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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    oswego, ny, usa
    Posts
    23

    Default Loss of hive...opinions?

    Well I guess if you do it long enough its bound to happen. I have been at it for 2 years now and have never experienced the loss of a hive. I have 3 hives all wintered with 2 deeps and a shallow, and a candy board on top of that. I winterized this year just after halloween and haven't checked on them too much since. We had an unusual 60 degree day here last week and I noticed one of the hives didn't have the activity that the other two had. Checked it out and all bees were dead, don't really know how long they had been this way. Little to no brood. The bottom box was pretty empty. They still had frames of honey in the top box and hadn't even touched the shallow. I took some pix in hopes to get some thoughts from you folks. I guess the goal here is to learn from what has happened. There are quite a few butts up and heads down but I would think it is way too early in the winter to have them starve. My other thought was weak from mites and I did see what I think is the mite droppings (although picture kinda stinks). Any input would be appreciated.

    First opened up....
    IMG-20121209-00017.jpg
    IMG-20121209-00020.jpg

    Lotta butts showing....
    IMG-20121209-00021.jpg

    Not sure how well this shows up, the frame is upside down so the white "flakes" would be on top of the cells.....
    IMG-20121209-00022.jpg

    The aftermath....
    IMG-20121209-00024.jpg

  2. #2

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    Your mite testing/treating?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,177

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    With all the bees in the cells head first I wonder if they didn't starve.
    Dan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,706

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    Hard to tell from the pics alone. Do you run open SBD all winter?
    I had the same thing (sorta) happen here. 400-500 bees dead (tha'ts all there was in the hive after robbing made the bulk leave), some butts up. Plenty of stores... I know they froze out though. I am wondering if the bees will bury themselves in comb to keep warmer? This may look like the were looking for food.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Newark, Ohio
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    That cluster is too big for just freezing. I dont see any honey in the frame on the second picture... starvation

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    Bees will enter empty cells as part of the cluster.
    Bees are very hesitant about leaving brood as shown in the 3rd photo with bees clustered around unhatched cells.
    The frames above the cluster in the first two photos are empty, the outside frame seems to be mostly undrawn foundation. The cluster needs to always be in contact with stores or they will starve, which is what I see here.
    As for mites can't tell from pics but you can do an alcohol wash with the dead cluster and get an idea if mites were involved.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,452

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    >>Not sure how well this shows up, the frame is upside down so the white "flakes" would be on top of the cells.....

    the white flakes in the cells are left behind by the mites, mite frass I call it. When a colony crashes, all housekeeping stops, so as the cluster pulls contracts, those "flakes" will be left un touched in the cells
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,550

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    I think the op and Ian pretty well nailed it. Most likely a hive whose population was decimated by a mite crash. The bees head first in the cells is a sign of starvation that would have occurred when the resulting tiny cluster of bees was unable to generate enough heat to move to an area in the hive where there was honey.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Newark, Ohio
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    Those white spots he showed in the picture are small bits of crystalized honey. They are way too big to be mite fecal deposits. Im not seeing honey in that hive. That cluster is plenty big to move around. Its not even that cold yet. They straight up starved. Just my 2 Cents.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    2,028

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    picture #3 with the buts sticking out, around the buts looks like sealed brood, the cluster wouldn't/couldn't leave the brood to get to honey, if there was honey.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,550

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    Sounded to me like all the stores were up high and all the brood down low. It wouldnt take much cold for a smaller cluster to starve in that scenario.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bell County, KY, USA
    Posts
    413

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    I would guess starved.
    I didn't see any food anywhere.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Loss of hive...opinions?

    Hi BeeManiac, Question what would you recomend to do to keep that hive from starving, Seems like there was plenty of food ,But why did the bees not go up, I am new at this and I don't quite understand what kept them from feeding . I had the samething happen to me. Not as many dead bees but all of them left I think. Did find a queen cell last week, Not sure what is going on.
    John

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