2017-2018 Winter Losses?

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royl
Nursebee
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:22 am

2017-2018 Winter Losses?

Post by royl » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:00 pm

How is your losses so far this winter? I understand that parts of NC just broke the record for number of consecutive hours at or below freezing. I'm noticing a lot of dead bees around my hives and on the bottom board. To early to tell how many I've lost at this point.

Roy

Jacobs
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Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: 2017-2018 Winter Losses?

Post by Jacobs » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:39 am

We all should know more in the next few days. This is the longest stretch since I started beekeeping where weather has prevented bees from flying. I, too, am seeing lots of dead bees in front of hives. The numbers I am seeing are consistent with normal winter losses. I am planning on finishing OA vaporization at my "outyard" hives this week, so that will give me a chance to see what this cold period has done. It won't be the cold that kills bees--small clusters that can't cover small patches of brood AND reach food stores will starve in place. Why clusters were that small is the real issue.

specialkayme
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Re: 2017-2018 Winter Losses?

Post by specialkayme » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:14 pm

So how did they look Jacobs?

I cracked my hives last weekend, and so far I haven't lost a colony. Still a long way to go till spring though :)

Jacobs
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Re: 2017-2018 Winter Losses?

Post by Jacobs » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:13 am

I don't have a complete count, but my losses will be significantly higher than in the last few years. I hoped to get away with over wintering with smaller clusters than I had the last several years. That gamble did not pay off. I had done mite treatments in late August/early September, determined hives were queen right after treatment and hoped for the best. Hives that I had been feeding sugar water in August to get comb drawn also had lots of bees and still have decent clusters. I'm going to see about feeding more this year after the flow to stimulate brood rearing and be more aggressive about combining if queens fail to perform after being given "nectar" ongoing. I'll also give thoughts to raising some queens in late June/early July, and requeening hives.

I did lose 1 hive to starvation. It had a decent population of bees. I had given it a shim and sugar blocks as emergency feed. When I examined the hive, every bit of honey and nectar was gone from the comb, and the bees were clustered under the sugar blocks. I am thinking that the bees could not get adequate water during the first week of this year when it stayed below freezing the whole time and were unable to make use of the sugar bricks in any significant way.

specialkayme
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Re: 2017-2018 Winter Losses?

Post by specialkayme » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:50 pm

Did you take mite counts after your late August/early September treatments?

Jacobs
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Re: 2017-2018 Winter Losses?

Post by Jacobs » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:39 pm

No. That will be part of my more aggressive mite monitoring this coming year. The lower temperatures in late August/early September let me complete treatments earlier than usual--perhaps too early. I expect the MAQS was initially effective, but there was more time for a mite build up after treatments.

specialkayme
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Re: 2017-2018 Winter Losses?

Post by specialkayme » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:23 pm

Perhaps. I've usually found colonies that have very small clusters this time of year and die as a result were the culprit of large mite counts.

But I requeen frequently, so I don't see fall/early spring queen failures anymore. It may bias my views.

royl
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Re: 2017-2018 Winter Losses?

Post by royl » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:06 am

I checked my two hives on 2/15 and both made it. 1 hive in particular is booming with bees and now I'm on swarm watch. I did notice a strong population of hive beetles in the second hive. It's concerning so I am going to take action by reducing the amount of space and trying the cd case with boric acid (there are many youtube videos of it, including one by Fat Bee Man and also found here...http://beehivejournal.blogspot.com/2009 ... -trap.html)

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