Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Taneytown, Maryland
    Posts
    18

    Sad What is the horrible smell?

    I've been having a lot of trouble with my hive. First, I had a failing queen which then turned into laying workers and that was a nightmare. NOW, 10 days later after introducing my new queen and dumping the laying workers (shes alive and seems healthy), I inspect the hive and it has the most god awful smell I have ever encountered in my life. The hive numbers are very weak and it seems as though they are not removing the dead bees. I barely have any brood at all. The queen may have started laying but there is no capped brood yet. I did the tooth pick test to check for AFB and that doesn't seem to be the case (maybe its EFB?). The entire hive smells like rotting meat. I just can't figure out what it is. I'm pretty sure its not the honey because when I poked around in some cells with dead brood I smelled the contents and thats where the source of stench is most likely coming from. I am so confused and just drained at the constant problems I've been having lately.

    Anyone have any ideas or seen something like this before?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
    Posts
    835

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    A bunch of dead bees/brood can stink no matter what they died from. Good that you are checking for FB, though.

    No offense meant, but probably a few more details would help. What do you mean by saying that you "dumped the laying workers"? Could what you did have resulted in chilled brood which died? A laying worker hive is difficult to requeen as they would more than likely kill her. How did you requeen? Was your original queen or the new queen marked? Are you in a dearth?

    A hive with weak numbers will struggle to do their daily jobs which also include removing the dead. Good luck. Do you know any other beekeepers. A mentor would help with the learning curve.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Taneytown, Maryland
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    I'm sure its not chilled brood.

    I shook out every frame at least 50-100 feet away and made sure no bees were on the frames. Then placed the hive back in it original spot. I did requeen and it seems to be successful. The new queen is marked, yes.

    Certain that I'm in dearth. I am still feeding them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Taneytown, Maryland
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    Should i provide more ventilation?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    736

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    I have some questions too...no answers though. How did this colony start and when? Was it an established hive with drawn comb? Do you see any streaks on the front of the hive? I don't know if nosemea (not sure the spelling) smells, but the feces streaks would indicate that disease.
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Taneytown, Maryland
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    I started the hive from packaged bees in march. No streaks on the front of the hive and no visible signs of nosemea.

    I'm pretty sure the breeder I got the package from wasn't the best place to get bees. Well, I know that now. I'm a new a beekeeper so I wasn't sure who to choose from but I know who to not choose from now.

    I also forgot to add that there is a collection of dead larva in the bottom of the hive. I removed them and I see some dead brood on the ground in the front, so they are removing it. But they are removing it slowly. I didn't see any real signs of disease when I was examining the dead brood. Maybe they are just rotting?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,595

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    Request an inspection from your state just in case. You don't want to be that guy that let a plague start.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Collinsville, VA
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    Do you have more frames than the bees can cover and maintain? If so, it can lead to beetle and wax moth damage and both of those can smell pretty bad. You should consider removing boxes or maybe even making a 5 frame nuc from it until the queen kicks in and they build it numbers. It's better to have a strong small hive than a weak big one.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Taneytown, Maryland
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    I only have two hive bodies on right now, my colony has had so many problems that they were never able to fully draw out the top body.

    Should I remove the top hive body? Where should I store it if it does have some drawn out comb?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,032

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    The "key" questions, for me, are: "How many worker bees are in the hive?" "When you shook the bees from the hive, were there enough bees left to continue caring for the brood, or did the brood starve to death?"

    Since you now, apparently, have the stench of dying/decaying brood, it probably died of neglect, and the smell persists, because there still aren't enough worker bees to even clean up the mess.

    If I were your bees, I'd be ready to find myself some new quarters.

    Reading this thread, I get the mental image of a hive with twenty deep frames, in two deep supers, and barely enough bees to cover three frames.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Taneytown, Maryland
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    The "key" questions, for me, are: "How many worker bees are in the hive?" "When you shook the bees from the hive, were there enough bees left to continue caring for the brood, or did the brood starve to death?"

    Since you now, apparently, have the stench of dying/decaying brood, it probably died of neglect, and the smell persists, because there still aren't enough worker bees to even clean up the mess.

    If I were your bees, I'd be ready to find myself some new quarters.

    Reading this thread, I get the mental image of a hive with twenty deep frames, in two deep supers, and barely enough bees to cover three frames.
    Thanks for the help.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
    Posts
    835

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    Are you having a heat spell in your area? If you do not have proper ventilation and/or water sources for the bees, the brood could also die from heat due to not enough workers being able to fan the hive to bring down inside temps.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,595

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    You can store excess frames of comb in a freezer. Bees aren't needed to cover or care for capped honey, empty comb, or undrawn foundation. Everything else needs to be covered with bees, so reduce it down to where they can. They would probably be better off if you removed everything except a frame of capped honey, and one of viable brood - if there is any - or one of empty comb, until they are on the mend. You might want to feed light syrup so that they don't need to forage much. You might have nothing left but old foragers that are on their last legs - but they tend to hang on quite a while when they really need to. Good luck.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Pell City,Alabama,USA
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    I agree with Hokie and David. Nuke it and put any other drawn comb in the freezer as soon as possible. Use a cover that you can drill a hole in and feed with a quart fruit jar and reduce the entrance. If you can get a couple or 3 frames of capped brood from someone that should do it if your queen is still good.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,032

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    When circumstances are perfect, or nearly so, viable colonies can be started with very few bees (perhaps 1/4 pound or 1/2 pound) and a fecund queen. When circumstances are otherwise, it can be very difficult or highly improbable for smaller/younger colonies to grow from, "just started" to "strong and well-established", even those started by three or more pounds of bees.

    When you add in factors, such as climates with cool nights, cool days and cooler nights or climates with low humidity and high temperatures; low forage availability or few foragers; high numbers of drones to worker ratio's; laying workers; poor genetics; too many honey bee predators; honey bee parasites and diseases, etc. It can be that the odds of success are certainly stacked against them. Many times it is we beekeepers who can make the difference by stacking the circumstances more towards the success of the bees. I call it "micromanagement", and not all beekeepers, it seems - especially many commercial level beekeepers, go to the trouble or expense to attempt nursing weak/damaged/underperforming colonies, in the hopes that they will recover their strength, or grow strong if they were never yet, well-established. Doing such things as reducing the size of their hive, feeding, adding brood and bees from other hives, requeening, moving to better forage areas, and many more management practices, all designed to give the bees an advantage, can be used.

    I have sometimes spent an entire season, from early Spring until late Autumn nursing dinks or slackers [hives that are weak or underperforming, for whatever reason(s)], just because I wanted the practice. Sometimes my efforts were successful, sometimes not, and sometimes I believe the cost may not have been worth the learning experience garnered, but sometimes it was.

    Without knowing the exact details of your dink colonies' history or personally observing its situation, a precise prescription for recovery is not possible. However, I can suggest; reducing them to a box that is only a comb or two larger than the bees can cover; give them a frame of honey for every two or three frames covered with bees (place the honey frames on the outside of the other combs); remove any frames with dead brood; leave them the combs of oldest live brood that they can easily cover. Their population is going to be falling, so you don't want them to have to deal with dead/dying brood, or more brood than their falling numbers will be able to care for, until new bees begin emerging to turn their population around. If you can obtain combs of emerging brood, to donate to them, it could be the best help possible.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Taneytown, Maryland
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    Great ideas and advice guys. I'm going to reduce the colony to only a deep hive body, and I'll (hopefully) be able to contact a local guy about maybe getting some brood frames and maybe some help with the situation.He is hard to get a hold of.

    It has been a rought time so far, it seems the problems that have occured have grown into more detrimental secondary conditions.



    Thank you!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Collinsville, VA
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    You can learn a lot from a weak hive and the lessons are hard learned. You'll be a better beekeeper from this.

    It usually takes 6 weeks for a hive to turn around. Six weeks will be up about when goldenrod starts blooming. If they can make it in the smaller hive for the next three weeks you should be okay. I agree that feeding and reducing the entrance will be necessary.

    Best of luck to you Morgan and let us know how it goes.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Taneytown, Maryland
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: What is the horrible smell?

    Thank you very much.

    I reduced the hive and I'm working with one hive body currently.

    I bought a testing kit for FB (I'm certain its not FB, but just to be safe) and some Terramycin, just in case I'm positive for fb.

    So all I can do now is continue feeding and observing until my items are delivered.

    I'll let you all know what my findings are in a week or two.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads