them and closed the door. They died, most with heads in cells looking for food, under a huge fondant patty. Probably most froze during the severe freeze we had in late December. My other hives would not have made it through December if I had not done half way decent beekeeping in spring and summer 2017, as many family crises interfered this fall and winter