Dead Out Clinics
LEARNING TO IDENTIFY A COMMON CAUSE OF WINTER DEATH IN NORTHERN CLIMATES MEGHAN MILBRATH, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION, MARCH 3, 2016
Beekeepers in northern climates have already lost a lot of colonies this winter. While official counts won’t be recorded for a few months, some trends are starting to emerge. One of these trends is a specific type of colony death. In Michigan, I’ve received so many calls describing the scenario below, that I can describe the deadout before opening the hive, or before the beekeeper describes it over the phone. While I may impress some with these predictive powers, the frequency of these types of losses indicates a real epidemic that is affecting honey bee colonies in northern states
Potential Reasons for Honey Bee Colony Loss - Spring Checklist
The following checklist will assist you in determining why you have DEAD or DYING hives in the spring. A colony with a tiny cluster of live bees should be considered dead.
You can check this list in the fall and try to prevent the same problems for next winter. Print this checklist before going to the yards this spring.
-Ontario Beekeepers Assoc, Tech-Transfer Program
When checking on colonies in the early spring, you may come accross a wide range of population levels, food stores, states of queens and varroa levels. This pamphlet can help you decide the best approach for what you might find in your bee yard in early spring.
-Fact sheet from the Canadian Ontario Tech Transfer page:
A dichotomous key for help diagnosing honeybee deadout colonies following winter in the Northeastern USA