Lost a Hive at Home

The weather this week dipped down below 30*F at night, which reminded me it's time to take the hive top feeders off the hives at home.

They've been on there empty for over a month and I've been too busy (lazy) lately to take them off.

I took the lid off the first hive and it had 9 frames covered with bees in the top box. I peeked at the bottom box and found another 9 frames covered with bees. This hive is plenty strong and I have confidence it will overwinter just fine.

Then I opened the other hive and found that it was empty. Completely empty. Except for 5 worker bees and the queen, frozen in place.

This hive was plenty strong just a few weeks ago with plenty of brood in all stages, bees covering 15 frames with pollen and stores.

If they'd have shown any indication they were weak I'd have combined them, but I didn't see any. I'm not sure what caused all the bees to die/disappear and leave the queen to freeze, but I'm glad I found out now instead of in another month or two.

I put one of the deep hive bodies into storage for winter and gave the other box with plenty of extra stores of honey and pollen to my remaining hive.

They'll have plenty of food to last them the winter and in the spring when I need to split the hive to make (regain) increase in hives, I'll move the extra deep back to an empty stand as part of the split.

Comments For This Post: (4) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Robin says...
Date:   November 13, 2013, 8:02 am

Bummer.   These bees....I tell you, they just do the most unpredictable things.   I have three small hives this year and they're tucked in, but I still cross my fingers and worry about them making it through the winter.   We got no honey at all this year and it would be nice to get a bunch next year.  [And not feel like we're starting over again.....again.]

Holly says...
Date:   November 13, 2013, 2:16 pm

Sorry to read your post...I'll be posting a similar one this week on my blog.  My only hive got completely robbed out and are starving.  Did you have yellow jacket problems?

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   November 13, 2013, 3:07 pm

We did noticed lots of yellow jackets in/around the hives this summer! I thought it was just something in our region, but if you noticed it too, then it's more wide spread population boom of yellow jackets than I had thought.

Mark Martin says...
Date:   November 14, 2013, 2:40 pm

I have had yellow jackets trying to get into my hives all summer long.  Every time I would go out there would be a few trying to get in and the minute I'd take the lid off of the hive, they would try to get in.  I had a honey super that I had extracted and put back on wet about a month ago.  I finally got around to removing it and even this late in the year (as cold as it is right now) yellow jackets started coming around when I took the lid off!  I figured they were all dead and frozen by now!  No such luck  =(

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