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  1. #1
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    Apr 2012
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    Boone Co, WV
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    Default Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or honey

    Checked my bees this year and found one hive out of my 2 is completely empty. There is no honey, bees nothing. They just simply disappeared. They were very stong and healthy over the summer ( installed in April of 12). There are no bee bodies. Is this CCD? Is it ok for me to install a new package of bees using the drawn foundation? I am planning on putting in 3 new hives this year. Should I give all 3 some of the drawn comb? Any worry of disease?

  2. #2
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    Grays Harbor County, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    Just speculating here, but often a busy hive in fall, followed by an empty hive in spring is a sign of varroa mites. The bees are somehow able to keep the dead cleared out until the last minute. The honey could have been robbed. I would check for guano deposits on the inside of brood cells (small white clumps) and also sift through the bottom board debris and look for mites. If you find any dead bees, look for deformed wings. If you find evidence of many mites you can rule out CCD and reuse the equipment. It could be something else as well, but that is where I would start.
    Rusty
    http://www.honeybeesuite.com "A Better Way to Bee"

  3. #3
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    Apr 2012
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    Boone Co, WV
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    Thanks for the reply.. I actually treated them with powered sugar around November. I will have to brink a deep in a check it out. So if you have ccd you cannot reuse anything?

  4. #4
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    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    PS is not a treatment.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2012
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    Boone Co, WV
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    Here are some pictures of what I found after further inspection today. Lots of pollen and some bees that have died trying to hatch. Also some moth damage. I see lots of brown specs in the remains on the bottom board. I tried to get good pics of them but don't have the greatest camera in the world. So what do the pros say, starve out, mites, ccd other? My other hive actually has Nosema and was treated today. I no not see any signs of Nosema from the dead hive.

    DSCN0976.jpgDSCN0977.jpgDSCN0978.jpgDSCN0979.jpgDSCN0980.jpgDSCN0981.jpgDSCN0982.jpgDSCN0983.jpgDSCN0984.jpgDSCN0985.jpgDSCN0986.jpgDSCN0987.jpgDSCN0988.jpgDSCN0989.jpgDSCN0990.jpg

  6. #6
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    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    Looks like plenty of mites in the debris, I would say that was a key factor.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2012
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    Boone Co, WV
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    So should I treat the empty hive for mites then would it be ok to reuse?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    > So should I treat the empty hive for mites then would it be ok to reuse?

    Mites need bees to live, so there should not be a mite problem with that empty equipment now.
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Pennsauken NJ
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    2

    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    I have the same problem. What do we do with the frames that are in the hive? How about if there is capped honey? Just clean it up and put bees back in. Thanks for the help

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    2,487

    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    I suspect your hive died from varroa mites (parasitic mite syndrome). Too many mites in the fall when winter bees were being produced, so you have too few bees to overwinter and they were weak on top of that, so late in the winter they froze from having too small a cluster. May have hung on until mid February, which my brother's hive did last year, then crashed.

    Powdered sugar isn't really a treatment for mites. Some people have found it to reduce the number significantly IF you treat at least once a week for a couple months, but a one time dusting will do nothing but give you an idea of how many mites there are in the hive, it won't reduce the number because it has no effect at all on mite reproduction -- that occurs inside the cells of capped brood.

    You hive was then robbed out of honey -- any activity you have seen this year is robbing. The cells containing honey have been ripped up, not simply uncapped as is normal, and the pile of wax flakes on the bottom, along with the dead bees, is the result. Most likely those were the remaining cluster in your hive that were killed by robbers.

    The way to avoid this is to do a proper mite treatment in the fall (really late summer, August into September) and verify that you have very low levels of mites in September and October while winter bees are being raised. These bees differ from the summer bees in that they have much larger internal protein stores and live all winter and into spring, unlike summer bees with usually only last 6 weeks or so.

    You had plenty of pollen stores, so I don't suspect protein starvation, which can do the exact same thing with a different mechanism. In that case, the hive is fine until they start brood rearing in the spring, when the older bees die from using up too much protein raising brood while still clustered tightly, causing the cluster do freeze out from low numbers.

    I have to feed a partial protein patty in the fall here, we often have inadequate pollen supplies due to extended dry weather from August through sometimes October. Just like needing adequate honey stores, the bees need adequate protein stores to make it through a spring like the one we are having.

    It's all learning, I lost my first hive due to starvation the same way. I figured out quick that they simply must be fat and happy in September, so fed quite a bit this year to obtain that condition. I have two nice busy hives making fuzzy bees right now, in spite of the cold weather.

    Peter

  11. #11
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    Apr 2012
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    Boone Co, WV
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    Thank you for your reply Peter, very helpful to say the least. Would you reuse the drawn comb? Should I go ahead and treat the remaining hive for mites? Will the new bees fix the areas where the wax was torn away? I am getting 3 more packages next month and don't want to make an amateur mistake.

  12. #12
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    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    The mites can only live on bees -- once the bees die, so do the mites. You don't need to treat the comb with anything, and the bees will be very happy to re-use it. They will repair any damage so fast you won't believe it.

    I would split the drawn comb up between your new hives, making sure that each one gets some brood comb. Put that used brood comb in the center, because the queen is going to lay in it first, and if you put it off to the side they can "chimney" up one side of the hive! That happened to me to, it's amazing what you can learn by screwing up.

    If you do not have them, consider hive top feeders. They are much better than Boardman entrance feeders -- no robbing events from open syrup, the bees can take syrup much faster, and the good ones have a screen so that you can fill them with the bees contained

    Peter

  13. #13
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    Apr 2012
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    Ok ow do I tell the difference from brood and honey comb?

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    > Ok how do I tell the difference from brood and honey comb?

    Look at some of the pictures in the Beesource Illustrated Glossary:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...eping-Glossary

    Here's one:


    Anyone who would like to contribute photos for subjects that don't currently have photos can send them to Barry at admin@beesource.com
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    The pupae spin a cocoon, which stays in the cell. This makes them darker each time the cell is used, and eventually the brood comb will be coal black and very hard. Honey storage comb stays very light color, so anything with brown cells is brood comb.

    Sadly, wax moths also love brood comb for the protein in it, and will destroy it pretty quickly once they get up and going in the spring. The bees will keep them under control so long as the hive is strong, but unused stored comb will get infested pretty fast.

    Brood comb is also all the same depth (one worker bee high) except for drone comb, which is larger and deeper, while honey storage comb can be quite deep and has variable sized cells.

    Peter

  16. #16
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    Apr 2012
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    Boone Co, WV
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    Alright so the darker comb then. I have nothing capped anymore really. Even had bees that had died coming out of the comb.. Another question, will the queen lay worker eggs in the larger drone holes? How about honey comb? I truly thank you for your help!

  17. #17
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    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    It's spring, so yes, if the hive is doing well and fills up with honey pollen, they may well raise a crop of drones in those drone cells. Otherwise, the bees fill them with honey or pollen and the queen lays elsewhere -- it's the bees that determine where the queen lays, not the queen. She just plugs eggs into the cells the other bees prepare.

    Any cells that are too deep for brood the bees won't use for brood unless the cut them down to size first. Typically they establish a brood nest in some portion of the hive and use that for brood, but when not raising brood will put honey in it. Don't know if they would convert honey storage into brood nest, but no reason to assume they won't.

    Peter

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Grays Harbor County, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: Checked bees for the first time this year one hive completly empty, no bees or ho

    If you look carefully at photo 13, you can see some white spots adhering to the inside of the brood cells that look like mite guano (feces), a good sign of a mite infestation.
    Rusty
    http://www.honeybeesuite.com "A Better Way to Bee"

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