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Thread: Is it CCD?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Bedford, PA
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    Default Is it CCD?

    We just saw a devastating scene and it would be helpful to get some confirmation. I'll set the scene for you: We're in South-Central PA, right at the Maryland border. This is our first hive (Italian) and we got them set up in April. They seemed to be doing okay in the Spring, but focusing heavily on brood rearing over the summer, so much so that they didn't make any honey for themselves. The population was great - two deep boxes full of bees, but it lost the sweet scent and smelled fermented in August. We did a syrup/Honey-B-Healthy feeding in late September and I put candy and wintergreen grease patties on for them in early October.

    Today, my boyfriend went up to repair the awning over them (hurricane issues) and noticed that the hive was silent - we normally hear a humming. He opening it enough to see the food and it was empty. I came up and we opened it to find the food touched, but barely. A few dead bees were stuck to the candy. The worst was a yellow jacket, cold, but happily eating - which means he made it through the entrance reducer and all the way through two hive bodies without being attacked.

    The upper deep was completely empty (although I did not inspect the comb - cold!). The bottom deep was just about as empty, but for one frame of very small bees. I did not pull this frame out, but quickly covered it back up. If the queen is alive, I suspect she is there. I'm pretty upset - it's not the 20-30K we need to survive the winter. Is it game over? Is this CCD? There aren't any bodies. Is there anything I can do? We did every right. Should I remove the upper deep and bring the food down to them?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Peace River, AB Canada
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    Default Re: Is it CCD?

    How much honey was in the hive before you fed and how many gallons of syrup did you feed in fall?
    You mention that the boxes are empty of bees, are they also empty of stores? Italian bees will produce brood even in a dearth and will quickly use up their honey stores and starve. I had some hives starve in a clover field one year.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Is it CCD?

    I think you needed to look at their stores more closely. How was the hive in early October looking? Did they have pollen? Fermenting smell doesn't sound great either but sometimes that's normal. Could've been high mite pressure too, did you monitor mite levels?

  4. #4
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Is it CCD?

    Quote Originally Posted by JD's Bees View Post
    How much honey was in the hive before you fed and how many gallons of syrup did you feed in fall?
    You mention that the boxes are empty of bees, are they also empty of stores? Italian bees will produce brood even in a dearth and will quickly use up their honey stores and starve. I had some hives starve in a clover field one year.
    I said in the original post that there was no honey. Zero. None. They took in about two gallons. I wondered about starvation, but there would be dead bodies, wouldn't there be? That's helpful advice about the Italians, though. I'll keep that in mind when choosing my breed for next year.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2012
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    Bedford, PA
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    Default Re: Is it CCD?

    I said in the above post that there was nothing. I had just examined them this month. They hadn't been storing much of anything all summer long and into fall. There were a handful of pollen stores and maybe a half frame of nectar in the entire hive. No mites, no dead bodies.

  6. #6
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    May 2012
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    DFW area, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Is it CCD?

    Sorry to hear the news. You can do everything right and still lose a hive nowadays. You may find something interesting that applies to your situation here about CCD.
    Last edited by Lburou; 10-30-2012 at 05:12 PM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
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    Default Re: Is it CCD?

    You are right that with starvation you normally find a lot of dead bees. However it sounds as though they have been light for many months so things may look different under those circumstances.
    Classic CCD would have no bees but there should be honey and brood present.
    I think the issue with this hive is queen or disease related from what you describe. Did you notice any brood, worker or drone, or hatched queen cell from swarming or supercedure during the inspection?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Is it CCD?

    Sorry Lecc, your post was pretty clear, but when you mentioned feeding wasn't sure if they were storing any of that or not. With a small cluster left, I would think your hive swarmed and a new queen failed or it's so late she never got laying and now ur left with a small cluster of bees. I would definitely try to get the food right above the cluster at this point but w/o knowing if a queen is there or not it could be a waste of time and effort. Being light on stores in summer was probably not great as well and maybe feeding earlier might've changed things but no sense in worrying about it now. In my opinion a hive should never be light on stores but there's that fine line of feeding and wanting to take honey and you just never know when a flow might kick in. Personally, I try to get a box of honey in spring by consolidating honey frames from all the brood nests and put it above the broodnest for the bees in early summer. This keeps the brood nest open and then I add my honey supers. That box acts as a buffer for the summer honey and if they get light they can use it as it's older or from the previous year if it lasted them the winter.

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