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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Location, Location, Location: Key for Bees in Winter


I opened my hive that has died in my backyard and was sad to find that there were many dead hive beetles along with dead bees.  The cluster was very small - about the size of a tennis ball - which makes me wonder if they went queenless into late December.

Sad to say, the cluster was on a frame where there was honey and there was honey in the frame immediately to the back of the frame with the dead bees.


















Bees simply can't generate enough energy to move when the temperature is below 50 and certainly not if the temperature is in the 30s as it was for a week in late December.  These bees had resources and couldn't move to get to them.

Even sadder is another frame where the bees who are dead are just above honey on the same frame.



















There were a lot of small hive beetles in with the bees but since there were still frames of honey in the hive, the SHB is not the cause of the hive death, but starvation and cold weather was.

I had seen bees flying from this hive in early December, but they were no longer present when I returned from the mountains after Christmas.  The queen's laying is tied to the winter solstice so she had not begun in any way.  I am thinking with the small population in the cluster and no evidence of any brood rearing that this hive was queenless going into winter.

I don't know if it's safe to give this honey to my two-box medium hive that appears to be quite happy but feels really light.  I do think the bees starved and did not die of disease, so I think that means I could give these frames of honey to the light hive, but I'm scared so I didn't do that today.  Thought I'd at least sleep on it.

2 comments:

  1. Its really sad. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

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  2. Your blog page is impressive, very well done. I had a similar experience happen with one of my hives. From what others have told me about mine, is that the queen probably died. I'm a beginner at this and that was very disapointing. Still have two hives left, hoping for more in the Spring. Have my fingers crossed. http://queenbee3074.blogspot.com/

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