Hi I installed a #3 package of all americans on 4/9/ 03. Ive been in the hive twice and no gloves and no stings. Lately ive noticed bees outside of the hive in late afternoons 3 or 4 at a time with little or no wings, walking away to die are they just old bees? the hive seems strong i saw lots of capped cells and plenty of larve . I got a super with foundation ect...from a local guy he said put the excluder and super on ,I did. he said i dont need 2 supers for the brood . I have a shallow should i put that on for additional space for the brood? Next question is Mites should i worry or any preventive maintence necessary yet, thanks for the help Ive been reading but havent found the answers . mal
My experience says these are bees that had mites feeding on them in thier larval form.
When they hatch, thier wings are deformed.
This can also be caused by other disease I understand.
>Hi I installed a #3 package of all americans on 4/9/ 03. Ive been in the hive twice and no gloves and no stings. Lately ive noticed bees outside of the hive in late afternoons 3 or 4 at a time with little or no wings, walking away to die are they just old bees?
Old bees are not wingless bees. Wingless bees are an indication that there are or were mites or some virus that causes this.
>the hive seems strong i saw lots of capped cells and plenty of larve . I got a super with foundation ect...from a local guy he said put the excluder and super on ,I did. he said i dont need 2 supers for the brood . I have a shallow should i put that on for additional space for the brood?
Some of this is a matter of climate, some seems to be local convention. I would either have a brood chamber of two or three deeps or three or four mediums. If your going with deeps, I'd add another deep before the supers. It's better to add the super if the deep is full and you don't have another deep.
>Next question is Mites should i worry or any preventive maintence necessary yet, thanks for the help Ive been reading but havent found the answers .
The details of all of this are in the POV section and in may forums if you search on the words of the subject such as "essential oils" etc.
There are many opinions on mites. The conventional methods for varroa are starting to fail and many are going to alternative methods. Then there are tracheal mites. Here's a summary, but this contains some of my opinions:
Apistan strips in the spring and fall when there are no supers on. Advantages: This used to be very effective at killing mites. Some mites have now built up resistance and Apistan is not as effective as it was. Also, there is some research to support that Fluvinates (of which Apistan is one) may actually cause the surviving mites to reproduce more. I used this last fall in desperation because of the infestation I had and still lost all my bees.
Cumaphos (CheckMite by Bayer). Effective against the mites that are resistant to Aptistan. Some reports of toxicity killing the bees or harming the queen. A friend of mine used this last fall and lost all but a handful of his bees including the queen.
FGMO. Dr. Pedro Rodriguez has pioneered a lot of this work. Mostly this is used as fog and emoulsion on cords. Also sometimes people use it on the top bars. This has been effective for a lot of people. Some have reported failure with this method, but it is unclear how carefully people follow directions and if there are climactic factors involved. I bought twenty hives that have had nothing but the fog and there are no measurable mite infestations. I am continueing that treatment right now as I try to move into other methods. The fog also kills the tracheal mites.
Natural sized cells. Beekeepers are normally using foundation that is embossed with cell sizes that are between .5 mm and .8 mm larger than natural size. Over several generations this resulted in larger bees that have larger trachea that allows tracheal mites to succeed and larger cells that offer a better environment for the varroa mites, a more desirable cell to choose to reproduce in for the varroa, and a longer period of capped brood that also helps the varroa. Dee and Ed Lusby have pioneered the work to move back to natural sized cells. Foundation for this is available from Dadant and Sons and Brushy Mt Bee Farm. The process of getting back to normal is not as simple as just giving them the small cell foundation (4.9mm). It takes at least two or three generations of bees moved to new foundation again before you have bees that are natural size to draw foundation that is natural size. Details on this are under the POV section. I am moving this direction and have my own shortucuts to try to simplify and speed this process up. Dee and Ed also use several other things in conjuction including breeding bees for survival, natural positioning of the comb and not feeding them substitutes, but only honey and pollen.
Drone magnet. Varroa prefer to reproduce in drone cells. Some people use this to lure the varroa into a frame of drone brood and kill the drone brood and the varroa.
Essential oils. These are helpful with both kinds of mites, but mostly they are helpful with the diseases that the mites carry. Several viruses have been identified and probably more are involved in the failure of colonies infested with varroa.
Menthol towels. Grease patties.
The natural sized cell, and the FGMO are both effective in tracheal mites as well as varroa. The essential oil treatments are also helpful.
The FGMO and natural sized cell are working all the time.
The essential oils and chemicals have to be done when there are no supers on.
There is no consesus on which of all of these is the best. I am going for the FGMO and small cell.
As has been pointed out above,the usual suspect is DWV(deformed wing virus) that is spread by varroa mites.Once it gets going in the hive,it can effect bees in cells that do not have any mites in them.So it is the virus that is doing the damage.There are other viruses associated with mites that can cause the adult bees to die at the same time the brood is being wiped out.There is a relationship between viruses and nosema,tracheal mites and varroa.Control nosema,kill the **** mites,and the hive has a chance.
Having said all that,a first year hive shouldnt have these problems.Bees working on California Buckeye will have bees emerge with deformed wings, and can kill the hive.I have personal experience with buckeye but dont know if other toxic plants might cause deformed wings.I've never heard of any.
A couple of other things.Get a capping scratcher and fork out a bunch of capped drone brood at around the purple-eye stage(any younger they are a bit mushy)This will show real fast if there is varroa in the hive.They always go for the drone brood first.If there seems to be a lot,the bees may have picked up an infestation from a dying hive in the area.If not too many ,it may be something that will go away on its own without treatment.
Also most beekeepers like a 2 story brood nest.I only use one,with an excluder and lots of drawn comb over that.I winter with a medium over the deep for a food chamber.There are a lot of reasons but I dont have time to go into it now,got 50 queens piping at me on the table ,they want a home NOW!
The bees on the outside of the hive in question, are they young or old bees?
Are there bodies still covered with the fine hairs of a young bee or worn off like an older field bee?
This colony was hived about 42 days ago and this would be barely enough time for two broods cycles to take place if all went perfectly well beyond belief. It is also unlikely that a mite population could build to any level in this time period.
It is more likely, if you look these bees over closely that they are older field bees that have worn their wings to nothing.