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Another newbie seeking winter post-mortem advice

#1

Hi Friends,

Location is western New England, USA, USDA Zone 5a.

My hive perished over the winter. Not surprising since I was the lucky winner of 2 swarms in late August (late summer) of last year. I thought that they might not make it because of small population size and that’s what happened. There is capped and uncapped honey in the hive. I estimate that there were maybe 1000 bees in there, but that’s a wild guess.

I am looking for some advice on how to prep for the upcoming season, and to ask your thoughts on a few images, attached below.

First, there is a gray color to some of the cells. Is this OK?

Second, some of the cells, particularly in the uppermost corner frames where the cluster was located, are extremely fragile. They turn to dust when touched. Ideas?

Third, I am adding a second hive, and have two nucs ordered for late April pickup. Since both my upper and lower boxes have several frames each with honey, should I split them between the two hives or just let one hive get the goodies, if the capped cells are OK? Or should I start with all new foundation and frames?

Any answers or other thoughts are appreciated.

Kind regards,
Harry

#2

Close-up view of the gray areas.

#3

Nice and helpful photos, @Harry1, thank you. I think the grey areas are mold, probably mildew. It won’t hurt the bees, and when you get a nucleus in there, they will clean it up. Mildew doesn’t ferment honey - it takes a yeast type of mold to do that, and mildew is not a yeast. Bees live with mildew all the time, and when the hive is strong enough, the house bees will remove it.

As far as sharing the frames or not, I would split them evenly between your nuclei, putting the honey frames outside the main brood nest - i.e. close to the hive box walls. It will give them a nice boost in their new home.

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#4

I forgot to answer this bit. Very likely from the mildew. Your new bees should fix that too, given time. :wink:

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#5

Harry,

Dawn is spot on with her observations! Up here in the Pacific N.W. near Seattle we get the gray moldy growth on due-outs all the time.

Here’s several pix’s I just took of one of my winter die-out … Mine got starved when got sick n could get more winter patties in for survival ! We had a pretty bad dry/no flowers late summer n I tried to feed but had heart issues n didn’t do a great autumn job of it n lost. Anyway, here’s a few pix’s n I’ve got Nuc’s coming like you …

Cheers n good luck,
Gerald

1 Like
#6

Harry,

Dawn is spot on with her observations! Up here in the Pacific N.W. near Seattle we get the gray moldy growth on due-outs all the time.

Here’s several pix’s I just took of one of my winter die-out … Mine got starved when got sick n could get more winter patties in for survival ! We had a pretty bad dry/no flowers late summer n I tried to feed but had heart issues n didn’t do a great autumn job of it n lost. Anyway, here’s a few pix’s n I’ve got Nuc’s coming like you …

Cheers n good luck,
Gerald

Enjoy :wink: the learning curve !

1 Like
#7

Thanks, Dawn and Gerald. Your help is greatly appreciated. And Gerald, good health to you, Friend!