Saturday, March 3, 2012

Late Winter Beekeeper Report

After 3 years of beekeeping and even a mild winter, we lost our 3 hives. After closely examining the hives for clues of why, we have determined it was not from Chalkbrood or Foulbrood nor starvation as there was eventually plenty of honey stores.

Earlier on, after a very wet and stormy fall, we were concerned the bees didn't have enough honey stores so we gave them heavy sugar syrup into November and probably caused Chilled Brood. The hives looked strong in late July but they started to look weaker as the fall went on.

One culprit is probably mites even though we did treat for mites starting in July with Apiguard. For Nosema we used Fumagillin adding it to their heavy sugar starting October 24th.  Perhaps, this was too late considering we had snow on Oct. 29th. To address this for the coming year, we will be giving them winter patties and perhaps trying winter menthol-oil treatments, but we need to research this more.

Honestly, we are glad one of the hives died as it was very aggressive and never produced honey and we tried to re-queen with no success. The hive that produced over 100 lbs of honey last year will be very much missed though.

We have ordered 2 Italian bees packages coming from Georgia being delivered by Jim Bobb at his farm, Worcester Honey Farm on March 31st. ( Our first classes for Beekeeping were led by Jim and we have bought from him for the last 3 years and have appreciated all his advice and help along the way.

We would like to experiment with Northern bred bees this year to see if we have more success, so we ordered one package of Buckfast and one package of All American from Draper's Super Bee Apiary ( to be mailed to us in late April.

We will keep you posted.

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