big kill this winter

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by MELOC, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

    Messages:
    7,220
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    i was talking with a local "bee dude" and he said that the winter kill was terrible this year in south central pa. he reported that he and three other local producers lost about 80% of their hives. i am unsure what happened but it was not normal winter-kill. penn state folks cme by and checked his place. i do not think they are sure what caused it but that it was either mites or disease. has anyone else had this poor of luck this year? i am having second thoughts about investing money in bees this year.
     
  2. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,002
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    East central WI
    Got 5 out of 8 through this year, one might hang it up yet though. Two out of the three lost had AFB. One of the strong ones went most of the winter with no outer cover.
     

  3. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,804
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Location:
    Michigan
    :mad: I know bee keepers here who suffered 80% losses and some 50%. The major losses here were due to plain and simple miss managenent. We had a drought with no nector coming into the hives from mid June to early Sept. Then in Sept the golden rod Flow only lasted about a week max. Many of the 80% people had bees starve to death since they took honey off at the end of Sept. The 50% People did notice the no flow and left enough mostly but didn't do any thing about the mites.
    the avarage here seems to be in the 25% range and that due to the (1. mites (2. the warm January. 4 of my colonies were lost when the queens had brood in the bottom box and they just plain would not go to the top box for food and leave the brood.
    The Mites are going to be a major problem for a long long time. You have to be willing to treat your colonies with some thing. And follow the label of the product you use.
    :D Al
     
  4. beaglady

    beaglady Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,224
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Well, I'm in central PA & only had a 20% loss. (1 of 5) We had a small fall flow, but very little during last summer. I let the bees keep ALL the honey last year, and fed them besides.

    I checked them yesterday, and the queens are laying. I also pulled the white plastic sheets from my screen boards, so the bottoms are fully open again. After work, I'll buy a magnifying glass, but to the naked eye, there are hardly any dead mites on the board. The state inspector had visited me last fall and did sugar roll mite counts. Mine were exceptionally low, so it does look like the small cell foundation I use is helping to control the mites. So far, so good.

    Meloc, are you going to the Capital Area beekeepers class the end of April?
     
  5. orangehen

    orangehen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    290
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    NW Illlinois
    My best hive died, tons of honey left, no mites, but I think I know what happened - someone at our bee meeting suggested that they wouldn't leave brood to go up in search of honey, and when I took the boxes apart today, sure enough; brood in the bottom box. Maybe because it was a package from, I think, California, for some reason the queen just kept laying too far into fall, and the cold snap in December starved them because they wouldn't leave the brood to go to the plentiful honey. Any ideas?
     
  6. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

    Messages:
    7,220
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    i had not heard of that one. there is one going on here close to waynesboro. the guy who lost most of his bees told me of it. i do not think it is until may though.

    what are the details of the capital area seminar?
     
  7. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,804
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Location:
    Michigan
    Personaly I think the leaving the brood statement is correct. I had that same thing with 4 colonies I lost when I checked. BUT they were all alive on January 28 a day of 50F here. All January was above normal temps here so I think the queen laid then, not latter in the fall as you believe.
    I also believe that since January was so warm and damp here that the hives were extra full of moisture when the temps fell again in Febuary. I believe my moisture vents were not big enough and WILL have bigger ones for next winter. Globeal warming?

    :D Al
     
  8. orangehen

    orangehen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    290
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    NW Illlinois
    That could be, Al, mine were dead by January, unfortunately. Bonnie
     
  9. beaglady

    beaglady Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,224
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Its a 2 day session. Saturday April 29, at the Dauphin Co. Ag offices in Dauphin, all day classroom session with speakers from Penn State & the state Dept. of Ag. Saturday May 6, at the Milton Hershey school apiary, where you will get into hives. Its pretty inexpensive, maybe $10. I'll pm you the contact guy's phone number.
     
  10. wooly1s

    wooly1s Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    403
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2006
    Location:
    North Idaho
    Some thing in North Idaho...crazy weather. Couldn't get Apistan on in Fall because it got too cold too quick after pulling honey. Two out of three died of mites, as far as I could tell...Last and best one hung on until January, it warmed up to 60, everybody got excited, unballed, took cleansing flights, celebrated the arrival of spring Saw some evidence of chillbrood at the front of the hive, and that night it dropped to 13. The end. Lots of beekeepers in our area are experiencing greater that usual losses...ever the optimist though. Too fascinated to quit. We'll pour some more money into it, start with three fresh packages and hope for the best. Can't be a beekeeper without some bees!