Q -In August I discovered severe mite problems in my 9 hives. I used powdered sugar and it seemed to generally improve the hives. I re-queened 5 hives. Those survived. The other 4 had a mite setback and died by late October. One hive had no bees. The others had dead adults. Two hives may have lost queens and I did not know it till it was too late.
A – Sorry to hear of your health issues. Mites can quickly overwhelm a colony and your discovery of a severe problem after not giving them as much attention as normal is not unfortunately, an unusual occurrence. I would have recommended a more ‘aggressive’ mite treatment than powdered sugar – powder sugaring is not very effective under the best of circumstances and seems to offer limited relief to the bees only under very low mite pressure.
Let’s hope this year is a better one for our bees and the mites do not get an upper hand over our management.
Q -Some of the items may have multiple answers but the form allows only one.
A– Yes we realized too late that asking for how individuals get the majority of their information (i.e. allowing only a single answer) and only one response for membership affiliation was too restricting. Next year we will open up answer possibilities.
Q -I have never lost a hive since I switched to Warre hives. I am planning this season to try out some KTBH to see if they are successful.
A – Good to hear of your success with Warre hives. Losses run a bit higher in our survey but as in your case some people have total overwintering survival without losses. Good luck and good beekeeping this season.
Q – 2014 was a good year for bees in the basin, as there were not any killing freezes in the spring or early fall freezes; the previous year was not good due to severe queen failure issues and weather. This last winter was exceptionally mild, bees started bringing in pollen in early Jan rather than just getting started in late March.
A – It will be interesting to see what this past winter brought us in bee losses. We had an early November frost (a heavy one) that killed lots of fruit trees but the bees seemed to have been prepared for it. Pollen availability and brood development was early this spring. Hope the rest of the year is a good one.
Q -The first page I did not have an option to put that I had 0 active hives. All mine died this year.
A – Thank you for sending a survey. We recognized too late that on this question zero was not accepted for a response yet the idea is to calculate the “hive years” for a beekeepers experience. We will be sure to find a new method for this and get it changed for next season. Thank you for sending the comment.
Q -Opinion on my failed colony: It never had a chance. Got the packages in late April; day received was nasty weather and by the time the second package was installed, they were extremely stressed with 100’s of dead bees on bottom of package. Honey flow was early and they just weren’t ready (the other package went in OK; the bees were mad because of the weather, but they weren’t dropping dead). Supplemental feeding in fall and winter didn’t save the 8-frame. Did same feedings for 10-frame and they thrived. I think my 8-frame simply died off. Found several hundred dead bees in the hive, but none were bottoms-up in the comb. On bottom board and scattered thru hive.
A – I would agree that the colony was likely started too late and they simply don’t have chance to grow enough and store enough to survive. Flows can be too early and thy use it to build bees and then lack stores. Feeding may or may not rescue a colony short on stores – we try and sometimes it still is not enough. It sounds like the 8 frame may have had queen event and that then lead to their doom. Thanks for sending a comment. Hopefully this season will turn out better.
Q – Three of the hives that died displayed PMS symptoms, the fourth I dropped while moving it on a cold evening- it lived for a little while and then died.
A – You included a comment and appreciate it as it helps with our tally. My favorite on one survey was lost 5 colonies when I backed my truck over them. Dropping them is also a good “reason”. Thanks for sharing comment.
Q – On the first page or two, you asked questions that should have been check boxes rather than radio buttons. You asked for the MAJOR source of information when getting started. I couldn’t really pick ONE, but I had to randomly pick one of the most important (books, magazines, etc). But equally important were internet web sites, club meetings, and mentors. There was a second question that suffered from this same problem, either right before or right after the above question, but I can’t remember now what it was.
A – You are correct on these two questions at the beginning of the survey. We will likely want to adjust this to multiple choice in the next version. Thank you for taking time to send us comments.
Q – I dusted powder sugar to try and reduce the mites….the questions asked don’t make it clear what type of method this is
A – You had comment that our question does not make it clear what type of method powder sugar dusting is (nor does it reveal if such a method works or not). There simply is no space to explain some of these things we do to our bees – and frankly there is no ONE METHOD of sugar dusting and no clear evidence that it works better than doing nothing (i.e. not dusting). This is a survey instrument (and like all surveys it has some problems getting at the information we desire. I am after only some expression of how many people do this (no matter how they do it). If on analysis a good number of beekeepers are doing this and they experience lower losses, it will be something to further investigate (and better define) in the near future.
Q-CCD is a serious problem!!!!!! Besides bee loss, the cost of beekeeping continues to rise which makes it difficult for most to continue or start.
A – You commented on CCD and the seriousness with rising costs of beekeeping. Beekeeping has never been ‘cheap’ and you are correct in that losing nearly 1/2 of the bee colonies each year due to CCD and other factors only adds to the cost by our need for replacement bees. As we started our work on CCD back in 2007 (when we defined the term) – and began to realize the extent and seriousness of overwintering (and active seasonal) losses, we thought there might be a single cause – that has proven to not be the case. Syndromes of losses like CCD and Bee PMS have been especially troublesome in our search for what might be the underlying factor(s) in the symptoms we see in the dead colonies.
With the heavier losses supply and demand factors of the marketplace have kicked in and people selling bees have realized with the demand that they can (and should) raise prices. I have been doing this for over 50 years – the pendulum has swung in one direction — it will swing back – if we live long enough to see it repeat past history. Bees and hive equipment will never be inexpensive but maybe more reasonable in the future.