Damp wet ewwwwy hive

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Kali

New Bee
Joined
Mar 10, 2023
Messages
23
Reaction score
4
Location
Ormskirk
Number of Hives
20
Oh dear what a start I've had this year , before I post and explain my situation on my first check on one of my hives let me just say that I have concluded that I've fed My bees far to much during the last autumn and I'm 70% sure that this is the cause of a terrible start to the season.
BUT some of you more experienced beeks may have questions that could help me identify otherwise ..please do ask
So the Weekend just gone temperature hit bang on 16 degrees so I took the opportunity to check two of my hives , one of them a double brood.
1st the double brood ... went rite through winter with what I assumed was no issues when checking this weekend here's what I find .... bottom box rammed with honey every single frame in that box was stores , it was wet with moisture it had slugs crawling all over the frames.
Upper box again lots of stores except for 3 frames of comb which was a mix of larva , eggs , pollen and even honey .... those 3 frames all larva dead ... extremely wet , pollen mouldy , eggs mouldy ... just sopping wet through absolutely gross !!! Belive it or not there was a small colony of bees still going strong and also queen rite 🙌.... ...
2nd hive was a late split from last year and a queen purchased from a reputable company , this one ....4 frames untouched foundation....the rest a mix of honey and pollen.... no larva no eggs no cells of brood..... I'm thinking she's a virgin 🤔 my head is ticking .... not allot of moisture In this one and again a handful of bees and a queen ....
This hive was pulled down and they are now in a 6 frame nuc ....
The other double deep I have swapped all equipment and frames and added some fresh foundation some drawn , and left this colony in a single brood box ...
BUT .... I'm now questioning myself ... I'm thinking they should be both in a 6 frame nuc ... I've got my fingers crossed.... we've got cold spell coming next few weeks so THIS TIME I've added a spacer and filled it with meadow hay ( has any one else ever done this ) before adding the roof back on ...

Questions please 🙏 🙂....

I don't do sarcasm btw
 

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How can she be a virgin I ask myself .... surly the winter bees would be dead of thats the case the whole colony will be dead
 
How can she be a virgin I ask myself .... surly the winter bees would be dead of thats the case the whole colony will be dead
she's not - but regardless, she is now a dud so that colony is doomed.
Firstly I can't understand how the small colony in the DB managed to occupy the top box whilst the whole of the bottom box was packed with stores.
For a start, neither of those colonies needs a double brood at the moment. Scrape together as much drawn usable empty comb as you can from both colonies, make up a brood box with the bees and queen from the (possibly) viable colony. Kill the dud queen from the other and unite both.
Go back in a week or so and check whether that queen which you 'think' is fine and see if there are fresh eggs/brood
I also can't understand how the first colony got soaking wet - Only a guess but you need to check the roof for leaks.
Personally, from what you have described I would assume the worst and hope (against all odds) for the best
 
Yeah I'm hearing you !!! They went into winter double deep it was a massive colony.... I think your advise is sound and I'll do exactly what you've said .... I've already done half of that just need to add the bees to it and kill the dud !!! ..

Cheers 🍻....

I feel sad killing even 1 bee 🐝
 
I've fed My bees far to much during the last autumn and I'm 70% sure that this is the cause
No that is not the reason.
Do you have photos of the last brood area?
What treatment for varroa did you use late last summer or winter?

I'm thinking they should be both in a 6 frame nuc
Unite the Q- lot to the Q+ one using newspaper, as JBM suggested. Queens fail for a variety of reasons, none of which can be discovered now, so put it down to chance.

A weak colony will never draw foundation, so after the unite has taken place and you put 11 frames into the one BB, make sure to give them 11 of the best combs and stores.
 
Oh dear what a start I've had this year , before I post and explain my situation on my first check on one of my hives let me just say that I have concluded that I've fed My bees far to much during the last autumn and I'm 70% sure that this is the cause of a terrible start to the season.
BUT some of you more experienced beeks may have questions that could help me identify otherwise ..please do ask
So the Weekend just gone temperature hit bang on 16 degrees so I took the opportunity to check two of my hives , one of them a double brood.
1st the double brood ... went rite through winter with what I assumed was no issues when checking this weekend here's what I find .... bottom box rammed with honey every single frame in that box was stores , it was wet with moisture it had slugs crawling all over the frames.
Upper box again lots of stores except for 3 frames of comb which was a mix of larva , eggs , pollen and even honey .... those 3 frames all larva dead ... extremely wet , pollen mouldy , eggs mouldy ... just sopping wet through absolutely gross !!! Belive it or not there was a small colony of bees still going strong and also queen rite 🙌.... ...
2nd hive was a late split from last year and a queen purchased from a reputable company , this one ....4 frames untouched foundation....the rest a mix of honey and pollen.... no larva no eggs no cells of brood..... I'm thinking she's a virgin 🤔 my head is ticking .... not allot of moisture In this one and again a handful of bees and a queen ....
This hive was pulled down and they are now in a 6 frame nuc ....
The other double deep I have swapped all equipment and frames and added some fresh foundation some drawn , and left this colony in a single brood box ...
BUT .... I'm now questioning myself ... I'm thinking they should be both in a 6 frame nuc ... I've got my fingers crossed.... we've got cold spell coming next few weeks so THIS TIME I've added a spacer and filled it with meadow hay ( has any one else ever done this ) before adding the roof back on ...

Questions please 🙏 🙂....

I don't do sarcasm btw
I am pretty sure that the waterlogged hive is the biggest contributor to the sad state of affairs. The old adage that damp kills bees not the cold comes to the fore but if you have damp then cold as this year has been, it really is a hard thing for the hive to withstand. What type of hive do you have. Certainly check the roof - I now use pond liner as the top corproof ver. It's cheap and really tough stuff and certainly waterproof. After years of roofing felt on roofs I have abandoned that for the pond liner. High and cold temperatures split roofing felt in time but pond liner is OK. Covered the whole of the bee shed roof as it sprung a leak and it sorted it straight away.
 
The OP's final comment about adding a spacer and hay makes me think there was no top insulation over winter. Better late than never and better insulation than hay
 
The old adage that damp kills bees not the cold comes to the fore
I prefer to disregard that 'adage' especially seeing where the mantra usually comes from.
There's a big difference between damp and wet. I have two sites which many who chant that mantra would describe as damper than desirable, the bees thrive in both.
 
I prefer to disregard that 'adage' especially seeing where the mantra usually comes from.
There's a big difference between damp and wet. I have two sites which many who chant that mantra would describe as damper than desirable, the bees thrive in both.
I am not one of the ventilation brigade to reduce damp. It is not damp in the environment but damp in the hive that is key. Rather I am an insulator so that the hives remain warm so - poly hives and poly slab in the roof. Open mesh floor too. I was mentored by Bernard Mobus the bee advisor in Aberdeenshire and his advice always seemed sound and based on his observations. In 46 years of beekeeping in two different locations with starkly different weather conditions I have only lost 2 colonies - one unexplained and the other to a queen which went off lay. I think POLYHIVE on the forum may agree.
 
I have one colony that I forgot to add insulation, which is extremely strong. The crown board is falling apart and holes everywhere on it and damp coming through from the brood box. Job for this season, replace crownboard and add insulation.
 
The OP's final comment about adding a spacer and hay makes me think there was no top insulation over winter. Better late than never and better insulation than hay
The hive was full insulated as previously stated, including the roof .... hay has been a fantastic insulation material since the days off monks and will continue to be ... insulation is insulation... let's not get into the chemistry and physics behind building regs .. at the end of the day its a wooden structure sat out in the open ... it got wet through the side walls ... the timber has fractured ..
 
I am pretty sure that the waterlogged hive is the biggest contributor to the sad state of affairs. The old adage that damp kills bees not the cold comes to the fore but if you have damp then cold as this year has been, it really is a hard thing for the hive to withstand. What type of hive do you have. Certainly check the roof - I now use pond liner as the top corproof ver. It's cheap and really tough stuff and certainly waterproof. After years of roofing felt on roofs I have abandoned that for the pond liner. High and cold temperatures split roofing felt in time but pond liner is OK. Covered the whole of the bee shed roof as it sprung a leak and it sorted it straight away.
Yeah I've got some pond liner ill give it a try coming season
 
at the end of the day its a wooden structure sat out in the open ... it got wet through the side walls
I have hives out in the open all year round - in fields, on the mountain, under trees in an area that resembles a marsh all winter. None of them get damp at all - let alone sopping wet. You need to find out where the water ingress is and sort it.
Hay is the worse material I can think of if water gets to it, it just absorbs it and acts like a mauldy resevoir.reservoir
 
she's not - but regardless, she is now a dud so that colony is doomed.
Firstly I can't understand how the small colony in the DB managed to occupy the top box whilst the whole of the bottom box was packed with stores.
For a start, neither of those colonies needs a double brood at the moment. Scrape together as much drawn usable empty comb as you can from both colonies, make up a brood box with the bees and queen from the (possibly) viable colony. Kill the dud queen from the other and unite both.
Go back in a week or so and check whether that queen which you 'think' is fine and see if there are fresh eggs/brood
I also can't understand how the first colony got soaking wet - Only a guess but you need to check the roof for leaks.
Personally, from what you have described I would assume the worst and hope (against all odds) for the best
i had one hive which was sodden and not nice and it was fermenting honey pouring out of the cappings....assuming it was stored so fast in the main flow that it didnt get water content reduced sufficiently...stored and capped too fast....but now....was a frothing pile of smelly frames
 
They were and still are mite free ... already said that
 
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