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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Sacramento, CA
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    30

    Default These misterous bees

    Please help me unveil the following: My hive was thriving a month ago. Plenty of bees, enough brood, and honey. I checked them today. I saw a drastically dwindled colony, no pests, except for a few hive beetle, and a wasp flying outside by the entrance. No signs of dead bees by entrance. There was a frame of honey, so no starvation. Moreover, there many plants blooming yet. There is a queen, little (very) capped brood, not many bees. What happened? This is a regressed hive, no treatments whatsoever. Please help me with any thoughts about it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,924

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Hello mites!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    905

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    In California, mites explode in population in September. I test treatment free, and unlike other reports in other regions; mites in my controlled tests in California are as virulent as ever.

    "Regressed" bees are an untested and unproven concept. A valid test would require paired replicates with and without the variable condition. The only controlled, refereed publications on "regression" have found no and/or negative effects.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 10-16-2013 at 06:11 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
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    30

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    In California, mites explode in population in September. I test treatment free, and unlike other reports in other regions; mites in my controlled tests in California are as virulent as ever.

    "Regressed" bees are an untested and unproven concept. A valid test would require paired replicates with and without the variable condition. The only controlled, refereed publications on "regression" have found no and/or negative effects.
    Thank you, Sir. Nonetheless, my bees are regressed and I have no mites issues.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,924

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    OH really? I've heard it befeore Calbee... I don't have mites..... I never seen mites in my hives... and yet, their hives collapse because of ........ I had a hive do exactly what ur hive just did about exactly the same time and all indications point to one thing.... If you want, pm me and we can look at it together or see if anything can be done to save them.

  6. #6

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Calbee View Post
    my bees are regressed and I have no mites issues.
    You've tested for mites?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  7. #7

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    "Regressed" bees are an untested and unproven concept.
    Actually....they've been tested.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
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    30

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    OH really? I've heard it befeore Calbee... I don't have mites..... I never seen mites in my hives... and yet, their hives collapse because of ........ I had a hive do exactly what ur hive just did about exactly the same time and all indications point to one thing.... If you want, pm me and we can look at it together or see if anything can be done to save them.
    There is no dead bees by the entrance, having mites on them, a clear indication that they could've been overwhelmed by mites. There is no such thing. Therefore, mites (varoa) talk is not the issue. It's something else. A month ago this hive was booming. Mites cannot do such a damage in such a short time. Anyways, the colony is still alive. It just dwindled a lot inexplicably to me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    905

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Dead bees at the entrance is a sign of DWV. Mites carry a host of other virii. Mite carry virii that will cause hives to depopulate. They can kill a hive in a month in the classic September population spike. Sorry you don't want to believe this. I have been living with these parasites since 1992, and have performed many controlled observations. Yes, other issues can affect hives -- but the symptoms you are describing --- a late September collapse (coincident with Drone ejection) is entirely consistent with a mite-mediated virus.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,642

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    calbee, i notice your join date is 2011. is this colony in it's third year? do you know how to identify mite frass on the brood combs? sounds like a generous offer from jrg13, why not take him up on it?

    unless you have performed a proper test for mites and/or examined the brood combs there is really no way you can rule them out. i agree with the others that mites are at the top of the list of suspects.

    sorry about your bees.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,945

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Calbee View Post
    Mites cannot do such a damage in such a short time.
    Oh but they can and do.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,938

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Here, two hours drive south west of Sacramento, my bees show signs of DWV all year wrong, lots of crawlers but many hives producing a crop. Then, a few weak hives will dwindle and collapse from August through October. Other hives, choke full of bees in November, disappear or dwindle to a tiny cluster in the wet, cold spells of November, December and January. I also rarely see mites on bees. But I have blamed mite vectored viruses for years and this cause of death was confirmed by Randy Oliver. I had 36% average losses last winter, treatment free. I have 43 plus years experience keeping bees locally.

    >Thank you, Sir. Nonetheless, my bees are regressed and I have no mites issues.

    Having followed Dee Lusby and Michael Bush for years, I conclude that Calbees has fallen prey to the cult like teachings of the small cell movement.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    441

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Although mites could very well be the issue, I don't think it can be said definitively with the little info you have given. A few of the other possibilities are you lost the queen due to swarming or failure and a new queen is starting to lay. Is the brood pattern that is there solid? If they have dwindled down due to mites I would expect to see what brood is emerging to have deformed wing virus and the capped brood pattern to be very spotty.

    More info is really needed but having someone look at the hive that knows what to look for is going to be of greater help.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: These misterous bees

    My offer still stands, maybe you will learn something if we look at the hive together, or maybe I will. My hive didn't have a single dead bee around it either but that's not typically a symptom of mite collapse, I don't know why you think that. A rapid dwindling is classic varroa collapse, I don't know why you can't understand that.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Sacramento, CA
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    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    My offer still stands, maybe you will learn something if we look at the hive together, or maybe I will. My hive didn't have a single dead bee around it either but that's not typically a symptom of mite collapse, I don't know why you think that. A rapid dwindling is classic varroa collapse, I don't know why you can't understand that.
    I don't understand it because I don't see the mites. Perhaps a few of them, which is normal. I don't see a Varoa infestation capable of triggering a virus. If hypothetically the mites are the problem, where are the dead bees? Being dead, they should be in the hive or by the entrance.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    915

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    where are the dead bees? Being dead, they should be in the hive or by the entrance.
    No, dying bees instinctively leave the hive. Consider for a moment that a hive typically replaces its entire population every few weeks, yet we never find thousands of dead bees piled up at the entrance or on the landing board. That's because they leave the hive and don't make it back. Ditto mite/virus infected bees. They leave.

    JMO

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
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    1,957

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    When they can fly, dying bees fly away or are carried away by healthier bees. I've seen hives dropping +/-100/day (I stop counting those) on a sticky board that I've never seen DFV or a mite on bees. Before I got mites (back in the 1980's) hives starved, but other than that pretty much always lived over winter. When varroa arrived the classic death was a strong hive completely dead in the fall (about now). No pile of bees except the last few on the bottom board.

    Mites can also kill slowly. Your hive can just be weakened and die from winter stresses. Hives that used to be able to withstand cold, damp, nosema, etc. now have a lot more chance to not make it through winter. But what you described was what I used to see as the classic varroa crash.
    Bruce

  18. #18

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Calbee View Post
    I don't understand it
    Please don't dismiss the advice, given in good faith, by the many experienced beekeepers here. They are not suggesting mites for some vindictive purpose. Yes...it might have been something else but the most likely culprit is varroa.
    Please....listen with an open mind....and learn.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Cal,

    How did the capped brood look if any? Were there pin holes punched in the cappings? There's a chance it's not mites, but what you describe is typical varroa collapse. I just went through it as well, I didn't think mites were an issue in this hive, it just had a brood break and a new queen, but it went boom to bust in 5 weeks and I can only say it was mite pressure and DWV, although I didn't see any bees with DWV last time I looked, the capped brood that was left seemed to be heavily infested with it.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,397

    Default Re: These misterous bees

    Small cell hives die from mite infestation just as fast as the rest.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

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