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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Umatilla, Florida
    Posts
    9

    Default Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    Well I was fortunate enough to get a good start in my first year of beekeeping(this year) with 5 free hives! 2 swarms, 1 i removed from a house, and 2 splits from one of the swarms. At first it was 1 swarm hive and the one i removed from the house in the spring. both grew fantastic and even split the swarm twice. about the end of july i captured another swarm. At the end of August i had to relocate all my hives due to moving. i found a great location full sun in the middle of a field. well about 3 weeks ago the hive i removed in the spring had just vanished and was full of wax moths and carpenter ants. Im new to beekeeping and asked every beekeeper i knew to explain what happened but i got too many different answers. then just yesterday i noticed the swarm from july had dead bees all over the entrance. i opened it to find all the bees gone...the comb was slimy looking, full of carpenter ants, and had a queen cell that was capped. Once again i call beekeepers asking for answers but no explanation. Anybody here have any clue?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,138

    Default Re: Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    A post mortem is hard to do after the scavengers arrive even when you can see the hive. I would concentrate on saving the live hives first.
    Dead bees out front, nobody home, robbing most likely. That may be just a result of problem not the cause.
    Did your queens make the move alive? When did you last see brood in live hives? Beetles? Ants?
    You need to know your live hives are good first. What you find there will probably tell you what happened to the deadouts.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Umatilla, Florida
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    I did an inspection on the first hive that left about a week before it decided to leave. I inspected the other about 2 days before they left. Both had plenty of brood, and queens were alive and well. a few beetles here and there but i was told thats normal, just as long as theyre not everywhere. My only suspect is the ants. but most beekeepers said the bees will run them out. My other concern is the second hive, the comb was greenish and slimy. what could that be from?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    the comb was greenish and slimy. what could that be from?
    Slimy comb = small hive beetles. It's hard to imagine that you'd ask experienced Florida beekeepers about that and get 'no explanation'.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Umatilla, Florida
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    I never got the same explanation twice. Maybe some didnt want to give the time to fully explain or truely didnt know themselves. No one said anything about the slimy comb being hive beetles. Some said it was just from the bees not tending to it.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    There are surely other possibilities but in Florida, or even Georgia for that matter, shb would be the most likely cause of slimy comb, in my opinion.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,138

    Default Re: Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    The long distance view is absconding. Bees will handle ants normally, but if bees have to battle a pest constantly and heavily they will leave.
    Talk to one of your locals about how much is too much.
    Your off to a good start. Everybody loses some, especially the first ones.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    St. Petersburg, fl, USA
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    I would also suspect small hive beetles.Normally we see no hive beetles (our hives are on concrete in the full sun) but even one or two is cause for beetle traps and a lot more frequent checks. Most of our bees are from VSH (Varroa Sensitive Hygienic) stock or are feral that we have collected. When you begin to see hive beetles in a hive that has not had them it usually indicates that something has changed. Are you on the no spray list for your local Mosquito control? Are there agricultural enterprises near by that may have affected you with overspray? Hive beetles in a strong hive are usually corralled in a corner and kept from laying eggs. When they can get to the comb and start laying it does not take long for the larvae (little white or gray worms to start burrowing through the comb. Every where they go they crap and everywhere they crap the comb begins to sour, That gross green mess is their trademark. Once you get a comb fouled like that the bees usually abscond and start over somewhere else.
    Check the rest of your hives. Look for hive beetles, look at your brood. Live brood the caps are slightly raised, dead brood the caps are indented at first then really bulge as decay sets in. Poke a small twig into a few open cells with brood and pull out a larvae. Is it alive, or is it mushy, does the twig come out with a mucus string. You might have foul brood.
    Call you bee inspector and see if you can get them to stop by. good luck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Umatilla, Florida
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    Well i will definitely build some beetle traps and perhaps something to keep ants away. Both hives were full of ants but that was after i noticed the bees had left. Ill go out this morning and look a little harder at the frames as i didnt notice any beetles (not saying they werent there) as i was more concerned with the huge ants trying to climb up my arm! Rather take a sting from a bee than those guys!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Umatilla, Florida
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    Just got back from checking the hives. All others are fine and seem to be healthy. I looked at the hive that left and found my old queen under a pile of dead bees and ants. she was missing her head, wings, and legs. I took all remaining frames that had not had comb built on them yet out and found a few beetles hiding under each one on both ends. when i took the bottom board off of the cinder blocks there was a ton of carpenter ants. i kicked the blocks over and noticed they had made a nest under the block. Went over to the first hive that left and kicked over the blocks..found the exact same. I think i found the culprit. I killed both nests and sprayed some old motor oil around the remaining hives. hopefully it will keep the ants from climbing the blocks...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,138

    Default Re: Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    Sounds like you have prime ant real estate as well as bee real estate. I think you are in for a seige not a battle. From what I've read motor oil is short term. Hope you are looking at some earlier ant posts. The fire ant guys have worked on this a lot. Basically a moat plan or a greased umbrella plan.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    St. Petersburg, fl, USA
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Not sure what happened but bees are gone!

    used motor oil is an environmental no no. Your little bit of oil can contaminate hundreds of gallons of water. I am not a big fan of non organic methods but ant bait like amdro or others would be safer. You need to keep your bees from getting to it (put it under a bucket over the ant hill). I would try boiling water. Pour it down the opening in the ant hill then dig out the nest and be ready with more boiling water. Its more work but a lot more environment friendly. We have all of our hives off the ground. This reduces ant and other pests problems.

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