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Thread: Missing bees?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Roseburg, OR
    Posts
    11

    Default Missing bees?

    Hello all,
    I have a problem that I'd like to get some input on.
    It seems every year, my bees leave there hive during late autumn or early winter.
    This last year I started with another two pound package of bees in late April.
    Our house is on a ridge top, about 800ft elv., in Roseburg, Oregon. Because of the
    distance they were required to fly to collect pollen and nectar, I feed them all
    year long with C&H sugar water(2:1) to make sure they had enough honey to
    get them through the winter.
    My last feeding was in early Oct., on a warm autumn day, and the hive was just
    jammed with bees. I had added a deep super about July and when that filled, I
    added a shallow super in Sept.
    Everything seemed fine inside the hive. No real signs of problems. I have a VIZ
    stand with the bottom tray and when I pulled it out to see about mites, there
    were a few, but not many.
    About early December we had a strange warm day and when I looked out to the
    hive, I saw no activity. When I opened it up, they were gone.
    They left behind probably a dozen full frames of honey and what seems like a fair
    amount of pollen cells. The brood comb was maybe ten percent capped, the rest empty.
    I finally pulled the hive apart yesterday to get everything ready for the next two
    pound box of bees. There was no evidence of critters or anything else wrong.
    I did find what looks like queen cells, empty, on the bottom of one of the frames.
    The lower box frames has some fungus growing in some areas and even the deep super
    has a little.
    Is the honey from the super safe to uncap and bottle with minor fungus in some areas?
    Can the frames be reused after clean up and a light spray with bleach/water mix?
    Could my problem with them leaving be CCD? It happen so late in the year is
    why I ask.
    If I suspect CCD, is the honey tainted for human or bee consumption?
    When I opened the hive yesterday(I had taped all the openings over after I
    found them gone)
    it took about a half an hour for a bee to find it and start scavaging. I left the
    shallow super out yesterday afternoon and sure enough, there were a dozen bees in two hours.
    Any advise or thoughts?
    And yes, no matter what, I'll still keep raising bees. I just wish I didn't have to start over every year.
    Thanks,
    Jack

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Roseburg, OR
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    143 views and nobody has any thoughts or comments???
    Jack

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
    Posts
    833

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    When did you treat your bees against mites? What did you used against mites?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Roseburg, OR
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    Hey Axtmann,
    I didn't treat my bees last year. In the catch tray of the Viz stand I never
    saw more than a few mites throughout the year, so I didn't treat the hive.
    Jack

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    When you broke the hive down a few days ago, how many dead bees were in the hive 10,100,1000,3000, and where were they located. In the combs head first or dead on the bottom board. Was there brood in the hive and was it worker brood or drone brood?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
    Posts
    833

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    Just in case you will start again, make sure you treat your bees against mites. If not, you might have the same problem next year again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,496

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    Couple of things...unless you live in death vally there should be forging for your bees during late spring and summer so you probably don't need to be feeding all the time. Second, looking on the board is a really poor way to gauge your mite problem and from the sounds of lots of stores, etc. I would say they swarmed as a mite control method leaving the mites in the capped brood that you saw. Lastly, no, the honey is not fit for human consumption because it is made with the sugar you were feeding.

    Try 1to1 in the spring. Check for mites doing an alcohol wash, this will give you an accurate count in mid summer.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Roseburg, OR
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    At most a hundred. There were a few still on the combs, one or two small clusters.
    Most of the dead ones were lying in the bottom of the Viz stand and just a couple were head first into the combs.
    Most of the brood cells were empty, and as I said, maybe ten percent were
    still capped. I havn't started cleaning the frames or hive boxes yet, so I'll take a closer look for drone cells.
    Thanks for your questions scdw43,
    Jack
    BTW-I'll break out the camera and see if I can get some pictures posted.


    Quote Originally Posted by scdw43 View Post
    When you broke the hive down a few days ago, how many dead bees were in the hive 10,100,1000,3000, and where were they located. In the combs head first or dead on the bottom board. Was there brood in the hive and was it worker brood or drone brood?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Roseburg, OR
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    Roger that...


    Quote Originally Posted by Axtmann View Post
    Just in case you will start again, make sure you treat your bees against mites. If not, you might have the same problem next year again.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,729

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    When they die from mites there is usually a huge pile of dead bees and the mites are dead in there among them. If they disappeared that sounds more like CCD.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    I agree with Michael, mites kill them in the hive in winter. They don't go off somewhere and die.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Roseburg, OR
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    Our home is located on a ridge top, about 800ft elv., with our small city at
    about 400ft.
    The foliage on both sides of our ridge are oak trees all the way down. In past
    years I've had hives die of starvation, evidenced by completely empty combs
    and pretty much the whole hive dead on the bottom board.
    This last year I wanted to make sure I didn't have that happen again, so I feed
    them all year and expanded the hive as necessary(I thought) to provide them
    with enough room.
    Now I'm hearing about honey bound bees, so I will take a close look at the
    frames and take some pictures.
    Thanks for your input alpha6,
    Jack


    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    Couple of things...unless you live in death vally there should be forging for your bees during late spring and summer so you probably don't need to be feeding all the time. Second, looking on the board is a really poor way to gauge your mite problem and from the sounds of lots of stores, etc. I would say they swarmed as a mite control method leaving the mites in the capped brood that you saw. Lastly, no, the honey is not fit for human consumption because it is made with the sugar you were feeding.

    Try 1to1 in the spring. Check for mites doing an alcohol wash, this will give you an accurate count in mid summer.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Edwards, Ms, USA
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Missing bees?

    Hey Jack sorry for your loss of bees. Sounds like a swarm out to me. What kind of bee where they. I have seen this alot with russians.

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