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Nursing a colony through winter.

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tidymeup 

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I have a colony that I have just had to put into a nuc box as they lost so many bees due to acrine. They seem to be doing better nearly a week on and the walking/dying bees have stopped.

I guess this could be because the last infected bees are now dead. However they were all young bees so my winter stock will be small. Their is still a small amount of brood but not much.

Is their anything that I cam do to really nurse them through the winter? I didn't want to unite them because of the acrine and I don't have much in the way of brood from another colony to give them.

Could I bring them home and keep them in the shed with an entrance to the outside and feed them all winter ?

I am willing to spend the time just not sure if their is anything more that I can do.

Thanks for any help.
 

chycarne 

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My instinct says put them into a poly apidea, feed them but as you have frames already with food... ho hum to be honest i can only say make sure they have food are healthy now, and keep them dry and warm perhaps a tent and a plastic wrap (Plastic sheeet over a roll of loft insulation) to stop the hive soaking up water etc. I guess some will say eliminate and concentrate on the rest I wouldnt I would do all of the above... not sure moving etc would help but if cold I guess extra cover or a move into a tempeate out house (not warm you dont want them moving around too much but want them able to get food) so anything +5 or so down to +3 moving them back to site on warm days... these are things i would do... right or wrong I dont know...
 

biglongdarren 

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surely if you move them indoors to shelter them and it gets really cold ouside,when they fly to get food or water or to go to the toilet with it being that cold outside they wont be able to fly back and die?????
 

chycarne 

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exactly my point, it would involve moving them around a lot, so hard work... yes the bees go on cleaning flights, I would move them around to be in the right spot depending on the weather warm - outside (even if wet but then they would be wrapped at leats in a water proof liner held away from the sides so the wood breaths ...) freezing in shelter 3 to 5'c in shelter to keep cool but not frozen and -1 downwards outside. I would at least try. Bee numbers in a confined space seems good so perhaps make a 3 frame nuc and move them in? ... Honestly? I dont know I was offering what I would try and do in this position espeacially as Tidymeup did say they were willing to work at it...i still say I would do all of the above... so I am a softy who tries... ah well...
 
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Midland Beek 

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1/ Keep them warm. A shed sounds fine.

2/ Give them some fondant if you want to feed. Do not even bother to feed syrup.
 

tidymeup 

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I have them in a six frame polly nuc from modern beekeeping although managed to get a seventh frame in.

At the most they are covering 2 to 3 frames and the rest is pollen stores and some partly capped stores at the top of the frames and the rest is uncapped syrup.

I will get or make some fondant as they can have that all winter long. Will they need some water to use it though?

I am currently converting an old box van body for storage of equipment and I could make them quite at home in there so that they were a little warmer but not to warm.

I must definitely be to soft I try to save everything.
 

Heather 

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HTML:
I must definitely be too soft I try to save everything.
I know the feeling- if there is a glimmer of hope then help all you can.
Yes, fondant is your best bet,and if, in Spring, they are still viable then fondant with pollen impregnated is good too.
Good luck
 
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Sounds as if they are not going to starve. The main issue is whether there are enough/any winter bees. If you can see sealed brood at this time of year I susect they will be OK but the disease is a worry.

Acarine is rare these days in the UK - where did the bees come from?
 

hedgerow pete 

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try these ideas for starters.

put them in the shed as its better than being outside but leave the shed door open, what we realy want is dry and out of the wind. if you shut the door there will be to much humidity at times for them and that just causes more stress.

secondly the next issue is food.
because they are small they dont have enough turn over of new bees and there fore wax producing bees are low so they cant build new stores even if they wanted to and even if they wanted to you are not going to get any new bees to emerge for another four weeks in which time they want to be heating the hive not trying to build wax comb.

so in your situation what i would do is more the hive into the dry of the shed,

remove what ever roof you have and leave it off, just the cover board is needed

insulate the hive well , with what ever you are going to use this year, try watching the videos on it

stick a small 3 inch hole in the top of the cover board insulation and and a small hole to the cover board, we can now do one of the following, put fondant on top of the hole with a glass bowl from home over it as and when it starts to go down keep toping it up little and often is the best method at this this rather than a 5 kilo block

small upturned jam jar with a few holes in it full of syrup, two jars are easy to swap over quickly when needed

piece of wood over the hole and every other day a small trickle of warm syrup injected or poured onto the cluster

the big trick here is once the winter temps start do not try to lift the whole cover board as you only let all the hot air out and chill the brood, small hole on top is best
 

tidymeup 

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I started with this colony last year and lost a swarm from them in June. Apart from that they were isolated from my other colonies so I have no idea where they got it from.

The bloke who did the diagnosis was extremely surprised to see it and in such a bad way. And also excited as he had wanted to get some good slides.

I have added a second poly nuc brood box on top of the current brood and put a 4" thick piece of kingspan inside so it allows me to remove the lid and add fondant through a Tupperware box with a hole in it.

The bees should be able to access the fondant easily and with little to no disturbance from me.

Thanks for the help so far, it would be nice to bring them through as a viable colony and yes I do have some sealed brood and grubs still. But not a massive amount probably 1/2 a frame in total.
 

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