Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's Official 2012 was a Net Loss

It's pretty much been cold around the Small-Hold for the last two weeks with only a one day break that I can think of warm enough for the bees to get active. There have been a few other times when it warmed up for an hour or so long enough for the poor girls to get out and crawl sluggishly around but then the snow hit us Saturday once again and has kept all the bees inside until today.

There is absolutely nothing blooming out there right now. Nothing is green and although there are some obvious buds formed up on many trees they have been there for weeks at the same stage. This latest snow killed off any of the early blooms I had started seeing on the little ground flowers as well. I am sure some of the trees must be pollinating but I cannot find anything the bees could work right now.

Well today it finally warmed up a little to the point that it felt comfortable outside in shirtsleeves. Areas that were open but secluded with Sun were very nice and warm and all the bees were out flying except my original hive.

My oldest and largest hive died out sometime since the last snow storm came through. I know it was alive Friday before the storm hit us, although I wondered why they were not hitting their feeder as much. I suspect the dice had already been cast then and what I saw were just the last survivors because before that they hit that feeder every chance they got. I haven't opened the hive up completely yet because I was just too upset but I popped the top and saw thousands of dead bees and removed the entrance guard and pulled thousands more out unto the ground.

No matter how much sugar I feed these hives it is not enough to keep them alive. Every cold snap or snow storm I am losing yet another colony, without fail. Feeding is not enough because they just do not have the numbers to deal with the lack of food and the constant cold weather attacks and try to build up for when Spring eventually (if ever) does arrive.

If we don't get some warmer temperatures and blooms soon, and I mean very soon, this is going to prove to be a complete loss I am afraid. After the dismal Summer and Fall drought conditions they just do not have the numbers nor the stores to wait out an extended cold Spring.

Not to mention with each new storm more of the money I pumped into feed for hives that made it until March and then died just goes down the drain.

At this point I have lost all but one hive started last year and the loss of my original hive now means by sheer volume of bees I have lost more than I managed to raise from last year. I simply cannot believe this hive died it has lived through all manner of dearths over the years and always seemed to be bursting at the seams with bees but I could clearly see many of the workers with their little heads stuck into empty honey cells. I suspect they were balled over brood and couldn't move when it got cold but I will know more when I finally feel like breaking the hive apart and looking more closely.

As I said it isn't a total loss yet. I can still bounce back from this but it is going to take at least a month of nice weather and blooms before I can even think about making new splits or looking for swarms. Long range outlook suggest another bout of colder temps hitting us Monday with highs in the 40's but from now until then should be fairly nice daytime temps. I have filled the feeders once again and at least two of the remaining three hives were hitting them hard. The third one is my next worry as it just didn't seem to be booming with much activity either.

Bottom line is I still cannot claim the losses are over yet.

I can tell you one thing for certain. I am finished naming my bee hives it is just too depressing when they die out.

Can't do much outside as we still have snow in many places and the mud is everywhere the snow isn't. All I can do now is go work in the shop some more and sulk about my losses. I sure hope this Summer turns out better than the last one and I hope as well I don't end up writing a post titled 2012 was a total loss.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. Sorry about the bees. That sucks.

  2. After reading about your bees for so long, I feel a sense of loss too. I agreed w/ Rev. Paul that sucks.

  3. PP...I feel your pain...I felt like a failure when I lost one of my two hives. I just shook it off...made a bunch of traps and I am determined to have several good hives this year without spending a bunch of money.

  4. Just blame the liberals after all they still blame the Bushes.

    Does this signal the end of your beekeeping or just scaling way back??


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