Nope, not a bee keeper and I am sorry to hear about the winter kill. How are you and your bees doing with the fungus that has been attacking honey bees? Bees are such an important part of our farming activities that I wonder where this fungus / blight will end.
I really haven't struggled much with the Colony Collapse Disorder. The Verro mite still seems to be the biggest problem you have to deal with. The past winter was especially brutal. Bees cluster in the winter and generate heat by vibrating their wings. By early February, they need to ratchet the temperature up to 93 degrees, as their queen is laying eggs and the brood requires more heat. All this activity uses up more honey, and bees must be able to break away from their cluster to reach honey stored in outer frames. The extreme cold made this tough for bees to move about in the hive. Bees normally exit the hive on nice winter days, to take a dump, get water , and haul out their dead bees. My bees never got out once in February . By the first of March, they normally can fly and begin to find pollen and a little nectar. That wasn't happening this year either. Luckily I had ordered some 3 pound packages of bees to replace my losses. Packages of bees aren't cheap, about 100 dollars each.
Bought my first package last yr. They did make it through the winter, but i know a lot of other first timers that lost their hives. Got my package from Mann Lake inc. They were bees from Minnesota and the queen was from Northern California. Most of the people who lost their bees had bought packages from Georgia. I did wrap my hive with 3.5" of insulation in mid-January when it got real cold.
Sorry to hear about your lose. I lost 1 out of 3 and didn't lose them until the 3rd week of March. When I did the tear down the 29th it was evident that the sub zero temps of Feb. had taken their toll. Surviving cluster was to small and couldn't/didn't move to feed. Hive still had 30-40 lbs of honey in it. A friend lost 4 of 5.
Lost mine,only had one hive ,but still disappointing.We had a warm day in Jan.and there was lot's of bee activity,but when I checked the first week of March,nothing ,small clusters of dead bees,but plenty of honey so they didn't die of starvation.
Do any of you guys belong to beekeeping clubs? I am new to bees and just started 2 hives this week. Unfortunately, the man who was going to mentor me, passed away in December. Right now I am doing a lot of reading and kind of winging it. I am sure I will have a lot of questions so, if anyone can recommend a club, I would appreciate it. I am in the Harrisburg/York area.
I checked out two hives on my way to Moshannon today. I hadn't visited them this year, as they are 100 miles from home. When I pulled in, I noticed almost no activity. Maybe one or two bees flying. I figured they were probably robbers, cleaning out a winter die off hive. Didn't see need for vail or smoker, as I figured hive was dead. I opened electric fence, ( which is barb wire), went to first hive. I put my ear to the hive body and tapped it with my hive tool. Couldn't hear any buzzing. I took off the out cover and pryed off the inner cover. What happened next was bad. When I looked into the box, bees were boiling out of the frames. The bees were having a slow day, and suddenly they found something to do. Come after me. I would have been ok, with only a couple of stings, if I wouldn't have gotten stuck on the barb wire exiting the bee yard. I took about a dozen stings. I still don't understand why there wasn't any activity when I pulled in, or why I didn't hear any buzzing when I tapped on the top hive body. I would have bet 100 dollars that that hive was dead. I never checked the other hive, I'll look at it tomorrow.
Ive had the worst luck the last couple of winters i only have one hive but want to start keeping more but 3yr ago i lost a hive to CCD, and this winter they froze i just hived a new box the other day from a local dealer. Im hoping that local bees that have over wintered the local winter weather will do better then the place i was ordering bees from down south.
Im from the Harrisburg area west shore. Im no expert but i have a couple of years under my belt and have learned from my uncle who has a number of hives in northern pa. When i First started before my hive was even painted i read three different books and the best one i bought on my kindle for i think 8$ was beekeeping for dummies and i have read it more then a few times it covers almost everything. Id be glad to help lend a hand if needed
Since this is a post about beekeepers has anyone here ever build there own bee hives? I would like to split my hive next year but the cost of buying a new hive is just a bit much and i enjoy woodworking alot and have the equipment. I built a wooden chest over the winter and the pine that lowes sells was less then pleasing to find a piece that was straight and not cracked required me to lay out all the lumber on the rack and even then i still had little luck. I know ceder is a no, what about popular?
Went down to 1 hive last year. I usually kept 3 or 4. Lost that hive over the winter. I think I'm hanging it up this year. Just not really into it anymore. There are enough people around me with hives that I will not have to worry about pollination with my fruit trees.
Miller, other than building hive stands, inner and outer covers, and bottom boards, I've never built any hive bodies, supers, or frames. My buddy made all his own wooden ware, and his stuff fit badly. I have always ordered my stuff from Brushy Mountain, their boxes and frames are nice. I have always shied away from plastic, with the exception of some Super Frames. If you can get the bees to draw comb on it, they work great.
I ordered my hive several years ago from kelleybees.com and all my frames fit that hive but my worry is if i order from another company that the frames might be different i am not sure if the frame size is universal or not and i would like to be able to swap frames from hive to hive if one needs a frame of honey or brood. the cost of a full new 10frame hive with suppers is 220 i think tht includes the frames. As far as the plastic foundations my uncle has 5 hives all plastic and i switched to plastic after the first year and i havent had any problem with them drawing them out.
I wrap my hives with plastic coated 4' wide insulation, I aslo use a moisture quilt (google it) , which greatly helps with winter moisture in the hive, I lost 2 of my 3 hives this year, one froze, one starved, one survived. I just installed a new package of bees this past Saturday. Maples are starting to pop here , so lots of pollen coming in. I'm in north east pa. Wyoming county. I will build up my two hives and hopefully split one to get back to 3 hives. Good luck!
miller, if you do build your own I would stick with pine for cost reasons. I was going to build mine also but, to build a hive with 2 deeps, 3 medium supers and frames, the savings was only about $60-70. Factor in your time, and it is not worth it to me. Do any of you guys re-queen your packages the first year? If so, when do you do it?
Miller, you should be good with any supplier. Langstroth hive standards are universal and all use standard bee clearance space. If I could turn the clock back 40 years and was just starting out, I think I would go with 7 frame hives. Bees want to work up, not sideways. Too late for that now as I got way, way to much 10 frame boxes. Seven frame stuff is A lot easier on the back too.
I see many of you are gonna install packages this season. I had an unusual thing happen this year. My supplier was to get his packages in mid April this season. They ended up coming on March 20th. Installing bees on the last day of winter in Western Pa is unheard of. Nothing I could do about it, as they were already paid for. Luckily I had a lot of drawn comb and enough deep frames of capped honey in the freezer to make up 5 hives. Gave them pollen patties also. It was 40 degrees the day of installation, two nights later it got down to 12 degrees. I never saw a bee emerge for a week. It was too cold to open up the hives to check on the queen releases. All I could do was hope for the best. They appear to be doing well now, taking a quart of sugar water every two days, and hauling in a lot of pollen. I opened them up on the 27th of March, queens out ok . Gonna check this week for brood. I thought I would lose every package. Bees are tougher than I thought.