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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default autopsy of a dead out

    i have mentioned elsewhere on the forum that i had a hive that was for a practical purposes gone.

    i discovered it at my out yard a few weeks ago. i noticed that even though there was good activity at the entrance, (no obvious robbing), it was feather light to the heft.

    i brought it home so i could keep an eye on it, and reduced the entrance to just one bee. the other bees in the yard became interested in this hive, but i think i kept any full scale robbing from happening.

    i found the queen a few days later, but the cluster was only 1-2 frames. there were some capped and uncapped stores. more and more dead bees kept accumulating in front of the hive.

    back in mid september, this hive had decent stores and a decent brood pattern. they were foraging as agressively as the rest of the hives, and looked to be in good shape.

    by late october, they had become light, so i moved them home.

    as of today, the queen was still there, along with just a handful of bees.

    i managed to gather about 150 of them, including the queen, and put them in an alcohol wash. i ended up with at least 150 mites if not more. fair to say varroa was a factor.

    i also noticed a lot of white specks on the upper side of nearly every brood cell, which i understand to be pathognomonic of varroa.

    for good measure, i've got about 40 more bees in the freezer. i want to see if there was nosema there as well.

    the history of this hive is:

    walk away split from an 8 frame nuc.
    successful e queen one month post split
    slower build up and wax drawn than its cohorts
    very light by mid fall.
    no treatments or feeding all season.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    How is the original nuc doing?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    Quote Originally Posted by bbrowncods View Post
    How is the original nuc doing?
    the other half of this 50/50 split, (and probably the one that kept the queen, not sure), is one of the best i have. it has enough surplus honey that it may be donating some to a lighter hive later this winter.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    here are my journal posts for this hive:

    #B7



    102912: FOUND QUEEN, SOME STORES, NOT MANY BEES
    102612: MOVED TO HOME, POND AREA
    102512: VERY LIGHT BY HEFT
    100512: DINK! TOP SUPER ALL FOUNDATION, REMOVED. DEEP FULLY DRAWN, EGGS
    081512: TOP SUPER HALF FULL BEES, WORKING?
    080312: RECEIVED MEDIUM FRAME OF BEES FROM #B8
    060112: (BECAME NEW #B7 FROM OLD #B3?) VERY FEW BEES IN SUPER, EGGS
    051212: NOT READY FOR ANOTHER SUPER
    050412: SUPER NOT TOUCHED. SAW NEW QUEEN, GOOD PATTERN
    042512: PUT 1ST SUPER ON
    040612: SPLIT FROM DOUBLE DEEP FROM 10 FRAME NUC, NOT SURE WHICH GOT QUEEN
    032712: DOUBLE DEEP NOT TAKING SYRUP
    031812: FEEDER ON DOUBLE DEEP FROM 10 FRAME NUC
    031612: ADDED 2ND DEEP TO 10 FRAME NUC
    030912: BIG PATTY GIVEN
    030712: DONATED 1 FRAME BROOD AND 1 FRAME COMB TO OTHER NUC
    030312: 6-7 FRAMES BEES, LOTSA BROOD
    022612: BOUGHT 10 FRAME NUC FROM AJ


    i think this split had to make a queen, because when i saw for the first time, she was not marked.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    today's entry:

    111012: SHOOK OUT, 150 MITES/150 BEES, STILL HAD QUEEN, SOME STORES
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,473

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    Very very likely it died from mite overload.

    My brother lost a hive this spring in a similar fashion, and I suspect it's the same thing. Those white spots are mite feces, so you had a ton of them.

    If you didn't happen to have the mites carry DWV or some of the other viruses, you would only have seen a failure to thrive.

    It's important to check for mites, even if you don't want to treat on a routine basis. A powdered sugar dusting over a sticky board is a quick and dirty way that doesn't disrupt the hive much. If you get a significant mite drop after the dusting, time to decide what to do.

    Peter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    the other half of this 50/50 split, (and probably the one that kept the queen, not sure), is one of the best i have. it has enough surplus honey that it may be donating some to a lighter hive later this winter.
    Seems strange that the other half is doing so well, and with this being split you would think that the gap in brood would have given it a head start with the mites.

    Looking at the shaker pics it definately looks like mites...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    i'm guessing the emergency queen made by the weak hive was poor and/or didn't get mated well.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    That's a lot of mites!!
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Exeter, WI
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    Is it possible that this is actually the hive that kept the queen? Perhaps the other have had to raise a queen resulting in a break in the brood cycle, which knocked the mites down?
    Or, the queen this hive raised just wasn't strong enough to out-breed the mites and the other half is infested too. I had a couple hives that were just starting to dwindle in Aug while all the others were strong. Sugar roll revealed high mites in all hives. Looking at the brood, you could even seen a lot of mite damage in the strong hives. The queens were just strong enough to keep laying more.
    A combine of the two weakest and a thymol treatment seems to have everyone back on track. Some are a few it light, but still worth a try unless we have a monster winter.
    I would be worried about the mite loads in your other hive if that hive was so bad.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    thanks toadman,

    i think it is possible, but when i look back in my journal, the strong split ended up with more bees in it at first, making me think it had the original queen. (i placed the two hives facing each other a few inches apart when i made the split).

    sounds like you made some good moves there with yours.

    yep, i still have one or two that are iffy, and i may be a little late in getting to them.

    not too worried though, now that i have gotten comfortable with making increase. plus, i like the idea of culling out the nonresistant genetics.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    interesting side note:

    i moved this hive about 100 yards from where it had been sitting to do the autopsy.

    i did this to keep my other bees away, but because there were so few bees in the dead out, it took my a while to gather my sample, and the other bees found us.

    i noticed a little scuffling at the entrances of a few of the other hives afterwards. i thought it may have been because of the bees that had been shaken out were trying to join these hives, (and it may have been).

    this morning, i brought the empy box, (at least i got 10 deep frames drawn out of the deal), to the house to put the frames in the freezer. there were a few bees still inside the empty box that flew off when i opened it.

    i went out to the yard after that, and noticed more of this 'scuffling'. when i looked closer, it wasn't really fighting that i was seeing, but what looked to be grooming.

    i think these bees recognized that the returning bees were carrying mites back to the hive, and were trying to clean them off before letting them back into the hive.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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