Losses are Lessons!
It really sucks to open your hive and see the bees didn't make it through winter. Your first thought is, what the heck happened? There are a few signs to help determine why a hive died. For example, if the cluster is small, you know the number of bees wasn't large enough to keep themselves warm. The queen didn't lay enough "winter babies" to help get the hive through winter...or, the hive had a large mite load and honestly, mites can decimate a hives colony size fast. The winter survival rate is dependent on your Summer/Fall mite and feeding management. I'm doing mite counts this year. I've never done that, but this year I want to monitor my mite load better. I'm also buying an Oxalic Acid vaporizer so I can do a blast when needed. I'll blog about that when it's time. So, grieve your loss, but don't give up. Clean out all the dead bees, brush off your bottom board, freeze your frames of drawn comb and look at the head start you have for this year! Buy a NUC or Full Hive and try again. I read somewhere that if you make it 3 years in beekeeping, you'll be a beekeeper for life. I truly believe that. :)
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