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BEEKEEPING LEARNING CENTER => GENERAL BEEKEEPING - MAIN POSTING FORUM. => Topic started by: van from Arkansas on January 27, 2020, 03:42:43 pm

Title: Hive starvation.
Post by: van from Arkansas on January 27, 2020, 03:42:43 pm
For most beekeepers, the next two months is the time most hives are lost.  Some to starvation which is so easily preventable.

Unless a beekeeper is in an area such as Cool who is experiencing the beginning of the flow, most areas such as mine, N. Arkansas are still to cold for inspections.  Some of my queens are laying, so I cannot even pop the top for a quick look with nights still freezing.  I can make the heft test to the hive as ID named.  The heft test is simple, lift the back of the hive to determine hive weight.  May your bees be healthy.

Van

Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on January 27, 2020, 04:52:38 pm
For most beekeepers, the next two months is the time most hives are lost.  Some to starvation which is so easily preventable.

Unless a beekeeper is in an area such as Cool who is experiencing the beginning of the flow, most areas such as mine, N. Arkansas are still to cold for inspections.  Some of my queens are laying, so I cannot even pop the top for a quick look with nights still freezing.  I can make the heft test to the hive as ID named.  The heft test is simple, lift the back of the hive to determine hive weight.  May your bees be healthy.

Van

Good reminder post Mr Van .   This kind of goes along with iddees topic.   Bee Spring.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: FatherMichael on January 27, 2020, 06:12:16 pm
Thanks, Van.

This is a great forum!
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: The15thMember on January 27, 2020, 07:32:48 pm
Question:  I have a hive right now that feels very heavy when I heft it, but the bees are all clustered on the top bars.  Last time I peeked in at them, I threw a couple sugar bricks in just to be safe.  Do you think they still have honey?  Could they have gotten separated from their stores?  This is the hive I've been seeing some wax moth activity in.  Could the waxworms have ruined their stores to the point that the bees don't want to eat the honey anymore? 
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on January 27, 2020, 09:28:56 pm
Question:  I have a hive right now that feels very heavy when I heft it, but the bees are all clustered on the top bars.  Last time I peeked in at them, I threw a couple sugar bricks in just to be safe.  Do you think they still have honey?  Could they have gotten separated from their stores?  This is the hive I've been seeing some wax moth activity in.  Could the waxworms have ruined their stores to the point that the bees don't want to eat the honey anymore?

i am chiming in Member, but honestly I do not know. Hang in there, someone is sure to come along in a bit that does know.
Phillip
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Bob Wilson on January 27, 2020, 10:06:01 pm
I also get confused. For a novice like me to judge by lifting a hive is difficult. I have no idea how much the think should weigh. Give me a few more seasons and that will make sense.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: The15thMember on January 27, 2020, 11:03:12 pm
i am chiming in Member, but honestly I do not know. Hang in there, someone is sure to come along in a bit that does know.
Phillip
I'm not overly concerned about it.  This hive is really strong, and very full of bees, and like I said, I put some sugar in, just to be safe, but I was just curious.  Maybe I'm totally misreading it, and they are just on the top bars because the cluster moved up and the hive is really full of bees.  I don't know.  What I was really looking for is, what's the likelihood that they are separated from their stores?  But that's probably an impossible question to answer. 

I also get confused. For a novice like me to judge by lifting a hive is difficult. I have no idea how much the think should weigh. Give me a few more seasons and that will make sense.
Bob, it's tough with just one hive because you don't have anything to compare it to, but something to remember is that just bees and empty comb don't weigh much, so if you can lift the hive easily with like 2 fingers, they are probably light, whereas if the hive is noticeable heavy, they probably have stores.  That's what I've found anyway, but I'm pretty weak, so my "heavy" and your "heavy" may be different things.           
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: jvalentour on January 28, 2020, 12:29:55 am
15,
I routinely mountain camp my bees.
I do not live next to my hives and frequently don't inspect them for long periods of time. 
I have found that once bees go up to the sugar they do not go back down. 
If bees are on the sugar on the top of the hive you should replenish the sugar from time to time regardless of the weight.
I open my hives in the winter one the warmest days I can, sometimes in the 30's.  Sugar is quickly placed and top closed.  Warmer days not so fast.  By the way, they will sting you in January.
I put eyes on the sugar monthly thru March. 
Enjoy your bees.
J
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Acebird on January 28, 2020, 08:54:10 am
Hefting the hive and mountain camp doesn't always save the day.  Unfortunately nature cannot be controlled.  Bees are serious gamblers.  They raise brood long before nectar is available and long before flying weather.  If weather doesn't cooperate no amount of human intervention will save the day.  It is always a juggling match as to whether intervention helps or hurts and much like everything else it depends on the weather.
The goal of a beekeeper is to prepare the hive in fall for the winter dearth and take what comes.  I know, a bit of a guessing game.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Acebird on January 28, 2020, 08:58:00 am
I open my hives in the winter one the warmest days I can, sometimes in the 30's.  Sugar is quickly placed and top closed.

IMO this is the worst thing you can do.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Bob Wilson on January 28, 2020, 09:53:04 am
Well, at least I left them every bit of honey from their first year. If they fail, it wasn't because I took anything from them. With things beginning to bloom, however, I think I'll be alright.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: chux on January 28, 2020, 10:33:12 am
I open my hives in the winter one the warmest days I can, sometimes in the 30's.  Sugar is quickly placed and top closed.

IMO this is the worst thing you can do.

IMO, if I have a hive that seems too light, and I am concerned that they may run out of food stores during the next cold snap, it is a good idea to pop the top and quickly give them some sugar as a bit of insurance. Two years ago, I had a handful of colonies that didn't get a good fall flow and by the middle of winter they were light on stores. I gave them sugar when we had a little break in temps, and it propped them up just enough to make it through to the next break. If there is a high percentage chance that a colony is going to starve to death, the risk of popping the top on a cold day to throw them some feed, is worth it. Just my thoughts, whether right or wrong.
 
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: The15thMember on January 28, 2020, 12:29:41 pm
Thanks, guys.  My warmer days over the winter are generally in the high 40's-low 50's, so I feel quite comfortable just peeking in and giving them some sugar if I'm concerned about it.  We're going to have a day or two in the 60's next week.  Maybe I'll actually pull a couple of frames and see what's going on in the hives that day.  I'll only check in the top boxes though, since I'd rather not break more propolis seals than I already have.   
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: CoolBees on January 28, 2020, 12:43:17 pm
15thmember - my buddy says I go into my hives too often. He says I break seals, and annoy the bees too much. He told me I should change my approach to the bees. ... ... ... I thought of a better solution - I got more hives! Now my hive intrusions are spread around, so each hive gets less bothering.  :cheesy: :cheesy:

... sometimes ya just gotta see what's going on in there, especially when your learning. There just isn't a better way (to my thinking at least).  :cool:

Wait till a warmish day, check them out, and then let us know what the synopsis is. They'll live, and you'll know more for the future.  :cool: :cool:
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on January 28, 2020, 01:02:57 pm
15,
I routinely mountain camp my bees.
I do not live next to my hives and frequently don't inspect them for long periods of time. 
I have found that once bees go up to the sugar they do not go back down. 
If bees are on the sugar on the top of the hive you should replenish the sugar from time to time regardless of the weight.
I open my hives in the winter one the warmest days I can, sometimes in the 30's.  Sugar is quickly placed and top closed.  Warmer days not so fast.  By the way, they will sting you in January.
I put eyes on the sugar monthly thru March. 
Enjoy your bees.
J

Advise worth paying close attention too.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: kathyp on January 28, 2020, 02:56:42 pm
Quote
Maybe I'll actually pull a couple of frames and see what's going on in the hives that day.

This is a way that new beeks kill hives.  If you accidentally kill the queen, or damage her it is too early for the hive to replace her.  Wait for drones. 

If you have stuff starting to bloom and they are active, leave them alone until later.  If you don't have stuff blooming and you really think they are lite, I agree that it is better to add sugar than to let them starve.

This is a tricky time of the year and how you handle it very much depends on where you are.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Bob Wilson on January 28, 2020, 03:23:10 pm
KathyP. A question.
As a new beek, and if I think they are OK, when is it good to open and check to the hive. In other words... How do I decide when is too early to open the hive, verses too late for a cramped brood box and queen cells. I don't want a swarm. But I don't want to open too early.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on January 28, 2020, 04:09:02 pm
KathyP. A question.
As a new beek, and if I think they are OK, when is it good to open and check to the hive. In other words... How do I decide when is too early to open the hive, verses too late for a cramped brood box and queen cells. I don't want a swarm. But I don't want to open too early.


Bob I feel sure that you are anxiously awaiting kathy's answer. I look forward to it also. In the meantime here is some food for thought. Being you are from Middle Georgia. Location and conditions play an important part. I am thinking that the guidelines to answer that you will get by our experts here will probably be something like, ''so many days or weeks before the spring flow and perhaps''. ''when the temperatures reach a certain temperature and holds consistently.''
To add to that, You see, even wax moths can make a difference according to time of year and location.

Quotes from Kathy and Van recent posted Jan. 20 Snow Megalodon. 

Kathy
For those of us who have winters, yes, inspections can kill.   Wax moth won't be a problem in winter.  There's no problem with taking a quick check under the top when it's warm enough for them to break cluster and fly to check the food you have put on.  If it's too cold for them to fly, stay out of the hive.
Here I close them up in October and don't look again until February unless we have unusually warm weather earlier and starvation is possible.

Van
Winter is relative to location.  In N Arkansas my wax moth traps were catching moths the first week of this January.  My bees fly at 43F to 47F whereas wax moths fly at lower temperatures.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: jvalentour on January 28, 2020, 04:47:36 pm
IMO this is the worst thing you can do.

Brian Cardinal


I didn't describe as well as I should have. 

In my area the bees will fly in January if it's sunny and warm enough.  On 1/5/20 my bees were doing orientation flights in mass, all 25 hives.  There were several 50 degree plus days in a row.  That is when I checked the sugar in my hives.  Some were low, some had plenty, some were still below the sugar.  I added as needed with the thought of no good weather for the next 30 days or more.  Since that date I have not looked in the hives and would not want to due to the cold.  Next week I'll be checking the weather to schedule a peek in the hives.  I'll crack them open in cold weather if I am concerned that they may be low on sugar.  It's better to add sugar on a cold day than let them starve.  As I said, I don't live near my hives, I maintain them when I can. 

Someone asked about how soon in the spring should they get into their hive.  Others may disagree but I stay out of my hives as much as possible from November to March (or later) when I see drones.  I would never consider pulling frames in that time period.  There isn't enough going on during that time that a bee keeper can do anything about (in my area).  Best bet is if you see activity at the entrance and no other bad signs, everything is OK.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on January 28, 2020, 06:58:54 pm
IMO this is the worst thing you can do.

Brian Cardinal


I didn't describe as well as I should have. 

In my area the bees will fly in January if it's sunny and warm enough.  On 1/5/20 my bees were doing orientation flights in mass, all 25 hives.  There were several 50 degree plus days in a row.  That is when I checked the sugar in my hives.  Some were low, some had plenty, some were still below the sugar.  I added as needed with the thought of no good weather for the next 30 days or more.  Since that date I have not looked in the hives and would not want to due to the cold.  Next week I'll be checking the weather to schedule a peek in the hives.  I'll crack them open in cold weather if I am concerned that they may be low on sugar.  It's better to add sugar on a cold day than let them starve.  As I said, I don't live near my hives, I maintain them when I can. 

Someone asked about how soon in the spring should they get into their hive.  Others may disagree but I stay out of my hives as much as possible from November to March (or later) when I see drones.  I would never consider pulling frames in that time period.  There isn't enough going on during that time that a bee keeper can do anything about (in my area).  Best bet is if you see activity at the entrance and no other bad signs, everything is OK.

Thanks J for the very clear explanation, especially the pulling frames part. I will confess that I already understood what you were saying before you explained. Good Job.
Phillip
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: The15thMember on January 28, 2020, 07:00:55 pm
Quote
Maybe I'll actually pull a couple of frames and see what's going on in the hives that day.

This is a way that new beeks kill hives.  If you accidentally kill the queen, or damage her it is too early for the hive to replace her.  Wait for drones. 

If you have stuff starting to bloom and they are active, leave them alone until later.  If you don't have stuff blooming and you really think they are lite, I agree that it is better to add sugar than to let them starve.

This is a tricky time of the year and how you handle it very much depends on where you are.
Thanks for warning me of this, Kathy.  I guess I'll just check and see if they are on the sugar or not.       
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: kathyp on January 28, 2020, 07:23:22 pm
Quote
As a new beek, and if I think they are OK, when is it good to open and check to the hive.

The safe answer is that you can do a deep inspection when you have drones or access to queens.  If you have someone in your area that is experienced, check with them. 

When we were in MS with Bud, we split hives in April.  I could never do that where I live!  I get snow in April.   :grin:

You should be able to gauge how many new bees are coming out by orientation flights, but that does take a little experience.  A flashlight and a look down the frames can be helpful.  I like to add my new brood boxes under my overwinter box, and my honey supers on top, but that's just me.  I know a lot of people don't do it that way. 

The other thing to remember is that swarming is natural.  Nice if you can avoid it, but if they decide they are going, they are going.  In the long run, it's usually not a big setback for the hive.  You get a new queen and if she's a good one she'll more than make up the numbers. 
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: MikeyN.C. on January 28, 2020, 08:07:22 pm
Bob, imo, yes u didn't take from them. That's the way I look at it. But I always add 2 inch shim on top for sugar every year and leave all honey that they made for them. So sugar on top is insurance. Weather has big time issues of what's going to happen. And trust me it's not predictable!!!! So 1 year will be different than the next. So as said I always leave their (Bees) resources and add sugar. If hive die out, I still have honey. But that's my reasoning. What's right or wrong to do , will be your understanding , and go with your understanding. That's the hardest thing to learn imo.
15, as said just take a look see, don't break box open .
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Bob Wilson on January 28, 2020, 11:30:35 pm
Thanks for all the advice. Good stuff for me to think on as we get into spring. Much appreciated. ✔️
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: cao on January 29, 2020, 01:36:59 am
The only hive manipulation that I do before I see drones flying is the removal of feeder shims and taking a good look from the top down between frames. 
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Acebird on January 29, 2020, 09:48:30 am
I had a handful of colonies that didn't get a good fall flow and by the middle of winter they were light on stores.
The solution is to cram the hive full of syrup in the fall.  Trying to make up for a light hive in the winter is fruitless.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Acebird on January 29, 2020, 09:51:29 am
So sugar on top is insurance.
Yes, for a couple weeks in the spring.  It is worthless as a winter feed.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Bob Wilson on January 29, 2020, 10:02:29 am
Researching when to work hives in the spring is a little difficult. Everyone talks about calendar months, but then quickly acknowledges that each region is different. North in April is like the south in February, and all in-between.
I am surprised the bee community doesn't describe things more by temperature...
Check just the top of the hive in the new year when you get a temp of 52F.
Do a full hive inspection on your first 60+F day.
When daytime temps of 60+F becomes steady, add empty frames to the brood box to prevent swarming.

Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: BAHBEEs on January 29, 2020, 10:44:54 am
This is further complicated by a warming climate.  This warming results in far more variability in our weather, Bigger rain and snow storms, longer droughts.  Basically things are getting a bit more extreme on extreme weather days...and there are more of them.   So even for folks well grounded in the local weather...things are getting harder and harder to predict.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: chux on January 29, 2020, 11:10:07 am
So sugar on top is insurance.
Yes, for a couple weeks in the spring.  It is worthless as a winter feed.

I shared what actually happened in some of my hives. Not a theory about what works or should work. Not what works or doesn't work for you where you live. What actually happened for me. You can say "it's worthless" all you want. That sugar literally saved 6 or 8 hives that were going to starve to death because I didn't do what I should have done in the fall. Might be "worthless" for you and everybody else on the planet. It wasn't worthless for me. It wasn't ideal, by a long shot. But it was effective that one winter for my bees that I managed poorly the previous fall. So yeah, I'd call it insurance.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: kathyp on January 29, 2020, 12:16:35 pm
Quote
It is worthless as a winter feed.

I disagree.  Mine have used it well in winter on any day they broke cluster.  It is worthless if the can't get to it and have used all honey, but in my area we have enough warmish days in winter that it is useful. 
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: kathyp on January 29, 2020, 12:18:52 pm
Quote
I am surprised the bee community doesn't describe things more by temperature...

Even that is area dependant.  We may get close to 60 toward the end of this week, but it is not uncommon to have some of our worst weather in February.  In my area I would not check a hive on a 60 degree day in January. 

That's why the drone rule is safer. 
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: beesonhay465 on January 29, 2020, 01:04:35 pm
my first hive . i was concerned about the amount of stores they  had going into winter. so fed 32 lbs sugar as 2 to 1 syrup. they took it all , each batch in 2or 3 days.tried to lift the hive. it has is home built and has really strong handles. i could not lift it . does anyone think they will be short?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: FatherMichael on January 29, 2020, 01:33:51 pm
It's 45* outside here with a light breeze but my bees are bringing in pollen.  Have no idea where they are getting it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mlu6XzZiU1M
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on January 29, 2020, 02:22:10 pm
It is nice to see your enthusiasm over your bees. Pollen coming in is a good thing. They are resourceful creatures for sure. Let us know if you are able to pinpoint the source of your pollen.  Enjoy your day.
Phillip
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Bob Wilson on January 29, 2020, 03:52:46 pm
Interesting advice about using drone flights as a safe indicator before doing full hive inspections in spring. I have never heard that idea before this thread.
This is a less relative, more concrete measure for my newbee first spring. Thanks.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Acebird on January 29, 2020, 08:05:17 pm
I am surprised the bee community doesn't describe things more by temperature...
You can pick anything you want for your trigger.  Everything has it pitfalls.
I wouldn't pick drones because if a hive is on the boarder of starvation they are not going to produce drones.  Temperature swings kill hives that are on the verge of starvation.  To me temperature is not reliable.
Sugar is not available when the hive is in cluster yet brood could already be underway.  Sugar is not insurance, it is a panic emergency when the hive runs out of honey.  If it doesn't run out of honey it doesn't need the sugar.  What a hive needs is honey close by so they have something to eat when they cannot break cluster.
In winter, early spring I lift the hive.  It still isn't perfect because you don't know where the honey is relative to the cluster.  The decision to inspect comes based on a bloom, something like maple trees where I was.  Some would pick another nectar source.  Another indication would be hive activity.  It is best not to pick just one thing.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: MikeyN.C. on January 29, 2020, 08:35:27 pm
Ace, Question, are u discussing, stealing honey in July-August. And trying to feed 2:1 , to build back up ?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: FatherMichael on January 29, 2020, 09:03:47 pm
We had a drought here in the late summer after an amazing spring.  My hive got off to a good start from a nuc but got light; so, I started feeding and did not quit until they back filled the brood chamber and filled a medium.  This is an 8-frame hive and I expect it was 1/2 syrup and half natural honey when I quit feeding.  There was no room for anything else -- it was full of bees and honey.

When the hot summer weather broke in October I treated with MAQS.  There were only a few dead bees in front of the hive.

When frosty weather came we put two wool blankets on the hive with a trash bag on top to shed water.

Our mild temperatures, orientation flights, and hauls of pollen make me wonder if the queen is laying or has been all this time!

Pretty sure a shivering cluster uses more stores than a warm winter.  But what if I'm wrong?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: kathyp on January 29, 2020, 09:23:42 pm
Quote
I wouldn't pick drones because if a hive is on the boarder of starvation they are not going to produce drones.  Temperature swings kill hives that are on the verge of starvation.

There is truth in this.  My advice about drones or the availability of queens is only in regard to doing a deep inspection.  Not for checking for stores in some way other than moving frames.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on January 29, 2020, 09:33:21 pm
my first hive . i was concerned about the amount of stores they  had going into winter. so fed 32 lbs sugar as 2 to 1 syrup. they took it all , each batch in 2or 3 days.tried to lift the hive. it has is home built and has really strong handles. i could not lift it . does anyone think they will be short?

beesonhay465  and Bob Wilson
Weighing hives going into winter has been discussed here before. For your peace of mind, you might want to check out some of the topics on this and give it some thought before going into the next fall and winter season.
Phillip

Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: jvalentour on January 29, 2020, 09:52:23 pm

Posted by: FatherMichael
? on: Today at 01:33:51 pm ?

It's 45* outside here with a light breeze but my bees are bringing in pollen.  Have no idea where they are getting it.


Father Michael,
Try this link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pollen_sources
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: FatherMichael on January 30, 2020, 08:49:15 am

Posted by: FatherMichael
? on: Today at 01:33:51 pm ?

It's 45* outside here with a light breeze but my bees are bringing in pollen.  Have no idea where they are getting it.


Father Michael,
Try this link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pollen_sources

Thanks, J!

By the early date and color it could be willow.  There is a pond not far from here with willow around it.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Acebird on January 30, 2020, 09:24:13 am
Ace, Question, are u discussing, stealing honey in July-August. And trying to feed 2:1 , to build back up ?
Whether you steal honey or not the hive needs x number of pounds of honey based on its cluster size for your AERA to overwinter.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Acebird on January 30, 2020, 09:33:54 am
Pretty sure a shivering cluster uses more stores than a warm winter.
Usually the opposite which means I need to learn what that is for FL.  Although, when push come to shove the greatest consumption of honey is raising bees.  Feeding bees is a double edge sword.  It encourages raising more brood.  It upsets what bees would normally do if left alone.  I hate to see beginners feeding bees because it can complicate things when a beginner is not ready for it.  My advice is get experience on how nature handles it, do or die.  You will be enormously surprised how resourceful bees are if left alone.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on January 30, 2020, 09:38:48 am
Pretty sure a shivering cluster uses more stores than a warm winter.
Usually the opposite which means I need to learn what that is for FL.  Although, when push come to shove the greatest consumption of honey is raising bees.  Feeding bees is a double edge sword.  It encourages raising more brood.  It upsets what bees would normally do if left alone.  I hate to see beginners feeding bees because it can complicate things when a beginner is not ready for it.  My advice is get experience on how nature handles it, do or die.  You will be enormously surprised how resourceful bees are if left alone.

Good post Ace
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: FatherMichael on January 30, 2020, 12:09:29 pm
Pretty sure a shivering cluster uses more stores than a warm winter.
Usually the opposite which means I need to learn what that is for FL.  Although, when push come to shove the greatest consumption of honey is raising bees.  Feeding bees is a double edge sword.  It encourages raising more brood.  It upsets what bees would normally do if left alone.  I hate to see beginners feeding bees because it can complicate things when a beginner is not ready for it.  My advice is get experience on how nature handles it, do or die.  You will be enormously surprised how resourceful bees are if left alone.

There are more bees in warm climates than in colder ones.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: van from Arkansas on January 30, 2020, 01:42:51 pm
Ace:
The goal of a beekeeper is to prepare the hive in fall for the winter dearth and take what comes.  I know, a bit of a guessing game.

Agreed, Mr. Ace, my goal from the beginning of Spring through Fall is to prepare my bees for the following winter.

Van
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: MikeyN.C. on January 30, 2020, 05:45:05 pm
You will be enormously surprised at how bee can handle if left alone. YES EXACTLY.  I don't feed overwintered hives only splits in nuc boxes, until our nectar flow. Ace, what Bob said he didn't take, and I said same thing. I don't take what bee's have done for themselves. The only reason I would cram sugar water is because they are in trouble. And it can be they didn't do their job (which is a problem) not because I took from them.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: MikeyN.C. on January 30, 2020, 06:01:35 pm
Ace, if u would clarify, so all understand . what u mean by bee's not having a good fall flow ?
As I know here in my area we don't have a good fall flow, so pulling capped honey like some do in different areas in June-July is a no-no here. But newbeeks , read and hear what is said. I'm not in it for honey only keeping bee's alive yr after yr is my goal. Question have u figured out bee's in FL. compared to NY ?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Bob Wilson on January 30, 2020, 06:57:49 pm
I read somewhere (maybe Bush Farms?) that if possible, leave the bees all their honey till late fall when winter prep comes, then pull off excess, leaving them plenty for their winter. Just take less honey. That way we never have to feed syrup unless they failed in drought to provide for their own in the year. The bees get the most healthy diet, their own honey.
Of course I am a hobbyist, and don't require a living off honey.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: FatherMichael on January 30, 2020, 07:46:20 pm
Both scholarly and commercial beekeepers affirm that the modal size of a brood chamber that both raises brood and stores enough to make it through the winter is a single deep hive body.

Whatever is collected in supers (not named accidentally) seems a legitimate "take" for the beekeeper if he or she is sure the brood chamber is back-filled enough for winter.

The back filling can be accomplished by a good fall flow or by feeding, right?

Hard to eliminate judgment calls, eh?

Would we have it any other way?

I'm kinda proud to be a farmer ...

And a shepherd.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: MikeyN.C. on January 30, 2020, 07:46:32 pm
Bob, how do u know what's enough ?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: MikeyN.C. on January 30, 2020, 07:58:45 pm
I'm asking how can anyone know ?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: MikeyN.C. on January 30, 2020, 08:02:01 pm
So don't pull . it's not like honeys going bad. If bee's get through winter , come spring I pull, before splits.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: FatherMichael on January 30, 2020, 09:00:05 pm
So don't pull . it's not like honeys going bad. If bee's get through winter , come spring I pull, before splits.

Cotton honey granulates rather quickly.  Timing that out relative to harvest vs. winter stores ...

Here in my part of Texas we have in order of flow: wildflowers, Mesquite, cotton, and then Sunflowers, Broom Weed, and Spanish Gold.

I hope to build up with wildflowers, discreetly harvest Mesquite and cotton, and then let the bees have the rest for winter.

We'll see, eh?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Bob Wilson on January 30, 2020, 11:23:05 pm
Mikey, bear in mind I am sharing research, not experience. I read that in my area of Georgia, 35lbs of honey is enough for our short winters, while up north they may need twice that.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Acebird on January 31, 2020, 09:40:55 am
Ace, if u would clarify, so all understand . what u mean by bee's not having a good fall flow ?
I will say what is typical in the north.  I don't yet have bees here in FL... too occupied renovating my house.
Bees prepare for winter.  They gather nectar all summer long for two purposes.  One is to raise winter bees and the other is to overwinter.  Overwintering includes raising spring bees.  The actual amount of honey needed to make it through the cold months is only a fraction of what is required to make the spring bees.  Most northern states have a heavy flow, usually goldenrod and aster or knot weed.  Some say this is not good to overwinter on because it can cause dysentery.  I took honey only in the fall from the top boxes so  more of the spring and summer honey was left for the bees if they did not consume it all making winter bees.
You can play roulette by taking more in the fall then you should and feed like heck in the spring.  If it weren't for the fluctuation in weather it would work great.  So as the bees intended leave an excess in the fall to cover the unknown.
From what I have read the south is quite different.  They may or may not have a fall flow.  Their flows in general are not as plentiful.  They have much longer periods of flying weather (which consumes more honey) but they also have nectar available for a longer period of time and they can be fed more easily.  That being said, granular sugar is not a good feed.  They can't take it fast enough to store it.  If you can, feeding syrup is the answer.  If they can't store the feed they can't raise brood.  If they can't raise brood it is a downward spiral to perishing.  The south also does not have a reprieve from SHB and wax moth like the north does. So in general managing a hive in the south is quite different then the north.  A beekeeper must lean the location his bees are in.  You can get advice on the internet but helpful advice comes from your neighbor who is raising bees.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: cao on January 31, 2020, 12:23:43 pm
Typically I pull honey after the 4th of July.  That's usually when they have it capped.  It is when my hives are the tallest.  I have had a few that were 7 medium 10 frame boxes tall.  After harvesting, I start condensing the larger hives and add boxes to the smaller ones as they grow.  My goal is to get the hives to about 3-4 medium boxes.  3 is enough for them to overwinter without feeding.  The fourth is for insurance and typically isn't completely full.  I hope to have them in the boxes that they will overwinter in before the fall flow.  In my area I have found that it is not real reliable.  So I try to leave enough when I pull honey for them to overwinter.  I usually only need to feed is the new splits from that year.  And the last couple of years they have gotten mountain camp sugar on top if they seemed a little light on stores.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: BAHBEEs on January 31, 2020, 05:54:36 pm
Ace, Question, are u discussing, stealing honey in July-August. And trying to feed 2:1 , to build back up ?


If you  have a strong hive you may be robbing from May till November. 

Note...I never touch what they have in the two deep brood boxes?that remains all  theirs.

I have one hive that will pump out a 2-3 medium supers in spring , 2 mediums in summer and 1-3 of fall honey (if we don't drought out like last year).

like I said this is all in excess of what they have in the bottom 2 boxes.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: MikeyN.C. on January 31, 2020, 06:08:10 pm
Bob, yes 35 maybe enough in your area, but please keep in mind. Those recommendations are from pass experience. This years weather is very odd here imho, I've never seen 60-70?F in Dec-Feb.  That been said if u go by old standards (35 lbs. of honey)  but then have a very warm winter is that 35 enough ?  I leave it to the bee's to understand that, not someone's opinion. I had calendars for my first 3 yrs. as I read in books. I learned that it was , not a reliable resource because of changing weather.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: MikeyN.C. on January 31, 2020, 06:15:15 pm
Bahbees,  how many hives are u talking about ?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: MikeyN.C. on January 31, 2020, 06:19:02 pm
And are all hives from same DNA(strain) ?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Bob Wilson on January 31, 2020, 10:00:02 pm
As you all suggested, I did a lift test in the hive, compared to an empty hive box I have. Probably 50lbs heavier. Two fingers with one hand for the empty hive, verses two handed serious effort to lift the occupied hive. That is a good sign I think.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 03, 2020, 02:28:40 am
I read somewhere (maybe Bush Farms?) that if possible, leave the bees all their honey till late fall when winter prep comes, then pull off excess, leaving them plenty for their winter. Just take less honey. That way we never have to feed syrup unless they failed in drought to provide for their own in the year. The bees get the most healthy diet, their own honey.
Of course I am a hobbyist, and don't require a living off honey.

Bob, Mr Bush is one of my most trusted and favorite advisors here. Keep in mind location. I could be wrong but Mr Bushes location is not as much bothered by SHB as my area or possibly yours there in Georgia. I do not know that the advise for your area as compared to his, will apply with the SHB potential problems? Mr Bush if you read this and I am wrong please correct me Sir.
Thanks,
Phillip


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Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: van from Arkansas on February 03, 2020, 12:04:41 pm
As you all suggested, I did a lift test in the hive, compared to an empty hive box I have. Probably 50lbs heavier. Two fingers with one hand for the empty hive, verses two handed serious effort to lift the occupied hive. That is a good sign I think.

Mr. Bob:  yes, a good thing.  Looks good to me, you have plenty of honey by your heft test.  In your area, the flow will start very soon.  Most likely you already have flowers.

Health to your bees.

Van
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: van from Arkansas on February 03, 2020, 04:23:27 pm
I found one hive that was lite by heft test.  I believe this hive was on verge of starvation.  I placed a Mason common type syrup jar with 2X sugar that feeds thur a circular cut in the lid.  Hive saved!!

Health to your bees,
Van
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 03, 2020, 08:49:29 pm
I found one hive that was lite by heft test.  I believe this hive was on verge of starvation.  I placed a Mason common type syrup jar with 2X sugar that feeds thur a circular cut in the lid.  Hive saved!!

Health to your bees,
Van

Van was this after you found the starved hive yesterday?  I have several lite ones that I split in the fall, I have been trying to make sure they have plenty to make it through. I used the same practices that I used last year. I feel for you, I do not want to lose any either.
Phillip
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 03, 2020, 10:46:54 pm
Van let me add, I refilled their quart jars just yesterday with the usual sugar syrup/ essential oil mix that I learned from Joe May, David at barnyard bees, and last but not least Don Kutchenmeister.  Today four of five of these late season nuc splits were completely out of feed and the fifth one was almost empty. That leads me to believe that they are on the grow, raising brood at breakneck speed! I wish I had inspected but I have been sick and did not want to stay out too long. I have been feeding them all along, and they have been taking a good amount all along. But today they kicked it in a whole new high gear!
Blessings,
Phillip
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: BAHBEEs on February 04, 2020, 12:06:15 pm
Bahbees,  how many hives are u talking about ?

All of the honey mentioned came from primarily one hive last year.  Say 2/3s.  It is the oldest of my 6 hives.  The other 5 kind of shared the rest of the amount...with two somewhat better than the other three. 

I have 6.  1 is 2 years old, one 2 months younger than that from a split off the 1st.  One is a year old from a swarm off the 2nd, and one a package installed in mid summer last year.  The last two are adopted hives that I do not know the age of.

I only got one super of fall honey last year due to he extreme drought.

Have 4 packages coming this spring.

Barry
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: van from Arkansas on February 07, 2020, 03:44:10 pm
I found one hive that was lite by heft test.  I believe this hive was on verge of starvation.  I placed a Mason common type syrup jar with 2X sugar that feeds thur a circular cut in the lid.  Hive saved!!

Health to your bees,
Van

The bees quickly emptied the first jar.  Then temp plummeted with snow, past 4 days was to cold to add more syrup, one pint 2X syrup, to this hive on the verge of starvation.  Today is 48F high so I was able to add another pint, switch jars from empty to full, to this one hive.  I believe I can save this hive now, although a total of one quart of syrup was provided, which is not enough to last to the flow.  So another couple of pints of 2X syrup should do it.

The bees can also feed tomorrow, 50F high, then another front and bees clustered for a few days.  You beeks south on me, I am in N Arkansas, have my envy this time of year.  Enjoy your warmth in the southern US!!!

Health to your bees.

Van
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 07, 2020, 05:58:23 pm
I found one hive that was lite by heft test.  I believe this hive was on verge of starvation.  I placed a Mason common type syrup jar with 2X sugar that feeds thur a circular cut in the lid.  Hive saved!!

Health to your bees,
Van

The bees quickly emptied the first jar.  Then temp plummeted with snow, past 4 days was to cold to add more syrup, one pint 2X syrup, to this hive on the verge of starvation.  Today is 48F high so I was able to add another pint, switch jars from empty to full, to this one hive.  I believe I can save this hive now, although a total of one quart of syrup was provided, which is not enough to last to the flow.  So another couple of pints of 2X syrup should do it.

The bees can also feed tomorrow, 50F high, then another front and bees clustered for a few days.  You beeks south on me, I am in N Arkansas, have my envy this time of year.  Enjoy your warmth in the southern US!!!

Health to your bees.

Van


I am in a similar circumstance as you describe here except I have a good hand full of late season splits instead of one as you are dealing with. As I said earlier in this thread I wish you success and I do not want to loose any either! Lol I have a couple questions that I seek your wise council. First question, are you also feeding pollen sub to this hive? Second question, I have henbit, (and I hope I am pronouncing it correctly). growing in the yard of these late splits at another location. Will the pollen in this plant be sufficient to supply the needs of my lite weights building up splits or should I add pollen directly to these few lite splits?
Blessings,
Phillip
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: van from Arkansas on February 07, 2020, 07:48:09 pm
I do community feed sub pollen, Ultra Bee.  HenBit, not sure what that plant is, so I cannot answer #2.  My botanical knowledge is somewhere between zero and one on a ten point scale.

Van
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: MikeyN.C. on February 07, 2020, 08:53:49 pm
Did y'all read what iddee said about pollen feeding. And Q can't move ?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 07, 2020, 11:45:04 pm
I do community feed sub pollen, Ultra Bee.  HenBit, not sure what that plant is, so I cannot answer #2.  My botanical knowledge is somewhere between zero and one on a ten point scale.

Van

I do community feed with pollen sub also. And I do not feed pollen-sub straight to an individual hive. But I am being pulled with the possibility of feeding pollen sub directly into these weak hives. I suppose the proper way would be a pollen patty. I am concerned because, I am experiencing similar weather pattern and conditions in the last few days, including snow last night and a high, for me today of 45. Being its early February in my part of the South, conditions can change to steady cold again and once again back to the seclusion of the box where my bees may be stuck for days. I certainly hope not but we know it is possible. Does this sound reasonable? Though I have not been into any of these weak hives, I am confident that they are doing all they can to survive this critical time of possible starvation while developing more bees.
As far as henbit, I know very little either. Here's what I do know and thanks to the good posters here at beemaster. Bee Wallace stated from the following asking what was the plant pictured in the same post as follows.
Re: Follow the Bloom 2017
? Reply #9 on: February 05, 2017, 05:21:28 pm


Dallas replied
 Reply #10 on: February 05, 2017, 05:28:58 pm 

Looks like henbit

The plant that is at my other bee yard, where my weak hives are, looks just like the plant in the picture of beewalaces posted picture. thus my questions form there. Since my curiosity was abounding, I have since looked this henbit verses pollen question up on google, it does say that it is a plant that bees use to gather pollen along with nectar. I did not find the value of each however. Maybe someone here knows the value of henbit as for our bees benefit?
Blessings,
Phillip



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Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Bob Wilson on February 08, 2020, 08:38:33 am
Henbit. If you are in the south and your yard is not mowed yet... You probably have henbit. ✔️
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Nock on February 08, 2020, 08:39:34 am
I?ve seen bees work it. What I?ve found says the pollen will be a orange red and  purplish red in color.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Nock on February 08, 2020, 08:40:39 am
Henbit. If you are in the south and your yard is not mowed yet... You probably have henbit. ✔️
This is correct. It will be one of the tallest things growing now.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 08, 2020, 08:48:43 am
Henbit. If you are in the south and your yard is not mowed yet... You probably have henbit. ✔️

Yes if your bees are in your yard as described, my second bee yard is in an old garden spot with plenty of henbit, which must have been a good choice as concerning bees 🐝? ✔️ Lol  Let me add making it a blessing. Bob are you blessed with henbit within range of your bees?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 08, 2020, 06:39:56 pm
I?ve seen bees work it. What I?ve found says the pollen will be a orange red and  purplish red in color.

Yes my bees are working it, I am curious as the nutritional value, (protein percentage), of the pollen it provides. I am really glad to see that my lite weight late splits have access to this on the days they can fly. They cover it. Can?t hardly walk for fear of killing bees in this old garden spot. What is curious Nock, is they are still taking ultra bee 🐝 also.
Phillip



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Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Bob Wilson on February 08, 2020, 11:01:25 pm
Phillip. Yes I have a variety of weeds in my yard, and especially my garden, which I have not dug yet. Henbit is  among them, and I have seen them working it. I also saw some purple red pollen on the bees. Someone mentioned henbit.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 08, 2020, 11:15:07 pm
Phillip. Yes I have a variety of weeds in my yard, and especially my garden, which I have not dug yet. Henbit is  among them, and I have seen them working it. I also saw some purple red pollen on the bees. Someone mentioned henbit.

I mentioned henbit, but I do not know much about it Bob, except it does provide both nectar and pollen. What I do not know is the Percentage of each, (meaning is this plant of great value to our bees)? Maybe you can help me with this or maybe I should just be thankful for the blessing and relax? lol  As you know if you have been here for the past (almost two years) I am very inquisitive and seeking to lean more, (maybe to much)? LOL, Always asking questions, which may annoy you kind folks at times, but that is how we all learn right?  I am glad that you are blessed with the benefits of henbit also. Thank you for your reply.
Phillip




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Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 20, 2020, 05:00:42 pm
I was just telling Alan, CoolBees in a PM. I did lose one of my late splits. It was 54 yesterday and I noticed that one of my late nuc splits was not as active as could or should be as compared to the rest. I cracked the top and they had starved, even though Mountain camp was incorporated. A big pile of dead bees in the bottom. No sign of mites or disease, (thank goodness), but all frames were empty of honey and most pollen. Some capped brood but not enough live bees to cover.  The good news. I did locate the half starved marked queen. (I am glad she was marked or I would have never located her). I removed her along with 4 nurse bees, barely hanging on.  I Placed this combo in a queen shipping cage, added a dab of honey and put them in my incubator. They all went straight for the honey. I am happy to tell you today,  all nurse bees and the queen are well, active, and lively! I do not think they would have made it another day. 25f tonight.
Phillip Hall


I realized that I left off an important point. The mountain camp that was incorporated had ran completely out. Much rain here. I should have checked this earlier. 


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Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Acebird on February 21, 2020, 08:54:01 am
Ben at 25 degrees mountain camp is not going to help.  It is a false sense of security.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 21, 2020, 11:34:37 am
Ben at 25 degrees mountain camp is not going to help.  It is a false sense of security.

Thanks Ace. In this particular situation I believe you are 100 percent right.  That is the same conclusion that I had drawn also, being why I searched for, and luckily found, the (half starved and appearing to be lifeless), Queen and did as described.
Phillip Hall
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Nock on February 21, 2020, 07:07:35 pm
I?ve seen bees work it. What I?ve found says the pollen will be a orange red and  purplish red in color.

Yes my bees are working it, I am curious as the nutritional value, (protein percentage), of the pollen it provides. I am really glad to see that my lite weight late splits have access to this on the days they can fly. They cover it. Can?t hardly walk for fear of killing bees in this old garden spot. What is curious Nock, is they are still taking ultra bee 🐝 also.
Phillip



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So that would make me believe it?s not a very good source of pollen then. Very interesting
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Nock on February 21, 2020, 07:09:18 pm
So what?s your plan with the Queen?
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 21, 2020, 11:26:14 pm
"So that would make me believe it?s not a very good source of pollen then. Very interesting"

I wish I could answer about henbit. Whether it is or is not a good source of nutrition by the pollen and nectar it provides, and the percentage of its values, I still do not know. I have ask here as well as googled seeking its nutritional value for our bees. The values I did not find.  Really I do not believe this plant has played a part for me this season, due to weather. On nice days they have been all over it but not long enough, in my opinion to make a real difference. The winter season here has been uncooperative where I live.  With temperatures up and down, (25) again tonight. This is the rainiest winter that I can remember here. My bees may have a nice couple days to fly and then the rain is right back, bees are stuck in the boxes once again, sometimes lasting days at a time, not to mention temperatures plummeting to boot and contend with also. I took note of iddees topic (bees spring) as well as what was posted on this topic, hoping to avoid what just happened by adding mountain camp along with boardman type feeders and open pollen feeding for the bees sake on the warmer days. These practices worked great last season, (winter before last), because mostly (normal) consistent weather in my area. I did not lose a hive that season. So far this season, I have lost two nucs. One, when you and I were talking via PM back in the late fall or early winter and this one. Unfortunately my mountain camp ran out on this one before I re-checked. My fault and mine alone.  As per my information and my concern of henbit, the verdict is still out until we know more. 


"So what's your plan with the Queen?"

I plan on banking her until the time is right for splits and fix her up with a brand new family, at that time. Lol.

Phillip Hall


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Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Acebird on February 22, 2020, 08:13:00 am
I see things differently.  Plummeting temps are good because it slows the metabolism of the bees and stretches the resources.  The warm temps without nectar is the problem.
Title: Re: Hive starvation.
Post by: Ben Framed on February 22, 2020, 09:40:37 am
I see things differently.  Plummeting temps are good because it slows the metabolism of the bees and stretches the resources.  The warm temps without nectar is the problem.

Yes if it's consistent and the longer stretches of consistency the better. No consistency here this season in my area.
Phillip Hall


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