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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    jefferson county, ky
    Posts
    4

    Default New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Hey folks,

    My hubby and I started beekeeping last spring with a new 10 frame hive. The bees and their queen seemed to adjust well and started building out the frames with honey and brood just as expected. They seemed happy with no signs of any disease or pest until afer the first frost this fall. We hadn't checked them for a couple weeks and the next time we checked them, the bees were gone. There were some dead bees ob the ground beneath the hive. There were several dead bees attached to the comb.

    They had large honey stores and we were going to be supplementing with bee food as well, but it hadn't gotten cold yet and we hadn't taken any of their honey.

    Another thing to note: we had two empty boxes (with frames with some wax but no honey) above the two built out supers. Would this have caused the hive to be too cold?

    Why would a hive leave/disappear during the fall?

    Also, if we start again next fall, should we remove all the wax/honey when we add in the new hive or should we strip all that down to the frame?

    Thanks a bunch!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,392

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Just curious, but did you treat for mites in the fall? I didn't treat for mites and I had one hive die completely and one hive abscond which means they left the hive, no dead bees to be found.

    Your bees might have left due to a heavy Varroa mite load as mine did. Take out a brood comb and look for white specks in the cell, that is mite poop.

    My hives both had ample stores, atleast 70 pounds if honey.

    You can use the drawn frames again when you get more bees!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    jefferson county, ky
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    No, we didn't treat for varroa. We didn't do a check for the mites with the grid paper at all last summer. I'll take a closer look for the mite poop.

    If I use the potentially mite-infested drawn frames with new bees, would that be a problem? Would the mite eggs cause problems for the new hive or how would treatment be approached? Prior to introducing the new colony?

    Also, what is a natural method for varroa treatment? Or are there only chemicals?

    If anyone has any other ideas about why my bees disappeared in the fall, please chime in!

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGhost View Post
    Just curious, but did you treat for mites in the fall? I didn't treat for mites and I had one hive die completely and one hive abscond which means they left the hive, no dead bees to be found.

    Your bees might have left due to a heavy Varroa mite load as mine did. Take out a brood comb and look for white specks in the cell, that is mite poop.

    My hives both had ample stores, atleast 70 pounds if honey.

    You can use the drawn frames again when you get more bees!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,514

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    mites would be at the top of the list of most common causes for you to lose your bees, but there are other reasons, losing their queen for example.

    the bad thing about mites is that there are very few outward signs of diseases or pests until it's too late.

    looking for mite poop in the brood cells, and for dead mites on the bottom board might help with your diagnosis.

    i don't think the boxes of foundation would have been a problem as far as the cold, but the extra space makes it harder for the bees to guard against small hive beetles, wax moths, and robbing bees.

    don't give up, that drawn comb and honey will sure help your next bees get off to a good start. i would suggest learning how to do a mite count using an alcohol wash.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,392

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Mite eggs are laid on developing larva, without live larva, the mites and any eggs will die, leaving you with mite free comb which you will be able use this year! I uncapped almost all the cells on my first dead out and found deformed wings on the older larva and also dead mites on some of the larva as well.

    As for treatment free, go to the treatment free forum and do lots of searching, good info in there if you are going to continue to go that route!

    I myself am going to use oxalic acid vaporizing method this year as its naturally found in honey and other leafy greens like rhubarb and it doesn't harm the bees, but from what I have been told and read about, it knocks the mite loads down up into the 90%+ range!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Freeze those frames to kill the eggs and they will be good to use with your new bees. I would definitely have taken the boxes of foundation off the hives in the fall. Wax making ends long before the autumn chill sets in so two boxes of foundation are just useless space that the girls have to heat. I can see that they might abscond over something so simple. In this era of varroa and SHB my mantra is "strong bees in a space no larger than they can patrol."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,825

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Mites die soon after the bees, don't worry about re-infestation from mites in old comb. Waxmoth and SHB is a different storry which is why Tia suggested freezing. You really need to monitor for mites or at least look for them. If you see DWV or phoretic mites on bees sitting on the landing board you have a high infestation of mites. Whether or not you treat is up to you but you need to do something to break the cycle and let your bees build up enough for the winter cluster. Healthy hives crash the hardest, and then you're left with a small cluster of bees and that first frost hits and they all freeze or you lose a bunch more bees and your cluster is now too small to survive and now you have an empty hive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    jefferson county, ky
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Thanks for all the help, everyone. We never had mites on the landing board, but this next season, we will monitor for them and do counts and treat as necessary.

    Fortunately the nighttime lows are below freezing, so any eggs left behind by anything should be quite dead come spring! Looking forward to starting another colony.

    Thanks again to all for the insight. Blessings to everyone and their bees!

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Mites die soon after the bees, don't worry about re-infestation from mites in old comb. Waxmoth and SHB is a different storry which is why Tia suggested freezing. You really need to monitor for mites or at least look for them. If you see DWV or phoretic mites on bees sitting on the landing board you have a high infestation of mites. Whether or not you treat is up to you but you need to do something to break the cycle and let your bees build up enough for the winter cluster. Healthy hives crash the hardest, and then you're left with a small cluster of bees and that first frost hits and they all freeze or you lose a bunch more bees and your cluster is now too small to survive and now you have an empty hive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    You will need to monitor more than the landing board.
    I suggest you join the local bee club and spend these cold days reading beekeeping books to get a better feel for the work required to keep bees.
    Good Luck, Mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Below freezing or not, it's not a good idea to leave deadouts in your apiary. At the very least you should take the deadouts apart and store the boxes in your bee shed. If you have a warm day, you could have other insects checking out the remains, and their visits could leave you with bigger problems.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,714

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    I am not sure why you would start again on the next fall. Spring is here so you can buy a new package or a nuc bees. Take this opportunity to get a new Spring bee and learn from it. At least you can observe how the hive build up and learn to manage them better. I have been actively monitoring my hive since late last Fall. They are doing o.k. now.
    In term of being cold, it is better to add one box at a time as the bees expand on hive check day. Put box on when they are crowded otherwise they will swarm. I found out adding extra space no use when the colony not that big yet because the bees just scattered around the different frames and not able to keep themselves warm in a cold day that well.
    If the honey/wax is usable then put some frames in but not all. You want some space for the queen to lay eggs too. It is better than leaving the hive without any combs at all. Many people here recommend on the nuc bees instead of a pacage. But you have to do what is best in your area. Buy 2 hives instead of one just for the learning. If one hive die then you have the other one to manage. Of course, nobody knows why the bee would leave or disappear from their hive. You have to investigate your hive to see. They do things that we do not understand yet. For for learning you can goto youtube and watch CCD documentary as well many other methods of raising honey bees. Also, watch the AHB 4 part series. Fun to understand them more.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,392

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Tia does have a point, although it is freezing out now, a mouse could still easily move in, or if it warms up enough, wax moths can move in and create a large mess! Do what she suggested and store them somewhere till spring and that will be the time to buy a package like what was mentioned. In other words, start looking for packages now and get your name on the list before its to late!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Algonquin, IL, USA
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Here's my experience. I was ran 3 hives last year and helped another individual with a single hive. We treated two hives for mites. The other two hives were not treated. Guess what?? All bees in the untreated hives just simply vanished . . . yup. Just vanished. It's pretty bad when the bees would rather leave a hive than live with an infestation. As of January, the two treated hives are still alive. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    I'll never go without treating again. . . . never.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,392

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Quote Originally Posted by c10250 View Post
    I'll never go without treating again. . . . never.
    Im with you, havnt treated hives for the almost two years ive been keeping bees, but after losing two very strong hives to V-Mite this winter, Im treating with Oxalic Vapor from now on.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,825

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    I didn't mean to just look at bees on the landing area for mites to monitor, but it's pretty easy to see bees with mites on them if you have decent pressure. Look for bees trying to groom something off other bees, typically between the abdomen and thorax. Easiest way is to uncap some drone brood during inspections if you don't have a drop tray.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    "...Easiest way is to uncap some drone brood during inspections if you don't have a drop tray...."
    and the drone larvae-complete with attached mite(s)-make great fish bait !
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,825

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    I dunno mike... it's like 50/50 they just turn to goo on me... I guess i'll have to try it with my drone frames next year, wonder how they hold up after being frozen.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    LaGrange; Oldham County; Kentucky
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Quote Originally Posted by inthenightkitchen View Post
    Hey folks,

    My hubby and I started beekeeping last spring with a new 10 frame hive. The bees and their queen seemed to adjust well and started building out the frames with honey and brood just as expected. They seemed happy with no signs of any disease or pest until afer the first frost this fall. We hadn't checked them for a couple weeks and the next time we checked them, the bees were gone. There were some dead bees ob the ground beneath the hive. There were several dead bees attached to the comb.

    They had large honey stores and we were going to be supplementing with bee food as well, but it hadn't gotten cold yet and we hadn't taken any of their honey.

    Another thing to note: we had two empty boxes (with frames with some wax but no honey) above the two built out supers. Would this have caused the hive to be too cold?

    Why would a hive leave/disappear during the fall?

    Also, if we start again next fall, should we remove all the wax/honey when we add in the new hive or should we strip all that down to the frame?

    Thanks a bunch!!
    Just saying hi, I'm in LaGrange, KY!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Hi too you,Melanie
    I was just in LaGrange last week buying a slide-in truck camper from a guy just off the Interstate
    Good Luck, Mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: New beekeeper's bees are GONE!

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I dunno mike... it's like 50/50 they just turn to goo on me... I guess i'll have to try it with my drone frames next year, wonder how they hold up after being frozen.
    There's all the excuse you need to get some laying hens- they love that stuff dopey or not and its all natural too!
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

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