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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Trenton, SC
    Posts
    99

    Default What am I looking at? (pics)

    Hello all,

    I need some help with what I found in one of my hives today. I live in SC and it's about 75 degrees today. I opened both of my hives and had some interesting findings....
    My strong hive appears to be done. Almost empty. I removed the supers and got down into the brood boxes, and there are not many bees there to speak of. I'm thinking that the ones that are there may be robbers. There is hardly any brood there. This is my first year as a beekeeper. I had two supers full of honey and I elected to leave them on to carry them through the winter. Going into the season, there wasn't much honey in the brood boxes. Anyway, I'm thinking that I'll take the hive down and start again in the spring. I did want to make sure, however, that I am not looking at a disease first, such as AFB. Here are some pics -

    Debris.JPGDebris1.JPGSide view.JPGTongue.JPG

    Oddly enough, I thought for sure that my other hive would bite the dust early. It didn't have as much honey going into winter and was smaller. I had countless issues with it last season, including laying workers......

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,744

    Default Re: What am I looking at? (pics)

    Take a toothpick or similar and swirl it in the capped brood for about 30 seconds and slowly pull it out. If it strings out a ways it's AFB.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Trenton, SC
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: What am I looking at? (pics)

    I tried that and it didn't string out. There isn't much capped brood there. The cell I tried it on had almost a full grown bee in there, but dead.

    What I'm about to say will probably get me banished.....

    So I went back out to the hive. There were bees on the side of the hive which I assumed were robber bees. I decided that I would go ahead and take the supers off before they got emptied. I removed the top cover and there was the queen. I tried to help her back into the hive and injured her in the process.....

    The bottom line is that there weren't many bees in the hive to begin with when I first checked it. The other hive is packed....

    Suggestions???

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,566

    Default Re: What am I looking at? (pics)

    Shake the bees out since you damaged the queen, let them move to the other hive.

    Store the honey and pollen after freezing it (to kill any small hive beetle or wax moth larvae) and do a split in April from the good hive.

    Should have you up to two hives again quickly, and if you do a "cut down" split, won't have much impact on honey production.

    My brother had a similar situation last year -- a new hive from a package that struggled all year and ended up with one of the supersedure cells from his strong hive, wintered in a single deep. Came out of spring boiling with bees and made 50 lbs of honey for us. Strong hive was dead in early May, nothing but robber bees in a deep and a half of honey and pollen.

    Go figure. I think our problem was mites the previous fall, caused the number of bees to drop to levels that caused them to freeze out or just dwindle away. Might be true for you too -- look for white specs in the brood area. This is mite feces the bees didn't have enough time to clean out, and is diagnostic for mite mediated collapse.

    Peter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Trenton, SC
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: What am I looking at? (pics)

    Thanks for the quick response Peter. I found lots of specks in the brood area. I wasn't sure if it was AFB, mite droppings, or wax caps..... You can see what I'm referring to in the pictures above.

    Any ideas as to why the queen would be on the top cover?
    Can I harvest that honey?

    Thanks in advance.....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,740

    Default Re: What am I looking at? (pics)

    Are the specks shown in the 4th photo typical mite feces?
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -H.S. Thompson

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Fairfax, Virginia
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: What am I looking at? (pics)

    I had similar situation recently and ordered a home AFB test kit as well as sent sample of capped brood and dead bees to the USDA in Beltsville for free eval. Still waiting for results from USDA but home test kit revealed no AFB. Waiting ... All posted at http://todolisthome.com postes: December 28, 31 and January 6.

    Tony

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