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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Fairfax, Virginia
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    Default What do you think of my dead bee hive

    Hi,

    I installed Hive A in April of 2011 and it is very sad to realize there is no life left in it now. Photos - http://bit.ly/YUzvgS What bees there are were all on the screened bottom board. This hive had 2 deeps and 1 medium super. The super is full of honey and the upper deep still had three full frames of honey. The lower deep frames were empty. With the brood cells that were left I found no indication of foulbrood. My guess is that I lost my queen late in the fall and the result was this. i would assume there would be more dead bees though. Any advice or ideas on what may have gone wrong, what I should do with the leftover honey and how to avoid this in the future would be greatly appreciated.

    The last time I checked Hive A thoroughly was on October 14 and the hive was healthy and had plenty of stores, bees and some brood. The last noticeable activity was on November 10 with lots of buzzing bees. Recently on the rare warm sunny afternoon I did not notice any bees from this hive being active. In Hive B which was installed in May of 2012 the bees there have been active on every sunny day in the 50's. They still looked good today.

    Tony Teolis
    http://todolisthome.com
    Last edited by Tony Teolis; 12-28-2012 at 12:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Livermore, CA
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    Default Re: What do you think of my dead bee hive

    Couldnt pull up the pictures, but I had the same thing described happen to me this winter as well...........varroa mites were the culprit. If the queen died and the bees couldnt make a successful queen or they did and she didnt get mated or got killed...........you would have a lot of drones from laying workers/unmated queen.

    Out of curiosity, did you treat the hive for mites? I didnt treat the hive that died on me, waiting to see what happens with the hive that was next to it, it was a swarm I caught last spring and it boomed and was still booming when this hive died. Infact, I havnt treated any of my colonies, so the results may be bad come spring!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  3. #3
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: What do you think of my dead bee hive

    Thanks for the reply. Here is a correct link to the photos - http://bit.ly/YUzvgS
    No I didn't treat for Varroa and didn't think there were enough mites to warrant treatment.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What do you think of my dead bee hive

    I had comb that looked the same as yours, capped brood and all. Although I didn't see the amount of dead bees you have experienced. My hive just absconded when the mite load became to much.

    Take a brood frame and go under a light, if its mites you should see white specs in the brood cells, almost every cell on my brood comb had them, very heavy mite load!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  5. #5
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: What do you think of my dead bee hive

    I went in today and looked again carefully. No white specs noted.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: What do you think of my dead bee hive

    i think you're right tony, queenless.

    especially if those capped pupae in the worker cells are drones.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: What do you think of my dead bee hive

    If you still had brood when you checked, I would expect queencells or attempts at queencells to be present if you lost your queen at some point. What was the mite count on your bottom board? No dead bees clustered seems odd unless you knocked them all down.

  8. #8
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    Fairfax, Virginia
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    Default Re: What do you think of my dead bee hive

    This was the hive on November 10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AdnI3xzldE I noticed dead bees on the screened bottom board but the rest of the hive seemed fine. I should have questioned why the dead bees were not removed. The Varroa count was negligible to non-existent and I knew back in November there were a lot of dead bees on the floor but the rest of the hive was full of bees. I should have opened up and checked better to see why the dead bees were not being removed. Thus I'm leaning towards an abandonment or swarm both of which I can live with. But if there was a swarm why did it seem that the hive was full when I conducted a last full inspection in October? I'm still doing some investigating and asking for help on the net. I gotta carry on. Thank you all who have responded. This is really a testament to how much beekeepers care.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: What do you think of my dead bee hive

    tony, i see that you have a count board below your screen, i assume you looked carefully and did not see a lot of dead mites.

    any mite feces in the empty brood cells?

    have you removed and looked closely at the capped brood?

    the brood looks spotty, and slighty raised. this could be an indication of a laying worker, or a drone laying queen.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #10

    Default Re: What do you think of my dead bee hive

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    tony, i see that you have a count board below your screen, i assume you looked carefully and did not see a lot of dead mites.

    any mite feces in the empty brood cells?

    have you removed and looked closely at the capped brood?

    the brood looks spotty, and slighty raised. this could be an indication of a laying worker, or a drone laying queen.
    Apologies - I can't find the "reply" without the quote option half the time.

    That being said, I think a 2nd year, otherwise apparently healthy hive that succumbs mid-winter whilst well apportioned with food is probably a classic case of loss attributable to Varroa. I'm not being critical, I can wave that flag myself. But, if you're not treating rigorous mite counting/monitoring is probably in order. As always, I defer to those with more experience, however.

  11. #11
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    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: What do you think of my dead bee hive

    I would agree with the mite diagnosis. Check for white spots, and dead mites on the insert.

    It is also possible they simply weren't strong enough going into winter, it happens. I lost my first hive that way, they only made it to spring because I put a big candy board on them, should have fed them really well in September.

    In a two deep hive I would expect the top deep to be full of honey, three frames indicates to me that they were clustered there, not in the bottom deep as I would expect, and they ran out of food on a cold day. They should have moved up into the super, but if you had a week of very cold weather, they could have croaked instead. Stilll more likely a mite problem, since you didn't get enough bees to last the winter OR they simply moved out in September.

    Peter

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