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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,643

    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
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    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
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    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
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    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
    2,505

    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
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    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    many thanks peter.

    no dmv seen, (except on rare ocaissions), in any of the 18 hives, thank goodness.

    i was planning to check them mid summer this year, but didn't have time.

    the double plasic jar with a screen in the middle is really nice.

    i've got a couple of hives that are a little light at this point, but they may not be too far gone. i plan to check them, and if they are heavy with mites, i'll knock up down somehow.

    if i have to treat these, my plan will be to requeen as early as possible next spring. i heard i can get russell genetics from a guy not far from me.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
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    1,099

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    I think you put your finger on the failure to thrive on that hive. Makes me want to get good at routine roll tests. I'm intersted in the nosema results too.

    Do you have a picture of your wash setup?
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    many thanks lee.

    you can see a picture of a similar wash jar on scientificbeekeeping.com, do a search there for 'alcohol wash' or something similar. there are instructions there on how to make one. i bought mine from a place in canada. i'll try to post a picture, and one of the 200 mites in the bottom of the jar.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    DFW area, TX, USA
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    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    I read that Randy Oliver article, but couldn't quite comprehend every detail of that jar and how it works, even with my glasses on

    I'm just dense sometimes, I'll try again though.

    Added: I found another RO article with a good picture, thanks for encouraging me to search for it.
    Last edited by Lburou; 11-11-2012 at 08:41 AM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  11. #11
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    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    understood. most of his stuff takes me 2 or 3 readings. it's college level.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Rowley, MA
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    253

    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    if you see wax on the bottom of the hive those white specs you are seeing could be wax as well that is left over after the hive was robbed to death

  13. #13
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    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkster View Post
    if you see wax on the bottom of the hive those white specs you are seeing could be wax as well that is left over after the hive was robbed to death
    not sure why it didn't get robbed, it sure deserved to.

    the white specks (mite feces) were only in the ceilings of the individual brood cells. i'll try to get a photo of them, along with the shaker and the mites.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #14
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    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    here's the shaker with approx 1/4 cup (150) bees still in the bottom of the top jar:

    jar.jpg

    and here are the mites, (tough to shoot this):

    mites.jpg


    the mite feces will have to wait until i can find my macro lens.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
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    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...

  16. #16
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    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

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
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    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

  18. #18
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    May 2012
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    DFW area, TX, USA
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    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    ...snip...there are instructions there on how to make one. i bought mine from a place in canada...snip...
    Your design is simpler....I'd appreciate a link to your source in Canada, thnaks.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  19. #19
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: autopsy of a dead out

    lee,

    i was unable to put my hands on the beekeeping supplier info, i think they were canada just across the border with vermont. i remember them saying that they had to cross the border to get to a u.s. post office to mail it to me.

    i did keep the little instruction sheet. it has a guy's name and phone # and email. i will pm that to you.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #20
    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.

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