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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Prosperous Beehive Absconds? Leaves Behind Weird Brown Dust.

    Hello everyone,
    I am fairly new to beekeeping (second year). This spring, I started a colony from a Nuc hive that I bought. It grew and grew well through July to a two deep, one shallow super hive. For the first two weeks of August, I went on vacation, and when I returned I found that my hive had about one box of bees and some SHB left in it. Many of the bees were gone, but there was a queen. I didn't do anything, and two weeks later there was no queen and the hive was dying (literally about five bees and some SHB). It was very sudden; at the beginning of the last week of August, there were a reduced amount of bees, but no less than the second week of August. The next time I checked, at the end of that week, there were only a few bees left. My question is what happened? Did the bees abscond, and if so, why? Also, when I finally took the hive apart, on the bottom board there was this brown fuzzy stuff pictured in the link below. Does anybody have any idea what it is? Also, as background, we had a very wet summer.

    http://mypicsures.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/dust/

    In some parts, it's clumpy, others it feels like fuzz. I think I can make out a few wings? But, I'm not really sure. After scrutinizing my baggie, I can see some type of larvae (I am guessing beetles).

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can think of what may have caused the bees to leave.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Elizabethton, Tn
    Posts
    341

    Default Re: Prosperous Beehive Absconds? Leaves Behind Weird Brown Dust.

    What does your comb look like. "dust" appears to be mainly cappings and hive debris. Make sure you don't hive wax moth larvae or shb in combs.
    It takes a family to raise a family, it takes a village to really screw that up... Djei5

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Prosperous Beehive Absconds? Leaves Behind Weird Brown Dust.

    There is absolutely nothing in the comb except for a few beetles, and some combs have these spider web things inside. The comb does not look ripped up or anything. If the hive did abscond, I assume anything left was robbed out after the colony left?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    266

    Default Re: Prosperous Beehive Absconds? Leaves Behind Weird Brown Dust.

    the result of hive beetle and absconding, ,, clean it up,, with water,, or bleach and water,, save for next spring

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,872

    Default Re: Prosperous Beehive Absconds? Leaves Behind Weird Brown Dust.

    It's wax moth if there's webbing of any kind, probably just an initial infestation. I'd freeze the combs quick before it gets worse. Sorry about the hive, are you sure they didn't starve out or anything?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Elizabethton, Tn
    Posts
    341

    Default Re: Prosperous Beehive Absconds? Leaves Behind Weird Brown Dust.

    Definitely wax moth, thought I saw webbing rolled in the debris. Had a strong hive abscond this year for the same reason. And it wasn't completely infested. Freeze them or you will lose them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,098

    Default Re: Prosperous Beehive Absconds? Leaves Behind Weird Brown Dust.

    The beetles and wax moths probably came in at the end of the story which is likely to have gone something like this - strong hive swarms (maybe more than once) and ends up either weak or queenless, robbing ensues resulting in dry comb. Hive beetles and wax moths are incidental to the failure.

    A likely alternative is that the hive was seriously weakened by varroa before it was robbed, and then the remaining bees absconded.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,593

    Default Re: Prosperous Beehive Absconds? Leaves Behind Weird Brown Dust.

    I completely agree with David. When a hive is bone dry, the beetles have nothing to eat and won't generally get larva to propagate. The results are usually this brown dust like debris. Take your comb and freeze it and then store it for use next spring.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

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