Popped out a couple of bars to check stores. Bees everwhere. Took less that 30 seconds.
Odd... seemed warmer than that.
May have been the 20th. Good thing memory is the FIRST thing to go.
not odd... it was warm, to you :) also not odd that 3-400 seemed like 30-40k when you pop the top it the cold :) If 30k left in winter without queen that would be an event ! you had referred to an alcohol wash test, answers to my other ?'s could be interesting for other reasons if you do post-mortum
Sorry about losing the hive. I generally agree with the statement that all colonies have mites, but statistics say it's not impossible to be mite free with a few hives due to any number of reasons.
oh, I was concurring with your previous posts regarding the described varroa test, as I do with the latest one
An insufficient number of bees to maintain the amount of brood in the colony.
A workforce composed largely of younger adult bees.
The presence of a queen.
The cluster's reluctance to consume food provided to them by the beekeeper.
Complete absence of adult bees in colonies, with few or no dead bees in or around colonies.
The presence of capped brood.
The presence of food stores--both honey and bee bread--that are not robbed by other bees or typical colony pests, such as small hive beetles or wax moths. If robbed, the robbing is delayed by a number of days.
Son of a pup.... sounds like CCD.
Now it all makes sense.
web address where that information resides:
I had something similar to you MrBeeman, a really strong colony going into winter, only to find a completely empty hive in December. Not a dead bee on the bottom board and none on the frames, except young bees trying to hatch out if their cells. I chalk that one up to Varroa though, stupid pest!
The good thing is spring is around the corner and so is swarm season!
Presence of a queen and stores not robbed out are hallmarks of CCD. I lost 8 hives last year in the winter to varroa. Just as you described BeeGhost. But there was no queen, only emerging young bees. I knew they had mites and choose not to treat. But the absence of mits, presence of a queen in Beeman's hive favors CCD not mites. Nosema Ceranae is a factor in CCD if I remeber correctly. It does not have the defecation symptom as nosema apis does. Bees get sick and fly away to die. Queen stays put.
When you tested in the summer what method and where did the bees come from? Honey Supers, brood frames, capped or larva stage, feed frames?
And finally, how long were the bees in the alcohol solution before you counted the mites?
The industry has never established what CCD actually is only a definition of its symptoms. Varroa related collapse as Dan describes is not only common it is difficult for someone with little experience to diagnose unless they have been vigilant in checking mite counts. Looking for signs of varroa without a great deal of hands on experience can be quite difficult at times.
Heres a true story I experienced from 2011. We had "twin" yards of 40 colonies just a mile apart. They were all first year nucs, all hives looked good and produced well throughout the summer. Yard A had its honey crop removed and a thymol treatment placed on them in early September, yard B didn't get it's treatment until a month later and in cool conditions which made the thymol fairly ineffective. By mid October yard A had 38 strong colonies with large clusters and low mite counts. Yard B had dwindled to the point that we were only able to salvage about 15 hives that were generally small clusters that appeared to lack much vitality. An inspection of the bottom boards showed dead mites in unattended corners of the bottom boards on some but not all hives. Mite counts at that point were relatively low as they had been treated twice. Some white flecks could be seen in some of the brood combs but one had to be looking closely. Even with my level of experience I couldn't absolutely prove the problem was varroa because I didn't have any mite count data. Without the companion yard to compare it with I could see where some might consider that it is surely CCD. I choose to believe that my problem was not something unexplained but rather a case of a failure to treat in a timely manner. Could anyone logically argue with that assesment? I remain among those beekeepers (a minority?) who feel there are plausible explanations for most everything and suspect number one must always be threat one.
Yes, I would rather pin the problem down any day of the week rather that decide it was CCD. It's kind of like a doctor telling you, yeah, you have these symptoms, but we can't cure them or tell you exactly what caused them.
Don't be too hard on yourself, this happens to a lot of us. In 2006 I had 10 hives at a yard and I checked on them in early November. They were packed full of bees and all seemed to be well. Three weeks later 8 of the 10 were almost empty with just a handful of dead bees and a queen just as you described. I was disappointed and dumbfounded to say the least. Never did really figure out exactly what caused it, these things just happen sometimes.
You said you have 1 of your 3 hives left alive. What happened in the other loss?
I'm also curious about you not seeing "any" mites at all. If there were 30,000 bees in the hive last month there should be at least some mites left on the bottom board, even in a healthy hive. Please don't take this the wrong way, I'm not trying to be critical of your abilities. Just wondering if the mites might actually be there mixed in with the bottom board debris and you missed spotting them. They are so small, it took me a while to be able to spot them. Once I figured out what I was looking for they were very easy to see. Not saying that's what happened to you, just wanted to throw that out there.
Mike I appreciate the gesture.
The other loss was roughly one month prior and the scenario was the same.
Believe me, I looked and looked and looked for mites. I even used a 5x magnifying lens and then I used my flytying magnifier.... ever use one of those?! lol
A mite would look like it could chew your arm off through one of those! lol