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  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Rideau Lakes, Ontario, Canada.
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    Default Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    I went to check on my hives yesterday to see if their feeders needed to be topped up. I have 3 Italian hives and 3 Russian hives. This years split which was a Russian had never really done well, going through a few Queens and i never really expected it to survive the winter - well it won't for sure now because there are only about 100 bees left in it - there are honey stores so what should I do with this hive and frames??

    One of the stronger Russian hives actually had mites ( discovered this summer - not a huge amount I dont believe - I had dusted earlier after honey harvest ) had lots of filled stores but yestereday was completely empty - not a single bee was present.

    So the question is would these have been a sudden collapse or simply a very late swarm and is there anything special that needs to be done with the boxes and frames and the stored honey?

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    Impossible to say based on information given, which is there's honey in the hive and there used to be bees. Now there aren't, why?

    However you should do a check of any existing brood to see if the problem was AFB. AFB is rare, but a dead hive should always be checked for it before reusing the gear. In case it was varroa mites, ( likely, sounds like you didn't treat ), don't transfer gear from this hive to any other hive while there are bees still alive. Kill the bees, leave things a week or more for any mites to die, then you can transfer equipment.

    Re storage, keep it in a shed exposed to the cold, which will stop wax moths and other pests. Protect it from mice though, who love to make a nest in empty combs and do a lot of damage. The honey can be used as feed either for winter, or next spring. If you store it overwinter it will likely granulate in the comb but the bees are still able to use it.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    How long since you last inspected that hive (the one that is empty). Sounds like they absconded maybe, mite pressure may have been high? A swarm would clear out a hive like that unless it's been awhile since ur last inspection, they didn't requeen and all of the workers found new homes or died off.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Rideau Lakes, Ontario, Canada.
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    It's been 14 days since I added the feeders and everything seemed fine, not that I did a deep exam. Now sorry but what is the difference between absconding and swarming? There were also no or very minimal dead bees around.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    780

    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    Your summer bees all died. If you had your bees on concrete you would see how much actually die.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    A swarm starts with swarm cells and ends with half the bees leaving taking half the honey. Absconding they all, or most all leave, leaving behind brood and stores. I have never seen bees abscond from AFB or adult bees die. Varroa overload it is fairly common.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Rideau Lakes, Ontario, Canada.
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    Thank you,

    Can you after over-load after one summer? Next season I plan to put bottom screens on all of my hives and dust with powered sugar more often. Are there any other "natural" deterrents for mites. Trying to stay away from the chemicals.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    You can absolutely lose a hive to Varroa the first year.
    screened bottom boards
    sugar dusting every 3 days
    hygienics - Russian, Minnesota Hygienic, SMR, VSH, Buckfast, others
    remove queen for 10 or more days
    sacrificial drone comb
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    In Canada it's highly likely you could lose a hive to mites in one year.

    If the only mite checking you did was if you could see any, and the only treatment was a one off sugar dust, then it's odds on mites caused the demise of your bees, and will possibly get the other hives also.

    You need to read up on ways to check for mite levels, and if the hive is at dangerous levels, do something about it.

    "Trying to stay away from chemicals" is a noble goal, but it does cost a lot of new beekeepers their bees if they don't check things properly and think the bees will just "deal with it", which is unfortunately what they are often told on chat sites.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Rideau Lakes, Ontario, Canada.
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    Thank you again

    Looks like I have lots to study this winter.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    you can probably look in the brood comb (empty) and if pressure was high, you will still see mites (probably dead ones) stuck in the bottoms of the cells.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Rideau Lakes, Ontario, Canada.
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    Ok will do that - I'll ask one more question before I start to study - if the mites need brood to survive as they don't harm or feed from live bees how do they survive over the winter when there is no brood?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    they can subsist on adult bees. You will see them attached to them, not sure how long they survive that way, but I would think they shut down and probably go through a hibernation phase in winter.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    Varroa mites get under the abdominal plates of the adult bee and suck the bees fluids. While doing this they are almost invisible to us or completely invisible. One bee can host quite a few mites, and it is not harmless to the bee, in fact a high enough number of mites in a broodless hive can worry the bees to death.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    you can see them under the lighter colored segments, not black ones though depending on the light. There's usually a noticeable bulge or non-symmetrical shape you can pick up as well on the abdomen if a mite or mites have gotten under there.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Lynchburg, Virginia
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    64

    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    Is it possible that some of the mite resistance seen in bees raised in 4.9 mm cells is due to the smaller bees themselves, and a smaller gap between abdominal segments?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    >if the mites need brood to survive as they don't harm or feed from live bees how do they survive over the winter when there is no brood?

    Mites need brood to breed. They feed off adult bees and can live along time.

    > I plan to put bottom screens on all of my hives and dust with powdered sugar more often.

    Powdered sugar is a very hard treatment to make work. Most think it is ineffective treatment.
    The screen bottom is used to monitor your mite counts

    >Are there any other "natural" deterrents for mites. Trying to stay away from the chemicals.

    I use "soft treatment" like thyme oil in sugar water and have oxalic acid incase I need it.

    http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/varroa/varroa2.htm

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/the-...tments-part-1/
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/ipm-...tments-part-2/


    Here are some good sites for your studies.

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/

    And you can try to out breed the mites, a break in brood will cause a break in varroa

    http://www.mdasplitter.com/docs/Outb...Nucs%20(I).pdf

    There is also small cell size as a treatment for mites

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Rideau Lakes, Ontario, Canada.
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    Default Re: Very late swarm or possible CCD???

    Thank you very much - this seems to be some great information, especially the essential oil sectional so I think I will explore my bees next week and set them up with some Greece patties and try and keep an eye on them throughout our winter. My 4 remaining hives do seem very strong, all double brood chambers and lots of bees so will keep my fingers crossed.

    Thank you everyone.

    Stuart
    Www.lifeisabuzz.com

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