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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Lake Geneva, WI, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Dead-Out Questions

    We had one hive that did not make it through the winter. Now I'm trying to figure out why, and whether or not I should replace/reuse some frames.

    The bottom brood box was very light, just 21 lbs., with only a few bees spread around and little honey/pollen. Lots of dead bees on the screened bottom board.

    The top brood box was probably 35-40 lbs. First thing I found was a large circular pattern of feces on the top bars of this top box. Scraped it off...very thick. Nosema? And could that have caused the death of this hive?

    If I scrape the frames well, would they be safe to use again with a new package of bees this spring? Doesn't nosema leave spores?

    When I introduce a new package, I always fed 1:1 sugar syrup and include a fumagilin treatment. Would that make a difference in whether or not I could safely reuse the frames?

    I found many bees on the comb surface of the center five frames, with a good number of them heads-in in the cells. I've done my best to remove them from the cells. (Patience, man, patience and a forceps.)

    Very little capped brood that was dead. Some, but not much.

    Several frames are heavy with uncapped honey. Very little is capped. Some of the cells seem to show early granulation.

    Can these frames go into the new spring hive "as is," or should I remove the honey? And what's the best way to do this? Get the ol' extractor out?

    Thanks in advance for your ideas.

    David

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    Unless you have foulbrood reuse them. The bees will clean up. Don't worry about removing old bees, the new workers will be plenty efficient at it.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Rice County, MN, USA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    I have the same situation here. The brood looks good (though dead) so I am pretty sure there is no foulbrood but there was a lot of poop on the top of the bars right above the cluster. I shook out most of the dead bees and will let the new bees clean up the rest. Did you notice any mold on the pollen in the hive? One frame near the cluster in my hive had pollen in cells that has what looks like white and blue mold on it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,771

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    When I suspect Nosema, I don't re-use the frames, even when I use Fumagilin. I know there are ways to treat frames and comb but it's a lot of work for me. I'd rather just swap out the frames and clean up the boxes.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,771

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    One more thing. This time of year, you'll tend to see more more "poop" from the bees, especially on the outside of the hive when they make their cleansing flights. Keep in mind that the queen has picked up laying eggs again and the bees are rearing brood and eating stored pollen. Even a lot of poop doesn't necessarily mean Nosema but if I'm uncertain, I toss frames. That's just me!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,069

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenseye View Post
    When I suspect Nosema, I don't re-use the frames, even when I use Fumagilin. I know there are ways to treat frames and comb but it's a lot of work for me. I'd rather just swap out the frames and clean up the boxes.
    Sounds like Nosema. Raveneye has the right idea. Think about an early spring treament for your other hives and even more important, think about a fall treament after you have pulled your honey off. That way they can go into winter much stronger and with a much less infection level.(if any)
    Old Guy in Alabama

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
    Posts
    831

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    For the future; if your Fumagillin doesn’t work (it is an antibiotic and not allowed in Germany) why don’t you feed syrup with a mixture of Thymol solved in alcohol?
    There would be no mould in your syrup and it kills both kinds of Nosema spores.

    I would never use frames with Nosema droppings on, when bees cline the frames the spores are ever ware in the hive. The next infection is guaranteed.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Rice County, MN, USA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    So if you suspect Nosema what can you do with the frames of comb and honey? Do you have to torch them or can they be cleaned up and reused?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,069

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    You might try cutting out the wax, scraping them clean, and soak them in a strong Chlorine bath. Then rinse well in plain water.

    Then place them back in a hive body open to the air so that it might help prevent warping of the top bar.

    If you try to scorch you will probably miss heating joints or set it on fire.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Shirley, MA, USA
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    I'm a novice watching my single hive stumble through its first winter, but I've noticed my USA State (MA) has an irradiation program for AFB treatment-- sounds like it'd work for nosema spoor also, but just guessing. You might ask your state authorities if they have something similar, or perhaps a testing program to see if the poop is infected with nosema.
    http://www.massbee.org/component/con...dition-program

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Lake Geneva, WI, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by scdw43 View Post
    Thanks for the link. I did just that, yesterday morning. Sent the samples to Beltline overnight mail.

    Unfortunately I had discarded virtually all of the bees when I was cleaning up the equipment. I had to go out in the snow and find those that had dropped out of the bottom of the boxes when I carried them indoors. Hope these will work. My only other choice was to cut the Shop-Vac bag and dig them out of there.

    Does anyone know how long it usually takes to get an answer with Beltline?

    David

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    Should be quick, this time of year.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Palmer Alaska USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    If there were no stores over the top of the cluster I would expect that they cold starved. When that happens there is often a lot of poop on the bars as you have described. The lab report should be interesting.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Lake Geneva, WI, USA
    Posts
    34

    Thumbs Up Re: Dead-Out Questions

    Thought you might be interested in the diagnosis following my dead-out.

    I sent my sample of bees to Beltline, MD and received a reply the following day. Great service. Thanks to scdw43 for that idea.

    Diagnosis: No evidence of Nosema. Three (3) varroa mites found on my sample of about 105 bees. Also no trachael mites.

    So here's a lesson learned. Don't assume, because you see even considerable feces on top bars following a cold and snowy winter, that Nosema is present.

    I don't think that the 3% varroa mites figure is excessive, does anyone? I treated this hive in the fall both for varroa mites and Nosema.

    I think the answer has to do with the strength of the colony in the first place. They were not strong, maybe not strong enough to go into the winter season. They may also have had difficulty reaching the stores, since I found most of the heavy honey frames not above the bees in the center but more to one side--frames 7, 8, 9. So maybe Mark C is right on that one.

    Any other ideas?

    David

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,531

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    David -

    This seems to be consistent with what I and other's are seeing around here. All my smaller populated hives that went into the winter died with empty comb cells all around them. The weather we had played a role this year.
    Regards, Barry

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Antioch, Illinois,USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Dead-Out Questions

    My first hive died out this Winter . I live in N. Illinois. When I checked the hive, I found very few bees. I found 2 isolated small clusters of dead bees, with a few with their heads in cells. Starvation. The 2nd hive body was full of honey. However, we had a warm spell several weeks ago. I suspect the Queen swarmed, leaving a few bees. Then the weather went very cold.
    I cleaned out the hive and will get another package, and try again!

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