Bee Keeping here I come!


Your loss of bees was a failure to requeen after the swarm. Yellowjackets can’t/won’t rob a healthy, queenright colony. If the bees swarmed after June, the swarm will not have enough time to build up population to collect stores and build overwintering bees. Old beekeepers saying,“Swarm in May, worth a load of hay, swarm in June, worth a silver spoon, swarm in July, not worth a fly.” Save any stores for your nuc in the spring.

You don’t close entrances, you reduce them. Even after taking all the honey and leaving open screened bottoms in Iowa, 25% of colonies still survived. Cold doesn’t kill bees, winter moisture does!


I should have said reduce not close. They did have queen cells and had a new queen within a few weeks.


OK, thanks to you both. I also appreciate what you said about the open screened bottoms probably not being a killer, especially here in TN. Thats what I’d been told and I’m glad to get it confirmed. I cursed myself all summer because I felt like I killed my bees by not putting that board on the bottom last year. Nice to know something else probably did it! (Of course it was still probably my fault! ha).

I have reducers so it sounds like I should put them on


I know by now lots of people are planning to add on colonies which means more boxes and frames. Wanted to mention a nail gun & stapler can be a handy thing if your putting together a bunch of equipment. It’s all been said before If your feeling ambitious and tired of paying shipping on hives you can use a beehive as a template and make your own boxes and and and It’s winter time which is a perfect time to build boxes and get ready for spring!


Especially if you have a nice, new, big barn!


That’s true a new barn is nice. It was keeping heat pretty good in there today.


We’re not going to keep any heat here, Tues high of 12.


Stay warm maybe you can put off building boxes until January is over. I suspect since your a couple hours farther north you know just how cold this next month is going to be. It gets down right nasty here so I was hustling to get that barn finished before this stuff hit. I finished that project just in front of this nasty weather! It will be 9 degrees here in a couple of days.


well, I’ve been following this thread for awhile. thought bee keeping was much simpler but the way I’m meticulous it will take too much time , money and worry. i want to raise pollinators for my fruits but i think I’m just going to place nesting boxes and buy cocoons for mason and leaf cutter bees. no honey but much better pollinators in my climate. i already have brush piles and ground boxes for the bumble bees to nest in. honey bees just aren’t hardy enough up here to warrant me investing the time and money in them. good luck to the rest of you!


I know about Italians, Carniolans, Caucasians, and even German black honey bees but I don’t know about Russian honeybees. My understanding is they have significantly better mite resistance. What do you know about them?


Two very interesting articles. Thanks



I need some advice from beekeepers:

THe last 2 years when I have bought bee packages to put in my empty hives, all of my frames inside those hives have had new wax foundations. This year, I have a whole bunch of frames that have empty honeycomb already built on both sides. I’ve tried to research if I can use this or if there is an advantage in doing so, but about all I have found is that there is a chance of passing on foulbrood but otherwise it is a good thing to use predrawn frames. Is that true? Foulbrood is supposed to be rare in my area and I’m pretty sure I’ve never had it, so I think that is unlikely to be a problem.

I have looked at each of my frames that have empty honeycomb and they all look pretty clean and no visible bugs or anything (I know some things aren’t visible to naked eye like mites). Also, I really haven’t done anything to disinfect them and I’m inclined not to. The only thing I see a bit usual (to me) is than the comb is a very dark color on some, not the white or very light tan color new honeycomb has in summertime.

what say you all? Can I fill my first 2 boxes with frames that have last years comb already built on both sides or should I use new frames again.


this is not a constructive post at all, but i feel this is necessary to the conversation. . . foulbrood sound like medieval fantasy problem creatures, like orcs and goblins. :grin:


You can use them. I use to uncap and sling the honey out with an extractor. The comb being already built will give the bees more time for collecting nectar.


Thanks, Bill. I thought that would be the case. Meanwhile, I just don’t know why I keep having my bees die out each winter. It wasn’t because they starved to death because this year they still hada couple frames full of honey when they all died. And the did die-not leave. In early March there were probably about 200 bees (a circle that pretty much covered 1/2 of one frame) and the queen was still alive and they had both honey and my sugar water that I started feeding about that time. A month later they were all dead in the bottom of the cage-including the queen. No pesticides had been sprayed. I had those vegetable oil filled traps and they had quite a few dead beetles but nothing too dramatic. Oh well. who knows.
At least they left me some nice clean looking comb covered frames!


Varroa complex is where the hive was infested with mites in the fall and had a heavy virus load as a result in the spring. The bees are unable to forage during winter and are not healthy enough to build the colony back up in the spring. Your description sounds a lot like varroa complex aka Parasitic Mite Syndrome.

Spring dwindle can be induced by feeding bees too late in autumn. Bees produce a winter population of “fat” bees that can live over winter and build up the colony in the spring. If bees are fed too long into late autumn, the winter bees can use up significant reserves of vitellogenin - similar to fat in animals - which turns them from long lived winter bees into bees more like summer populations that live about 6 weeks. The result is a colony that dwindles in March and April and is incapable of building up a spring population.


THanks for that. Is there anything besides not feeding too late into fall that I need to do to prevent varroa complex/PMS? thanks


Educate yourself a great deal more about bees and mites. Commercial packages of bees are varroa susceptible. You MUST treat them to keep them alive. Never start with a single colony. Get at least 2 colonies so if one dies out you can split the remaining colony.

Mite resistant queens are available from a few suppliers.

Bill Carpenter at

Johnny Thompson at 601-562-0701

Adam Finkelstein is another source has queens, but they are a lot hotter than most beginners need to work with.

There are a handful of other suppliers.


[quote=“Fusion_power, post:573, topic:4536, full:true”] You MUST treat them to keep them alive. Never start with a single colony.

You used two of the words that should not be used when dealing with most things in life “MUST” and “NEVER” . The other word being “ALWAYS”. No matter who uses those words you will be proven wrong at some point and maybe to the extent that it reflects poorly on the knowledge of the individual that used those words.

Package bees that are not treated for mites can be raised successfully, I know people who do it including myself successfully. While a single colony does handicap a bee raiser it also can be done successfully as well.


Deliberately, fully knowing that someone would point it out. With a bit of study, you might find a derivation of Cunningham’s law.

I’ve been treatment free since 2005 after developing fairly strong genetic resistance to mites in a line of honeybees. I have also watched dozens of beginners start with commercial packages and lose them repeatedly eventually giving up on beekeeping. I do not lightly say that commercial packages have to be treated “unless” they are from a proven mite resistant line. Beeweaver sells a very expensive package that will probably survive with few issues. Given the problems with aggressiveness, I would requeen with Carpenter’s queens instead.