Had my 3 hives since 2014 and left all honey for them over winter of 2014. They were fine and over-wintered well. All survived winter of 2015 but were robbed in March 2015 during warm spell. LCBA meetings are too far and at night. I would LOVE to have a knowledgeable mentor in my area. I am hoping to re colonize with feral swarms, or swarm from neighbor who has 10+ hives. Didn’t have robbing until they moved in. I cleaned and charred all parts of hive boxes and have one screened bottom board, so far. Each box has drawn comb, albeit void of any honey. I want to get going again. Too expensive to buy bees. Thanks for this survey.
RESPONSE – Bees can be expensive. Some years swarms will be plentiful and they are good to restock hive with. Robbing is a problem – last year we did see more of it. Too many bees in one area, or one apiary, might be a factor. With neighbor bees and your own you are likely correct to assume it was perhaps why robbing got started in your colonies. Very difficult to control once it starts. You might contact officer of local group to see if they have someone to recommend as a mentor. We do not have enough for sure. Trust you are able to capture some swarms to reestablish your hives.
I teach Sustainable living Classes …and… took up Bee keeping in 2013 and bought Italians from Portland and tried to run a top Bar hive with no Beekeeping experience, I lost all my bees the year to a severe Varroa Mite infestation, I then had to find and pay a beekeeping teacher and started on the basic fundamentals using a Langstroth hive, IN short Not being plugged into a community is hard and there are so many variations of Beekeeping that make being a beginner very difficult.
RESPONSE: I agree that a mentor can make the starting and success with bees much better. Good luck this season.
I want to clarify, because the required options didn’t quite fit. My queen/hive was brought to me by a mentor, and I don’t actually know where it originated. Because it was brought (caught?) late in the season, about May, we decided not to bother the bees much. They filled one Warre box with comb before the cold weather set in, so I removed the second empty box. We also gave them a couple of sugar-water feedings due to the drought and early expiration of blooming flowers in the neighborhood. By spring we discovered no living bees in the hive. Lots of honey stores, almost no brood, and the few dead bees clustered together (to keep warm?). My mentor inspected, and we posted photos on the PUB page that were reviewed by several experienced beekeepers. The consensus was that the hive failed because of a combination of late-season transfer and varroa. As a result I currently have no active hive.
RESPONSE: A Warré hive is not meant for extensive manipulation. We expect heavier losses of Warré hives when we keep our American mutt (Italian) bees in them.. SO in the survey you could leave the origination blank (since you did not know where your mentor got it originally) but indicated 1 Warré hive lost over winter. Under the feeding questions you would click on sugar water. When we do the forensics on a dead hive, we might eliminate some possibilities but still have more than one probable winter loss option – the suggestions of late season transfer and varroa are good guesses. You would check varroa or under option, list the two possibilities on that line.
The survey doesn’t give an option for “I would like to…” in the question about what things have helped us. As it’s only April and we’re just starting beekeeping this year, we’re still trying to find beekeeping mentors, classes that actually fit our schedules, and other local resources, so would love to be able to indicate interest in those things 😉
RESPONSE: The last open section is exactly for your adding something like “I would like to….” Please consider adding that information. Most short courses/classes on bees are in Feb and March – there will be very few for rest of the year….and those that will be offered are often for more advance beekeepers (such as courses on queen rearing, our Journey courses in the OR Master Beekeeper program). Courses are offered early in the year so beekeepers can start this year. What is still available however are the monthly meetings of the bee associations. Many have an open Q&A session so you can ask an expert – some have a meeting before the meeting to get questions answered. Check out the OR State beekeepers site orsba.org for the nearest local group to where you live.