Wintering bees, how many dead?

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

kazmcc 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Messages
3,149
Reaction score
3
Location
Longsight, Manchester, UK
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
None, although I have my eye on one ( Just don't tell Dusty ;) )
I went to check the girls after getting advice here. I thought I'd check the mouse guard, see if a build up of bees were behind it. I took the board away that is leaning against the front, and noticed two dead bees, one stuck to the landing strip, the other to the board against the hive. There were a handful of old dead bees on the ground just underneath the landing board, where the leaning board had sheltered. No blocking of dead bees at all. No sound either. The weather here has been down to -10 some nights and is very icy. Does this sound ok to you experienced beeks?
 

iball 

House Bee
Joined
Apr 6, 2010
Messages
338
Reaction score
0
Location
Mossley, Lancs.
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
6
Similar figures to my 2 hives Kaz. The way I look at it is, if there's a problem there's nothing I can do so just let them get on with it. I'll heft mine at the end of the month when I give them their OA treatment. So not long to wait and see what's going on.

If I learn nothing else with beekeeping it will be patience.

Ian
 

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,836
Reaction score
243
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
If it was dead there would be no sound; If the colony is still alive (and there is no reason to think otherwise), it may be very quiet.

The two dead bees probably means they were stupid enough to go out and couldn't get back before chilling to death.

So don't worry. No point, it wont help.

If on OMF (or even a solid floor) a strip of thin card under (or in) will soon have cappings in a line across it as the bees uncap honey. I would not bother to do this with a solid floor if a mouse guard needs to be messed around with. Just not worth disturbing the bees.

Quietly removing the roof and feeling for a warm coverboard may indicate all is well, but again, it is, or can be, further disturbance which they can do without.

Regards, RAB
 

drstitson 

Queen Bee
Joined
Aug 4, 2010
Messages
7,658
Reaction score
0
Location
surrey, lincolnshire etc.
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
14
dead bees

remember - the colony expects to lose a good few thousand bees between end of autumn and end of winter - assuming you are talking 100 days then that is anything from 10-50 per day.

"Quietly removing the roof and feeling for a warm coverboard may indicate all is well, but again, it is, or can be, further disturbance which they can do without."

remembering that we are not looking for summer-autumn 35+ degree warmth, just warmer than outside - my hives have been reading 10.2 degrees just below the crownboard for last week or two.
 

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,836
Reaction score
243
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
that is anything from 10-50 per day

Remember also that is an average. One would hope the peak rate will be in the springtime, as the old bees are being replaced by new brooding. I would not expect to find even a hundred dead in the hive at this time of the year over a ten day period (500 would be more than a serious cause of concern!!), where the bees have been tightly clustered and certainly have not been flying, due to these very low temperatures (average temperature has triggered my fuel allowance of an extra twenty five quid).

Conditions of snow with bright sunshine can change that.

Remember the best position and format for a bait hive in the swarming season? Two metres (or more) above the ground, small entrance and a solid floor. Normally that would still be the situation for them now, if us beeks hadn't gone along and moved them!

Regards, RAB
 

Cazza 

Queen Bee
Joined
Feb 28, 2010
Messages
2,523
Reaction score
13
Location
Suffolk/Norfolk border
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
5 ish
So don't worry. No point, it wont help.

Regards, RAB
Easy to write, hard to do!
Actually, I don't worry these days but when you first start and especially over your first winter it is hard not to worry.

Having said I don't worry, I mean about my beebs overwintering. I spent a night unable to sleep thinking about SHB after watching that revolting larvae clip. No matter how hard I tried I kept thinking about it and it isn't even here yet!

Kaz, I'm sure your bees are fine.
Cazza
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,652
Reaction score
6
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
I rapped on a strong colony that was/is showing no signs of life and heard nothing at all. However the temperature was a good -5 or possibly even more.

I have no reason to believe that they have turned in their wings as it were so possibly next week I will check them in warmer weather.

However there is just no point if fretting, if they are dead they are dead and if they are alive it's a bonus.

PH
 

Juststarting 

House Bee
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
293
Reaction score
0
Location
North Derbyshire
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4 hives, 1 nuc
Unfortunately my bees don't seem to have faired too well in the snow. Despite completely shading entrance and reducing glare on underneath of hive I've lost a couple of hundred bees that have either tried to fly in freezing conditions or died in hive at entrance or on OMF.:(:(

They were a strong colony and are uncapping stores (wax debris underneath hive). Hive still hefts heavy and can hear bees and see some moving around bottom of frames by looking up from underneath hive.

Temperatures have been below - 11oC overnight and very bright and cold in daytime not above -4oC yesterday.

So keeping fingers cross all is ok.

Other than learning patience I assume there is nothing more I should/can do to help them. :svengo: Please advise if I missed something.

For info they're in a poly hive and on a hive stand that has a broad skirt to reduce drafts below hive.
 

Dishmop 

Queen Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
May 29, 2010
Messages
6,214
Reaction score
0
Location
Norwich
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
3 National Hives & 1 Observation Hive.(Indoors) & lots of empty boxes..
One of my hives occupants seem to have some kind of death wish.

Extreme flying perhaps. Saw a couple flying out yesterday....

A few dead at the entrance and on the floor every day. Now the snow has cleared I can also see dead ones on the roof.....They were still kicking drones out up until when the snow arrived.

Other hive seems very quiet but answered me when I tapped on the door.. Very few dead compared with the loonies...
 

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,836
Reaction score
243
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
They were still kicking drones out up until when the snow arrived.

I have seen a drone outside one of my nuc colonies since the snow. May be short of a queen, a drone-laying queen, or nothing to worry about.

Whichever it is, I am not in control of the elements and can do nothing even if there is a problem. So no point in worrying; wait for good weather before investigating, and have a plan if there is a problem.

I started with 4 colonies, so was never a 'newbee' with only one. Still needed to sit on my hands and let them get on with it. I knew that I could get over an isolated problem in spring, so no real worries. Only one colony is different; most times they will be OK if dry, well stocked in the autumn, and healthy going into winter. Pre-varroa, the 75% of feral colonies which did not survive their first winter were mostly either too weak in numbers or insufficiently stocked with stores, I have read somewhere.

Regards, RAB
 

Mandeville 

House Bee
Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
251
Reaction score
7
Location
SE London
Hive Type
wbc
Number of Hives
3 on 14x12
A few dead at the entrance and on the floor every day. Now the snow has cleared I can also see dead ones on the roof.....They were still kicking drones out up until when the snow arrived.
Ok - this is another silly question - but why are there dead bees on the roof?
 

Dishmop 

Queen Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
May 29, 2010
Messages
6,214
Reaction score
0
Location
Norwich
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
3 National Hives & 1 Observation Hive.(Indoors) & lots of empty boxes..
I have seen a drone outside one of my nuc colonies since the snow. May be short of a queen, a drone-laying queen, or nothing to worry about.

Whichever it is, I am not in control of the elements and can do nothing even if there is a problem. So no point in worrying; wait for good weather before investigating, and have a plan if there is a problem.
My thoughts also regarding my hive...

I bet they will put thier plan into operation before I can.....
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2010
Messages
12,512
Reaction score
27
Location
South West
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Miriads
Both my garden hive bees were out flying around the hives when the sun pushed the thermometer to over 10 deg around 1.00 pm this afternoon.

Little ladies took a 100 yard flight to deposit all over the nasty bee hateing neighbours car !!!
and to chuck out a few corpses.............
Arn't bees wonderful !!!
 

Dishmop 

Queen Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
May 29, 2010
Messages
6,214
Reaction score
0
Location
Norwich
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
3 National Hives & 1 Observation Hive.(Indoors) & lots of empty boxes..
Ok - this is another silly question - but why are there dead bees on the roof?
because the silly sods went for a flyabout and didnt make it home to the landing board......obviously didnt know that the white painted hive roof was covered in white snow
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2010
Messages
12,512
Reaction score
27
Location
South West
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Miriads
because the silly sods went for a flyabout and didnt make it home to the landing board......obviously didnt know that the white painted hive roof was covered in white snow
My garden hives are cedar red.... perhaps this gives them something to aim for

may get some flashing red leds on the landing board to guide them in????
 

Mandeville 

House Bee
Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
251
Reaction score
7
Location
SE London
Hive Type
wbc
Number of Hives
3 on 14x12
because the silly sods went for a flyabout and didnt make it home to the landing board......obviously didnt know that the white painted hive roof was covered in white snow
Right - I was wondering if the ejected drones had all crawled onto the roof to die, it seemed an unnecessary effort!
 

Dishmop 

Queen Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
May 29, 2010
Messages
6,214
Reaction score
0
Location
Norwich
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
3 National Hives & 1 Observation Hive.(Indoors) & lots of empty boxes..
Ski slope...:smilielol5::gnorsi:
 

Vergilius 

Field Bee
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Messages
952
Reaction score
6
Location
Dorset / East Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
6ish
Kaz,

An ear to the hive will settle all your worries (obviously unless they are actually dead!!!) I find it very reassuring when I hear a healthy "buzz" on a cold winter's day! Little or no flying bees for the last few weeks though... Might give them some fondant over the next few weeks but I am not too worried at the moment...


Ben P
 

Chris B 

Queen Bee
Beekeeping Sponsor
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
2,205
Reaction score
0
Location
Bromsgrove, Worcestershire
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
300
Unlike many places we've had very little snow here. Just cold.
But in last years snow it became very obvious which colonies were healthy and which weren't. The good ones had clear entrances as the warmer air inside melted back the snow.
 

Latest posts

Top