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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    118

    Default What happened ???

    Can you help me to understand what might have happened to the colony so I can prevent this in the future. This was a super stong colony going into the winter. I checked it about a month ago and it seemed to be ok. Today it got into the mid 50's so I checked out some of the hives today and this is what I found. 99% of the bees are gone. A handfull of dead bees on the bottom screen and on small cluster of bees. I see eggs everywhere. The frame the small cluster is on is fill of eggs on both the left and right side. The cells are literally packed with eggs. As much as they can hold. The dead bees also have eggs on their bodies. I have only been doing this a few years but I have never seen or heard of anything like this. I should also mention that I left a full super on this hive going into the winter and it was still about 3/4 full. Any input would be appreciated.

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    Last edited by Deer Slayer; 03-23-2013 at 04:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: What happened ???

    My first guess would be loss of the queen. Looks like the remnants of an emergency queen cell in the center of the old brood nest in pics 3&4. Perhaps some laying workers placing eggs everywhere though I didn't see any eggs in the pics. Maybe the "eggs" are crystallized honey on pollen in the cells--or mold?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: What happened ???

    The eggs are hard to see but they are relatively fresh and distinct. All the white stuff you see in the picture is eggs. Also if you look at the close up of the bees you can see individual eggs on the bee's bodies. I also noticed the ruptured queen cell but I did not think that would happen in Winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,063

    Default Re: What happened ???

    Sorry DS but there are no cells full of eggs. What you see is granulated honey. Crystals of sugars. The small cluster in the cells headfirst and bees adhereing above them are classic for a small cluster too small to form a viable cluster and they starved a half inch away from honey. The queenless condition suggested is a good possibility or it could have just been a collapse brought on by a large infestation of varroa mites. This is a pretty common site whatever the exact cause was. Re stock and move on. It happens to us all.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: What happened ???

    Thanks for the input. I am going to go back out and look at it closer and get better pictures. It sure looked like individual small eggs. There were also alot of them stuck on the bees bodies.

    Another question though - if that is the case then where are all of the dead bees. Only a few handful in the whole hive when 2 months ago it was fine. It has been pretty cold here since October with no real warm break. Could it be CCD? I want to make sure it isn't so I can reuse the hive body.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Bryant, AL
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: What happened ???

    were there all stages of brood during the last inspection, or did you simply see a good number of bees. Without looking for all the signs, the queen may have been gone for a good while and the high number of bees may have been the overwintered bees in their last weeks of life.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,459

    Default Re: What happened ???

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    My first guess would be loss of the queen. Looks like the remnants of an emergency queen cell in the center of the old brood nest in pics 3&4
    My thought too. The remnants of an emergency cell is the clue. I don't see any evidence of varroa...like dead pms brood. Did you see any dead brood in the rest of the combs?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: What happened ???

    DS- Looks like typical varroa/viral collapse. Happens pretty fast (within 2 to 3 weeks) once virus is established. 90% of my deadouts this year look just like this. Almost always strong, well stocked hives. I think mites had the upperhand last year because of last year's mild winter, early spring.

    Hopefully this cool weather will break, and our surviving hives can get on with buildup.

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