Learning from dead hives
At the bee club meeting last week, we looked at two people's dead hives to see what happened to the bees. along with one of mine which had the classic "sugar crystals" in the bottoms of the cells indicative of death by varroa mite. These are actually uric acid crystals left from lots of varroa peeing in the hive. One of the other hives probably died of starvation, as shown by the tiny dead cluster not in contact with honey, and the other tiny cluster died in contact with honey, but bunches of the bees dies head-in to cells. If you read the internet, this is the sign of death by starvation, but bees go head-in to cells normally, and for different reasons. In reality, all three of these hives died of not enough bees. One was too small to move to honey, one was able to move to honey, but not big enough to stay warm, and one mine just didn't have enough bees to survive varroa. The one thing that all three hives had in common was a problem producing fat bees for winter.
Fat bees, what are they? Are they fatter? Not visibly.. However, fat bees have more fat cells in their bodies because they haven't functioned as nurse bees. This helps them live all winter, as opposed to summer bees that live 40 days, tops.
8/4/2020 03:36:05 am
Really interesting. My first colony was lovely and I tried to look after them well but they fizzled out and I don’t know why.
Tina, good article but, you didn't tell us how to cultivate "fat bees". I am new to your site, to bees and really excited about the prospect of raising them. I have a top bar hive that I understand from an article of yours is really a favorite style of yours. Hope you might be able to mentor me. My hive currently is not in use because the swarm of bees that moved in liked the looks of my chicken house feed cabinet better. They have been there for about 3 months and now I'm ready to address them. They are a gentle colony of hard working gatherers. They have been working my gardens this summer and I want to cultivate them into a standard element here at my ranch 40 miles east of Kingman, Az. We are at 5300' elevation in the middle of Juniper and pinion pine forest. Any tips you might guide me towards befoe I open the doors to the feed cabinet would be appreciated. I know nothing except what I am reading online and in "beekeeping for dummies" which I just received. I have purchased a smoker and apparel and I have a waterer ready to go. Question: I've read a 1:1 sugar/water mixture is suggested to help them get through the winter temps. How is that measured ? Tablespoon to tablespoon? cup to cup? Thank you in advance for any info you might share. Oh, I read your article on top bar hives and think mine might need some modifications. Can you send me a copy of your plans? If yes, let me know how to proceed. Have a beeutiful day. Michael
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author, American Bee Journal, Bee Culture Magazine, Colorado State Beekeepers Assoc blogger