I've been through all my hives here at my place in the last week or so. Here's the status:
I lost a lot of bees and several of the mating nucs and two whole booming hives to pesticides. Piles of dead bees in front of the hives and piles on the bottom boards. I have contacted the Dept. of agriculture. I'll see what they tell me I can do about preventing it again.
The 22 frame Dadant deep hive did pretty well, but ened up queenless after the pesticide kill. I requeened it yesterday by combine one of my two frame mating nucs.
The Long medium hives (33 frames) are all doing pretty well too.
The Carni hive I did so many splits from last year, and several this year, is still one of my better hives and still has the same queen from last year.
One of the long mediums (33 frames long) I started putting supers over the brood chamber. It has probably done the best, but they also are rasing brood in the super I added so the brood nest is up front. I had been moving honey to the back and it is now full (three boxes long and one high) and is still looking pretty good.
The two top bar hives have done well. One is a three box long medium that is in the sun and it had one comb fall off of the top bar that was full of honey. I didn't fall over or take out any others. I threw out the collapsed comb. The KTBH is in the shade and had no combs collapse. It did swarm earlier in the year. It is a bit light now. A lot of empty combs and not that many bees, but it's doing ok. I seem to be in a dearth and the loss of all of those bees during the honey flow really hurt any crop I might have gotten. I think I'm going to start feeding if this doesn't let up soon. Otherwise I'm afraid the weaker hives will get robbed out and starve.
Still no mites to speak of.
So, although I raised a lot of queens this year, thanks to the pesticides, it doesn't look like I'll get a honey crop.
"Better living through chemistry."
It is a shame to hear of your losses.
I got permission to put hives on a farmers property a few miles away from my place.
He sprays for weeds in his corn and I think also worms in the corn. Are those sprays like the pesticides that killed your bees? Are there different sprays, some that don't harm bees? If I find out for sure what kinds of sprays he uses how do I then find out if they are dangerous to bees?
So sorry about your bees ! I don't know what else to say. Some welcome back from your week at the rez (at least I think that is where you said you were going).
Unless the State Dept. of Agriculture does some research, I don't know if I'll find out what kind of pesticide killed them. The State entemolygist says that if the pesticides were used as directed there shouldn't have been that kind of losses so they SHOULD investigate. We will see.
Last time I had these kinds of losses it was Malthion spraying for mosquitoes.
MB, sorry to hear the news. Agro chemical kills are just the worst. Do you have to register your bee sites with the Ag Dept ? As for Malathion, at least it has a very short 1/2 life. Organo phosphates and Carbamates can persist and kill for a long time. Leaving hives and comb useless. Hope the Ag Dept finds who and what.
Rooster, herbicides are usually not a concern, but pesticides applied on corn can be devastating. Make sure you read the chemical labels the farmer plans to apply. B.T Or B.T.I. chemicals are pretty safe, But Sevin or other Carbamate materials will wipe you out. Wettable powders and microincapsulated pesticide formulations seem to have been developed to kill bees. One mistake by an applicator and your out of business. Be carefull.
You must be heartsick MB. Loving bees and seeing them devastated, is aweful.
Can you reuse the equipment? The comb?
The gov'ment is planning on taking Sevin off the market like they did Diazinon.
All pesticides have a time and place but some folks apply it whenever and wherever. It's not the chemicals fault but the applicators. It is a shame to see bee kills because someone is a gump and can't read a label or call the extension office, not that there are that many of those left...
The bees that are left seem to be doing ok, so I assume it hasn't contaminated the comb etc. But populations are low now and because of the timing of the losses, so are stores.
When my dad and I were raising bees a long time ago we had a real problem with pesticide kills. There was alot of crop dusting in the area and it seemed to take out 1 or two hives every year. ( if my memory serves me) I remember seeing the piles of dead bees at the front. It really hits you right in the gut.
MB sorry to hear about your loss. I thought that it is the responsibility of the applicator and the owner of the crops to be sprayed to inform any beekeepers in the area that there will be a spraying. If your a registered beekeeper and have your hives inspected then the inspectors of your state know where all the apiaries are. It's just a phone call for them to find out if there are any beekeepers in the area. Let me know how it went.
I'll trade you honey for queens...
Sounds like an awful lot of dead bees. Someone mentioned microencapsulated pesticides- I thought that these were no longer a product due to high bee losses.
On the malathion spraying for mosquitos- I am not familiar with malathion. I did catch someone spraying around my old house one day. I ran his truck down to find out what was up...he explained the product in use. I do not remember the name of it but at the time I looked it up online. It was a safe or "safer" chemical for bees, maybe totally safe. He also explained the county tries to spray at dusk when mosquitos were active, in knocked them down when flying. Well, at dusk, most of my bees are hanging out around the hive, not out visiting pesticide laden flowers.
On the whole "Sevin" issue. I tried raising some sweet corn last year, tried to keep it worm free. But as I do not yet have a restricted use license I was stuck with OTC Sevin. Sprayed the silk per label suggestions, not the tassles. Tassles were the only part that bees visited. My bees did okay. Now how does a farmer do his crop? I am not sure but my guess is that they try to minimize use of the product to save money.
No mites to speak of---what does this mean? If a weak hive succumbed to mites, the mites would be gone also eh?
What are your management strategies regarding pest control in the hive? If I look hard enough I could probably see varroa mites in many of my hives right now. They are kind of weak, have some brood, some K wings from time to time.
What happened in your area with spring honey and what were you doing with bees then to try and get any? Did you split that much? Around here we seem to get some good flows starting april 1 unitl June 1 (or that is when I rob) then slow summer until cotton blooms.
Any robbing going on?
Having played devil's advocate some here, I have only ever heard of unexplained dead outs with dead bees in front being the fault of a farmer.
>I'll trade you honey for queens...
That might work. But shipping is the expensive part of honey.
>Sounds like an awful lot of dead bees.
Typical of pesticides.
>On the malathion spraying for mosquitos- I am not familiar with malathion. I did catch someone spraying around my old house one day. I ran his truck down to find out what was up...he explained the product in use. I do not remember the name of it but at the time I looked it up online. It was a safe or "safer" chemical for bees, maybe totally safe. He also explained the county tries to spray at dusk when mosquitos were active, in knocked them down when flying. Well, at dusk, most of my bees are hanging out around the hive, not out visiting pesticide laden flowers.
When I lived in Mitchell, NE they used to spray malathion in the middle of the afternoon when the bees were out and the mosquitoes weren't. When I complained to the EPA (because my bees were dying in piles) the city started spraying at dusk, when the mosquitoes are out and the bees aren't. But after a few weeks they went back to the regular schedule.
>No mites to speak of---what does this mean? If a weak hive succumbed to mites, the mites would be gone also eh?
Just a statement of the current status of the hives. I can't say what that means. Would the mites crawl off the dead bees onto a live one? Would they die from the pesticide same as the bee? Would they just die because the bee died?
>What are your management strategies regarding pest control in the hive?
As of March, only small cell, no treatments.
>What happened in your area with spring honey and what were you doing with bees then to try and get any?
The first big pesticide kill was in the middle of the flow in late June.
>Did you split that much?
I'm rasing queens, so I split a lot for mating nucs.
>Around here we seem to get some good flows starting april 1 unitl June 1 (or that is when I rob) then slow summer until cotton blooms.
Our flow starts about mid June.
>Any robbing going on?
Not yet, but I think we will have some soon since we are now in a dearth.
>Having played devil's advocate some here, I have only ever heard of unexplained dead outs with dead bees in front being the fault of a farmer.
Piles of dead bees are almost always pesticides. I don't use any.
Michael, so sorry to hear about your hives. I, like bjerm, thought that the farmer/applicator had a responsibility to inform area beekeepers and further to spray in the early am or at dusk and I would think there's some kind of repayment responsibility in an instance such as this. I am registered with the state regarding aerial sprayings as well as with the county for mosquito spraying. I have "No Spraying" signs on the boundaries of my property and the trucks turn the sprays off as they pass my house. Of course, the neighbors' yards are still sprayed but the spraying is done before 10 am and after 6 pm. I can imagine how terrible you feel, though. I get some pretty serious losses every spring because of the Carolina Jessamine! I breaks my heart to see all those dead bees on the ground just outside of the hive.