How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Thousands of Dead – Starvation Strikes Close to Home

Well, this weekend was a great weekend weather-wise, and I managed to get out to see the bees.

Unfortunately, when I got there I discovered that of my three hives, two of them had died. Now I was suspecting that this may happen…

See, when I got hurt last fall (dislocated knee) it was before I was able to finish getting them what I felt was enough winter feed. So I was pretty much depending on the little I had given them already and what stores they had put away.

So when I walked over to the hives, two of them had piles of dead bees in front and zero activity. The third had plenty of activity. Lots of bees coming in and out the front door, bringing in pretty yellow pollen.

Well, I was suspecting something bad, so I guess it’s better than all three hives being dead.

My son and I started pulling the dead hives apart to see why they died. Sure enough, starvation. The tell tale sign of a deadout caused by starvation is the bees dead with their heads in a cell. That picture up in the corner is what that looks like.

Sorry for the photo quality … my camera was dead and so I had to use my phone. In any case, the two hives that died are the one that swarmed and the swarm that came from it, which I had recaptured. So they were both already weak hives.

I pulled out two boxes worth of medium frames that were fully drawn and put em on top of the live hive for safe keeping for now. I don’t think there’s enough population right now to do much, but you never know.

I also left them with some dry sugar just in case. It’s been pretty cold here lately, and if it’s too cold they won’t take syrup. In a couple weeks it should be fine for them to take feed and we’ll go from there.

I’ll also give them some pollen patties next time I’m out there to help kickstart the brood rearing. I’ll also optimize the brood chamber with fully drawn comb that should give them a nice head start for this year.

A sad picture, but this is what the bottom board of one hive looked like. Thousands of dead bees piled 3/4 inch high.

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4 Responses to Thousands of Dead – Starvation Strikes Close to Home

  1. sorry to hear of them dieing. Do you have your local beekeeper association come out and inspect them and medicate them. Ours does it for free and many time they can help word off and loss!

  2. Rudy: We quit feeding ours sugar water and they seem to be doing much better and are also not as aggressive when we are checking the hive. I’ve done some research and truly believe sugar water is not good for our bee’s. It’s not what their systems were designed to eat. We are just going to leave them plenty of their own honey this winter.


    • I tend to fit into the same mindset. My new packages got one gallon of sugar water to start them off with, and that’s it. I did give them some drawn comb so they weren’t on bare foundation.

      It’s been a month since I’ve been up to see them, but will go tomorrow or the next day, depending on the weather. We’ll see how they’re doing…