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  1. #1

    Post

    If you can't tell from my topic I'm a newbie. My grandfather has been raising bees for years (though his hives and methods are pretty different then what I've been reading about the last couple weeks). Last summer I decided I wanted to pick up the trade and he started teaching me. Unfortunately he has developed a terminal illness and is no longer able to work the bees or train me, so I'm struggling through trying to keep up with 25 hives that haven't been kept up all summer. So as you can imagine my terminology and knowledge is low (as is the time I can spend with the bees).

    Anyway, one of my hives has bees outside it that appear to be, I can't think of any other way to describe it besides saying they have the flue. The hive front is covered with brown stains that appear to be bee fecal material, the bees are limping around out there, (though workers are returning from the fields) and gaurd duty is almost non existant (ran the mower right in front of them and they didn't even move). I'm planning on putting a screen over the hive entrance so no other bees can rob them and contract whatever it is they have. Then check inside the hive looking for foulbrood, chalkwhatever, and the other stuff I've read about online. Anyone know what they might have before I open it up and if I need to screen off the entrance (I won't be able to get to them for awhile, haven't pulled honey yet and my grandfather really wants that done first).

    Thanks


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi,

    Can you tell me where you live? Do the bees on the outside of the hive have chewed or deformed wings? Could you open the colony and check the brood and describe what you see? Are bees crawling in the grass in front of the hive in large numbers? Are the bees in the colony flying strongly? Are they bringing in pollen? You may have a serious varroa or tracheal mite build up that has triggered many secondary diseases? Answer the above the best you can and I will try to narrow the problem down. I will also post this to bio bee for other to see what they think. Reply ASAP as the colony may not be saved if you wait to long.

    Clay

  3. #3

    Post

    Hi Clay,

    Thanks for the quick response. Like you I live in the Northeast (Erie, PA).

    - I'll check tomorrow to see if they have deformed or chewed wings.
    - If I have time I'll check the brood as well tomorrow.
    - Didn't see any bees crawling in the grass
    - No the bees aren't flying very strongly
    - Yes they are bringing in pollen

    I would completely believe I have a varroa or tracheal build up, not sure my grandfather treated for anything.
    As much as I would like to save the colony it may to be weak to survive the winter anyway. My main fear is that my bees will start robbing I DON'T want to spread diseases).

    Thanks

    [This message has been edited by mikechim (edited September 06, 2002).]

  4. #4
    Kevin S. Lunsford Guest

    Cool

    Hello,
    Add to Clayton's questions the race of bee you use. Consider fumidil-b for all of your colonies, sounds like you may have a late case of nosema-which may have been caused by mites, etc. And yes, reduce the entrance-drifting and robbing can spread anything. This colony is very sick.
    Kevin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    I agree I'd use the Fumidil-B for the Nosema (probably what you are seeing) and then I'd treat for mites, because odds are that's the cause of the stress that caused the Nosema. I would also check for symptoms of chaulkbrood or foulbrood. I'd pull off all of the supers (just leave the brood chambers). This is so you can use medications. Maybe pull a couple of frames of honey out of the brood and replace with empty frames (drawn or not depending on what you have) to give them some room to fill up if they need to since there are no supers. Put in some Apistan and some grease patties. If you hit all three (tracheal mites, varroa mites and nosema) maybe you'll get them through this. You could also go for the Terrimycin if you like. If you can get them healthy, you can always combine or put them over a double screen on a healthy hive. If you can't get them healthy, then I wouldn't do that because you don't want to spread whatever it is.

  6. #6

    Post

    Thanks everyone,

    After reading a beekeeping book last night, I to decided that it was probably nosema, but the book said it only happened in spring so I figured it couldn't be it.

    Didn't have time to check inside the hive today but the bees do have chewed wings.

    I should explain something else, my grandfather uses a different style of behave then probably 99% of the beekepers in the US. There are no supers or brood chamber. Basically it is just one large rectangular box with the frames vertically oriented instead of horizontally (makes a lot of the info I've read in books or online near impossible to use). We have a few of what he terms the "american hives" (Longstrath (sp) ) lying around empty, for whatever reason he didn't like them. This weekend I'm harvesting the honey crop and then medicating and treating for mites. My question is with this style of hive where the surplus honey, bee honey, and brood are all stored together is it safe to use the meds? I will obviously be removing them before the next spring, but will it contaminate the empty combs I'll be putting in?

    Thanks

  7. #7

    Big Grin

    Mike
    the first thing I would is to get a local beekeeper or club to help you with a exame of the hive.
    and I would strongly say to use the standard bee hives and now would be the best time to start.
    its hard to explain you problems on line if you like to contact me you can ya hoo me or e mail me beekeeper4u2@wmconnect.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Didn't have time to check inside the hive today but the bees do have chewed wings

    reply:

    This is a sign of varroa mites. You need to treat the bees ASAP.

    My question is with this style of hive where the surplus honey, bee honey, and brood are all stored together is it safe to use the meds?

    I would remove the honey to be harvested first. At the same time don't over harvest. Treat the colony but don't return the combs till the meds are removed thus avoiding contamination of the combs. Did your grandfather use meds? Do you use foundations in the hives? Do you have any natural combs in the hives? Do you know what race of bees you have just yellow or black will do? Based on your answers
    I will ask a few more questions.

    Clay

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    I'd love to hear a more detailed description of how the hive works. Do you mean that it is more "vertical" because the frames are shorter and deeper? Maybe it's a British Standard. It's deeper and shorter. Looks more like a square.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Sequim / Wa / USA
    Posts
    175

    Angry

    Hi all
    It is wonderful of you all to write your suggestions and trying to be helpful. BUT !!
    Nosema at this time is certainly an anomaly and it certainly sounds it is what you have.
    Another item is this odd Grandpa's hive construction of which we are not familiar .
    It may be one of those old "Box Hive" one reads about in old books and finds in museums gathering dust.
    One can only suggest to adopt "modern" 150 year old or so Langstroth design.
    If !! you find that this colony is very strong you might consider treating in the manner the other beekeepers suggested .
    Expect however that the bees perish anyhow , irrespective of your efforts and expense .
    You will have to expect losses by various reasons . That is the name of the game. Beware of using antibiotics or other treatments for reasons NOT established . You HAVE to know what you are facing and treat thereto , if you are so inclined .
    Nosema has the the indication of messy excrement all over outside and inside walls and other items. Also the crawling in the grass , seem unable to fly and perish .
    The other similar behaviour without the crap all over is tracheal mite infestation beyond return.
    Before other colonies are infected : Kill the colony with soapy water and decontaminate the equipment
    JDF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    >It is wonderful of you all to write your suggestions and trying to be helpful. BUT !!
    Nosema at this time is certainly an anomaly and it certainly sounds it is what you have.

    I would agree it's a bit of an anomaly, but not unheard of in stressful situations. Most likely, as you say, tracheal mites and/or varroa.

    >Another item is this odd Grandpa's hive construction of which we are not familiar .
    It may be one of those old "Box Hive" one reads about in old books and finds in museums gathering dust.
    One can only suggest to adopt "modern" 150 year old or so Langstroth design.

    My guess is that it is NOT a box hive. Anyone who had tried a Lanstroth and prefered something else must have a movable comb hive. I'm guessing more likely, because of the "American" reference that it is British Standard or WBC or some variation thereof. Perhaps it's British Stanard "Unified Frame" box (a deep and shallow put together. This makes a frame that is approximately 14" x 12" instead of the Lanstroths approximately 18" x 9". That would be my best guess. If it is a movable comb hive, there is no short term advantage to changing over to Lanstroth. But in the long run it will be easier to obtain equipment if you convert to what is the standard in the USA. I would like to hear more about the hive.

    >If !! you find that this colony is very strong you might consider treating in the manner the other beekeepers suggested .

    It doesn't sound very strong, but I suppose you mean if the population is high, which normally translated into a "strong" colony. This probably is a good indication of whether it's worth the effort to save.

    >Expect however that the bees perish anyhow , irrespective of your efforts and expense .

    Always a possibilty.

    >You will have to expect losses by various reasons . That is the name of the game.

    Probably true, but it's nice to avoid. I realize some veiw it as culling the weak ones, but sometimes they just need to get through the stressful times.

    >Beware of using antibiotics or other treatments for reasons NOT established . You HAVE to know what you are facing and treat thereto , if you are so inclined .

    I agree when using medications for nosema and AFB. But the Essential oils, FMGO, and grease patties won't hurt and there are bound to be mites there, you just don't know in what amounts.

    >Nosema has the the indication of messy excrement all over outside and inside walls and other items. Also the crawling in the grass , seem unable to fly and perish .
    The other similar behaviour without the crap all over is tracheal mite infestation beyond return.

    I think you hit the nail on the head. The tracheal mites are probably the cause of the nosema.

    >Before other colonies are infected : Kill the colony with soapy water and decontaminate the equipment

    My guess is the other colonies are already infested and are so far dealing with it. IMHO it would be better to determine the cause and treat them ALL accordingly.

  12. #12

    Post

    I want to thank everyone for their help so far. My grandfather just passed away wednesday, so I won't be out to the hives for probably a week or so. Once I start up again I'm sure I'll have more questions for all of you, and I'll try to answer some of yours as well. The frames are movable,I had dimensions of the hives and frames for someone else that asked but lost them, I'll post them again later as well as the other subtle differences in the hives I've noticed.

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