Winter losses - is this normal?

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KayJ 

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This is my first year keeping bees so I wonder if anyone can please tell me if this is normal / why do you think so many bees have died?

The weather today was up to about 8 degrees so I went to check on my bees. As expected they were removing the dead ones but there was such a difference between my two hives. Hive 2 seemed to have very few dead bees and not many bees flying. ( This is usually the much quieter hive )

Hive 1 was very busy and had lots of dead bees so I moved the mouse guard out of the way to help them. The bees were milling around in the air above the hive and it reminded me of the summer when the queen had gone out on a mating flight. The bees were being removed by the handful so hundreds must have died. Why? I can see fresh cappings on the floor under the hive.

I have left the honey in the hives for the bees this year (my nuc swarmed as soon as I got it so I had two small colonies but they built up well) and fed them as well so I think they just about had enough stores. Could they have starved? Why such losses on only one hive. They are 2 feet apart on the same stand.

I live a mile from the sea on the North Wales coast. We have had no snow to speak of but very cold and frosty, night time temperatures down to -9. The hives are on OMF on a slatted stand and wintering on brood and a half.
 

drstitson 

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every hive is different.

can expect upto 50 deaths /day over winter.

the 2 hives may be in same environment but likely to differ in many characteristics.
 

Finman 

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When it is hard frost, bees die inside the hive.
When bees are able to flye out, they go out to die

When it is warm, the cluster expand and living bees clean the dead ones off.
 

Midland Beek 

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I wouldn't try and read too much into the numbers of dead bees on the floor. The main thing is that a colony survives.

Be sure to re-fit mouseguards.
 

Heather 

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I work an out apiary where another beekeeper has 3 hives nearby ( about 8ft away). I always check his for woodpecker damage as I do the ones I care for.
Only takes an extra minute and isn't a problem.
But I am concerned that he has the original entrance block in - giving about 3" of access and this is blocked off with fine mesh... The bees have no exit except 2cms at one edge, - --Do I shut up and hope they dont get blocked... not my hives so I cannot take any action of course- but I hate to see livestock at risk...
What would YOU do???
 

Heather 

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He is the elderly bee keeper who used to look after the apiary - -and they have NO feed on - just syrup given in September-insulation is a flat black bin bag - its hopeless- but the bees shouldn't suffer .( OK I admit- I peeked- but not below the crown board)
I will try- but will prob be told by long standing members that 'you dont interfere with anyone else's colony'. A bit tricky when I still feel a bit of a new girl in this field...

Maybe I could offer him some spare mouseguards I just happen to have to hand!
 

KayJ 

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Many thanks to those who have replied to me. I'll try not to worry about my dead bees, though I do take it personally when one dies!! My bees have been really flying well but from reading the other posts it sounds as though this is a good sign. Thanks again to all.
 

MuswellMetro 

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He is the elderly bee keeper who used to look after the apiary - -and they have NO feed on - just syrup given in September-insulation is a flat black bin bag - its hopeless- but the bees shouldn't suffer .( OK I admit- I peeked- but not below the crown board)
I will try- but will prob be told by long standing members that 'you dont interfere with anyone else's colony'. A bit tricky when I still feel a bit of a new girl in this field...

Maybe I could offer him some spare mouseguards I just happen to have to hand!

yep, i got the same problem,

i tell the beginners to open the OMF and insulated above the crown and the old beek closes his omf and use a match stick under the crown,

i say either keep the block in ,no mouse guard or remove the block and put on a mouse guard, the O Bs leaves the block in and puts on a mouse guards,

i say dont clear the snow from the landing board due to polarised light, the OB goes and helpfully clears all the snow off ALL our landing boards to improved ventilation even though all on open omf

i say use lactic or oxalic, the O B never uses winter treatmnet and only uses thymol

i say only use fondant in winter, he feeds a 1lb jar of 1:1 syrup every week after christmas

BUT i get third place for my honey and he wins all the honey prizes and cups


my answer do not intervene but perhaps ask why he does it differently
 

keith pierce 

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[, i got the same problem,

i tell the beginners to open the OMF and insulated above the crown and the old beek closes his omf and use a match stick under the crown,

i say either keep the block in ,no mouse guard or remove the block and put on a mouse guard, the O Bs leaves the block in and puts on a mouse guards,

i say dont clear the snow from the landing board due to polarised light, the OB goes and helpfully clears all the snow off ALL our landing boards to improved ventilation even though all on open omf

i say use lactic or oxalic, the O B never uses winter treatmnet and only uses thymol

i say only use fondant in winter, he feeds a 1lb jar of 1:1 syrup every week after christmas

BUT i get third place for my honey and he wins all the honey prizes and cups


my answer do not intervene but perhaps ask why he does it differently[/QUOTE]

Brillant answer..that what i love about beekeeping is that we all tweek our beekeeping a little different.

I remember a good few years ago, a fellow beekeepr standing in my apairy and pontifacating to me about how i should treat my bees and over winter them.
He had lost 5 lost out 7 colonies coming out of the winter and i had only lost 2 out of 50.
I still scratch my head over that one.
 
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