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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    286

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    very interesting cam, thanks for the report.

    after three years of zero winter losses i had 33% this year. queen failure was the primary reason, but i don't know why they failed.

    please keep us posted.
    I lost about the same percentage and for the exact Same reason. Every hive with failed queen had a fair amount of bees left with unfertilized cells in the middle of the frame. In some live hives I could see a few cells with unfertilizer in the worker brood-looks like failing queen. I 've never seen it so consistantly throughout the hives. Needless to say, I'll have to re-queen yearly to minimize this problem.

    I tried to reason out the cause and can't say for sure. Last year, I did have heavier then normal mite loads which started earlier, do to the non-existant winter. I had to treat w/formic 2X's.
    I migrate between PA and SC so queens don't get much of a break.
    I had higher then expected mite loads already this spring so I did a knock down treatment in mid-Jan(sounds early but the weather was warmer then average by at least a couple weeks at that point) before making nucs in March.
    Of course, poor nutrition or poor mating conditions seem to play a big part too.

    Please post if you find the cause for your losses!

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri, usa
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    So far, only one dead-out in 12 hives. I know we came through one of the worse droughts last summer that I can remember. So I put 15 # candy boards on all hives. Two weeks ago, some hives only had a few pounds left.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Hampden County, Mass, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    If hives arnt going forward, they are going backward. I know of numerous operations losing 60% or more, one even lost about 60k hives. Pesticides seem to make hives very sensitive to virus vectored by mites even at a low mite count. Keep on top of the mites and feed when you need to.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    544

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    I have 1 of 4 yards that's struggling hard with about 50% losses.

    The area surrounding the one yard had no fall flowers to speak of because of the drought and even though I left the bees heavy with honey I believe now that they were short on pollen in the fall and didn't raise enough fall and winter bees.

    My other 3 yards combined that had decent fall forage I have only lost 1 hive to date.

    From now on I check bee bread reserves as well as honey reserves in the early fall.


    Don

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,122

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by papar View Post
    Last year, I did have heavier then normal mite loads which started earlier, do to the non-existant winter.
    I had to treat w/formic 2X's.
    Do you think it could have been the 2x treatments with formic?

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    740

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    I'd strongly suggest everybody with losses pack up about 100 to 150 of the dead bees according to the Bee Lab's instructions and send them in.

    Include a short description of the problem along with your name, address, phone number, or email.
    For additional information, contact Bart Smith by phone (301) 504-8821 or email bart.smith@ars.usda.gov
    A comb sample should be at least 2" x 2" and contain as much dead or discolored brood as possible. NO HONEY SHOULD BE PRESENT IN THE SAMPLE. Wrap loosely in a paper towel, then paper bag, then cardboard box, NO PLASTIC, NO FOIL, NO WAX PAPER, NO TIN, NO GLASS.

    Send sample to:

    Bee Disease Diagnosis
    Bee Research Laboratory
    Building 476, Room 204
    Beltsville Agricultural Research Center-East
    Beltsville, MD 20705

    Send at least 100 bees, and if possible, send bees that are dying or died recently. DECAYED BEES ARE NOT SATISFACTORY FOR EXAMINATION. Soak bees in 70% ethyl, methyl, or isopropyl alcohol as soon as possible after collection, and packed in leak-proof containers. UPS, USPS, and Fed-Ex do not accept shipments of alcohol. Just prior to mailing off samples, pour off all excess alcohol to meet shipping requirements.

    Hope this helps. I'd further suggest setting up an observer hive or three, and watching very closely what is going on. Also, it appears that August 15th is the deadline for final mite treatments before wintering in many areas (interpreted as August first!)

    From the postings, the combination of a prolonged nectar and/or pollen dearth, mites (even low count), and pesticides is a killer combination. Non-conclusion: Feed syrup + pollen substitute + fondant board, use IPM methods with tolerant bees, and keep your breeder yard stationary and as far as possible from the crops. Also ant-proof your colonies as they eat the mites out of your SBB, falsely reducing your counts.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 03-04-2013 at 09:26 PM.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,645

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by papar View Post
    I tried to reason out the cause and can't say for sure. Last year, I did have heavier then normal mite loads which started earlier, do to the non-existant winter. I had to treat w/formic 2X's.

    I had higher then expected mite loads already this spring so I did a knock down treatment in mid-Jan(sounds early but the weather was warmer then average by at least a couple weeks at that point) before making nucs in March.
    You treated with MAQS in Oct., what did you treat with in mid-Jan? Is Dave seeing the same problems? Since we had a really good golden rod flow late and the hives looked good in the fall and you aren't that far from some of my hives, I'll check them when it gets warmer.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    omaha nebr. USA
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Intresting Kilocharlie!
    Beltsville did not want a thing to do with my samples & they told me to contact a USDA lab in South Carolina.
    I asked if they wanted any of the samples in alcohol and was told " no "
    I asked if this would harm the samples as the alcohol would taint the samples & was told " yes "
    The few dead bees we could find out of the hundreds of dead outs were kept on ice & sent overnite to the lab in a cooler.
    I have yet to find anyone that has sent samples in this year that have turned up with anything in there samples that caused there losses.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    286

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Do you think it could have been the 2x treatments with formic?
    I've been using the MQS formic strips, just one instead of two. Maybe the formic did make a difference but I've never seen that much queen failure.

    Mike- I used the MQS for mid-Jan, it was in the 70's at the time

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,645

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    [QUOTE=papar;904067
    Mike- I used the MQS for mid-Jan, it was in the 70's at the time[/QUOTE]
    We have some hives that we used one strip and 10 days later a second strip, and pete used the recommended treatment on his, and both were done around the middle of Oct.
    so if we see the same issues in those hives, mite be a clue.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,610

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    They are using the same neonics they've been using for the last decade or so. The new thing, though, is the fungicides that are getting popular. Bee bread needs fungus to ferment so the bees can digest it to raise long lived bees for winter. I think fungicides are a more likely culprit.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,653

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    They are using the same neonics they've been using for the last decade or so. The new thing, though, is the fungicides that are getting popular. Bee bread needs fungus to ferment so the bees can digest it to raise long lived bees for winter. I think fungicides are a more likely culprit.
    I agree and there are some studies coming out about how these fungicides are synergistic with all pesticides and some miticides.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Amador County, California, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    I lost almost 50% of my hives. I thought I would lose a lot more as many were only 1 frame strong. I took them to the Almond fields anyway along with the hives I rented out and it seems that helped. I went out and checked them today and they've all grown to about nuc size.

    The worse I've seen is a beekeeper nearby that had 90 hives and now only 8, in rather poor condition (not acceptable for Almond pollination).

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Panola County, TX USA
    Posts
    117

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    in WI and MN the Ag Co-ops used 3x more pesticide then ever before. pretty simple to figure out

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    omaha nebr. USA
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Ask them as to how many tons of fungicide used in the past 5 years and the amount of increase in those products per year, if they will even talk about it.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,113

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Yep... doom & goom boo hoo hoo hoo
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    omaha nebr. USA
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Keith
    Please explain

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,113

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by soupcan View Post
    Keith
    Please explain
    SC, you can roll back the calendar's or Beesource, ABJ go back to early spring and find the same broken record.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    omaha nebr. USA
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    So Keith tell me if I am wrong with the following assement.
    Your theory is that the the 100's of thousands of dead bee hives in the country this fall & winter are due mainly to operator error?

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,113

    Default Re: worst winter ever?

    100% correct, well said

    p.s. it's not theory it's fact
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

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