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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Posts
    128

    Default new package, was doing great; 3rd inspection; 90% dead

    This is quite strange and has stumped more than 1 keeper that I've discussed with so I'm broadening the audience...

    String test; negative. Smell test: normal. Bees where acting drunk and lethargic when I opened the hive. 7 days ago they had 2 gal of 1:1 and where very healthy and in fact I expected to add a second box this week. Today they have no sugar and no stores (but I am guessing they may have consumed the stores after the entrance was blocked by dead bees (both inside and out).

    The night time temps are chilly still around here; getting down in the mid 40s. For the better part of last week it was wet and chilly (50s). They where hived from a new package on the 16th of April. There are 3 other hives at the same location; 2 are slow getting started with some eggs, larvae and capped brood but not too much (and slow to take sugar) and the 3rd (next to this hive) is in 2 boxes now and growing well; eats like a horse. The remaining 3 hives are all brining in pollen and some nectar; they are in the middle of nowhere, not near anything.

    I have some ideas but I don't want to taint opinions.












  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    935

    Default Re: new package, was doing great; 3rd inspection; 90% dead

    Those dead brown larva tells the story for me. I've seen it once before on some brood that was in a piece of burr comb pulled from one of my hives just a week ago. It is from starvation. The one thing I didn't see any of was pollen and nectar/honey which they need to rear brood and keep the existing bees alive. Looking at the bottom board with all the dead bees I see the entrance reducers are both turned to be completely closed off. Was this intentional or after the fact? Reason asking is it could also be due to that Heat kill. Is the queen still alive?
    Thomas Bartram - Since 2013, 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: new package, was doing great; 3rd inspection; 90% dead

    The second reducer was to seal the hive during the move; it was after the fact; they where on a small entrance, same as the other hives.

    I agree with the idea of some starvation but I suspect that was after the die off; they had 2 gallons of 1:1 and had stores 1 week ago Saturday. I suspect at some point there was sufficient deaths to block the exit, at this time they consumed what they had. The 2 gallons was consumed; the feeder was empty except for a few bees that got into the feeder through the fencing.

    What caused the larger die off; I don't expect was starvation as they had food (1 week ago) and they where brining in pollen. I suspect something else started the chain of events.

    I suspect the brown larvae might be chilled brood (again, after the large die off). At first I was concerned about AFB or Sacbrood but there are signs of neither (and it wouldn't explain the large deaths of adults.

    Queen is nowhere to be found but I'd still like to diagnose in order to have a reasonable guess as to if I can (or not) merge the survivers with another hive or if I should kill them and dispose of the hive equipment (or something in between).

    Thought?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,923

    Default Re: new package, was doing great; 3rd inspection; 90% dead

    What kind of feeder? I don't see how they'd go through 2 gallons and die off like that in a week unless some mad robbing ensued, what's the front of the hive box look like.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: new package, was doing great; 3rd inspection; 90% dead

    I use top feeders. The front had some dead bees but nothing to suggest a mad robbing episode (and there are 3 more hives, all next to each other doing good to fair.

    I was thinking the same thing, both with the thought of a robbing episode and that they couldn't have gone through 2 gallons and dies of starvation.

    I'll share a few thoughts of my own and from some researchers:

    My 1st thought was pesticides, that this one hive found something and brought it back and fed the other hive bees. Someone mentioned that a high load of tracheal mite in the new package may have caused it but to go from healthy to mostly dead in such a short time doesn't feel right to me (though I admit I haven't had an episode of tracheal mite in any hive to draw experience from).

    Of course my initial thought was AFB/EFB but things don't fit those so I'm glad and I do agree with your suggestion that the dead and brown larvae may be a result of chilled brood (a result of a die-off and fewer bees to maintain the brood area).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    935

    Default Re: new package, was doing great; 3rd inspection; 90% dead

    Question: Do you have any adolescent boys in the neighborhood? You mentioned poisoning. It really wouldn't make sense for one hive to get into something with that much of a load without incidence to the others. But on it's own with some teenagers and a can of permithrin - it could decimate a good hive in no time flat. The bees you see on the frames may just be the new hatches since the spray. Most of them in the pics seem to be new or very young bees with little to no older bees. It would also account for the dead larva.
    Thomas Bartram - Since 2013, 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: new package, was doing great; 3rd inspection; 90% dead

    No, the hives are way out in the woods on a property at the end of a dirt road. My thoughts where more towards someone dumping something. That is an interesting thought about how many of the bees might be from hatching vs the dead-out though. There is a mix as the queen was a Carni and many of the bees in the image appear to be Italian (which is what the package bees where) but it still adds to the story line...

    Currently, I have the hive at the house and have them on a new feeder with fresh food. At least until I decide what to do with them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    935

    Default Re: new package, was doing great; 3rd inspection; 90% dead

    Is the queen still alive?
    Thomas Bartram - Since 2013, 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: new package, was doing great; 3rd inspection; 90% dead

    Queen is nowhere to be found (bit I haven't searched through the dead bodies yet).

    I'm collecting a sample to send to the university; they dissect and test dead-outs for keepers in Washington but it takes a few weeks for results.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    935

    Default Re: new package, was doing great; 3rd inspection; 90% dead

    That's the best thing i've heard anyone say all day long. Most of the time i'm telling people to do just that. It's too easy to blame something and it not be the correct thing. Keep us posted once you get the results as i'm really wondering myself now too. I hate it that you lost the colony, however this could be a learning experience for many people...
    Thomas Bartram - Since 2013, 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

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