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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    morristown, nj
    Posts
    6

    Default Not sure what Happened! And could use some insight

    Hi all,

    I have been keeping bees for 7 years now and I have never seen this before. I hope someone can shed some light on the problem.

    Background info:
    This is a second year hive, in two ten frame deeps on small cell foundation. The hive started out in the spring with plenty of stores of food. 4 full frames of honey on the outside frames. The brood chamber had healthy laying pattern with honey and pollen stored on the outside corners. So around late June the bees were busting out of the hive so I put two medium boxes of drown out foundation for honey surplus. I left the hive for about a month, only checking the bees by observing how many are flying in and out. I saw pollen baskets full and plenty of bees traveling out to the fields. I would say I didn't see any signs of concern. Now the honey in this area hasn't been that good this year, but when I did my most recent inspection I had my fingers crossed.

    Problem:
    When I did my inspection this is what I saw. Mold on the top frames, of the top medium, and on the inner cover. Then as I moved down the boxes the frames were empty! Every frame in the hive has nothing in it, no eggs, no pollen, no nectar. But this is where it gets weird, there are plenty of bees, I would say at least one deep box full, and a queen that is not laying eggs. Why did this happen? I don't see any signs of noemsa, varroa mite, DWV. The hive is located on an organic farm backing up to a nature reserve. Also, none of my other hives are showing any signs of this.

    Of course my first instinct is to save the hive, so I grabbed a top feeder and filled it with sugar water, shrunk the hive down to two deeps. Then I have pollen patties coming on Monday. Is there anything I can do?

    I hope I gave enough background information and appreciate any insight this community can give me.

    Thanks all,
    Shaun

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,716

    Default Re: Not sure what Happened! And could use some insight

    I don't have all the answers you seek, but mold is an indication of too much moisture in the hive. Excessive moisture in a hive is more commonly found in winter, but it may be that moisture from uncapped nectar contributed to the mold problem.

    A top entrance may help deal with excessive moisture:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm
    Graham
    --- Victor Hugo - "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,473

    Default Re: Not sure what Happened! And could use some insight

    I would guess you waited much too long to put your honey supers on -- I would have put them on first thing on a strong overwintered hive, no need to miss out on the spring flow.

    Any evidence they superceded or swarmed? You might be queenless, which would explain the lack of brood, or have a newly mated queen who is not laying yet.

    Lack of any stores while other hives are doing well isn't a good sign, but if you have a queen and healthy bees, feeding them may save your hive.

    Peter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,247

    Default Re: Not sure what Happened! And could use some insight

    you did the right thing, even though there was plenty of bees they had no stores coming in, so they concentrated on maintaining the brood chamber and left the upper boxes alone the wet season we have had in the east created dampness in the hive, the bees usually take care of this, but because they were not concerned with the upper suppers they did not maintain them and allowed the mold to grow. The queen most likely took a break from laying because of the dearth that seemed to plaque certain parts of the eastern U.S. while the great numbers of bees consumed the existing stores. feed them as long as they will take it. This will allow then to build stores, and most likely get the queen back in action.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,281

    Default Re: Not sure what Happened! And could use some insight

    i agree with the others, and would add that there is a possibility that you have a failed or poorly mated queen. i would also add a frame of mixed brood, and check for queen cells in a week.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Not sure what Happened! And could use some insight

    I agree with the posters above. I had the same problem my first year, aside from the mold. It was definitely a queen issue.

    In fact, I found I had TWO queens in there, and still no eggs or brood. Both poorly mated, apparently. I also agree with squarepeg, that moving a frame of mixed brood over might help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,246

    Default Re: Not sure what Happened! And could use some insight

    It could also have been that the queens just did not want to lay in the small cell comb. If you have this problem again, put a frame of drone comb in the center of the brood nest. The queen will start to lay in it, and after she fills it, she will continue to lay in the worker comb. If you have no drone combs put a frame of standard cell foundation and then remove it when the queen has it filled.

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