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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
    2,593

    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
    2,492

    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
    2,695

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

    Are the specks shown in the 4th photo typical mite feces?
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,392

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

    I had similar findings in my dead out and I chalked it up to varroa mites. Uncap the dead larvae and I bet you find a few dead mites, they will be black and not red, atleast in my findings.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida USA
    Posts
    57

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

    Looks like Parasitic Mite Syndrome or PMS for short. It appears that is mite dropping on the cell walls. does not look like AFB it would smell bad and have sunken (concave) brood caps. Did you treat the bees before winter or do any mite counts prior to this? Mites transmit viruses that make bees sick that will kill a colony typically over the winter.
    Michael Leach
    www.nabeehive.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,358

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

    Mites, mites, and more mites, Dead. Game over. NABEEHIVE is correct.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

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

    the light colored flakey stuff in those empty cells is mite feces, and there is a lot of it there. it would be good to learn how to take mite counts, and come up with a strategy for dealing with them next year.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Farmington, NM
    Posts
    737

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

    What's your bottom board look like? Do you see a lot of dead mites?
    Plant Hardiness Zone 6B, 5300 ft., Bee Zone A/B, Proverbs 24:13
    https://www.facebook.com/mobileprotection#!/2RBeeFarm

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lexington, SC
    Posts
    4

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

    I lost 2 hives the week before Christmas. Looked very similar. Plenty of honey, pollen, nectar. Queen w/ only a few dead bees & SHB's left in hives. Cold prob killed them. Had been strong hives w/ no mite problem. A few SHB's but no serious problem there either. Many people in my area (middle SC) have talked about Fall absconding recently. I'm beginning to question if it's absconding or CCD.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    166

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

    Queen on top trying to keep warm.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Fairfax, Virginia
    Posts
    48

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

    The results are in for dead out and they are in line with the other determinations that the Varroa destructor was responsible. http://todolisthome.com/honey-bee-hi...ase-diagnosis/ has the report and my thoughts. Let's keep on learning.
    Last edited by Tony Teolis; 01-26-2013 at 11:14 AM.

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