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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,113

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Beeslave - what are the sure signs of chilled brood that you see?

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,947

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    I can't tell for sure if you suffered from chilled brood or something else. I think there are several issues going on which individually may not cause terrible problems but when combined sure aren't helping!

    They include:

    - frame spacing: frames should be pushed up tight against one another. You may have had to temporarily remove one frame in order to have your queen released from a queen cage. Once the queen was released, you should have cleaned up any extra comb that was built, removed the now empty cage, and tightened up the frames. (replacing the one you might have removed to make room for the queen cage)
    - 2nd brood chamber should not have been added until the first was 80+% of frames were used and I like to see all comb drawn. Move frames 1 & 10 in to positions 3 and 7 (but don't insert them into the middle of your brood) so that they will get drawn out if they are being ignored on the outside.
    - the screen on your hive bottom does not appear standard sized. You may have a sound reason for using the size mesh you did but if so I don't know what you were trying to accomplish. Typical screened bottom boards are designed so that any mites on bees that fall off (for whatever reason) fall out of the hive - some have a sticky board underneath so you can monitor mites that do fall out of the hive. I use solid bottom boards and don't think a new colony benefits from as much ventilation as you were providing. This is a somewhat controversial belief.
    - screened top covers are primarily used in areas where it is very hot and when the bees are being moved. If neither of those cases apply, I think the bees had too much ventilation.

    I think that at some point the queen was killed (inadvertently by you in all probability); this would have caused the hive population to stop expanding. Excessive ventilation could certainly lead to chilled brood. I can't tell from the pictures if any of the dying brood is melting (dissolving) which could indicate a more serious brood disease.

    I encourage you to get involved with the club, participate in a bee school if they have one over the winter, and try again next year. I think this colony is too far gone to be saved, and that some of the resources (drawn comb) can be reused to give new bees a head start next year.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Thanks for Everybody's comments. I have not given up, and neither have the bees.
    http://imageshack.us/a/img706/1619/newtopy.jpg
    I built a new top board to keep them warmer and less drafty.
    I will create a new bottom one today but ran out of time last night.


  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,100

    Thumbs Up Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post
    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?
    Only if he noticed a foul smell.....That is why I asked about the smell above. The open larva do show some variation in color, but are almost too uniform in color to be symptomatic of EFB. But, the spotty brood pattern and dead larva give one pause. I do, however, put a lot of weight in whatever Jim Lyon says.....there is no food visible on that frame. Question is, what happened before they ran out of food? That is why I thought IBDS sounded like a good possibility.
    Last edited by Lburou; 06-11-2013 at 10:25 AM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,454

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    I might amend my opinion a bit to WHY there is no feed. The screened bottom and entrance feeding may have contributed to a robbing event and the resulting sharp drop in the graph. Such an occurrence results in a dead queen most of the time.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #26
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,100

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon's signature
    "Ve are too soon olt und too late schmart."- A nameless German philosopher
    At my age, I have a goal to be smart two mornings in a row....
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Posts
    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.
    ............
    Yes that "table thing".. It rains a lot here in Vancouver WA. I put that there to keep the front entrance dry when it rains all the time. It might help with colder nights when there might be a frost condition. If there is less moisture in the hive that is a good thing.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
    Posts
    831

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    IMO the girls had not enough food and too much space. 1 frame of brood needs at least 1kg of food. Next time feed only from the inner cover hole 1:1 syrup with an upside down glass jar as much as they take. Place a sheet Styrofoam on top of the inner cover and cut a hole for the glass jar. This is good for the cold days and for the hot days also.
    Hold the bees tight and give them one foundation at the time. As soon as the foundation is almost finished and the first food is stored, give them the next one. Use a sheet of Styrofoam, covered with plastic foil to make the 10 frame box small to a 5 or 6 frame (whatever they need), and move the foam to the side when they need more space.
    Without a nectar flow (or sugar) over a long time, the queen stopped laying and therefore produce less and less pheromone, during summer a signal for the bees to swarm. It might be happen here, because they started with queen cells. To cold during night, not enough bees to warm the brood... they gave up.
    BSW, never ever feed a colony from the entrance. If you drop some syrup, or the lid is not 100% tight, bees start robbing. Always feed inside and reduce the entrance with high density Styrofoam. Give them an two finger wide opening, if the bees needs more, they shred the foam to the opening they need.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    677

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    I think this is just a case of CCD and the bees that are left are the field bees that were out when the hive left and the bees that have hatched since leaving. Nothing you could have done but a couple of things for the future.
    1. RIGHT NOW, I would take all the frames off except for those that have bees. IF that was a queen you pointed out, leave her and the rest of the bees on 2 frames. Take a piece of plywood and somehow block off the rest of the hive from these frames, maybe even take the others out and put in the freezer til you need them. In essence, you are making a nuc in a box. NOTE: I don't think that was the queen. If it wasn't and that's all the bees you have left, then you'll probably just need to chalk this one up to "oh well, there's always next year".
    2. Do not add the top empty box until they have filled the entire bottom box. Having lived in the NW, your bees will need all the help they can get staying warm thanks to how cool it gets after the sun goes down. Smaller spaces with less bees = the bees stay warm.
    3. Sugar water is good. Sugar water with Honey B Healthy is better. I also tend to err more towards the "more sugar, less water" on my feeding with my build up feed tending to be more like 55% sugar/45% water. The Honey B Healthy really helps them feed well. Ignore the naysayers on this. You need all the help you can get right now.

    I could be wrong on my observations but it sure looks a lot like a hive I had a couple of years ago that was strong and then all of a sudden there was a handful of bees and tons of sealed brood that couldn't stay warm once the bees left.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Thanks for everyodies suggestions
    I made a few changes
    First I got rid of the entrance feeder. It was starting to have leaking problems and I was finding drowned bees. There was also robbing happening from some weavles and other insects. I got an internal feeder and as soon as I put it in 2 bees landed on it and got some sugar-syrup solution. When I opened it today I did not notice any, but I think they were feeding earlier. It holds ~96 ounces. It is in the bottom of the photo.

    I took 1 clean frame and put it into position #3 hopping that the bees will draw it out and if I still have a queen, she will lay eggs again so I can get restarted with a growing hive this year.

    http://imageshack.us/a/img32/184/l9nq.jpg

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,401

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    I used to live in Northern Whidbey Island, so I know what kind of weather you have in your area. If your syrup/feed is not constantly 50F or above, the bees will not be able to eat it, so it will do them no good.

    I also noticed that initially, you had enough bees to occupy three or four frames, but had given them twenty and the space that goes with that. Sort of like a small family trying to live/occupy an entire medieval castle, without any outside assistance.

    What could help, is to remove the burr comb that is keeping your frames from fitting together properly, create a "follower board" from foil lined styrofoam, as has already been mentioned. Use the follower board to limit the bees to just the drawn combs, for now, plus the feeder. Move the feeder until it is right next to the first comb with bees. Keep replacing the feed, morning and evening, with very warm feed, like 90F warm. Cover the screen of the SBB (screened bottom board). I would also use a piece of foil lined foam board, tight beneath the screen, to help reduce air infiltration, while they are regaining their strength. For the small number of bees you have, your nights are way too cold for them to eat the syrup, especially with an open SBB, and a low population. The syrup is getting too cold at night and not warming up enough in the daytime for them to be able to eat it. Your daytime highs are my nighttime lows, and my daytime highs are over 100F. By August, you may have halfway decent temps, but not yet. These dynamics I mention can change for the better once you have a decent population, and growing. And they do need lots of warm sugar syrup, since it rains so frequently their foraging is limited.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 06-17-2013 at 05:27 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    Honey-4-all, aka Phil(me thinks) got it right. I see efb and sacbrood. Efb happened when we got all that rain, towards end of may early june. No pollen stressed the heck out of the bees, they broke down. In my experience efb seems to shorten the lifespan of adult bees. That is why there a little to no adults around. Then the brood got chilled cause of the lack of adults. That's what I see. The event started with poor weather.

    The hive imho is irrevocably damaged and is probably already dead. Get more bees soon. The feeder should be close to the remaining bees so it is easier for them to get the food, assuming that I am wrong in my assessment. The heat generated by the bees will warm the syrup making it easier to consume.

    Jean-Marc

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    I think I saw my QUEEN in the hive today.
    I took this picture. My next step is to manually clean out the chilled brood and replace giving them a new start.
    I hope the queen will start to lay eggs again.
    http://imageshack.us/a/img825/1794/iec0.jpg


  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    King County, Washington
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Why my colony is collapsing?

    The bee to the right is not a queen, but I do see two emergency queen cells. The top one was the cell in which the queen emerged. You can tell that by the nice round hole. The queen cell on the bottom housed a queen that was killed still imprisoned as the cap is intact.

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