BEEKEEPING IN THE NORTHEAST - An account of my beekeeping, not a treatise of expertise, but for friends & family who wish to keep bees vicariously through me, and for the occasional apiarist passer-by.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Dead Outs

Just a note here, as I'm getting several messages from local beekeepers during our current warm up... that their bees are dead.

Always error on the side of a miracle.

Every once in awhile some respected mentor of beekeepers will confess to something terribly stupid they once did. They usually don't confess until years later.... but eventually they realize we all screw up and it helps if you know someone more experienced than yourself has made mistakes in beekeeping. So here's my confession:

Beautiful, northern bees... I mean these bees were spectacular looking, grey, buckfast mix, northern hearty, disease resistant bees. I opened the hive on a warm day in March and to my horror, they were dead... but no, they weren't. They were just being smart...conserving energy... however, by investigating what I thought was a dead-out I ... well... I... actually killed them. Of course this happened years ago. I'm much smarter now... or at least I hope I am.

So... learn from the mistakes of others more experienced than yourself. It was the breeder of these bees that clued me in and I've never forgiven myself... my mind goes back to that day every time I open a hive in spring. Error on the side of a miracle. Leave your hives intact. Provide backup food stores... and if you haven't by now established a good emergency feeding option for your hives, improvise.

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