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  1. #1
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    Sep 2012
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    Montgomery county PA
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    Default Sick hive or just weak from swarming?

    A guy gave me a large hive of bees. It was 3 deeps and 2 mediums and I know it issued many swarms before i took it away. There was a virgin queen and plenty of bees on rather old comb. I pretty much left it alone for most of the summer. The hive was pretty much a mess. Scattered food stores and scattered brood clusters.
    So I inspected the hive recently and found :

    1. an alarming amount of missing bees.
    2. Very little food stores of pollen and honey.
    3. very scattered capped brood cells with small holes. The brood dead some wet and snotty and some dry and chalky.
    4.A large queen laying eggs
    5 almost no open brood maybe 10.

    I am hoping the hive swarmed with the old queen and took there food stores with them.
    I think the dead brood with the holes in the caps is from hygienic behavior, when the varroa entered the few cells available to them killing the brood.
    and that is why I see a new queen laying it up.
    Corrections or other theories are appreciated thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Gaithersburg, MD
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    363

    Default Re: Sick hive or just weak from swarming?

    My first guess would be they are in the process of collapsing from varroa mite burden. All the other things going on--hive beetles, wax worm, disease--is a result from the stress of high mite load. Don't think swarming has anything to do with it.

    I'd treat w/ MAQS and feed right away but they may already be too far gone. Not too much time left for winter brood production.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2012
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    Montgomery county PA
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    Default Re: Sick hive or just weak from swarming?

    Hi JClark,
    Thanks for responding.
    If it is just Varroa I will be releived. The mite cycle will be pretty much broken. Yes I will feed 2 to 1 syrup and pollen patty.I will also perform my special sugar dusting technique to knock off the ferrel mites that might be left.
    thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Honey Hive Farms, Winfield Missouri
    Posts
    357

    Default Re: Sick hive or just weak from swarming?

    This doesn't sound good. Maybe first look at how many bees you truly have, what and how many frames you have that are any good to them. Then we would push them down into on hive or maybe a nuc box and position the brood/eggs in the middle and the honey on the outside and then work up. I would only treat them after you pushed the hive down to a smaller size.
    Feed them sugar water 2 to 1 mixture in your are this time of the year and check the pollen. If they do not have pollen, use pollen patties.

    Hope it all goes well for you and the bees.
    Tim Moore
    Honey Hive Farms "Saving the world one bee at a time"
    www.HoneyHiveFarms.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,940

    Default Re: Sick hive or just weak from swarming?

    Sounds like mite collapse to me, I'd be surprised if they recover.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2012
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    Montgomery county PA
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    Default Re: Sick hive or just weak from swarming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey Hive Farms View Post
    This doesn't sound good. Maybe first look at how many bees you truly have, what and how many frames you have that are any good to them. Then we would push them down into on hive or maybe a nuc box and position the brood/eggs in the middle and the honey on the outside and then work up. I would only treat them after you pushed the hive down to a smaller size.
    Feed them sugar water 2 to 1 mixture in your are this time of the year and check the pollen. If they do not have pollen, use pollen patties.

    Hope it all goes well for you and the bees.
    Tim Moore
    Yes, when i checked the hive it was mid afternoon and warm so i know there were foragers out of the hive. I did reduce the hive to 1 deep with the best comb. Still need to feed 2 to 1 and pollen patty. I do not treat with chemicals I perform a specialized method of sugar dusting which i will do soon.
    Thank you very much for responding.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2012
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    Gaithersburg, MD
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    363

    Default Re: Sick hive or just weak from swarming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drone1 View Post
    I do not treat with chemicals I perform a specialized method of sugar dusting which i will do soon.
    Thank you very much for responding.
    Not to be the bearer of bad news but at this stage sugar dusting will most likely be useless. MAQS is "organic".

    If you use sugar you are still treating w/ a chemical--sucrose--just one that will have no effect on mites other than knocking a few off adult bees. The problem is that the brood cannot survive to adulthood because of the mites in the cells--and, if they do, they are severely weakened and/or can't fly due to deformed wing virus. For sugar to have any effect you'd have to do efficacious dusts frequently for 3-4 weeks and then you would need another month or two for the bees to rear winter brood before the cold sets in.

    Not saying you have to treat w/ a chemical other than sucrose, just that they are goners if you don't so be mentally prepared.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,118

    Default Re: Sick hive or just weak from swarming?

    I second all that. If it's your only hive then do whatever you think - after getting an inspection and ruling out AFB - but if you have others the old saying that the wise beekeeper takes his losses in the fall kicks in. After all the effort you put into trying to save it there is a good chance they still won't make it.

    "4.A large queen laying eggs
    5 almost no open brood maybe 10."


    Your queen is probably large because she is laying plenty of eggs, but the bees are too sick/hungry/diseased/stressed to raise them to adulthood. Most things that you would do will only stress them even more. If you can and your ideology allows it I would treat with OA vapor - effective with least amt of stress on bees. Feed them of course. Give them capped brood and bees from a healthy hive. If you did all that they might make it. But is it worth it?

    The really big thing to me is that the fall brood build up has left the station and is rapidly disappearing around the bend.
    Last edited by David LaFerney; 10-03-2013 at 06:47 AM.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  9. #9
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    Sep 2012
    Location
    Montgomery county PA
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    Default Re: Sick hive or just weak from swarming?

    Thank you all for the responses and good info.
    At the moment since there is no capped brood all the mites are fer rel..meaning that there are no mites in any cells. My reasoning is,This is the perfect time to treat with sugar dusting.

    There are no K wing or dwarf bees etc present.
    I do not doubt that varroa has played a big part in the demise of this hive.

    But I do think that since the last laying queen swarmed ..and a new queen has just began laying that there is a good chance that what little capped brood was left in the comb was overwhelmed by the varroa , thus killing the capped brood, then hygienic behavior occurred The varroa that is left has had no place to reproduce since they enter the capped cell the day or day before it is capped.
    Yes..not enough time to build up before winter. I will add a frame of brood to help them.
    Is it worth it? yes the experience and learning curve make it worth while for me.
    I will let you know how if they make it or not.
    I consider this whole episode an excellent opportunity to learn more about the bees, with advice from knowledgeable,experienced bee keepers like your selves i will learn something!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk, NY, USA
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    606

    Default Re: Sick hive or just weak from swarming?

    Drone1- any updates? The last 30 days were critical for this colony and I'm wondering if they're still alive. If so what is there condition?

  11. #11
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    Sep 2012
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    Montgomery county PA
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    Default Re: Sick hive or just weak from swarming?

    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    Drone1- any updates? The last 30 days were critical for this colony and I'm wondering if they're still alive. If so what is there condition?
    Hi Clyde.
    Well I went to check on them approx two weeks ago. They were being attacked by hornets and yellow Jackets.
    They were in a ball about the size of a football in the center of the single deep vigorously fighting off the invaders.

    I realized then that they would not be able to recover in time for winter and it was already cold out.

    I do not believe they are diseased. I could be wrong.
    I decided to merge them with another hive that is queen less..with the possibility of lay lying worker syndrome.

    I figured I was going to lose both these hives and the only chance they might have was to combine them.
    I put 5 lbs of sugar on top and wished them the best.

    I wrapped and insulated all the hives in that bee yard last week.
    I checked on the bee yard today. The hive was busy and looked good (outside the hive)

    I hope they make it to Spring.
    I will reply again at that time,
    Thanks for your interest.

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