2/2 dead over the winter :( Alberta

Well the winter that never ends did the bees in :frowning: one of the hives was dead by December, they swarmed late and I didn’t catch it, and the other one was ok in January but dead when I went to check it a few weeks ago. No brood at all, just dead bees on the bottom board and then a few frozen in the comb, with one very small cluster and I couldn’t see the queen at all. Some damage to the wax but no evidence of moths or webs and we had entrance reducers on after a mouse got in last winter and did some damage. Lots of honey left which I’ll now give to the new package. I didn’t see any signs of brood disease at all so I’m good to use some of the frames for the new package right? I’m using foundationless comb that the bees drew themselves as I was aiming for small cells.
I think they were too cold. Last year we didn’t wrap, had a mild winter and we had 100% survival and our friend who did wrap had a dead out with mould. This year we didn’t wrap again and it was a bitter and long winter here and we have two dead outs. My friend didn’t wrap and hers both survived!!! I feel like it may be a roll of the dice here in Alberta!!!
Beekeeping is fascinating I feel like I’m constantly learning and adjusting!

If there is no sign of any disease and the colony died out basically from exposure there is no reason you can’t make use of those frames and the rest of the hive. Good luck for this season and hope you have luck in rolling the dice.

Hello Rachel,
In Seattle, depending on what the winter served up, our Bees sometimes make it through the winter.

My sister-in-law in northern Minnesota doesn’t even bother anymore, as with 3 months of -20 F the bees just cant make it.

Yay for foundtionless and naturally drawn comb! You are keeping the local bees strong and healthy.

sorry for your loss.

do you get a lot of sun during these cold winters?

Do you think- a little solar panel attached to a little heating mat might help? I’ve been thinking it shouldn’t be too hard to use something like this to create a little solar powered bee heater:

It could have a battery to supply heat during the night- or could just add a bit of warmth during the day. perhaps the pad could be attached to a heat sink of some sort to hold the heat a little longer.

I saw this video on youtube where a guy has a heater installed in his hive and the bees do indeed gather around the heater for a warm up: