I forgot to cover the bottom board of the bee hives 😭

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
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Southwestern Pennsylvania
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I probably killed my bees. We have a screened bottom board that can be covered by inserting a thin metal sheet. I forgot it. We've had cold, wet, and terrible weather the last few days. A big weather-related killer of bees is wind and drafts. I'm kicking myself. Bees are such a money suck and we just bought these hives in the spring to replace our two-year old hives that we lost to colony collapse. I hadn't even winterized them yet because I haven't had time, but if I had I would haven noticed I needed to cover the bottom board. A few days of 30 degree weather isn't a killer if you haven't winterized them.... but a drafty hive will do the trick.

Thank ya'll for letting me rant. If any experienced bee keepers want to tell me I didn't kill my bees, that'd be great.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
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Western Ohio
Oh no!

maybe things will be ok, but always hard when a bad result comes from something we did or didn’t do. However, you are experienced with bees, so ifyou have to start again, you’ll never forget to check this again. I’m hoping for a good outcome for you!

@WthrLady is one I know who keeps bees. Maybe they can offer up some more experience.
 

LizzzyJo

Crowing
Dec 14, 2018
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Can you go and do an inspection (ear to the box) or are you trying to prepare yourself for the worst? I wouldn’t say that 30° necessarily killed them. I think you have a chance. Overwintering is about so many things - food and cold. Cold for only a few days may not have done them in. At least not the ones at the center of the ball.
 

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
3,663
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Southwestern Pennsylvania
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Can you go and do an inspection (ear to the box) or are you trying to prepare yourself for the worst? I wouldn’t say that 30° necessarily killed them. I think you have a chance. Overwintering is about so many things - food and cold. Cold for only a few days may not have done them in. At least not the ones at the center of the ball.
I put my ear to both hives and didn't hear anything. One hive was already substantially weaker than the other. I haven't been as attentive to these hives as I have been in year's past because this year was a busier year. I'm on the rocks between calling them dead, and ordering costly overwintering supplies (that should have already been ordered). If they are dead, I don't think I'll be trying anymore bees so I'm not sure what to do at this point. It's not expected to be above 40 over the weekend for me to do a quick check.
 

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
3,663
7,199
461
Southwestern Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
Oh no!

maybe things will be ok, but always hard when a bad result comes from something we did or didn’t do. However, you are experienced with bees, so ifyou have to start again, you’ll never forget to check this again. I’m hoping for a good outcome for you!

@WthrLady is one I know who keeps bees. Maybe they can offer up some more experience.
This year has been a rough year. My work days are long, and we bought a new (but very old) house, so between farm animals, repairing the house, and canning and gardening, the bees went to the wayside. I think it may be time to throw in the towel. I feel terrible.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,646
21,545
877
Western Ohio
This year has been a rough year. My work days are long, and we bought a new (but very old) house, so between farm animals, repairing the house, and canning and gardening, the bees went to the wayside. I think it may be time to throw in the towel. I feel terrible.


Sounds like a tough year. We once owned an older house - loved the character, not so much all the work/fixing/updating. But, it was in a city, and didn't come with much land, so at least yours is on land, with the opportunity to do many things. If you decide to stop with the bees, maybe you'll pick back up in a few years when the house isn't so needy, the garden is established, etc. Sorry about the bees!
 

WthrLady

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Jul 24, 2014
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WestOak, Nebraska
First warmer NON windy sunny day you get, check on them, that's about all you can do. They won't come out until it hits 50, and below 40 they're half asleep and reserving food and 'sleeping'.

I lost a hive last year due to removing my bottom winter board too early. Man that was a GREAT swarm of bees, strong and hearty, but a windy day in the spring zapped the whole hive.

I lost two more this fall to wax worm. And I am a weekly inspector. They just moved in and took hold between inspections.

Unless you have bees on a larger scale, it IS a money suck. And Nature is a harsh mistress.
So you have to look at WHY you are keeping bees and then decide again if you want to be a be HAVER or a bee KEEPER. There is a difference.

I have access to free local swarms, which is the way to go. EVERY package of bees I have had has not made it through our harsh winters. But local bees breed strong and are used to it.

DON"T even give up if you open the hive and find bees all over and not moving!!!!!! Unless they're all on the bottom of the hive and feet in the air.

Seriously. they look dead when it's cold, warm them up and they spring back to life.
 

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
3,663
7,199
461
Southwestern Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
First warmer NON windy sunny day you get, check on them, that's about all you can do. They won't come out until it hits 50, and below 40 they're half asleep and reserving food and 'sleeping'.

I lost a hive last year due to removing my bottom winter board too early. Man that was a GREAT swarm of bees, strong and hearty, but a windy day in the spring zapped the whole hive.

I lost two more this fall to wax worm. And I am a weekly inspector. They just moved in and took hold between inspections.

Unless you have bees on a larger scale, it IS a money suck. And Nature is a harsh mistress.
So you have to look at WHY you are keeping bees and then decide again if you want to be a be HAVER or a bee KEEPER. There is a difference.

I have access to free local swarms, which is the way to go. EVERY package of bees I have had has not made it through our harsh winters. But local bees breed strong and are used to it.

DON"T even give up if you open the hive and find bees all over and not moving!!!!!! Unless they're all on the bottom of the hive and feet in the air.

Seriously. they look dead when it's cold, warm them up and they spring back to life.

I am probably a bee haver at this point, but it didn't start out that way. Our first hives were strong and other than a few hive beetles, which they seemed to keep in control themselves, we never IDed any health issues. We were forced to move though, and we took the bees with us, which was at the start of fall. They must have swarmed when we weren't around. They left a few weeks after we moved, and undoubtedly died. So we got more this spring, one was doing VERY well, but the other hive we had to feed a few times. The queen wasn't laying very much either.

I wanted bees because I think they are fascinating, I am a gardener, and I want to be a part of keeping honey bees alive and healthy. I did NOT want them for the sole purpose of honey, although in the past we have been able to harvest a few quarts of honey.

I texted a local keeper this morning, and she said she knows of a few folks who never put the cover back on the bottom board. Our bottoms were stacked on a three-sided wall of cider block, so maybe they were somewhat sheltered from wind gusts. I do hope they survive, but if they don't I think I'll wait a few years as you said until the house isn't so demanding. We did build the garden from the ground up this year, are working on a new chicken coop currently, had to remodel the bathroom (it was not even usable when we moved in) and add roof and siding to an exterior building because the home insurance said so. We have done it ALL by ourselves, in addition to working full time. We've had no time to spare for bees so it was unfortunate that we didn't consider our time when getting new nucs this spring.
 

LizzzyJo

Crowing
Dec 14, 2018
1,731
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The Great Black Swamp, Ohio
We started bee keeping a few years ago and were shocked at the amount of time required. We are lucky enough to be home a lot so we could do it, but it is a money-suck and hive loss is a consistent problem. We got them for bee sustainability from a local apiary, but the honey has been a nice bonus.
I have to say that if we had young kids or more time consuming jobs we would have already quit. Props to you for keeping them this long already!
 

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