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[Question] Splitting Hives to Nucs

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Paul33 

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Hi all,
I've been at this for a couple of years now and tried something last season - and I'm not sure if I caused my own downfall.

At the end of last summer I had 9 hives - all good.
I did my disease control in August (normal here)
The hives were really quite strong so I took out some frames from each, put them in a couple of nuc boxs (couple of frames with eggs, four with food, add a new queen, one frame heavy with afternoon bees)

Late october came and the final disease control took place.

The donor hives were all still strong and went into winter with lots of food.
And then came feb.

I'd lost 6 hives plus one of the nucs. 4 of the hives had what looked like a funnel of bees in the snow, the others appear to have frozen to death.
I've examined the base boards and not found any varroa and there were no visible traces of nossema (such as dissintry).

Did I try making nucs the wrong way or is there something else that I could have done?
By coincidence losses over here this winter appear to have been comparatively heavy everywhere.

Thanks in advance,
Paul.
 

ian 

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Hi Paul

Making up nuc's should not really have caused any issues, I presume you made them up with laying queens? Provided hives/splits have time to rear some good clean young bees before Winter you should not have had a problem with them.

It would also be interesting to find out what Varroa treatments you are using. Was the late October Oxalic?


Regards Ian
 
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I don't know what varroa control you would use in October. It is too early for oxalic acid and too late for thymol.

It is difficult to advise without more information. Were the queens accepted and did they start laying? Was there enough food for them?
 

Poly Hive 

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Why were the bees able to fly in snow?

In Scotland the advice was to cover the entrances to stop them from flying.

I have relations in Adlisvil by the way. :)

PH
 

Paul33 

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Hi Guys,
the treatments are as follows:

Start of august - 2 treatments (2 x 1 week) of something like thymovol
October (when there's minimal brood) - oxalic acid

That's it.
The queens were all working well, there was plenty of food.

One of the theories over here for the funnel of bees in the snow is that if the October disease control is not effective then by mid winnter the varroa in the hive is a real problem - so the bees just decide to leave (nice day out, let's go somewhere else type of thing).
This is the first year that I've suffered heavy losses and frankly is stinks!
That being said it's a good learning experience.
I'd also insulated most of the hives but it seemed to make no difference whatso ever.

Interesting idea about the reflexive light, they could have decided to come out and then found it was way too cold - I did try an experiment with a display hive in my back garden over winter (we sometimes have warm winter days where it's sunny and about 10-15 degrees - so the bees come out to fly but as soon as they land in the snow they're screwed, in 8 out 10 cases the bees couldn't get air born again and in the two cases where they did only one made it back to the hive.


Paul.
 

wilderness 

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Hi Paul & welcome,

Just so we get a bit more of an idea of your local conditions, what height are you at above sea level?
 
T

Tom Bick 

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Why were the bees able to fly in snow?

In Scotland the advice was to cover the entrances to stop them from flying.

I have relations in Adlisvil by the way. :)

PH
Hi Polly Hive was that just to cover or to block the entrance. Just that if the entrance was blocked and even if the bees had no intention of leaving the hive they will be aware that they are blocked in and that may cause stress to them.
 

Poly Hive 

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Block them in.

If they fly over snow they get disorientated and land, chill and die.

If they are planning on leaving in mid winter, and I have never heard of such an event, then a bit of added stress over being blocked in makes no odds.

PH
 

rae 

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I understood that the problem was that the reflected light from the snow makes the bees think "ooooh, sunshine", and they all come piling out - and promptly die of cold as soon as they land on the snow.

We didn't block ours in, we just leant a plank over the front of the hive so that the entrance remained dark. This seemed to work. We were caught out by one load of snow (we were away) and we lost a fair number in front of the hive before the plank went up.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Paul
you say there were no visible signs of nosema,often there are no visible signs,best to get a microscopic examination done.
 

Paul33 

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Wilderness - I'm at 500 metres.
Hivemake - I thought of that but I think it's too late now - everything that is dead has gone (something for next time........)

I know that the guys up in York (I forget the name but it's the official bee research people MAFF I think) will do the nosema analysis for 25/30 quid a throw.

I do like the idea of blocking the light from the doors though, that sounds like something I'll be trying this winter.

Paul.
 

Poly Hive 

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Bernard Mobus worked on basis that if they were blocked in with snow as the snow melted so the the shut in so it was sort of in sync?

Hence blocking them in with snow.

PH
 

wilderness 

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Wilderness - I'm at 500 metres.
Paul.
OK not too high. I was thinking if you were much higher then your "seasons" would be a lot different from UK.

I too put a plank infront of both hives whan we had snow. Only a few bees came out and died. I checked their wing morphometry ;)
 

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