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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    85

    Default Lost hive - what happened? Photos attached

    Im new to beekeeping this year. I have two hives, one in my backyard and one out at another property outside of town. I just went to check on my out of town hive today and found that the colony was gone. there were a few stray bees hanging around (maybe 10 - 15), but, other than that, there was no trace of them. When I opened the hive I found a few dead bees but not more than you would normally see in a hive. There was no active brood left behind and no honey in the comb. I found some worms/maggots in some of the comb and a fair amount of small hive beetles in the top feeder which was almost completely empty.

    Can you help me figure out what happened? Id really like to know if it was something I did so that I don't make this mistake again.

    I'll lay out any recent activity that could potentially be significant -
    I checked on the bees last Monday, 8 days ago, and the hive seemed pretty active. Its a fairly hot hive so I used a combination of smoke and honey-b-healthy infused syrup spray to keep them tame. While there, I took two of the brood frames to put into my other backyard hive which has been struggling due to the amount of adult bees that died in shipping. So far, the new hive seems to be doing great with the new brood. While at the old hive I also repaired some comb that had been out of whack due to 2 missing frames in the brood chamber. I had also recently added an additional deep super and was trying to get them to draw comb on the frames (never accomplished this). One big mistake I made was that I accidentally shook one brood frame off before checking thoroughly for the queen so it is possible that I left her outside of the hive.

    I also added a top feeder to give them honey b healthy infused syrup and a megabee patty to try and encourage them to draw comb in the new super.

    I have noticed small hive beetles in this hive for some time now but they seemed to keep them mostly in check and the SHB population seemed to be fairly low the last time I check on the hive.

    Pictures of some of the hive attached - notice the frames that have bee carcases still in the comb, the worms/maggots, and the almost fungal looking powdery bits on one of the combs.

    With the photos and the information provided, can anyone take an informed guess as to what may have happened to this colony?

    https://picasaweb.google.com/1153781...18171/20130625

    Many Thanks!!
    Last edited by michos; 06-25-2013 at 10:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,368

    Default Re: Lost hive - what happened? Photos attached

    i'll take a stab at it michos, although the link to your photo didn't work.

    it sounds like they absconded, which means they still had their queen.

    the most likely reason for the abscond was small hive beetle infestation.

    contributing factors to the shb infestation were the presence of the megabee patty and more room in the hive that the colony could protect.

    the shb larvae defecate and cause the honey/nectar to spoil (ferment), making it unusable to the bees.

    the bees decide their hive is ruined and leave it behind to find a new home.

    i had this happen in my first year, but luckily was able to catch them and got them rehived.

    i have since been more diligent about keeping a shb trap in each box which has worked well so far.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Lost hive - what happened? Photos attached

    Thank you squarepeg. Sounds pretty convincing to me. Here is a link to photos that should work
    https://picasaweb.google.com/1153781...18171/20130625

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Fremont County, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Lost hive - what happened? Photos attached

    Looks like wax moths to me. Picture 9 with the trail, picture 7 with the larva, and the webs in some of the other pictures. However, I have no experience with shb. My 2 cents.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    2,047

    Default Re: Lost hive - what happened? Photos attached

    Possibly the hive was robbed and then with no bees to defend, SHB and wax moths moved in for the kill.... Try freezing the frames, in a populous hive the bees should quickly clean them...
    http://OxaVap.com
    Your source for Oxalic Acid Vaporizers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kennesaw, Ga, USA
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Lost hive - what happened? Photos attached

    Looks like SHB to me. Easy way to tell SHB larvae from wax moth is to squish them. The SHB ones are more tough to squish, wax moths squish with little pressure. I know this isn't very scientific sounding but you will find the SHB more rubber like and you have to almost cut the with your hive tool. Looks like the hive got more of them than they could tolerate and bailed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Wilson NC
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Lost hive - what happened? Photos attached

    I had the same thing happen to me this year. It was small hive beetles. A had checked it a week before and when I came back the next week I had the same SHB larvae all in the honey stores. The bees were still there but I had a lot of SHB larvae, so I took the frames that didnt have SHB out of the hive and placed more drawn comb in. They made it but like you said they were fine one week and then the next I had the infestation. I guess the SHB eggs had hatched within that week and became a mess.

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