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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Johnson County, NE USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Lost both hives and some questions

    I just finished cleaning out my hive in preparation for the arrival of their replacements and it looks like the queen must have failed. It was her first year, but I think I had a laying worker in there. The main cluster was dead, most of them at the bottom of the hive and a number in the center of the cluster still with their heads stuck in the comb. But their was an erratic pattern of brood, all drones in various stages of development. Maybe ten to fifteen on several different frames. This is only my second year and I am yet to get a hive to survive winter. Does that sound like the queen didn't survive the winter so the bees I was seeing were doomed? It was too cold to open the hive and all seemed fine until there were suddenly no bees.

    I looked at the drone larva and the dead bees for signs of varroa but didn't find any. Would you still see evidence of mites after the bees are dead?

    Just trying to figure out some reason these guys died so I can hopefully prevent it in the newcomers, but other than that, I have nothing.
    Life more abundantly at Roscommon Acres

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wausau, WI, USA
    Posts
    221

    Default Re: Lost both hives and some questions

    Heads buried in the combs is usually a sign of starvation. You most likely would not see any physical signs of mites at this time.

    Did your queen fail? Maybe. You said there was drone larvae in all stages on several frames. That's not a sign of a good queen. Drones should have been ejected from the hive before winter. You shouldn't be seeing and sing of drones during winter. Drone Layer or Laying Worker, no real way that I know of to tell of in a deadout except the laying pattern. DL will be tight and normal, LW will be all over the place.

    How many frames of honey did the hive have when it went into winter? Did you check them previously to see if they needed emergency feed?

    Wisnewbee
    Honey Luv Farm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Johnson County, NE USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Lost both hives and some questions

    They were pretty full going into winter. They came out in early March and all seemed to be going well. I fed them and was happy to finally have a hive survive. Then it turned cold and when we finally defrosted three weeks later, there were only a handful of bees. I wasn't sure on their timeline and when they start building up to prepare for spring and was worried that being closed in their hive for the end of March and a good part of April was not going to be good, but the only evidence of brood were these drones. They weren't in a compact area. Just scattered on the frame, several on each frame. And none of them were actually in the brood nest. They were on the outside four frames of honey. (Not much honey left. Some bee bread.)
    Life more abundantly at Roscommon Acres

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