http://www.sxc.hu/photo/452511Don’t cry.  It happens to everyone.  No matter how good your intentions, no matter how much you know, eventually you’re going to lose a hive.  Sometimes your bees just became too weak late in the season to make it.  Sometimes different bugs or diseases are just too much to take for a hive over winter.  Sometimes we make mistakes that lead to the hives decline.  But even in nature not every hive makes it through the winter.

That said, once the hive has died there are things you can do to learn about what happened and possibly learn from a mistake.  By looking at the dead hive you can determine if you might need to burn your equipment (American Foulbrood) or if you can keep it and simply start again.  By exploring the dead hive you can also find out if perhaps you didn’t leave them enough food stores for the winter or if it’s possible they died from bugs.

Want to learn how to tell why your hive died?  Check out our Beyond the Basics video for more information on how to do a hive autopsy.  Here’s a preview:

Also make sure to register and complete the Bee Informed National Management Survey.  This survey helps compile information from beekeepers all over the country so we can learn from each other and keep our hive losses to a minimum.

Did you lose a hive this year?  Can you tell what happened?  Let us know so we can all learn more about bees and overwintering our hives!

Photo by T.Rolf