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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    66

    Default Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    Hi,
    It has been very warm for over a month in Central California. Today (I am only home in daylight on weekends), I saw 3 of 4 of my hives bringing in pollen and a lot of flying. On the fourth, little to no activity.
    It is 65 degrees, sunny, no wind, so I thought I would open up and see what is going on. Found the queen and about 1000 bees, but not a lot of action. I opened the hive next door to compare and it is rocking and rolling.
    The weak hive is looking pretty sparse. I saw no Larvae or eggs and the capped brood looks old, broken etc. I am posting pictures below. The queens are not related. The failing(?) hive is from a queen I got from rweaver, and has up to now been my strongest hive.
    Any ideas on what is going on? Pictures are below.

    Weak hive:
    Hive 1 - 1.jpg
    Hive 1-3.jpg
    Hive 1-4.jpg

    Hive Next Door:
    Hive 2.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by tristan36; 01-18-2014 at 04:02 PM. Reason: adding pictures

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    If you look at picture 3, there are little flakes of white in the cells that look like dandruff. That is mite poop. This hive more than likely succombed to Varroa.

    Not sure what you can do to save it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    Mite poop? I thought I had it covered. I have an Oxalic Acid vaporizer, and in October, I vaporized them three times - a week apart, hoping to have them set for winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,417

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    looks like queen failure, can you give the weak hive some eggs, larvae, and nurse bees from a strong one? perhaps a frame a week for three weeks?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    The queen is right there in the upper left of picture three.
    I don't think there are enough resources yet in my other hives to donate eggs and brood. Also, I didn't see drones yet.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,417

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    yeah, i saw her there. by failure i mean she's no longer laying well. no eggs and a spotty pattern suggest this. can you tell if it's the same queen? could the original queen have been superceded? could that be a unmated virgin? it may be that the population is so dwindled it will be hard for it to get momentum even with a new queen.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri, usa
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    Yep - I also did three treatments of oav in october, but when I checked the mite drop after the last treatment, the count was too high on some hives.
    So I did a fourth oav in mid november. Hope it worked.
    Charlie
    14 hives - 5 years (also had 7 hives in early 1970's) T as needed - zone 6

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,332

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    Yep, varroa not queen failure. You may have treated with OAV, but October was too late for this colony. The damage was already done. I see partially uncapped worker brood in the photos. Pull those pupae...bet they have stunted abdomens and/or deformed wings.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Mirabel, Québec, Canada
    Posts
    423

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    Quote Originally Posted by bbrowncods View Post
    If you look at picture 3, there are little flakes of white in the cells that look like dandruff. That is mite poop. This hive more than likely succombed to Varroa.

    Not sure what you can do to save it.
    Quote Originally Posted by tristan36 View Post
    Mite poop? I thought I had it covered. I have an Oxalic Acid vaporizer, and in October, I vaporized them three times - a week apart, hoping to have them set for winter.
    Three times in a month? I never got around to actually using the vaporizer I bought, used other treatments instead last season, but isn't this excessive? Unless weaker doses were given, the OA might have burned a part of the colony, and the white flecks might be remaining OA crystals?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,210

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    The brood pattern is typical varroa damage. Note the perforated cappings with just a few brood cells in an arc. This is what happens when a colony has been hit heavily by varroa. The best course is either to add a frame of eggs and brood from another colony or else combine them.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,417

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    "Queen fecundity is a critical issue for the health of honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies, as she is the only reproductive female in the colony and responsible for the constant renewal of the worker bee population. Any factor affecting the queen’s fecundity will stagnate colony development, increasing its susceptibility to opportunistic pathogens. We discovered a pathology affecting the ovaries, characterized by a yellow discoloration concentrated in the apex of the ovaries resulting from degenerative lesions in the follicles. In extreme cases, marked by intense discoloration, the majority of the ovarioles were affected and these cases were universally associated with egg-laying deficiencies in the queens. Microscopic examination of the degenerated follicles showed extensive paracrystal lattices of 30 nm icosahedral viral particles. A cDNA library from degenerated ovaries contained a high frequency of deformed wing virus (DWV) and Varroa destructor virus 1(VDV-1) sequences, two common and closely related honeybee Iflaviruses."

    from: http://www.plosone.org/article/fetch...esentation=PDF

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Yep, varroa not queen failure.
    the viruses vectored by the mites can cause the queen to fail. but you're right, mites are likely the primary cause.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,270

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic View Post
    Three times in a month? I never got around to actually using the vaporizer I bought, used other treatments instead last season, but isn't this excessive? Unless weaker doses were given, the OA might have burned a part of the colony, and the white flecks might be remaining OA crystals?
    My understanding has been that OA vapourization hits adults not brood. Thus if there is brood present it is best to treat once a week for three weeks in hopes of getting each emerging generation of bees.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Mirabel, Québec, Canada
    Posts
    423

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    My understanding has been that OA vapourization hits adults not brood. Thus if there is brood present it is best to treat once a week for three weeks in hopes of getting each emerging generation of bees.
    It's true that OA, however it is applied, does not affect varroa in capped cells. That being said, someone on these forums said that he killed entire colonies by accidentally using a double dose. How quickly does a hive clean up OA? I really have no idea. Probably not quickly at all if clustering. My spoon says 1g per deep, so if you have bees in double deeps, the bees would need to be able to remove at least 1g per week, else by week three, you would effectively be at double dose levels.

    I'm not saying it isn't Varroa, but that just seems like a lot of OA to me. If the bees are clustering, they probably aren't cleaning up the hive from OA crystals, which can accumulate and probably kill a lot of the bees. As for the poor brood patterns, I can only imagine what the odds of survival are for a larva in a cell filled with OA crystals.

    Then again, how long does varroa stay outside of capped cells? If they don't stay long, that advertized 96% efficacy in broodless colonies could be close to null in colonies with enough brood. I didn't have much brood in october, though, pretty much none...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    OK... So.... Here's the plan (let me know if it is a dumb one).
    I have a hive in one deep that is pretty full of bees.
    1. I took a couple frames of brood out and shook the bees off (I wasn't able to find the queen, and the light is failing).
    2. I put an excluder on top of the deep and another deep on top of that.
    3. Put the brood frames in the top deep and surrounded them with empty comb frames (just to fill space).
    4. Covered it up.
    5. Hoping to be able to go out tomorrow once the temperature is over 60 degrees and get a frame of brood and nurse bees to strengthen the hive in question.

    Only thing I am worried about is that it will get down to 36 degrees tonight. Think enough bees will move up to cover and care for the brood frames?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,816

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    If you want to save the weak hive you need to add brood - emerging and capped with adhering bees (at least two frames worth) - from your other colonies ASAP. Be careful as you do the transfer not to move the queen from one of your other hives. I concur that the root problem was Varroa. Remember OA is not approved as a miticide in the US and your mileage with it (the effectiveness of it) may vary from the words of those who hope to make a profit on it.

    Your plan sounds reasonable. With a temp at 36 I would expect brood/larvae to be covered with nurse bees. Perhaps others who have investigated this type of scenario before can answer at what temperature bees will abandon brood in order to cluster - I suspect it is at colder temperatures than 36F.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    835

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    " If the bees are clustering, they probably aren't cleaning up the hive from OA crystals, which can accumulate and probably kill a lot of the bees. As for the poor brood patterns, I can only imagine what the odds of survival are for a larva in a cell filled with OA crystals."

    This seems like speculation on top of speculation on top of speculation. Anything to substantiate this statement?

    '
    Remember OA is not approved as a miticide in the US and your mileage with it (the effectiveness of it) may vary from the words of those who hope to make a profit on it."

    Lots of people who don't make a profit from OA report good results.

    I am not saying OA is a miracle treatment, but both of these quotes seem biased to me.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    As for the OA, I vaporize and do not put crystals into the hive.. Only vapor.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,417

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    36, if you have enough bees in the strong colony they should cover that brood you put above the excluder. (i probably would have just waited until tomorrow and tried to find the frame with the queen in the strong hive and just made sure i didn't transfer that one).

    the oa vapor crystalizes inside the hive after you apply it.

    i'm concerned that you don't have any drones there yet. if you don't have even capped drone cells in your other hives, you may just want to let this one go and use the drawn comb for a split a little later in the season.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    I was considering letting it go, squarepeg, except this is the only queen I have from that apiary, and she had been a fantastic producer. I had wanted to try making a few queens this spring from her.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    796

    Default Re: Little Worried - Need some opinions.

    I killed a hive outright in 2009, by applying a double dose of OAV (4 grams in a single). Hive died in 24 hours.

    I am pretty sure I killed a couple of hives this November by using OA dribble after OAV in September. Evidence here is more problematic, but decline was abrupt following the OA (mister bottle squeeze along frames breaks).

    I am going back to late summer Menthol pads -- the OAV seems to have very poor effective-to-lethal ratio in the fall.

    I think OAV is being way, way oversold by the marketeers of equipment, or the real dangers to queen/colonies are being underestimated.

    I would move the queen into a small nuc and see if you can keep her going.

    I wonder about EFB, but usually you see waxy larvae casts and a more random shot pattern to the brood. It will cause sudden die-offs.

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