Want to start raising bees in the spring. Any advice welcome!

Dogma

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Hey, @Dogma - sorry about the rough goes...:hugs

Last winter was definitely a bear. I believe VA beekeepers were looking at around 50% losses coming out of winter, and then they were having 2 out of 3 installed packages superseding the queen by summer, topped off with heavy mite infestations and colony failures this fall.

If you have drawn comb w/honey, and can freeze, it then you're golden for getting off on a good start next spring. If you decide to give it another try (third time's the charm!) go on and check out some bee books from the library, and snuggle in for a long cold CT winter. If you can't get to the library start reading up on varroa at bushfarms.com/bees.htm and Randy Oliver's Scientific Beekeeping. To have a fighting chance, you have to understand how the varroa population interacts with your colony population,and what's is manageable and what is disaster waiting to happen. Consider getting a nuc from Sam Comfort at Anarchy apiaires. Packages from down south require a lot of crutches.
Thank you so very much!!! Big hugs.
I may try one more time. We will see. I will freeze the frames and see how craZy I feel in the spring!!! I so appreciate the support. :)
 

babsbag

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Drones literally do fly to a drone congregation area (DCA)...I find that funny...like a singles bar. :lol: The queen goes about a mile on her maiden voyage; the drones don't even go that far to the DCA. That is nature's way of hedging the bet that she isn't mating with a drone from her own colony. There will be about 15,000 drones at the DCA...quite a busy bar. :) She can mate with as many as 40 drones but the average is 12.

@Latestarter, thanks for the synopsis of the article on Hopguard II last night. Hope that mine worked this year. I checked on one hive today and fed them some more patties. Alos removed the super, it had 3 frames of honey. They were still bringing in pollen a month ago so I left it on all this time; the drought really impacted honey production this year. They have an entire deep full of honey, the patties I gave them, and a little bit of uncapped honey in another deep. Plus I am sure that there is some adjacent to the brood nest as well but I didn't dig that deep too long, it was a little chilly for them. As hard as it is to believe, Alder is our first pollen source and should be available in Jan. or early Feb. It isn't even winter yet (technically) and in my mind I already see Spring.
 

Maggiesdad

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I see Spring, too! Solstice is when they start the first small batches of brood... and that's just around the corner.
 

babsbag

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It's funny as they say that Dec 21 is the beginning of winter but for me it is the end as days start getting longer. June 21 is the end of summer in my mind as the days start getting shorted. I like daylight...
 

Latestarter

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Temp today was right at about 60 and sunny but windy. I checked my hive briefly today, took off the outer cover but not the inner. There are yellow jackets sneaking in and out the entrance and I saw several bees carrying out dead ones... not nearly as much activity bee wise as I'd hoped/expected. No real activity at the top though a couple of bees did fly out after the cover had been removed for a few minutes. It was a bit windy... Tomorrow is supposed to be the warmest day this week, just over 60. I'm REALLY nervous and may dig into the hive to see what's going on... It looked real good coming out of the hopguard II treatment... I hope they're still OK. <sigh> Will see tomorrow.

I have a not so warm and fuzzy feeling... like as in I may be out of bees till 2017... I plan on moving next summer so if this hive dies I'll wait till I settle down again then re-start. One thing I'm not looking forward to is that where I intend to move they have AHBs...
 

babsbag

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Hoping for the best. It was about 56 here today and cloudy but the bees were coming in and out, but not a lot. When I went down to the bottom deep (I didn't pull any frames out of that box) there were bees all over the top of the frames...I could tell where the brood nest is. There were MANY more bees in the bottom box than in the top ones. You may be surprised. Bees don't like wind so hopefully they were all just tucked in safely.

AHBs ??? SHBs ???
 

Latestarter

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AHB's = Africanized honey bees
 

babsbag

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YIKES...I liked my guess better. I was going to buy some packaged bees from an apiary down in Texas and I chickened out.
 

Maggiesdad

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@Latestarter - I wouldn't dig in now. Not worth it to disturb their cluster. Pop the top just for a peek, and give them dry sugar for the next two months if they are low. Heft the whole rig to try to get an idea of what you have in bees and stores.
 

Happy Chooks

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@Latestarter - I wouldn't dig in now. Not worth it to disturb their cluster. Pop the top just for a peek, and give them dry sugar for the next two months if they are low. Heft the whole rig to try to get an idea of what you have in bees and stores.
I agree. Plus, you might squish the queen, which would not be good this time of year. I just peer down the frames when I lift the top to make sure they have a patty to work on.
 
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