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Waiting for bees

17 Apr Beehive Stands

Received word that my new nucleus colony (nuc) with an Italian queen should be ready for pick up in 2 weeks – I can’t wait!  My first package bees with an Italian queen were the sweetest in nature so I’m hoping for the same.   I spent time this weekend preparing a new spot for the hives and leveling the hive stands.    I used cement foundation pieces from old pillars reclaimed from the renovated front porch to create a level base for the cinder block hive stands.  This should help to keep the vegetable oil covering all parts of the tray in the screened bottom board trap I use to control small hive beetle.


Doom and Gloom

19 Jan
Frozen cluster on two frames

Frozen cluster on two frames

Returned from the American Beekeeping Federation conference in Hershey, PA and checked on my bees the following weekend in January only to discover … to my dismay  … two deadouts.  Both of my hives had only a handful of frozen dead bees.  Lots of honey left on frames, but the numbers of bees were so small they could not sustain the warmth needed in the hive to survive the winter temperatures.   How did the bees dwindle to such low numbers when I had such high numbers in the fall?  I did have more varroa mites in 2012 and saw evidence of deformed wing virus. Did the bees abscond because of mites and/or viruses?  The questions continue, but I’m hearing many beekeepers this winter are reporting similar high levels of loss this winter.

Why, is the big question?