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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    1,076

    Default Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    Had a major beard 3 days ago on this hive. Then 2 days ago, major beard. One day ago, no beard. Almost nothing. My knee gave out last week and was not able to get out to go add box or see if they even needed space.

    Electric company was out around perimeter today with backpacks on; looked like they were possibly going to spray chemicals - if the electric company even does that.

    Came home today, was told lots of dead bees in front of hive. Took my walker and went out to apiary. Thousands of dead bees. Probably 3 cupsful on just the hive stand. Maybe another 5 cups on the bottom board. Lots more on the ground in front of the hive.

    The hive was totally empty. No stores. No larvae. 10 days ago only evidence of a very few beetles and it had lots of beautiful brood.

    I didn't think an abscond usually meant dead bees?? The comb was still beautifully intact - doesn't look ravaged, as with robbing. There was evidence of 6 or 8 uncapped queen/swarm cells.

    What happened, ya guess? Would a spray kill that quickly. I have 2 other hives - further away from the road (further from possible spray area), and they don't seem affected - as yet.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Westland Mi
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    122

    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    Not sure about the missing brood but dead bees like you describe is an indication of insecticide or other chemical. Maybe the others might have gorged on the honey and left while the getting was good. This ia just a guess. If you suspect chemical you may want to consider new frames for next years bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
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    991

    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by twgreen3 View Post
    If you suspect chemical you may want to consider new frames for next years bees.
    New frames nothing you want to find out who the dudes where spraying around your perimeter and get them to buy you a new hive.....
    Honeydew

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Yadkin, NC
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    71

    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    insecticide is not going to remove eggs, brood and honey. Not sure what happened to your hive, but it sounds like your queen took off or died and they were unsuccessful at raising a new one and they aged out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,004

    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    I vote for robbing. Whether it looked like robbing or not. I would think that the lack of brood would indicate queenlessness. A queenless colony will often put up a crop of honey.

    Here is my thinking of what happened.

    Colony went queenless. Queenless colony made a crop of honey. All remaining brood emerged. Colony got robbed out. Spraying may have had something to do w/ weakening the colony so robbers could do their work.

    Take a sample of bees and send to Beltsville for pesticide testing. Find out what the electrical company was spraying. Don't put your hive there again.

    Except in AHB colonies, absconding is a rare occurance in our bees, from what I have heard and know. I doubt that absonding has anything to do w/ this situation.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    Mark, I will definitely send bees to MD, great idea.

    I have a hard time (though what do I know, still so new) seeing so much brood - packed nice and neat - so recently and thinking she went queenless. That is dang depressing.

    My bee yard is basically in my back yard. I live on 40 acres but 2 hives are located maybe 100 ft from the house and this particular hive maybe another 100 ft beyond that. So they are all pretty close. If there were robbing, the girls would have had to have done it all mid-day (not before work or after work) and settled in like Santa with a big surprise, cuz there was no - inordinately no - activity around any of the hives. Just Feels like not robbing. Again, whaddoino??

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,004

    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    Oh, I thought there was no capped brood present. If there was capped brood present, but no honey at all in the hive, I would still suspect robbing. But, it is difficult to diagnose from so far away.

    If spraying wasn't done to the hives or on whatever your bees normally forage on, spraying probably didn't have much to do w/ the death of your colony. My experience w/ Power Companies who spray is that they are spraying a difoliant to kill vegetation so it won't grow up under the power lines. Generally not harmful to bees. Generally. But check it out. They may just replace your bees for good press reasons.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    1,076

    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Oh, I thought there was no capped brood present. If there was capped brood present, but no honey at all in the hive
    Just to be clear - capped brood was there 10 days ago.

    Yeah, I've got pictures...I'm thinking press. I had just a few days prior written my district rep and our county judge requesting no spraying here; they were planning on spraying the rights of way instead of mowing - due to expense. WHOSE??!!!! It's not even the cost of replacing these bees that bothers me - it's the thousands and thousands of DEAD BEES. Just lumped in a pile So sad.

    If nothing else, it may foster a bit of change in this practice. It would (sorta) be worth it if that ended up the case. But I'm doubtful.

  9. #9
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    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    Picture of dead bees and earlier beard. So very sad.




    The bearding, a couple days earlier.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
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    366

    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
    Electric company was out around perimeter today with backpacks on; looked like they were possibly going to spray chemicals - if the electric company even does that.
    Most electric companies use a chemical cocktail of herbicides underneath powerlines. The land underneath remains dead, dead, dead (at least in my area) for two or three years before anything considers coming back. That's not "just" Round-up (whatever you might think about that)!.

    I would contact your electric company and politely ask what they use in their control of plants around powerlines. Then politely hang up and google your results. Then act appropriately.
    4.5 hives of Italians. 2 seasons of experience. And you-- yes, you! You're my mentor!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    Thanks, Kazzandra; I've got the call into the electric company. Playing waiting game now.

    Love your signature!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Boxford, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    221

    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    I would see about having the surface of the hive tested and the ground around it as well. There are a lot if people who don't know about bee keeping who may have thought they were doing you a favor by killing the bees. There are also those who are just ignorant and may have sprayed them on purpose just to be mean. I had a mail man who maced the neighbors very friendly, disabled dog just for kicks.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    1,076

    Default Re: Abscond? With tons of dead bees?

    Hope I am doing this right. Please see link below for updated information. If the link does not work, search title: Dead Bees

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-spray-)/page3

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