Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Florence, TX
    Posts
    3

    Default Is it CCD? Heartbroken in the Heart of Texas

    Yesterday (7/221/13) My boyfriend and I went to check our four hives only to discover that two of them were all gone with only a few bees and a queen remaining.

    A little background information regarding the hives and their conditions a month ago. As stated above we have four hives known as "the big hive", "the weak hive", "the split hive" and "the new hive".

    The "big hive" was originally a package of bees purchased from Beeweaver in April of 2012 and was our first hive. As of a month ago, this hive was strong and healthy with one deep hive body, two honey supers and packed full of bees.

    The "weak hive" is a combination of two hives of bees that we trapped out last year. Neither hive was doing well so we combined them using the newspaper method in August of 2012. By this spring they were doing very well. Even though we still refer to it as the "weak hive" it is our second largest hive. The hive consists of one hive body and two honey supers.

    The "split hive" is a split we took off the "big hive" in April of this year. As of last month they were also doing well. It consists of one hive body.

    The "new hive" is a package of bees we purchased April of this year from Beeweaver and they also were also strong and healthy, quickly doubling in their numbers. It consists of one hive body.

    Back to my original story, when we checked the bees yesterday, the "big hive" and the "split hive" were both gone (remember the split originally came from the big hive). The "split hive" has about 1 1/2 frames worth of bees left and the queen. The "big hive" has 2 to 3 frames of bees left and their queen. In both hives the remaining bees appear healthy from all appearances. Both hives have eggs, larvae, capped brood, pollen and honey. The "split hive" did have a lot of small hive beetles but we figure that would be normal since there aren't enough bees remaining in the hive to control their numbers. We also found one wax moth in that same hive.

    All our hives are located on 42 acres and as of a month ago we hadn't encountered any diseases or insect infestations in any of our hives and they were all doing well and going strong.

    This morning we are only left with questions...

    1) Does this sound like CCD?

    2) Can we combine the remaining bees in the "big hive" and the "split hive" in hopes they will be strong enough in numbers to pull through?

    3) Are the boxes and equipment from these two hives contaminated or can they be salvaged somehow?

    4) If we do combine the two hives should they be moved to a new location away from the two remaining hives that are still doing well (we hope)?

    5) Can the honey from the "big hive" be taken home and slung? They have two supers full of honey but we don't know if we can eat the honey or not.

    6) Is there anything we can do for the two hives that don't seem affected, other then just keeping an eye on them?

    It's devastating to go out to your bees thinking you are going to be taking frames full of honey home to sling only to arrive to empty hives. Any input to what happened and what we can do moving forward is greatly appreciated.

    -April

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Florence, TX
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Is it CCD? Heartbroken in the Heart of Texas

    Just a quick note regarding my reference to Beeweaver...We love Beeweaver. I only referenced them to explain the history and background info regarding our bees. We have always purchased, and will continue to purchase our bees from Beeweaver. We have been thrilled with the bees and the people that work there. We don't believe who we got the bees from has any relevance on what has happened to our two hives.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Nashville,"Golden Valley" TN
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Is it CCD? Heartbroken in the Heart of Texas

    Hi April,
    Welcome to beesource, it's alot like Alice in Wonderland meets Morton Downey Jr.

    sorry about losing some hives, my second year I lost a few and it is a real tough feeling, not like loosing a dog, but kinda.

    A few thoughts, bringing up CCD brings out the worst in people sometimes. Your hive loses don't sound like CCD to me, but to others maybe it will.

    It's a bit tough to guess what happened to someone else's hives without seeing them, but I guessing your hives swarmed and with the honey supers on it was too much space for the bees to manage, thus the SHB population went up and your starting now to see wax moths.

    If your queens are marked and you know they are the same queens in the hives that failed and were left back with only a few bees,
    well then all bets are off and I'm not sure what happened.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Florence, TX
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Is it CCD? Heartbroken in the Heart of Texas

    Thank you Reidflys. We are really hoping it isn't CCD.

    To answer your question, yes our queens are marked and clipped. One thing I didn't mention was that when we went thru the hives yesterday we didn't see any old queen cells. We thought if they had swarmed then we would have seen evidence of opened queen cells, right?

    The hardest part is not knowing why it happened. Did we do something wrong or did they just decide it was time to go? Without knowing, we don't know how to prevent it from happening again. My experience with bees has taught me that the minute you think you've got them figured out they go and start doing something completely different. That is something we have learned to enjoy about them, but this past weekend has left us just scratching our heads in confusion.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Bloomington In
    Posts
    788

    Default Re: Is it CCD? Heartbroken in the Heart of Texas

    Sounds like beetles and moths not ccd

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,029

    Default Re: Is it CCD? Heartbroken in the Heart of Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by apriljmay View Post
    did they just decide it was time to go?
    No, bees don't do that. Whatever circumstances they are in they'll do their very best to survive, even though we sometimes don't understand and misinterpret what they are doing.

    Can you post some pictures of the brood? that can show a lot.

    Although you have described the situation very well as best you can see it, any opinion offered at this stage can be little more than a guess because there isn't much more to go on than there used to be a lot of bees but now there isn't. So a brood pic could be a big help.

    You were quite right not to blame weavers and I'm glad you pointed that out. Most hive deaths are in some way related to something the beekeeper did, or didn't, do. I'm a breeder myself and have been really riled a few times when word has got back to me that a customer has been badmouthing me saying they got bees from me and they weren't any good because they swarmed / died / didn't make much honey. When I know the hive I sold them was in awesome condition and great genetics. At the time they got it.

    Re the moths and hive beetles, these can take over and finish a weak hive. For now, remove all combs that do not have bees protecting them so these nasties do not have safe harbourage. It is better to have empty space in the hive, than empty comb infested with beetles etc. Reduce the hive down to minimum space needed, and if there is just a few frames of bees put them against one side of the box, and on the other side of the bees put just a frame of foundation. Removed combs that are infested can be treated in the deep freeze.
    That is just a stop gap measure of course, the real issue is to identify why the bees are weak in the first place and attempt to fix it, so some brood pics will be a start.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Nashville,"Golden Valley" TN
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Is it CCD? Heartbroken in the Heart of Texas

    Right on with not being able to figure out everything with the bees, some questions just don't have answers.

    If your marking your queens your on great track with your bees, you'll have ten hives in two years
    It's time for smoking and smoking the bees,
    enjoy the experience itself and be thankful for the feeling of being present around the bees.

    Are you near Warfa Texas I've been really wanting to go there for awhile?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Fl
    Posts
    470

    Default Re: Is it CCD? Heartbroken in the Heart of Texas

    The "split hive" did have a lot of small hive beetles but we figure that would be normal since there aren't enough bees remaining in the hive to control their numbers.

    You don't have to have enough bees to fill the hive, you have to have enough bees to defend their comb. If you have frames with comb, or worse, honey and don't have the bees to defend them then SHB will kill the hive. Check your other two hives for mites and SHB. I know Beeweaver are suppose to be treatment free, but I'd do a mite count on the remaining hives. Better safe than sorry. I use SBB with oil trays. They are expensive but you only have a few hives. They really keep the SHB in check. They reduce mites by the amout that drop into the oil tray. I've read that is 14%, in the mite count in the study, hives with SBB had 14% fewer mites. Not enough to save a hive, but it helps.

    good luck, hate you lost your bees...
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 2 nd Year / 4 TF - 10T {OAV}

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is it CCD? Heartbroken in the Heart of Texas

    Hey Robbin....did you notice the date on this thread?
    No big deal but just wanted to point it out.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Fl
    Posts
    470

    Default Re: Is it CCD? Heartbroken in the Heart of Texas

    Thanks beemandan, I don't know how I did that, thought I was reading today's post so I never looked at the date....
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 2 nd Year / 4 TF - 10T {OAV}

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads