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What to do with a dead hive.

 
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Dcats
House Bee


Joined: 06 Oct 2013
Posts: 17
Location: USA, Western North Carolina

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:06 pm    Post subject: What to do with a dead hive. Reply with quote

Let me start with a bit of history before the question. Got two packages of bees last year. One of the two swarmed, it seemed to me, late in the summer. I was worried that it wouldn't make it through the winter with the honey on hand, so I made a couple frames of Sugar cakes with HomeyBHealthy mixed in to fit my TBH. Well all seemed good in early February when we had a high 50's day and I watched bees coming and going from both hives. Then another REAL cold snap and a couple days ago I watched and saw nothing from the weak hive. Yesterday I decided to go in and sure enough all were dead Sad There were a lot of bees that looked like they had starved to death, being that they were face first in the comb, but I would guess there is 15 + pounds of honey in the hive and my two sugar cakes?
Any ways the question is, what to do with the comb in the hive. I have two more packages coming next month, and was wondering if I could spray some of the comb with sugar water with HBH in it to mask the smells and put one in each of my other hive I have set up for the new bees? Would it help them get a good start in life or could it detour them from wanting to stay there?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No need to try to mask the smell as the aroma of old brood comb is very attractive to bees, even when it is not their own and having some comb to start with will give them a real "leg up". The only thing you need to consider is whether the bees that died out had any disease that may be transferred in the comb. If you are confident that they died of starvation, then it's not a problem to reuse it. Sometimes, at this time of year if the weather gets warmer and then suddenly really cold again the cluster gets trapped on a comb away from the honey and starves even though there is plenty on the next comb.

Anyway, better luck with your next bees.

Regards

Barbara
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Dcats
House Bee


Joined: 06 Oct 2013
Posts: 17
Location: USA, Western North Carolina

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the Info. I still have the one hive, they were out today collecting pollen like made. Not sure what's pollenating, guess trees. But I am making a couple of swarm traps and if this one swarms this summer perhaps I will get lucky and restock the hive I lost.

Thanks again for the advice.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Use one or two of the old combs in the swarm traps too. It will make them much more likely to be successful.

Good to hear your other hive is thriving and starting to brood. (Pollen going in means brood is being reared) Yes, it could well be pollen from trees. Sometimes we look around and can't see anything obvious flowering but forget to look upwards at the trees which can be a great source of both pollen and nectar. If you can find a pollen chart for your area with the seasons marked on it, then you may be able to identify what they are foraging on from the colour of the pollen. Try googling pollen chart.

Regards

Barbara
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Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

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