View Poll Results: The Hive died of:

Voters
5. You may not vote on this poll
  • Robbing

    3 60.00%
  • Absconding

    0 0%
  • Pesticides

    0 0%
  • Poor Queen

    2 40.00%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    366

    Default Autopsy of a Hive

    I'm trying to figure out what caused a CCD-like collapse of one of my hives.

    Hive was originally the bees left behind after a swarm, but they had no queen, or the many competing left over virgins killed each very quickly. They killed the first Italian queen that I introduced, but accepted a Michigan hygienic queen.
    But from the beginning the hygienic queen laid a bit off, laying eggs a bit randomly and the worker bees having to lengthen the new wax for the bees. That was okay-- she eventually had frames of well-laid brood.

    After about of month of thriving on her part, we decided to treat for mites with hopguard. The strips were gone from the hive each time we came in to put more, or vigourously chewed. At the same time, we had a hive go queenless and start storing up much more honey than it seemed they should have.

    On the third week of treatment, the hive was gone. Only two-three frames in the second box remained occupied, probably with a hundred bees or so. Some spotty dead brood were in frames throughout the first boxes. The queen was still there, clinging to the side of box two. She had about 8 spotty larva on the frame next to her. The hive was clean of honey. There were no dead bees anywhere to be found-- just a normal amount on the ground outside.

    My current analysis makes me suspect that the queenless hive robbed their weaker cousin when they went queenless, but then my question becomes-- where are the dead bees? The second treatment of hopguard, I didn't see any unusually low populations of bees, but the bees were simply gone by week three. But why was this hive shredding a chewing the strips? I did see so much activity at that hive and thought the new brood was really helping things pick up. It's also possible some of the hive drifted to their more closely related cousins instead of stick with the only Michigan Hygienic queen in the yard, right?

    Another possibility is the queen was somewhat subpar-- in fact, my local beekeeping shopkeeper suggested it was just a poorly mated queen and that I should pinch her. I left her in a single box with a robbing screen instead, and a frame of honey. Perhaps she was poorly mated, but if so, that means I should expect failure from another package queen soon, and my other package queen already magically disappeared. :/ This is news I don't want to accept. Also a bit mad that he sold us the packages with failing queens and the queens we requeened with also failed. :/ His solution is of course-- buy more queens. He never offers to replace.

    I thought at first pesticide exposure, or hopguard caused absconding, but why didn't they take the queen? This now seems the least likely, as the other hives were fine.

    What do you all think?
    4.5 hives of Italians. 2 seasons of experience. And you-- yes, you! You're my mentor!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Autopsy of a Hive

    But why was this hive shredding a chewing the strips?
    The strips are cardboard. I just finished a round of HG, they lurve to shred cardboard.

    I did see so much activity at that hive and thought the new brood was really helping things pick up. It's also possible some of the hive drifted to their more closely related cousins instead of stick with the only Michigan Hygienic queen in the yard, right?
    You've been at this longer than I have...but this seems extremely unlikely. A hive either accepts or rejects a queen. If they reject her, they kill her. If they accept her, all the bees accept her, and they let her lay. A hive does not split into separate factions and turn other hives into their own refugee camps.

    My vote is robbing...with a skunk or other critter cleaning up the dead bees.
    Try it. What could happen?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Autopsy of a Hive

    Well its not CCD...... You had bees left, including a gueen. Poisening from Pesticides is possible, how well do you know whats around you?

    and are you sure thats the same queen you put in?

    As for "poorly mated, thats a load of hooyey, most of the time.. and just because one is poorly mated, by no means will the one next to it also be poorly mated. thats line is generaly an excuse for " I have no idea"...... It does happen, but its rare. it you want look when you pinch the queen. if her spermatheca is clear, shes out of sperm... otherwise its other factors.

    Don't know much about hopgaurd, but I have seen a lot of hives absconding this year. 99% of the bees are gone. only new hatchlings and some late returners remain... sometimes the queen stays cause she can't fly well...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,581

    Default Re: Autopsy of a Hive

    abscond without a queen?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Autopsy of a Hive

    sometimes the queen stays cause she can't fly well
    Can you explain this further? This seems like suicide to me.
    Try it. What could happen?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Autopsy of a Hive

    Yup.... seen it several times the hive makes the decesion to move... the queen does not decide. she then tries at least to follow. sometimes she does okay, many times she doesn't make more than a few feet.

    Absconding is the hives very last attempt at survival. resources or pest are driving it. There not lile the wife, they don't wake up one morning and decide to upgrade... they are dying in that location and they know it... so them move.

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