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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,791

    Post

    The hive's demise appears to be a combination of small cluster size going into winter and Varroa pressure. Please take a look at these pics http://photobucket.com/albums/e142/BeeBerryWoods/ and let me know what you think. Is the stuff on the outside frame mold? If so, is it ok to give it as is to a healthy hive?
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
    Posts
    830

    Post

    Andrew before you give the combs to a healthy hive find out why this colony die.

    IMO they had nosema, you can see it on the dark brown spots on the frames.

    I personally wouldn’t use the frames again. If you need them, scratch the wood till it’s visible clean and than wash it with a sponge and vinegar.

    To make sure they had nosema or not, take a dozen bees on a paper and squeeze the rear end. If you can see the same dark brown substances it’s probably nosema. From a healthy bee the substances are more yellow like pollen.

    There is no mold, what you see is sealed food (honey or syrup).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,624

    Post

    Hey Andrew-

    I couldn't see the bottom board clearly to tell if there were a lot of mites on it. Any idea what kind of load they had going into fall? Did you treat with anything?

    There may be some moldy cappings on that outside frame, I can't tell from the picture if it's just regular white wax cappings or not. Certainly, a little mold won't hurt anything. Those frames look fine.

    I don't know about nosema. I've never seen it, but from talking to people that have and from what I've read, it's a mess. Your frames and combs don't look like a mess to me. A few spots here and there, but nothing I'd be concerned about. If all those bees died from nosema, I'd expect to see lots of streaking on the combs and bottom board and on the tops of frames. Those frames look pretty clean to me.

    Tracheal mites could be a factor, some of the bees on the comb had splayed wings, but that's a long shot. If you know you had varroa mites and a small cluster to begin with, chances are that's the problem. Mites usually kill off a hive earlier in the winter though, and I don't see any obvious signs of PMS or any of the brood issues typical with heavily mite infested hives. It could be a combination of a good cold snap (we've had a few recently) on top of a small cluster and dwindling due to mite predation.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,791

    Post

    Thanks Axtmann & George for your replies. I looked through the disease text we'll be using in our upcoming bee school at the nosema examples and if it is nosema, it is a very light case. The streaking in the disease text is very heavy - covering just about everything. That said I'll do the squeeze test when it warms up.

    Sorry about the quality of the pictures. The wind chill was down around zero and I could barely get my fingers to push buttons on the camera. But I had to do something "real" with the bees today.

    George - these bees got an OA drizzle mid November. I do not have records to remind me what their mite load was like last fall. There are a fair number of mites on the bottom board. The hive was alive the first week of January. I realized it was dead during my early February check.

    Thanks for the feedback!
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    One thing to remember about late fall treatments for mites, the damage has already been done to the individual bees in the colony.
    Older field bees will die before spring where there is several months of cold weather. It is the young bees of fall that will take this colony through winter and into spring. Any damage done to these bees that shortens their life span, reduces the chance of this colony making it till spring.
    This is why I feed a light syrup in the fall with oils, to reduce mite load, inhibit their reproduction, and encourage the colony to raise brood as long as possible into the fall. These new young bees will boost the colonies population and increase the odds of winter survival.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Mason, MI, USA
    Posts
    1,015

    Post

    With Tracheal mites the bees normally abscond in the fall leaving just a few dead bees behind. Look at the bottom board for Varoa mites or you may have lost the queen and the cluster got so small that they froze.
    The mold is normal and new bees will clean up. The frames look good to me
    Clint
    Clinton Bemrose<br />just South of Lansing Michigan<br />Beekeeping since 1964

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    That looks bery much like a dead hive I opened up a couple of weeks ago. That does look like mould, and they obviously didn't die of starvation! Is there any brood at all in the hive? Mine had none, and I know from opening hives regularly through last winter that my strain will always have some brood, even if it's only 3-4 cells. So I diagnosed queen failure, which is a familiar problem. I can't speak for your situation; a different strain in a different area might behave very differently over the winter.
    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    McGraw,NY,USA
    Posts
    580

    Post

    Andrew The outside frame from adject wall appears to have some counter sunk cells that are sealed. Did you by any chance open any of these cells to look at the dead larve ? If so were they normally developed and not stringy as they might be with AFB ? I didnt see any perferated caps . Was there any odor ? ...just a thought ...Rick Alexander
    Turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones

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