Sometimes Your Hive Dies

My first year of beekeeping my hive died in the winter.  We had an exceptionally cold December, and the girls starved. In the video I had three rookie mistakes that you might run into.

1)  Invaders. A family of mice invaded the hive and loved the warm temperature.

2)  Wrong number of Frames. I bought a hive off Craigslist, and did not count the number of frames in the bottom box. There was only 9 frames, and there’s suppose to be 10.  That allowed the bees to build out a lot of unwanted wax and bracing comb that makes things more difficult to manage for the beekeeper.

3)  Swarm. Most likely I had a swarm, as evidenced by the Queen cell that I show in the video.  What does that mean?  The population of the hive is cut in half when the new Queen arrives and the old Queen swarms.  Lower population = less heat in the cold = dead bees.

The video is pretty self explanatory.  It covers some winter maintenance and painting and cleaning out a dirty hive.

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Feel free to leave a comment or question below and I’ll try and get back to you as soon as I’m able.


24 Responses to “Sometimes Your Hive Dies”

  1. Risquin

    I live around a lot of birds right on the edge of a canyon with tons of birds. Would it be a bad idea to try to keep a hive because of the birds?

    • WorldOfBeekeeping


      Thanks for your question!

      Honestly, I’d think the birds would be fine with the bees.

      They may try and eat some, but I don’t think it will significantly impact the hive.

  2. James Tilley

    I have a wild swarm in my barn and I have a hive box sitting beside them. I need to try and put them in the hive box. Is October the wrong time to do this? I know that I will have to try to scrape or tap the queen into the box off the wild comb.

    Jim Tilley

  3. Lindsay

    Hi Ron,
    When you paint your hives do you paint the inside of them? What is the purpose of painting the hive?

    Thank you,

  4. joe kumley

    Hello ron I been into having bees for the secon year this year and over the last winter lost two of them due to dumd stuff like a mouse like you had and who know what else they had lots of food and here the question there plasted founders and been all year cleaning them up getting all the after math out of them found a knife tip works good but boy that lots of work is there any thing out there to do this job faster ? funney thing is enjoy the hobby and this year well look like there not making any extra honey in the super mabe because of the weather it was real hot here course know the brood boxs have lots of honey in them but that the feeding spot for them in the winter and well wife is upset want to get some honey for the year canning like most wifes want everthing no matter what ha ha hey gave them lots of food with surger and water and they just being hatful in puting out for me mabe next year they will possable give me some also had a few swarm from the hives this year learn a lesson so now have extra hives siting next to the over crowed ones with bee lure in them when they start looking like a swarm is going to happen got any idels on how to keep them from swarming or wish to share some of your tricks on keeping them from leaving my sight >>>???? I could keep on with the problems I have not enjoy but will save them for later on once you send back some info on this matter thank you ron for reading end of message Joe

  5. payden

    hi im 12 ans i just learned about beekeeping because me and my dad hunt alot but we see boxes and my dad says there beehives so i kinda wanna start myself any advice?

  6. Risa Bender

    Ron, I have a wild hive in a cedar elm tree near my front door. The hole to the hive entrance is about 6ft. up and is large, about 8″ across. The bees have tried to close it with some sort of wax (tunnels), I guess to keep the winter wind and rain out. The hole is on the North side of the tree. Should I try to cover the hole so they don’t freeze? I’d like to capture this hive when they swarm in the spring. Anything else I can do to help them through the Texas winter?

    Thank you.


  7. John Smith

    I had mice trouble once when I started. The damage can be costly, to fix the problem I got a mouse guard for each of my hives. The 3 dollars you spend is a lot cheaper then fix the damage.

  8. WorldOfBeekeeping

    Hey everyone!

    Thank you so much for your questions!

    We’re getting slammed with questions and are working on making videos to answer them.

    Look out in your email for updates!

  9. Laurie Riley

    I live in Louisiana, and my dad quit keeping bees due to fear of encroaching African honey bees. How far into the states have they gotten and what can you do to deter them from your hives?

  10. Todd Hatch

    Ron I over heard a person ask one of my local Bee suppliers, here in Florida, if there Bee’s were nice. They responded that the way they work there Bee’s is to give the Hive a kick before opening up and if they come out MEAN, they “GET RID OF THEM”. The African Bee’s are getting to close to take chances when selling to a lot of Hobbiest. What is your thoughts on this?

  11. Morris Myers

    Hi – I am new to beekeeping – my first hive – my bees will be here in one week. I have my hive all painted and set up but it is on about 6 inches off the ground. I have it sitting on 4 inches of concrete blocks with a wooden pallet above those and then the hive. Is this high enough or should I raise it more? Another question. When I install the nuc, should I put the frames from the nuc in the bottom box or the top box – I am just using the 2 boxes for now. I have a 3rd super but was told I should not use it for a year after startup.
    Please advise and thanks so much for your time and advice. Also where should I place the screen panel – do I even use it now and if so do I put it between the bottom box and top box or on top just under the roof top.


  12. Tim Clapp

    I lost one of my hives to nosema (obvious display of dysentery on the outside of the hive.) My question – Can I still use the equipment for new bees, and if so, how should I ensure that the protozoa are killed, ie do I need to “clean” the frames and boxes? Freeze the frames for a couple days perhaps? Bleach the boxes?

  13. Dave

    No-one seems willing, here in the Southwest, as to answering the question whether or not they’re renting European honey bees or Africanized killer bees. I’ve been chased by the latter, for a quarter mile and I’m not anxious to repeat the experience. I’m desperately in need of bee rental to pollinate my late-season squash crop but the one and only local renter refuses to make any guarantees. Please, anyone, any advice?


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