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Thread: dying hives

  1. #21
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    Default Re: dying hives

    Quote Originally Posted by LetMBee View Post
    This always gets heated between Beeks. I for one do not believe in the aggrandizement of man. Bees have been on this earth longer than man has been caring for them. I feel it is foolish to believe that every single colony can pass genetic muster. Some of those genetics must lead to a dead end, while some lead to hygienic behavior or something as amazing as what Japanese honey bees do to thwart asain hornets.

    Saving one particular colony is not always the best for bees on the whole. Since I have quit feeding and treating colony losses, though hi at first are beginning to go down. Everyone has a different idea, but historically, no matter what we do the bees must sort it out.

    Look at the way that Langstroth bemoans the Wax moth, calling it the bee wolf in his book. Today the wax moth only destroys the weakest of colonies. Why? Because of some great invention or method of MANAGEMENT? NO!, because all of the bees that couldn't hack it DIED. Only superior stock survived and today wax moths are more of a nuisance of unused equipment than a killer of hives.

    I was told that varroa killed all of the feral bees in my area by many a mentor. Guess what, NOT TRUE. If the feral colonies can find a way so can our hives. Especially if we are trying to obtain some of their genetics. This isn't something you can experiment with if you are filling pollination contracts, but if you are just in this because you love bees, I can't think of a more noble pursuit.

    Therefore I believe doing nothing is sometimes the most prudent course.

    Go ahead rip me apart.
    Okay, though I don't agree w/ the term "rip me apart".

    A. You don't have to let the whole colony die if you can replace its genetic stock by requeening. Why throw those adult bees away when you can use them by combining tyhem w/ another colony, thereby boosting their population.
    B. Wax moth was overcome by superior genetics? I never heard that before. Do you have something you could site which I could read too? Maybe Langstroth's colonies were werak enough from failing queens so that wax moth could prevail.
    C.How long have you kept bees? Were you keeping bees when varroa went thru Indiana, killing the ferals as it did the managed colonies? What ferals came after, repopulating the cavities laid unoccupied by previous occupants, did so from managed colony's swarms. Simple as that. I guess it is entirely possible that some ferals were not killed by varroa's initial infestation of your territory, but, in my opinion, this is not all that likely.

    These are my opinions and you are welcome to your own, just as I am to mine. Both can exist w/out rancor. Peacefully submitted.

    p.s.: should your heart give out, should we not transplant another one into you should one come available?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  2. #22
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    Default Re: dying hives

    squarepeg,
    Just as I said. Figure out why the weak colony is weak. If you don't through it up on another colony, what will happen to the equipment? Will wax moth take hold and destroy it? That in itself is a good reason to combine in my opinion. To protrect the equipment. Besides, it may well have a lot of honey in it already and the strong colony will get up in there and fill it up.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  3. #23
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    Default Re: dying hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Hills Farm View Post
    I have this notion that if a thing is mine, then I am responsible for it. If I build boxes and add foundation and dump a package or a swarm into it, I have thereby taken on the obligation, if you will, to do my best by it. I will feed, add brood, requeen with hygienic stock... But what I most certainly will not do is NOTHING. I gave up that choice the minute I dumped that first package into that first hive. What I do may not help at all, but I am still obliged to TRY.
    This pretty much sums up my philosophy.

    I'm Treatment-Free, but not Management-Free. I'd rather not feed, but I was overly ambitious with splitting and adding boxes for drawn comb this year. Had I been more conservative on both counts I wouldn't need to feed... which I consider my responsibility.

    Ask 10 bk a question - and you'll get 10 answers because everybody is trying to do what they believe is best. For them, or their bees, or both. I don't care if you treat, let 'em die, combine, or even what does or does not constitute a treatment. So for me, I'd rather have bees at the beginning of Spring.

    To answer Squarepeg's original question - I don't think there is an established protocol.

    Tony P.
    There must be a harder way to do that... let me find it for you.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: dying hives

    Requeening an infested/collapsing hive is a very time sensitive matter. Many times it is just too late and the new queen will not have enough time to turn the population of the hive over to the new hyg/resistant bees and have the colony express those traits as a whole. This is where timely routine monitoring comes into the picture. It is important to give the replacement queen a fighting chance by catching problems early and ameliorating the situation with management like healthy brood/bee addition to give the new queen a fighting chance to actually establish a population with improved traits. Avoid throwing good money after bad and know what the infestation levels actually are and give the new genetics a fair fighting start.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  5. #25
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    Liberty, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: dying hives

    SQKCRK:

    A. I don't have to let the colony die, but unless I had a queen raised locally, or a frame of eggs from one of my GOOD hives I see little benefit to my colonies from a purchased queen. I don't believe that beekeeping problems can be solved with a Wal-Mart mentality of things aren't working out... just swap another queen in there and fix it. If such courses of action "worked" there would be no problems in beekeeping, because that is how problems in beekeeping seem to be remedied these days. We continue the same practices and expect things to turn out differently. I don't believe it is working.......

    B. The wax moth was a scourge to beekeeping in the early 1800's. There were bees here from ~1622 to ~1806 AND NO WAX MOTHS. Genetics only improve when they are tested. Epidemiology repeats over and over and over. Just as in bees humans have pathogens. Initially syphilis was a quick disfiguring brutal killer of humans. That didn't continue BECAUSE THOSE SUPER VIRULENT PATHOGENS DIE OUT QUICKLY. Do a little reading on what syphilis used to be compared to what it is now. Man didn't make that happen..... The pathogen did. http://www.qmul.ac.uk/qmul/news/news....php?news_id=9

    Sources:
    1. American Bee Journal - Januray 2012 - P. 51-53. "America's first catastrophic bee pest invasion was not a mite but rather a moth" Honey Bee Biology - Dr. Wyatt A Mangum. -- According to a letter sent from Dr. Kirtland to Langstroth - Kirtland noted the first wax moth in the spring of 1806. "Kirtland goes on to say that within two years four fifths (80%) of the apiaries in that vicinity were abandoned."

    2. Langstroth on the Hive and the Honey Bee Chapter XI:
    "Contrivances almost without number, have been devised, to defend the bees against this invidious foe, but still it continues its desolating inroads, almost unchecked, laughing as it were to scorn, at all the so-called "moth-proof" hives, and turning many of the ingenious fixtures designed to entrap or exclude it, into actual aids and comforts in its nefarious designs.

    I should feel but little confidence in being able to reinstate bee-keeping in our country, into a certain and profitable pursuit, if I could not show the Apiarian in what way he can safely bid defiance to the pestiferous assaults of this, his most implacable enemy."

    C. You got me on this one. I am only in my mid 30's. I wasn't keeping bees when varroa came through in the 80's. I remember people who kept bees at the time and have asked them MANY questions since about how things went down around here (and it was bad). I mainly talk to these old timers to find out areas where bees were kept. This is only my 4th winter with bees. If the ferals were all destroyed where I live I have no explanation as to why all of these places are holding bees 20 years later when everyone quit beekeeping due to the varroa coming through. Do you have an explanation? These bees range in color from almost all black to Italian in phenotype.


    Hey man, that is what Beesource is for A SHARING OF OPINIONS. If beeks can't get together and help one another out, then I would just say the heck with this web site. I am just here to tell what I am doing and why. I honestly report my success and failures. Though we may disagree I bear you no ill will. If my course of action were not working for me I would chose a different course, perhaps even yours. I only am reporting my research as well as my findings.

    As far as your P.S. If my heart were to give out I chose the road less traveled and push up daisy's. I have been a hospital pharmacist for the last 13 years, I did 4 rotations at a transplant hospital during my schooling because at the time I was very interested. After seeing what anti-rejection drugs do to people as well as the general health and quality of life of transplant patients I have made a living will that will not allow me to receive such treatment. It's a personal choice, but that's the one I chose to make. That being said I wouldn't fault anyone for making a different decision. Those choices are also made based on opinions.
    Jason Bruns
    LetMBee.com YouTube

  6. #26
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    Default Re: dying hives

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    thanks again for the great replies.

    donna, sounds like you are doing a great job with your bees, and congratulations for being successful off treatments. i meant to put (optional) after the powdered sugar step but i forgot to. i was thinking about using formic acid for this step, but after considering the information dean presented, and realizing that it would be faster, less expensive, and less traumatic to the bees, i decided powdered sugar made more sense. it may not be necessary, and it's a little more effort, but i would probably do it to give the weakened bees the best chance for recovery.
    Kevin,
    My bees have been very healthy because we simply don't have all the diseases and pests here. No need to even consider treatments. Now that my bees have mites I have had to make a decision, and that decision is based on Dee Lusby's methods. I have used foundationless in broodnest for 3 years but I will use pf100s in spring to further regress. This is the way I have decided to go after much reading and listening. I can't brag about success yet, but I am sure I can get there. The bees here have not been weakened by dopes so that should help...now I just need to give them the best possible chance for survival...I need to just do it. I will try to let you know how it goes in the spring.
    Donna
    46N

  7. #27
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    Default Re: dying hives

    LetMBee, not meant as an insult, but apparently you are not a commercial beekeeper. Were you, you would better understand my management suggestions. But that's okay.

    Previously descimated feral colonies had their cavities repopulated by swarms, just as they were when they were first populated by bees. Swarms and outward spread of bees as they did after arrival on this Continent in 1620.

    So, as i suspected Wax Moths were an imported pest. Just like Eiropeans were to Mayans. Guns,Germs, and Steel killed off many a Native American. Yes, those genetically suited survived.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  8. #28
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    Default Re: dying hives

    donna, i totally understand and i look forward to hearing about how your bees make out with the arrival of mites to your island. hopefully you can get the upper hand on them.

    are you going to monitor for mites somehow, as jbj suggests?

    i have been lucky here, and have lost only one hive to mites in the three seasons i have had bees.

    i haven't been checking for them, except to pull a drone larva here and there.

    starting next year, i want to check more often, so that i can tell which ones are handling the mites better, and see how mite count compares to colony strength and honey production. i'm hoping that it will also help me choose which colonies to graft from, and which ones to requeen.

    i got an alcohol wash set up. it has two jars with a screen in between. i just found a website that showed how i could use one of the jars with powdered sugar, and how to test the bees without killing any of them.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  9. #29
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    Default Re: dying hives

    Treatment free to me means utilizing standard management practices excluding chemical treatments. I think some folks have mistaken that for a "hands off" approach. I inspect my colonies more regularly than the average commercial beekeeper I would assume. If a colony show signs of disease, or is not building properly during times of a nectar flow, they are immediately requeened with resistant stock. You'd be surprised what ailments active requeening will cure. (With disease resistant queens of course.)

  10. #30
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    Default Re: dying hives

    good information whitetail, thanks.

    do you take mite counts? if yes, how, and at what level do you decide to requeen?

    what is your plan b if it is too late in the season to get another queen?
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  11. #31
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    Default Re: dying hives

    Quote Originally Posted by JBJ View Post
    Requeening an infested/collapsing hive is a very time sensitive matter. Many times it is just too late and the new queen will not have enough time to turn the population of the hive over to the new hyg/resistant bees and have the colony express those traits as a whole. This is where timely routine monitoring comes into the picture. It is important to give the replacement queen a fighting chance by catching problems early and ameliorating the situation with management like healthy brood/bee addition to give the new queen a fighting chance to actually establish a population with improved traits. Avoid throwing good money after bad and know what the infestation levels actually are and give the new genetics a fair fighting start.
    Very good point JBJ. Even over here I've often seen a new queen thrown at a troubled hive in a way that's just a waste. By requeen, by default, I'm talking about doing it in a way that's going to work.
    So a hive with severe pms for example, would get at least one healthy frame of hatching brood plus some bees along with the new queen. Wether that's too much management for some TF folks I don't know. But for me, I do what works.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #32
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: dying hives

    Squarepeg said:
    but after looking back through my journal, this colony definitely lagged behind all of its cohorts.

    And answered his own question. Good record keeping seems to be more of a necessity today than in the past. We establish which hive in the yard is the "Star", based on changing standards. It is the source of eggs for hive replication.

    Oldtimer has the next answer - how to save the bees in a hive, but not the queen. Move brood around, move hives around. You don't have to loose the bees because they have a bad queen. Again, you must have the proper information gathered to make the proper decision.

    Whitetail wrote:
    I inspect my colonies more regularly than the average commercial beekeeper I would assume.

    Becarefull what you assume. Those that inspect alot may not be as profitable, but may be in business longer.


    Crazy Roland
    Linden Apiary, est. 1852

  13. #33
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    Default Re: dying hives

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    donna, i totally understand and i look forward to hearing about how your bees make out with the arrival of mites to your island. hopefully you can get the upper hand on them.

    are you going to monitor for mites somehow, as jbj suggests?

    i have been lucky here, and have lost only one hive to mites in the three seasons i have had bees.

    i haven't been checking for them, except to pull a drone larva here and there.

    starting next year, i want to check more often, so that i can tell which ones are handling the mites better, and see how mite count compares to colony strength and honey production. i'm hoping that it will also help me choose which colonies to graft from, and which ones to requeen.

    i got an alcohol wash set up. it has two jars with a screen in between. i just found a website that showed how i could use one of the jars with powdered sugar, and how to test the bees without killing any of them.
    Yes, I will be monitoring closely in the spring and may use the powdered sugar for testing, depends how things go. I fully expect it will not be an easy go, our summers are very busy with our business, but we will fit the bees in there somehow. I fully believe that it will be the small backyard beekeepers who will keep our bees healthy and strong. I am sure there are many successful folks who do not post on the forums because they simply prefer to go quietly about doing natural beekeeping. We certainly can't wait on the gov funded scientists to do the job and many of the commercial guys simply don't have the will to even try. But then we are all just hobby beekeepers with big ideals, rose coloured glasses and alternative lifestyles...some of the posts are rather amusing indeed. Anyway, that is it for me for now. Sounds like you have common sense on your side and some healthy bees too..way to go!
    Donna
    46N

  14. #34
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    Default Re: dying hives

    @Squarepeg. I don't take mite counts religiously. I make notes on mite presence when trimming burr/drone comb. If I see PMS displayed (more than a couple bees) I requeen. If I see brood diseases (chalkbrood,EFB) I requeen. If a hive doesn't build up on a nectar flow (even if it doesn't appear diseased) I requeen. I've had some hives with high mite counts, that thrive and produce a honey crop. I'm assuming they are resistant to the viral transmissions from the mites.
    If it's late in the season, I fetch a queen out of my nucs. I raise all my own queens. I only purchase queens for certain traits, and for genetic diversity.

  15. #35
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    Default Re: dying hives

    And how do you introduce those queens which you have in your nucs? By combining the nuc w/ the colony you found lacking?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  16. #36
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    Default Re: dying hives

    all good points and again many thanks.

    just a hobbiest/sideliner here, with the capacity for 12 production colonies at home and 8 more in an off yard.

    i am going to try raising queens from the best ones next season. i have secured permission for a third yard, it will have room for 10-20 nucs. the idea is to have good queens and brood available for the production yards, and i may try to sell a few queens/nucs.

    i will probably take a lot of mite counts to help guide some of the management choices, i.e. requeening, adding brood, choice of queen mother, ect., and factor that in along with other considerations like productivity, temperment, growth rate, ect.

    i am encouraged by the fact these bees have done well without much help, and despite some errors on my part.

    thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  17. #37
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    Default Re: dying hives

    Yes, late in the year, I requeen with the whole nuc. I usually cage the queen for a couple days too, just to make sure she isn't balled.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: dying hives

    my intention for starting this thread was not to ramp up another treatment vs. none debate,

    but rather to advance what i have found lacking in the overall discussion in tfb.

    there have been some really good replies so far.

    tony p wrote: "To answer Squarepeg's original question - I don't think there is an established protocol."

    maybe we have the start of one here?
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  19. #39
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    Default Re: dying hives

    I see nothing to gain by treating a dying hive as I would only be propping up bad genes. But requeening any hive that is not thriving is a typical beekeeper tactic that is sometimes useful. However, I would say that often "letting them die" results in them surviving. Sometimes it's the stress that sets off the right behavior in the bees so they can survive. Bees get motivated to do something when it becomes a problem and sometimes they do not get motivated before it becomes a problem.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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