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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Clarksville, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    216

    Default Lost all my hives! :-(

    Finally got to check the hives temps were great. Opened every one and all that I have in every hive is a hanful of dead bees laying in the bottom of every hive and a few dead scattered through the hives. Almost all of the reserves are still in the hives. Double Deep hives heavy with honey.

    No bugs no goo, no mess what so ever. They wer all doing well and were strong when I put mouse guards on in the fall. It is like they just left the hives sometime in the winter.

    So I guess I will not be doubleing in size this year, but using my packages to rebuild what I had.
    Dont understand it..... the year before i had 100% survive and i did everything the same this year.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    So sorry, that must be terribly disappointing.

    How many hives are you talking about that you lost?
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Clarksville, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    216

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    Lost all eight.

    Big setback.... still pretty confused wha happened.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Hesperia, Michigan
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    I feel for ya. I am in the same boat.

    Last year, 4 of 5 survived. This year lost all 8. Like you I had the same setup as last year. Last two died around the first of March. Those had a bit of dysentery. A couple maybe I should have combined, but didn't based on last years results. The rest of the hives had bees that were scattered about the hive. I wonder if the warm spell at the end of the year caught them off guard. I was too sick then to check them out.

    I also had 4 hives supersede in September and only one did successfully, so I lost 3 in October.

    Were your bees from packages or nucs? Most of mine were from nucs from the same beek. I am wondering if they inbreed too much. I don't have any feral bees robbing the hives right now. Or maybe the Nor Cal Italian queens just don't make here in Michigan.

    I have a couple of packages from Georgia coming in late April and NWC queens ordered from Tim to split with in late June. Plus a package of Russians. I am going to get away from Italians.

    I feel for ya. Believe me, I do.

    Jay

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Dousman,Wi.U.S.A.
    Posts
    209

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    Yeah, that sucks. Feel for you as I've been there myself. I had a very good winter here in S.E. Wisconsin. Put 10 to bed last fall and had 8 make it through looking incredibly strong. Recently had by pass surgery and knowing that was coming up I had decided not to order a few packages as I normally do. Glad I didn't now. Good luck to you this year.
    Trying to age gracefully, don't think its working!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Maricopa, AZ
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    When I went to see my friends hives who lost 2, we went through the frames and this is what we believe happened to him. He also had plenty of frames with honey and they are all still fine.

    It looks like the temps got colder than usual, as there is what appears to be a cluster shape of bees where they are head first into the comb. They are pushed into the comb in a cluster at the top of the frames where it looks like they had a choice. Stay with the cluster and starve to death, or leave to get food and freeze to death. Eventually the cluster died of starvation and this we determined because the comb is filled with bees head first in the shape of a ball trying to get every last bit of honey out of the comb. They died in this position. Their butts sticking out.

    Look at your comb and see if you see a ball shared area on several frames where you see their butts sticking out.

    I took pictures of it but can't upload them right now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    226

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    It seems like every post involving mass losses is coming from Michigan this year. Any Michigan beeks out there have a successful over-winter?
    ...This, and my heart, and all the Bees
    Which in the Clover dwell.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,917

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    I really sounds like mites to me. The first year I have usually been able to get them through without any treatment. The second year the mites are much harder on the hive and the population will die out over winter. Counting mites is much more important after the first year.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    609

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by NCSUbeeKEEPER View Post
    It seems like every post involving mass losses is coming from Michigan this year. Any Michigan beeks out there have a successful over-winter?
    I would say I had success. I went into winter with 25 and have lost 4. One was hit hard by mites before I treated it. Many bees with deformed wings. Hoped they would make it but wasn't suprized when they didn't. One was a late swarm that I should have just combined but kept my fingers crossed. Two starved by just being in the wrong part of the hive at the wrong time. They both had food just inches away. What is suprising to me is how strong most that made are. The next couple of weeks they are going to be eating machines. I have feed them fondant because its still winter here and I dont want to add all the moisture yet. Jay as for northern Cali. queens my Olivarez queens have done very well. My hive that died from the mites was going on it 4th winter and although they have swarmed at least twice that I know of so they still had the genetics but weren't original

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    1,398

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    Dutch, if there were plenty of stores and yet only a small amount of dead bees, perhaps it was trachel mites. Most bees are lost to trachel mites during the winter.

    Just a thought.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Hesperia, Michigan
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    Jay as for northern Cali. queens my Olivarez queens have done very well.
    Danno,

    Glad to hear yours made it through in good shape.

    The queens in the nucs from the pollinator beek are from a different apiary in Orland. The pollinator beek is having major issues too, dropping from 1500 hives to 400 hives in a year and a half. He treats his bees and they overwinter in Florida. He is out of the nuc business now.

    I am still beating my head against the wall trying to understand what happened. All hives were very strong, so strong that I left a super or two on each hive because the hives were booming, They showed minimal mites on the SBB insert in early September. Two powdered sugar treatments in mid September and the bees were noticeably less afterwards. Two of the three second year hives that failed in October, had superseded the queen in June, so they had brood breaks. They again superseded in September. Six of the hives that died this winter were first years hives from nucs, swarms or splits.

    I collected a swarm in early August of unknown origin and am wondering if they could have introduced tracheal mites or nosema ceranea. Or was it an apiary with all the same genetics. Or just inappropriate genetics. Or did I pick up something from the pollinator beek or the Florida beeks that summer here. I did find some colonies that had a number of smaller clusters, rather than one large one, so maybe the warm spell in late December fooled them. I suppose it could have been varroa, but they were way less than last year.

    I dunno.

    Well at least I have stopped walking around the house aimlessly, moping about the losses. I do miss my girls.

    On another note, pulled taps today. Seventeen and a half pints of maple syrup. Yum. Very little sugar sand this season.

    Jay

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    609

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    Jay
    Did you treat for nosema? I didn't treat before the winter of 09/10 and had big loses. Last summer I sent a email to a well know bee writer that lives around kalamazoo and asked about this treatment. He responded with "if you dont want your bee's to live through winter, dont treat". I broke out the bottle last fall and they each got 2 gallons of heavy syrup with a dose of fumigillin. May be it worked or maybe I just got lucky. Queens I think also had alot to do with this and I as I stated in my first post, the ones from Don Lamm just do well. Location has also jumped out as a major deal. Three of the four lost came from one location and 09/10 this location took 60 - 70%. It looks ideal on the east side of my barn. No wind and full sun for alot of the day but they are shaded in the afternoon. These bee's were scheduled to be moved this summer because I cant deal with them so close to my honey house. The apiaries that are really doing well are in open fields with autumn olive as a wind break. Not much protection in the wind but they have full sun when ever it is out. I also dont check for mites. I just treat with a rotation of organic acids and thymol twice a year. In fall I treat as early as possible just after thistle. This year with quick strips I will treat before thistle is over

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Hesperia, Michigan
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    Danno,

    No I haven't treated other than a few powdered sugar treatments. I thought I had a handle on the varroa, but never gave a thought about nosema sp. or trachael mites. I don't think the pollinator beek I got the nucs from treated for nosema, though I think he is changing his mind on that.

    One of the hives that made it to the first of March was a hive the pollinator beek kept for me the previous winter. I know it got some apivar life treatments and was feed HBH. They were lethargic when I got them back. Once they got off the sugar tit, they took off well. During the end of February I was bringing in bees from that hive that were 'dead' on the snow and they would revive inside and fly around.

    The other hive that made it to the first of March was a swarm I collected at the end of April last year, from a hived swarm I had collected from an orchard in Hart. When I would bring in 'dead' bees from this hive, they would act disoriented, walk in circles and backwards, drag feet and couldn't fly. I believe this is indicative of nosema ceranea. This hive also superseded in June after swarming early.

    I dissected bees from both hives and the intestines were clear colored.

    I have tried not to treat, but I don't want to be a bee murderer, so I may resort to treating for nosema and varroa. Maybe the carniolans and russians are less susceptible. Do you have any queens besides Italians?

    My hives are out in the open. Just some soft maples to the north that don't provide that much of a wind break. They do get sun most of the day and for sure in the late of the day. We had a lot of hoar frosts this winter. I wondering if this river bottom is not the best spot.

    Setup wise, I thought I had a good plan, which worked well the previous year. SBB with the insert in, slatted racks, small cell, foundationless, and some normal foundation in two deeps and a med super, all season inner cover with the insulation in.

    Thanks for you inputs. It is very much appreciated.

    Jay

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,984

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    Most bees are lost to trachel mites during the winter.
    All eight hives at the same time to mites? were the hives (queens) all the same age?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Dousman,Wi.U.S.A.
    Posts
    209

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    I would be worried about the river bottom. Cold settles into lower areas. I try to keep mine in an area that is protected from westerly winds, and have a southern facing exposure.Also wrap w/tarpaper for extra wind protection.
    Last edited by Karl; 03-18-2011 at 12:44 PM. Reason: add info
    Trying to age gracefully, don't think its working!!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Clarksville, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    216

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    All eight hives at the same time to mites? were the hives (queens) all the same age?
    7 were packages from Dadant/ Gardner when they were bought. One was a nuc from a local beek. I ordered all my bees from Don Lam this year. Will see how that goes.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,984

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    What is not making sense to me is where are all the dead bees? If it is mites wouldn't the bees be dead in the bottom? It is like they all swarmed in the fall and you didn't notice it.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Hesperia, Michigan
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    I would be worried about the river bottom. Cold settles into lower areas.
    I live on a river, so all of the area is river bottom, so to speak. I have my bees about 150 ft from the river and at least 8 to 10 ft higher in elevation. I can't get much higher without putting the hives in a wind tunnel. ;-)

    The previous two years I had good survival rates, so the location isn't high on my blame list, though I am toying with a shed of sorts to winter the bees in anyway.

    Thx.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Fertile, MN
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    thats rough, do you know how old your frames are? I have several hives with foundation last year, several with 10 year old frames, and several with 20+ year old frames. There is a great increase in deadouts with the really old frames. Deadouts with the same symptoms you describe
    Tanner Christianson - Woodside Honey LLC

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Lowell, MI. Ionia County, USA
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Lost all my hives! :-(

    I lost one out of five, it was the only one that i didn't leave the screened bottom board open! go figure!

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