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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.

    P1010152.jpg
    P1010149.jpg
    P1010150.jpg
    P1010154.jpg
    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
    3,823

    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 2009
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: What happened ???

    OK, I think you are all correct in that this was crystallized honey. I have never seen it in the comb before and it sure does look like eggs. I found the picture below online and it is exactly the same as what I see in my hive. Thanks for your input.

    Crystalizing%20Honey.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,823

    Default Re: What happened ???

    We all have things to learn about bees! You will be shocked and amazed many times. At least I am.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Bentonville, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: What happened ???

    This is exactly what happened in my 2 hives this winter. I had the state bee inspector out to examine. He tested for foulbrood, and then he found varroa mites on the dead bees. Probably a strong infestation during the fall. Lots of honey left over. So, starting over again.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,613

    Default Re: What happened ???

    Randy Oliver spoke at Dadant's last weekend about this. The bees only live so long, and before they die, they leave the hive so as to not burden their nursemates with disposing of their bodies. Better luck this year.

    Crazy Roland

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,265

    Default Re: What happened ???

    ds, was the full super that you left real honey or syrup honey?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,994

    Default Re: What happened ???

    DS all your photos were of just one frame. I didn't see any honey or brood. Not a good candidate for CCD as I understand it. Any eggs to get excited about would be in the very bottom of the cell. Crystal blobs of sugar are way bigger than eggs.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    416

    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.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,243

    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?

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