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Joined
Sep 13, 2011
Messages
957
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Location
Somerset
Hive Type
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Number of Hives
7
Given all the wet weather we have had this winter I decided to have a look at the bee diary from my apiary over the past four or five seasons. Last year 2023 we had a great honey harvest/flow in the spring but this was in May, not April and I had written that the weather had been cold - 13/14C Not dissimilar to this and earlier years. Hive size regarding brood frames seem about the same too when I did my first inspection last Friday. The survival rate was 7 out of 8 with the loss being a queen which was present in a nuc but no brood to be seen although quite a lot of bees and so was united to another colony. The year before was the same so I feel that I am certainly confusing the damp with my feeling that we should be further ahead than other years due to mild but it isn't the case really. Just not so much in the way of early inspections because it has been so wet. I was at a branch apiary meeting yesterday and losses in general seemed to be high - some instances in unexplained "absconding" losses where there were no bees dead or alive in the empty hive and that is a puzzle which has also been reported here but no figure actually put on these. Comments?
 
unexplained "absconding" losses where there were no bees dead or alive in the empty hive and that is a puzzle which has also been reported here but no figure actually put on these. Comments?
not 'absconding' but bog standard winter dwindle - could be a variety of reasons, not going in to winter strong enough, poor feeding, poorly mated queen, ineffective autumn varroa treatment ..... or just poor management. People always scrabble to find some exotic excuse for mortalities instead of looking at the facts and trying to work out what went wrong at the end of the previous season. Seems to be endemic in that area too for some reason. I have my thoughts on it.
 
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Given all the wet weather we have had this winter I decided to have a look at the bee diary from my apiary over the past four or five seasons. Last year 2023 we had a great honey harvest/flow in the spring but this was in May, not April and I had written that the weather had been cold - 13/14C Not dissimilar to this and earlier years. Hive size regarding brood frames seem about the same too when I did my first inspection last Friday. The survival rate was 7 out of 8 with the loss being a queen which was present in a nuc but no brood to be seen although quite a lot of bees and so was united to another colony. The year before was the same so I feel that I am certainly confusing the damp with my feeling that we should be further ahead than other years due to mild but it isn't the case really. Just not so much in the way of early inspections because it has been so wet. I was at a branch apiary meeting yesterday and losses in general seemed to be high - some instances in unexplained "absconding" losses where there were no bees dead or alive in the empty hive and that is a puzzle which has also been reported here but no figure actually put on these. Comments?
It’s strange, but my colonies are well ahead of prior years. I too have read back issues of notes to compare things. The boxes this year are full of everything - both boxes, (as on, poly, double brood), including mature drones. As you stated, last year it was May that things went into overdrive, this year it seems to be the case now. I really don’t want another swarmy year!
 
It’s strange, but my colonies are well ahead of prior years. I too have read back issues of notes to compare things. The boxes this year are full of everything - both boxes, (as on, poly, double brood), including mature drones. As you stated, last year it was May that things went into overdrive, this year it seems to be the case now. I really don’t want another swarmy year!
ost of the losses reported at the meeting yesterday (and from a few friends who were not there) were in wooden hives. Like your colonies Poot I am a poly hive man and from year to year don't seem to have problems that others report. Just remembered pride comes before a fall so will shut myself up now ............................. ..................
 
My bees are in cedar hives and doing very nicely, I certainly wouldn't draw any conclusion about box type and losses, especially when we've not had a proper Winter, again. I've never had to remove so many unused stores frames, double broods have been flipped and supers are on. April seems to be the new March with regards to poor weather but the bees, as always, are merrily getting on with it and the colonies are building up fast.
 
ost of the losses reported at the meeting yesterday (and from a few friends who were not there) were in wooden hives. Like your colonies Poot I am a poly hive man and from year to year don't seem to have problems that others report. Just remembered pride comes before a fall so will shut myself up now ............................. ..................
In the April Honeycraft issue, reports from both of my nearest associations state there have been many losses from members. The D&W association have polled members who have losses, with a few questions about how they keep their bees, to see if any conclusions can be drawn. They have received similar reports of empty hives. A bit odd in my opinion.
 
Richard Ball (an ex-Regional Bee Inspector) at the Dorset County AGM on 16th March, proffered a theory as to the empty-hive syndrome. He remembers Norman Carreck, from the University of Sussex, carrying out some experiments some years ago. Norman found a situation where he saw bees just slowly march out of the hive in a group and disappear into the grass. He called it ‘Slow paralysis’ and speculated that it resulted from one of the many viruses that can affect bees. Unfortunately, it seems no further research has followed up this particular line.
 
One of the symptoms of Nosema Ceranae is and empty hive. Foragers actually forget 'the way home' so fly off in the morning and never come back, just die out in the fields. over time, the colony gets smaller and smaller until the last bee drifts away. I thinks it's seldom the situation that the hive ends up totally devoid of bees (dead or alive) but rather a sunconcious need to label it a 'mystery' or some strange phenomena.
 
One of the symptoms of Nosema Ceranae is and empty hive. Foragers actually forget 'the way home' so fly off in the morning and never come back, just die out in the fields. over time, the colony gets smaller and smaller until the last bee drifts away. I thinks it's seldom the situation that the hive ends up totally devoid of bees (dead or alive) but rather a sunconcious need to label it a 'mystery' or some strange phenomena.

Maybe there was a shift in the energy lines?

James
 
ost of the losses reported at the meeting yesterday (and from a few friends who were not there) were in wooden hives.
maybe not attributable to the type of hive, but the type of person who runs wooden hives in that area.
 
some instances in unexplained "absconding" losses where there were no bees dead or alive in the empty hive
I've seen bees absconding in mid-March-ish. I was gardening near the hives when I heard a swarm sound. A very small cluster of bees formed on my skimmia which was in full flower at the time (and a favourite of the bees). Probably little more than half a mug of bees. At the centre was a queen.

They'd come out of a 3 box Warre hive. Top two boxes were stuffed with honey (much of it crystallised ivy). The bottom box had a tiny bit of brood showing the classic signs of varroosis.
 
maybe not attributable to the type of hive, but the type of person who runs wooden hives in that area.
That’s a really interesting comment. What “type of people” do you think they might be?
 

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