need some advice

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Handyman, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Handyman

    Handyman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Southern Tier, NY
    Last spring we purchased two nucs and I thought they did well, but apparently I was wrong. Each hive setup was the same, I had two 10" deeps on the bottom and a medium above it. They went into winter with the middle 10" deep full of honey plus a little in the medium above it. I'm not sure what there was in the bottom 10" deep. During the summer they built comb between the frames of the two deeps so I couldn't separate the two deeps. I was concerned about doing more harm than good, so I left it alone. I think that was a mistake. I should have kept them separated and clean.

    After seeing no bees flying during a recent 70 degree warmup, I went exploring. All of the bees were in the bottom deep and dead. There was a little honey left in the outside frames, but not much. The honey in the deep above it is untouched.

    I assume they died during a cold spell, before they could move up?

    My next question has to do with cleaning up the hive in preparation for the packages of bees I have coming in May. They are easier for me to source, that's why I went the package route this year. The middle deep is full of honey. Should I move some of it down to the lower deep for the new bees to eat while getting established? How many frames? Do I leave the remaining frames of honey or do I harvest it?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. ed/La

    ed/La Well-Known Member

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    If the bottom deep was full of honey in fall the queen had nowhere to lay eggs, called honey bound. You do not want your brood box full of honey. Possible they went into winter with low numbers of young bees. Not enough fall build up of bees. Some died naturally of old age. The rest died of cold. What ever you do with your honey protect it from robber bees or bugs. If you have a lot of honey I would harvest some. By May I would guess there is nectar available. A frame or 2 of honey would be my guess to get them started. I am in the south so northern bee keepers would know more about your situation. Good luck
     

  3. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    How big of cluster were the dead bees in, how many frames were covered?

    Yes by may there should be a good dandelion flow on so I would harvest most of the honey and use it in the home if there was not treatment given to the bees.

    I gathered you had 2 deep hive bodies and a medium in the stack?

    :D Al
     
  4. Handyman

    Handyman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Southern Tier, NY
    Yes, the stack consisted of 2 deep bodies and a medium.

    The cluster was only on one side of one frame. There were very few bees. Also, on the floor there are not as many dead bees as I would have expected.

    There is still some honey in the bottom deep.
     
  5. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    Sounds like you went into winter with a weak hive. The cluster should have been on 4 or 5 plus frames both sides.
    Have no way of knowing why such a small cluster to start winter. Could have been a failing queen stopped laying, could have been a drought so no nectar or pollen coming in so she stopped laying, could have been the hives were honey bound and she had no place to lay.
    What ever the reason the hive/cluster was weak and froze to death since there was plenty of honey above the cluster they could have gotten too.

    :D Al
     
  6. Handyman

    Handyman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I realize that it's impossible for you to say exactly what happened. I appreciate you thoughts.