Hive Stands

burtjauk(z5 oh)December 4, 2004

My six hives have been on a hive stand...sort of a long bench about 18 inches off the ground...all summer. Did fine...lots of honey, etc. I did not move them down to ground level...but now I think I should have.

I just checked my six hives...and found 3 dead ones. All had strong stores and bees going into the winter season. They appeared however to have starved even though there was plenty of honey in adjacent frames.

The only thing I can conclude is that during the first & next few cold snaps of the fall (lows in the 20's...highs in the 40's)... being off the ground just made it too cold for them to keep things warm and move to their honey stores.

Any thoughts? I've kept bees for several years and haven't had this kind of loss this early. This is my 3rd year in central Ohio.

I'm thinking I should have left well enough alone and kept them at ground level. Any advice or similar experience would be most appreciated. I've learned alot from the forum in the past.


Burt in Central Ohio

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ccrb1(z5 IND)

I think you're just guessing. I'm in Indiana, in the same zone and weather pattern. My hives have SBB on them, and are 12-14 inches off the ground.

Burt, the only way to determine the cause of death is to send a sample packaged appropriately to Beltsville. There are viruses that are vectored by varroa. There are other problems too. You can also call your state apiary inspector to check as well.

Don't assume height or draft. Mine have both. Some winters I approach a 50% loss, other winters much less, but I use chemical free beekeeping, and I expect to lose to varroa and TM.

Best wishes

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 6:00PM
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I'm going to agree with ccrb1.

I would say it is somehow varroa related crashes. Maybe check for wax worm damage, that would indicate the colonies were in trouble in August or September.

I'm zero tollerance for chemicals also, using small cell and feral genetics, TM and Varroa is no problem for them.

My hives are on 8 inch blocks. closet to the ground, better for this old beekeepers back is better for the bees. ;>)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2004 at 6:18PM
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I'd agree with the previous posters. I'm in NW ohio and mine are on pallets or concrete blocks with screened bottom boards, so 4-8" off the ground. The screens are kept open all year long and losses are typically less than 10%. Most starvation losses occur late winter.

Early losses tend to indicate disease (varroa or other), a weak colony (too few bees), or failed queen.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 7:52PM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

Well, I think the real issue is this... beekeepers are loathe to actually test their test bees to find the real reason for their demise. I understand a test at Beltsville Lab is basically free. And Lord knows we really could use the real reason when we have hives die. We just seem to resist sending in the little corpses.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 9:40PM
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burtjauk(z5 oh)

Thanks everyone. Good advice all around.

Burt in Central Ohio

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 2:36PM
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The higher up a hive is the better ,but not in the wide open . Cold air will settle in low areas .one to two feet is where rabbits dont die, lower than that and it a freezing death for sure.But we have to have a lower setting for bees .Feb March cold snaps will kill a hive , but most people say moister from improper venting, insulating ect. Top crown board should be thicker insulated than sides, Use tar paper in the winter on sides. Try wraping up your self in tar paper, we did on job sites to warm up in winter cold. it works.I say they died with a cold snap, from excess moister .

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 10:27PM
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