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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Posts
    140

    Default Why my colony is collapsing?

    Not sure why my first bee hive is colapsing.
    I got a new one and the bees are dissappearing.
    I got them in April, and took photos and video during inspections.

    http://imageshack.us/a/img546/4512/firsthive1.jpg


    Here is another look at one of the frames where the bees had abandoned it.

    http://imageshack.us/a/img13/1567/firsthive2.jpg



    There is virtually no bees on this frame when before there were so many

    that you could not see frame under.

    This hive is new created from all new construction.
    http://imageshack.us/a/img404/6795/newconst1.jpg



    I did notice this dead and diseased hatchling
    http://imageshack.us/a/img580/4642/d...ingedited1.jpg


    I am not sure why the hatchlings in the brood chamber did not hatch and

    why there are dead ones?


    Queen Cells:
    http://imageshack.us/a/img600/2713/dscn6928m.jpg


    Not sure why the emergency queen cells. I wonder if the original queen

    was killed or got injured. Maybe there is no new eggs being laid and the

    bees are in survival mode.

    A look at a frame with an insect on it
    http://imageshack.us/a/img211/923/dscn6932n.jpg
    Note the white uncapped larva. I wonder if that means the bees had

    abandoned this frame?


    A general look at 1 of the frames
    http://imageshack.us/a/img259/5879/dscn6933sm.jpg



    I am not sure what interpretation I am to make.
    My observations are telling me that no new bees are hatching in the brood

    chamber. All those capped brood cells indicate something happened in the

    hive about several weeks ago when they should have been emerginge from their pupa stage.

    How do I determine if the frames in the brood chamber have dead larva/pupa in them?

    I am going to take several steps based upon my observations.
    1). Reduce the size of the hive. The interior chambers consist of 3

    sections. The brood chamber, the 2nd chamber where none of the frames

    have been developed, and the 3rd honey super that has no frames in it.

    2). Eliminate top entrance between the screen top and the roof. My screen ceiling has a bee space that allows the bees to get in and out. I will elminiate that area so they will not have to deal with defending a the top of the hive.

    3). Clean and inspect for other insects.

    4). Rais the hive up from the ground. The bottom board is screwed into 2x4s. That gives it entrance a 3 1/2 inch clearance. I will rest the hive on 4x4's so that will help to prevent other insects from crawling inside.

    5). I will spray the combs with sugar water to get the bees to start to attend to the other frames.

    Any and all ideas welcome!
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Do you think that you still have a queen? Is there any evidence that she is laying any new eggs at all? Are they starving? I don't see any stores at all in the picture.

    Are there any live bees emerging from the spotty brood frame, or do they all seem to be dead?

    There is a live newly emerged bee right next to the zombie - do you see a lot of those or just the one?

    This looks pretty bad- maybe unsalvagable. Mostly depends on if you have a queen or not. I probably would not requeen a hive like this. Close all but the main entrance and reduce it to the smallest size, remove unused frames to as small as possible. Don't spray sugar water - instead feed 1-1 sugar syrup.

    I don't know what the root of the problem is, but starvation, queenlessness, and robbing look like possibilities.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    robertsdale,Al.,USA
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    older bees in package colony dying off and there aren't enough bees to cover the brood laid is a possibility

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,575

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    The fact that they have done some "cupping" indicates to me that something must have happened to your queen. I dont see any signs of feed in this hive as there were in the May picture. Those frames of brood should typically have a rim of honey/feed around them and the exposed pupae indicates to me they may have been "sucking brood" which means they may have been near starvation. This could easily lead to a queenless condition. Are there dead bees on the bottom board or near the entrance?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Murray County, Georgia
    Posts
    215

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    My guesses:

    1. starvation
    2. chilled brood
    3. If there is a bunch of dead brood the bees that are left may have absconded.

    How many frames do you have that actually are covered with bees? If you have no queen and no eggs you'll have to start over.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    No there are no dead bees on the entrance or in the bottom of the frame.

    Also I have been feeding them sugar water ever since I first got them.
    So this chart shows their consumption and I thought the spike in consumption meant that the young brood were beginning to feed as well.
    http://imageshack.us/a/img32/3860/sugarwatcon.jpg

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Do you think that you still have a queen? Is there any evidence that she is laying any new eggs at all? Are they starving? I don't see any stores at all in the picture.

    Are there any live bees emerging from the spotty brood frame, or do they all seem to be dead?

    There is a live newly emerged bee right next to the zombie - do you see a lot of those or just the one?

    I don't know what the root of the problem is, but starvation, queenlessness, and robbing look like possibilities.
    I think I saw a few bees that looked lighter as if they were more gray than darker. I didn't really notice those ones.
    I don't think they are starving because I had a polin patty in there for them and the sugar water was always being consumed.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim B View Post
    My guesses:

    1. starvation
    2. chilled brood
    3. If there is a bunch of dead brood the bees that are left may have absconded.

    How many frames do you have that actually are covered with bees? If you have no queen and no eggs you'll have to start over.
    There was a clump of bees between 2 of the frames.
    I will post a video of my inspection in a few minutes

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Bloomington In
    Posts
    788

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Feed them there is no honey or store on any of those frame's. If the is nothing coming in the queen will slow down or stop. Put some 1-1 syrup.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk3X911qOiE
    A link to my YouTube video of the inspection.

    I will go outside and make some of the changes people have suggested.

    Thanks!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
    Posts
    792

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    I sure no expert but you've got a screened bottom boards and a fully screened inner cover. Maybe someone more experienced will post about that but I've read that bees need to keep the hive around 95 degrees F and if it's not that hot they generate heat to make it that hot. I'm going to guess they've eaten all the honey they've stored trying to keep the hive warm and that the brood has been chilled from not having enough bees to cover it and warm the hive to the correct temps.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,127

    Thumbs Up Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    I'd be interested to hear whether you noticed any bad smells or not. Don't give up if you lose this hive. Its discouraging I can imagine. I suspect you might have idiopathic brood syndrome, wish we could be more help.

    When you get things going again, make sure the frames are touching the adjacent frame at the frame ends. That will eliminate that non-standard comb configuration right in the middle of your hive. When the comb is built like that, it would be easy to crush a bee caught between the foundation and the burr comb as built by the bees. That would ordinarily not be a big deal.....unless it is the queen that gets crushed. Never give up!
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    wow i dont have answers for ya but it was interesting that you had the second brood box when the first one didnt seem to be drawn out much. maybe a little demoralized. also, did you have that table thing on since u installed the bees ? never seen a set up like that before.

    what a bummer man. keep going for it ... it'll work out next time i'm sure.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,575

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    I can't say with any degree of certainty what happened here but whatever it is has already happened. A healthy growing package installed on foundation might well need a pint of syrup every day to continue to grow and build foundation unless you have had an excellant buildup flow. Those frames had feed or honey in them not so long ago and now they are empty. I'm still guessing they ran short on feed and we are seeing the results. Nothing else that I am familiar with fits the evidence....that's my story and I'm stickin to it.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
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    140

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Quote Originally Posted by tommysnare View Post
    wow i dont have answers for ya but it was interesting that you had the second brood box when the first one didnt seem to be drawn out much. maybe a little demoralized. also, did you have that table thing on since u installed the bees ? never seen a set up like that before.
    ....
    This is my first hive. I am not sure when the right time was to put the 2nd brood box on. I figured they would go up instead of going out as fast. They built the first set rather quickly during the colder weather.

    What table thing? The screen bottom?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    When you say sugar water - how much sugar and how much water?

    And by the way - good job with the pictures, very helpful. After more thought I'm leaning even more to starvation. I don't know exactly what your weather is like, but if a package gets a lot of brood going and then it gets chilly or rainiy, and they don't have Plenty of carbs - Plenty with a capitol P - they won't be able to both generate heat and feed the brood. If it's cool enough they might not be able to get off of the brood to go get the syrup depending on how you are feeding it to them. Ventilation is good, but unless it is pretty warm you might be over doing it.

    Also If they are getting robbed by another nearby hive then it's impossible for them to keep up. Stick with one small entrance until they can hold their own in a fight.

    Make sure that your sugar water contains at least one pound of sugar per each pint of water.

    And whatever happens you should join your local bee keepers association - chances are they will be able to help you alot as you get started. They can probably even hook you up with some more bees if these don't work out.
    Last edited by David LaFerney; 06-09-2013 at 08:53 PM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    A look at my bottom board. I should have swepted the debri into a plate to study.
    Not sure how many mights would have been on it.
    http://imageshack.us/a/img268/7094/dscn6961sm.jpg


    I did observe some robbing and other insects (ants, weavles).
    This 1 is a cross between an ant and weavel and 1/8 inch in length. They were in the feader in the cracks. The been had been actually trying to attack them, as they were bunched up on the corner of the feader for the last week.

    I replaced the bottom brood cover for cleaning and sweeped out the screen bottom

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    When you say sugar water - how much sugar and how much water?

    And by the way - good job with the pictures, very helpful. After more thought I'm leaning even more to starvation. I don't know exactly what your weather is like, but if a package gets a lot of brood going and then it gets chilly or rainiy, and they don't have Plenty of carbs - Plenty with a capitol P - they won't be able to both generate heat and feed the brood. If it's cool enough they might not be able to get off of the brood to go get the syrup depending on how you are feeding it to them. Ventilation is good, but unless it is pretty warm you might be over doing it.

    Also If they are getting robbed by another nearby hive then it's impossible for them to keep up. Stick with one small entrance until they can hold their own in a fight.

    Make sure that your sugar water contains at least one pound of sugar per each pint of water.

    And whatever happens you should join your local bee keepers association - chances are they will be able to help you alot as you get started. They can probably even hook you up with some more bees if these don't work out.
    Thanks, I went to my first local beekeeper association meeting last month. I tried to find a local mentor but it was quicker to post my questions. I do have someone who got me into beekeeping. I messaged him, but he probably won't see the post till tomorrow.

    Yes they are probably starved, and some robbing happening.
    I cleaned up those issues, and I am going to try and get the temperature problem fixed by securing a better roof. I was using a top board but over my screen system.
    Instead I am axing the screen and using the top board under the roof.

    Sugar water, I measured it by volume I need to do it by weight like you are saying. That is what I will start to do.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by disc999golfer999; 06-09-2013 at 10:14 PM. Reason: spelling

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,452

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Anybody else here think there might be a case of EFB going on here?

    The blow ups of the brood pattern as well as the shrunken brood lead me to believe this is a case of EFB or some viral thing. Sac brood?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Pigeon Falls, WI
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    2,529

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Too much space, too much ventilation for a new hive, get rid of the entrance feeder, the second deep was not needed yet, the cluster couldn't access the pollen patty.

    I hear lots of traffic close by. Were the field bees killed by the traffic?

    A starving(lacking nectar/honey and or pollen) hive will also loose its population fast but will normally have dead bees piled up on the bottom board.

    I didn't notice EFB but definately seen chilled brood.
    Leer Family Honey Farm-Shannon Leer

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