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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,018

    Default First deadout of the winter

    Before I describe the conditions and head off at the pass those who would say 'so, mites then?'

    Anyway, I was out checking the hives today, evaluating who I should breed from this next year according to winter flying ability. It was 45 degrees and the three hives from Zia were flying pretty good as well as some of the others. I noticed the signs of a deadout from one hive, bees coming and going unsure of where the entrance is, bees trying to get out cracks where there aren't entrances, and no guarding to speak of.

    I checked into the hive and found a divided cluster, two clusters about the size of a tennis ball, at least two feet apart, both surrounded by honey. There were more beetles in the hive than I have ever seen at one time with six. There were also about two dozen mites on the floor of the hive. There were about a dozen frames of uncapped honey and pollen and some evidence of water leaking through the lid toward the west side of the hive, not near the clusters. This was a pretty mediocre hive that was a swarm that showed up in my shop one day a year and a half ago. More details and pictures on my blog.

    I usually have one or two deadouts before Christmas, so I'm not at all surprised.

    What do you think?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,505

    Default Re: First deadout of the winter

    So do the shb breed/lay eggs this time of year in your climate?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,018

    Default Re: First deadout of the winter

    I've never seen larvae or eggs, only beetles, in my hives or others.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,470

    Default Re: First deadout of the winter

    First thought? Six SHB are statistically speaking zero.

    Yup, sounds like this colony is a goner and not one to breed from.

    Think? I don't know. Did you see any signs of a queen? Brood> Capped and un? Is there enuf brood and a queen so putting them in a tight nuc box would be worthwhile? Or are you going to put the frames of honey in another hive which has empty combs?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,018

    Default Re: First deadout of the winter

    Yes, I found the queen, if you check my blog you'll see pictures of the two clusters one of which includes all the brood that was present, three cells. I also found a dozen or so dead pupae on the bottom board indicating that some had been dragged out. We had a big freeze this last week, before that they were alive.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,044

    Default Re: First deadout of the winter

    Though it is impossible to rule varroa either in or out my guess is they had a hand in the demise but thatthe biggest issue is probably just an old failing queen. it isn't terribly unusual to see older queens just lose vitality though the eggs they are laying may still be fertilized.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,470

    Default Re: First deadout of the winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    before that they were alive.
    Barely at best.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,120

    Default Re: First deadout of the winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Before I describe the conditions and head off at the pass those who would say 'so, mites then?'

    I checked into the hive and found a divided cluster, two clusters about the size of a tennis ball, at least two feet apart, both surrounded by honey. There were also about two dozen mites on the floor of the hive.
    What do you think?
    And why do you believe it wasn't varroa/virus issues? What you're seeing is just what I've seen in some colonies...dead in the spring from varroa/virus. They do separate into small clusters. There will be mites on the bottom board.

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