Category Archives: Q & A

Q&A – Edge of woods

Q – 66% of hive losses due to my leaving colonies too close to the edge of woods.

A – Unfortunately there is little research on hive siting and pest and disease incidence. We know bees in sun have fewer mites (on average) than those in shade. Colonies near hedges have more woodpecker damage than those located further away from hedge (in England). If you had the colonies further from the woods would they have better survival?? I am not sure. At one time (pre varroa mites) it was standard to locate bees within wooded areas. Thanks for sharing.

Q&A – Split Survivor

Q – One hive starved by getting into a corner on top, one hive of 3 years died I think from mites that I treated too late.  3rd hive also new is doing well minimal mites.

A – Tough year – lost 2 of three – one starvation, one mites. Sounds like the survivor needs to be split this year to repopulate boxes.

Q&A – Survey Results

Q – I would like to eventually see the results from everyone who participated.

A – I prepare a loss survey for total OR and WA and for individual club responses soon after the survey closes (in May). It takes longer to analyze the management and reconcile managements with losses and do the statistics but I prepare those reports in June and into July – initially for the larger data bases of total OR and WA respondents and then for the larger club responses (beginning with PUB, our survey host). I do not do an individual club report if there are fewer than 18 responses for a club (data base is too small to be really meaningful and for use of statistical analysis) but I do look at some specific managements (those for example that are significant for the larger data base). All reports are filed in same location as the survey itself . You can see reports from last several years by looking under Survey results – slide sideways for Individual Club reports

Survey & Club affiliation

TWO similar comments –
A- I am not a member of Willamette Valley Bee Association. I accidentally checked it and it wouldn’t uncheck. Using my phone, which is not ideal. Only affiliated with PUB and OSU Master Beeks program.”
B-“Some questions (radio button?) won’t let you remove a response if you’ve incorrectly marked it. It will move through the options, but won’t clear.

RESPONSE – This was an unforeseen bug that goes with the club expansion. In previous years we asked a participants club affiliation and many were troubled that they could only select one. Until we have the manpower to do behind the scenes web development, we are stuck with the options and minor programming that the Google form will allow us to do. Noting the error in the comments like you have done is sufficient for us to correct the error on our end so that it does not affect the reports. Thank you for bringing it to our attention and submitting your correction.

Colony failure & record keeping copy

Swarm hive was going strong when I left for Europe mid Oct to mid Nov. When returning there was not one bee, dead or otherwise in the hive. There were a few capped cells with normal bees not yet hatched. Lots of honey storage left. My first hive(2012) was doing fine Jan 7, heavy boxes, lots of bees coming and going on nice days, by Feb 24 there (and still is) are only a few bees left (baseball size cluster), including the queen, but no eggs. The screened bottom board was covered with dead bees on Feb 25 when I could finally get in the hive to see what was going on. I am assuming it is varroa mite, as the frames looked like the one you showed at WVBA during your presentation. The varroa count was low last summer in all hives, so didn’t treat. As a suggestion, it would be nice if we could print this document, so we have a copy of our survey as well. I tried to print this but would only print current page.
RESPONSE – Spring bee colony losses are “normal” for keeping bees – this is when we see colonies die. Varroa is always a good culprit to use when trying to diagnose a bee loss. I did offer paper copies at the WVBA meeting. The reason you could only print a single page is because the survey has “hidden” pages (when do or don’t pop up depending upon your entry response to that section). I recognize it is inconvenient to have only a single page – ask me if we have developed the way to provide this next year and if not you are welcome to use the paper mail in version next season taking a copy for your records prior.

Bee Stewardship

I keep my bees covered from the rain and off the ground with blocks and a piece of plywood on top of the blocks. I also shade from the direct sun in the summer.
RESPONSE – Both are good bee stewardship – thanks for sharing.


At this time I have had 8 swarms as of 4/7/16. I have caught 5. While out of town I call others to come and they got 2. The 8th seemed to know where they were going and escaped successfully. I now have 10 hives.
RESPONSE- sounds like a lot of swarms. Some years the bees just want to reproduce

Overcrowed in spring

Treated my two hives with Oxalic acid on January 10th- 55 degrees day. It was so warm early that my main hive was overcrowded by March. I did a split on April 2 and added a queen cell from a local breeder. Doing well as of April 27th Captured 2 swarms on: April 1st, 2016-viable and doing well as of April 27th, 2016 April 10th, 2016-added mature swarm cells on April 20th from main hive to this queenless swarm. Still active but watching for signs that the cell formed a viable queen and she mated. I have not checked since we have had cold rain for the last 3 days with plunging nighttime temperatures. Feeding syrup

RESPONSE  – Mid April for queen mating is iffy some years. With queen cell requeening we should have positive signs (eggs at least) within two weeks, three at most. If beyond that then it might be best to combine (if there are enough bees to make it worthwhile). Thanks for sharing – hope that requeening event went well like the earlier one.

Hive loss results

Send results and analysis about why I lost my hives

Response – We will send  although it will take a bit of time for analysis as we are something near 300 responses this season. Appreciate your and all others who did respond.

Feral hive transfer

I lost a hive that came from my neighbor’s feral hive that was in a barn for years. That hive also died out in March 2016
RESPONSE: Sometimes we see bees doing well on their own – even persisting for years but then they don’t do well when we seek to transfer them and keep them conventionally. The study of Tom Seeley found that bees in tree hollows are different with respect to handling mites than our beekeeper colonies when we keep them at a higher density in one apiary. Thank you for your comment. Dewey