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i just visted my hive early this afternoon found 5 dead bees near the entrance,is it wise to block the entrance so the bees don't venture out? i have already shaded my hive. is it normal to find dead bees at this time of year? regards
 
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Bees die all year I'm afraid, but in warm weather either 'undertaker' bees fly them away from the hive or you don't see them in the grass etc. At this time of year they are just dragged out of the hive - don't worry this is completely normal and will happen frequently...the joys of bee-keeping...
 

Vergilius 

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Your colony overwinters as about 10,000 and you're worried about 5 dead bees!?!

Don't worry.


Ben P
 
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Skyhook 

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i just visted my hive early this afternoon found 5 dead bees near the entrance,is it wise to block the entrance so the bees don't venture out? i have already shaded my hive. is it normal to find dead bees at this time of year? regards
As I understand it, a decent colony may go into winter with 10,000 bees and come out with 5,000 as part of the normal cycle. That's quite a lot of bees per day popping their tiny clogs.
 

oliver90owner 

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5000 bees lost - yes, but hopefully most of those losses will be during the first brood cycle when the bee ageing process returns to summer mode.

Bees need ventilation. Blocking the entrance will have three effects - suffocation (if done solidly (without top ventilation), any bees really needing to defaecate would have to do it in the hive - not good for nosema prevention - and thirdly increasing the dampness in the hive. All ways round, not a good idea with a solid floor and not so good with an OMF (nosema) either.

Usually, this weather (as cold as it is) any flying bes are mistakenly thinking the temperature is much higher than it actually is. The normal activity is... absolutely none!

Regards, RAB
 
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Sorry to see a couple of hundred dead in the snow today outside one of my hives, despite having a slanted board across the entrance. Tempertaure somewhere above freezing and much thawing going on.

Other hive seems thankfull totally oblivous to it all.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Just been out to my hives today given the weather window reached a balmy 3 deg c.

I removed the mouse gaurds on each hive and raked out the dead! (max 50 per hive)

There can be quite a build-up which could block the entrance.

Also gave a few of the hive a bit of my home made fondant, dont think I will make it again though. Have some pre made stuff coming next week.
 

Biddly 

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It is thawing in North Wilts too. The girls in one hive are doing a bit of housekeeping and removing the dead bees, about 100 outside one hive and a drone stuck in the mouseguard ( helped with the evacuation on him ! ) but the other hive are ' staying indoors'.
 

ditchgould 

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i just visted my hive early this afternoon found 5 dead bees near the entrance,is it wise to block the entrance so the bees don't venture out? i have already shaded my hive. is it normal to find dead bees at this time of year? regards
Because of the life span of a worker in the summer, approximately 500 die each day. Winter bees live longer, but not all are intended to go through the winter. Keep your entrances clear, so that the undertakers can throw them out. You may even have to lend a hand from time to time, as mouse guard holers are small and bees get stuck.
 
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Should of added that my corpses are some yards around the hive, flying and landing in the snow - not just the undertaker bee's work
 

MuswellMetro 

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Just been out to my hives today given the weather window reached a balmy 3 deg c.

I removed the mouse gaurds on each hive and raked out the dead! (max 50 per hive)

There can be quite a build-up which could block the entrance.

Also gave a few of the hive a bit of my home made fondant, dont think I will make it again though. Have some pre made stuff coming next week.
yep done the same 8c in london, this is the photo just before i cleared it, a few undertaker Bees trying to clear, These are italains and the only active hive, expect they still have brood, others are all in cluster
 

Gardenbees 

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I agree about them getting stuck occasionally. I've had one or two mouseguard holes obstructed by dead bees, which I cleared gently with a leaf stalk.

Last week the girls turfed out a handful of drones, most of which may have been moribund for a while. Today there was a scattering of dead workers - between 10 and 20 so not a heavy loss. Both were very large colonies with big clusters to start off with, so I expected a fair amount of loss.

5 bees is nothing to worry about...
 
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3 National Hives & 1 Observation Hive.(Indoors) & lots of empty boxes..
approximately 500 die each day
I wont have any left by the end of next week then....
 

Poly Hive 

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Just checked Manley and Cramp but no figures quoted.

Why do I have it in my mind that a decent colony will go into winter with some 25k bees and come into Spring with 12-15k of a population.

Anyone know if those figures are roughly right?

PH
 

Hivemaker. 

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Not far out for a full size hive,about 10k, but would expect some of the more prolific strains to have a bit higher maybe,so yes up to 15k
 

Poly Hive 

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I am sure in my own mind that these are the figures Bernard quoted but I am having no joy at all in finding an on line source to confirm them.

Curious.

PH
 

Hivemaker. 

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There are several on google, type in winter bee cluster about 10,000 bees.
 

Poly Hive 

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Thanks and yes here it is:

From ... cough... elsewhere...LOL

"Most mature colonies will enter the winter with 30 – 50, 000 bees. The population will dwindle to 10 – 15,000 bees by early spring (beginning of March). Brood rearing starts soon after the winter solstice – initiated by increasing day length..."

Whew: thought I was having early onset memory loss.

PH
 
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