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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Deming, NM
    Posts
    107

    Default Lots of dead bees

    Checked one of my hives today- this has been my best-producing, most-active hive. There was a large pile of dead bees in front of the entrance: probably 100 or more. We had also noticed some dead bees about 10ft away from the hive last week, but werent sure where they had come from.

    When I opened it, it is obvious there are fewer bees and some newly hatched brood seem to have died as they exited from their cells. There were also a lot of dead bees on the inner cover.

    There looks to be some evidence of robbing (capped honey cells that are torn up) but this was an extremely strong, vigourous hive, so I don't think all the dead bees are from fighting robbers. Maybe after the die-off they were robbed.

    My working hypothesis is that the foragers got into some pesticide, but the dead newly hatched brood worries me.

    I've not had anything similar happen in the last 3 years. All my other hive are fine. Any thoughts?
    Zone 8a at 4300ft. Langstroth- foundationless. 6 Hives. AHB region.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Springville, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees

    Did you check for foulbrood, or any of the other gross brood diseases? Were the dead newly hatched bees malformed in any way?
    Trust me, you don't want to hear my CCD rant!
    Horrible mistake count: 13 Hives lost:2 Hives alive: 1 1/2

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    1,448

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees

    a nasty case of mites can look a lot like this. also as royal states above. if it was pesticde all or almost all of your hives would be affected. look up the usda bee-lab in beltsville md. follow the instructions exactly and send in a sample. the lab service is free.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Deming, NM
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees

    I'll check again, but it didn't appear to be a gross brood disease: the majority of the dead were adult bees. Just some of the newly-hatched looked like they were unable to make it out of their cells (weak? From varroa?)/

    Tomorrow I'll do a thorough check and look for mites.
    Zone 8a at 4300ft. Langstroth- foundationless. 6 Hives. AHB region.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Deming, NM
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees

    Yep, it's varroa

    Zone 8a at 4300ft. Langstroth- foundationless. 6 Hives. AHB region.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    1,448

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees

    varroa spread viruses. a lot of these virus types are normal at low levels but varroa can trigger a mass infection. randy olliver/scientific beekeeping has done a considerable study of this "vector effect"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees

    Quote Originally Posted by jdawdy View Post
    Yep, it's varroa

    Sorry to here about your troubles.
    Did you check emerging brood or dead bees for mites? Was there a lot of mite feces in the brood comb?
    What is your plan for your healthy hives?
    This is a subject of interest to a lot of people. Any details you wish to share about saving this hive or your future plans for your healthy hives would be appreciated.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014. Going for chemical free.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    1,448

    Thumbs Up Re: Lots of dead bees

    monitor for mites. use one of the standard methods: sugar shake, ether, or alcohol wash procedures. if you use sugar shake double your number to get alcohol wash equivelent. this will give you an infection rate per 100 bees. this is much more accurate than a sticky board or just looking [useless] for mites. if you have a high mite count do something. in most cases treatment is indicated. keep in mind you can get away with less the further north you are. the treatment free ideas do not work once mites get going badly. for more information see the ny bee wellness or ontario bee association web sites. the trick is to manage for mites before there is a crisis. this time of year, 2 mites per 100 is time [ontario bee] to treat in my area, this is not many at all. this year i am switching to oxalic acid vapor instead of the other chemical strips. formic acid [mite away quick strips] can be used during a honey flow. follow the directions.
    Last edited by mathesonequip; 05-30-2015 at 07:57 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees

    Quote Originally Posted by mathesonequip View Post
    monitor for mites. use one of the standard methods: sugar shake, ether, or alcohol wash procedures. if you use sugar shake double your number to get alcohol wash equivelent. this will give you an infection rate per 100 bees. this is much more accurate than a sticky board or just looking [useless] for mites. if you have a high mite count do something. in most cases treatment is indicated. keep in mind you can get away with less the further north you are. the treatment free ideas do not work once mites get going badly. for more information see the ny bee wellness or ontario bee association web sites. the trick is to manage for mites before there is a crisis. this time of year, 2 mites per 100 is time [ontario bee] to treat in my area, this is not many at all. this year i am switching to oxalic acid vapor instead of the other chemical strips. formic acid [mite away quick strips] can be used during a honey flow. follow the directions.
    I guess the OP hasn't had time to respond.
    I would still be interested their plans, if they care to share.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014. Going for chemical free.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    1,448

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees

    alex, the so called opposition does not have a problem with mites killing their hives... i dislike the idea of chemical treatments but i like dead bees even less.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees

    Quote Originally Posted by mathesonequip View Post
    alex, the so called opposition does not have a problem with mites killing their hives... i dislike the idea of chemical treatments but i like dead bees even less.
    I understand what you are saying. It seems difficult to have discussions on this subject without the discussions becoming confrontational. I am not that type of person. It is difficult to convey such meaning with the written word. I don't know how either side has become the opposition, but it seems so. I hear the same rhetoric from both sides.
    Treatment free may or may not be possible, but it will not happen overnight, that's for sure. I don't mean to turn this into a debate, I just want to take this opportunity to explain my position to you. I know I snapped at you the other day and I apologize for that, but it is amazing how much information is out there. Then I have to decide which is true, false or impractical.
    I based my decision to go TF on the basis of what I read on the BeeWeaver website. They are supposed to be able to tolerate mites. I purchased three packages from them last year. I have enough beekeeping experience and humility to make a fair judgement whether this works for me or not. I am typing this in a calm and conciliatory manner. There are many things that can go wrong, but it seems as though, even on the TF forum the din of the one note song of mites, mites, mites is inescapable. LOL I like the idea of TF, but I'm not married to it.
    I don't blame commercial beekeepers for this "situation" or think it is their responsibility to find a solution. The risk/reward factor is way out of balance for them, but for a sideliner to risk a couple or a couple dozen of colonies, the payoff for success would be enormous for everyone in beekeeping.
    I think all involved should move a little closer to the middle where it is much easier to see both sides.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014. Going for chemical free.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    1,448

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees

    alex, this is a good friendly discussion among friends as far as i am concerned. jwadi wondered what was going on, he got some possible answers, one of witch looks to have fit. how he got there and what to do next is something for him to sort out, this is a first step to finding a best answer for him and maybe others. at least in this section of the forum well meaning individuals can discuss this. we all know that a lot of beekeeping is local, what my best answer is, may not be for your location. where i am a lot of ontario's bees are is actually south of me. things are different and the same at the same time.
    Last edited by mathesonequip; 05-31-2015 at 12:53 PM.

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