I live in Illinois. If my bees don’t survive the winter and I put new bee’s in where the old ones left off or do I need to start brand-new from scratch
If you lost your colony from lack of supplies n not a disease … I’d just get another package or Nuc of bees. Give the hive a good inspect to determine that. If you can find a more experiences beekeeper let them
check it out too. You can glean a lot from their knowledge so you can get the next colony thru next winter successfully. I am guessing others will read you post too n add to my thots n comments.
Keep on keeping on,
Thanks Gerald. In not sure yet if they have serviced. I was just looking for some input just in case.
If you lose your colony, you really need to know why. It is always a good idea to do a “hive autopsy” with an experienced beekeeper, or even your local bee inspector. Our San Diego bee inspectors are very accessible, and willing to educate beekeepers on what might have gone wrong - we are lucky, I guess.
If they died from cold, condensation, starvation etc, all you need to do is clean up the hive a bit - remove dead bees and debris from the hive floor. If you have chalkbrood, I would throw out the infected frames - it is caused by a fungus, and I would prefer to remove that from the hive. If you have foul brood, I would burn the hive, or find a way to get it irradiated - your bee inspector should know if that is possible. In San Diego, our winter losses are often due to varroa infestation. If that was the case, you need to manage varroa more actively, or make sure you get hygienic bees for the next season, and consider foundationless frames if you don’t want to intervene.
So the answer to your question is generally, you can reuse the hive, but it depends on the root cause of the colony demise.
It’s milder out here than there. We can quickly pop the outer lid n peek down thru the inner crown board. The hive I am watching at a friends apiary we added some sugar in December as it was a late season swam that mysteriously moved into one of his empty double Box hives that was sitting around. This was a lucky catch … We looked the other day n they are consuming some of the sugar pattie already on top of the frames. We’ve had warm enough conditions that his bees have been out flying n looking around. We might have got they thru maybe. Still too early to count our chicks as you might say ! How’s your weather … Seems anytime I see Wx related stuff back there you guys are getting killed off with more cold or snow.
Trust me Spring will get there soon !