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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Greenfield, IN
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    When I make my sugar syrup I only boil the water, not the syrup. I see no need in boiling the syrup at all. Even at 2:1 I can get the sugar to dissolve, it just takes a little time. The people that make candy boards are boiling the crap out of the syrup. I'm not sure how hot it has to get but I know its high.

    Greg

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,778

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    I make fondant but when you add cream of tartar and pollen substitute to sugar it is probably changing the chemistry, bees do well on it during the February dearth
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    904

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    "Boiled" sugar is a red herring in this context. As is demonstrated by the healthy hive.

    The issue (in strong possibility) is a hive parasite. In all likelihood this is Nosema or Varroa. Nosema is a gut micro-organism, and Varroa is the vector for virus. Summer Nosema is difficult to treat in a wholistic way, as the standard treatment (Fumagilin-B) knocks out weak strains and lets the strong ones come roaring back. Nosema requires a lab microscope to detect reliably, I find the macro "color or the crop" test to be unreliable unless one can train oneself to confirmed detection.

    Varroa must be evaluated. Your hive (in August) will have mites. These will be carrying virus, and the virus will generate the exact symptoms you describe. It is difficult to reverse the decline of a symptomatic hive, but is impossible unless you act against the parasite.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    I second the latest post by JWChestnut.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    I just looked at the hive again. Doesn't appear that it's any worse than it was several days ago. The queen is still there laying eggs. I saw a decent number of eggs and even saw her actually laying them. The eggs just don't appear to develop into brood for whatever reason. I saw a lot of eggs a week ago, but don't see them developing into larvae. Anyone ever heard of that?

    Even with a good smoking the bees gave a very spirited defense of the hive. That was good to see. I even got stung once.

    I decided to take off half the frames to give the bees less space to defend. I took several pollen and honey frames and will freeze them and possibly return them later. I left any I saw eggs on. Once I did that there seem to be a good number of bees to defend them. I only saw two beetles in the hive. The Freeman oil traps really worked wonders.

    I collected 100 bees out of the grass over a few days and have them in the mail to Beltsville. Of those 100 bees in alcohol only one varroa mite came off.

    I plan to give them a little unboiled sugar syrup and a grease patty later today. I have an oxalic acid vaporizor and, since there is very little brood I'm considering doing a treatment of it as well.

    I may end up losing the hive but plan to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening.

    For what it's worth there seem to be fewer crawlers. I took some pictures of some of the frames in the hive and a few of the crawling bees. If anyone sees anything let me know.

    Here's a link to the high-res photos. You can see the full-size photos by clicking the zoom button in the lower right hand corner. http://s1270.photobucket.com/user/Ge...?sort=3&page=2

    Here's a link to a short video of the hive entrances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhIi...ature=youtu.be

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,462

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    The fact that the broodnest is plugged with pollen, and there are many crawlers, leads me to believe the problem is varroa.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    I appreciate everyone's opinions and advice. I gave both hives an oxalic acid vapor treatment tonight. I changed the oil in my oil tray beetle traps before treating them so I should be able to tell how many mites fall off.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    I checked the oil traps under hives last night. In my two hives, 48 hours after the treatment, the weak one had only 8 mites that had fallen. The stronger hive had 30.

    I took a look at the weak hive tonight and it looks like the numbers continue to dwindle. I doubt they'll make it. I gave them a grease patty and some unboiled sugar syrup but that's probably not going to help anything.

    This is a long thread so here's a quick summary of what I observed in one of my two hives:
    - Rapidly dwindling numbers. Two weeks ago everything seemed fine.
    - Crawlers, 50 or so at a time for about a week. Now there aren't any to speak of, probably because the number of bees dropped.
    - The colony is queen right. I saw the queen and saw her laying eggs.
    - Very little brood. Eggs were present but very, very little brood. I noticed on several different occasions there were eggs were in the cells but they never seem to advance beyond the egg phase. I'm not completely sure but this phenomenon may be going on in both of my hives so I need to figure it out.

    Last inspections photos

    Here's a link to a short video of the hive entrances

    I appreciate everyone's help and suggestions and would love to hear more. Hopefully the Beltsville lab will give me some clues as to what happened. I'll post what the results are.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    It looks like you havent had brood in that hive for a long time going by the amount if pollen in those frames.
    I dont think your queen is viable I think theres something wrong with her.

    I'm pretty sure I can see bees with deformed wings also.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,320

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    Things to look for in crawling bees:
    1) deformed/crumpled looking wings. These would tend to indicate Deformed Wing Virus which is spread by Varroa mites
    2) K wings (the two wings which are usually hooked together are separated and the back wing is in front of the front wing). This would be a symptom of Tracheal mites. Tracheal mites also seem to go with a lot of dysentery (not sure why).
    3) are they shiny and black. This would be an indicator of one of the other viruses such as Kashmir or IAPV. Especially if they are trembling and shaking a lot. Varroa may or may not be part of that problem. Sometimes insecticides have similar initial symptoms, but they usually drop off quickly as the exposed bees die.
    4) are there piles of dead bees anywhere. Especially if these happened suddenly and don't seem to be further accumulating, that would probably be from insecticide exposure.

    Facts are always helpful in discerning anything. Do a sugar shake. Uncap some drone brood. Do a natural drop. Look at those numbers. Here's Phil Craft's numbers for economic threshold (the theoretical point where the gain in hive health is worth the cost of treatment):

    Sugar shake (1/2 cup of bees) 6 in the spring, 12 in the fall.
    Natural drop 24 hr 30,000 bees in a hive (medium size hive) 3-10 spring. 30-60 fall.

    I'm not saying you should or should not treat, but those are a useful reference point for the numbers.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    Hi Mr. Bush,

    A sincere "thank you" to you and everyone else who is helping me evaluation this. My responses are below.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Things to look for in crawling bees:
    1) deformed/crumpled looking wings. These would tend to indicate Deformed Wing Virus which is spread by Varroa mites I did see a few that had DWV. Only 2-3 though. I posted pictures above. Frazzledfozzle seems to think they saw some in my pictures but didn't indicate which photos.
    2) K wings (the two wings which are usually hooked together are separated and the back wing is in front of the front wing). This would be a symptom of Tracheal mites. Tracheal mites also seem to go with a lot of dysentery (not sure why). I have seen an occasional bee that seems to have K-wing, very few though. I sent some bees to Beltsville and my understanding is it is something they test for. I'll post the results.
    3) are they shiny and black. This would be an indicator of one of the other viruses such as Kashmir or IAPV. Especially if they are trembling and shaking a lot. Varroa may or may not be part of that problem. Sometimes insecticides have similar initial symptoms, but they usually drop off quickly as the exposed bees die. I have not seen any shiny black bees.
    4) are there piles of dead bees anywhere. Especially if these happened suddenly and don't seem to be further accumulating, that would probably be from insecticide exposure. I have not found piles of bees anywhere, inside or outside the hive. I guess that is a good sign.

    Facts are always helpful in discerning anything. Do a sugar shake. Uncap some drone brood. Do a natural drop. Look at those numbers. Here's Phil Craft's numbers for economic threshold (the theoretical point where the gain in hive health is worth the cost of treatment):

    Sugar shake (1/2 cup of bees) 6 in the spring, 12 in the fall. I did a sugar shake on 1/2 cup of bees about ten days ago when I first saw the problem. Only one mite came off.
    Natural drop 24 hr 30,000 bees in a hive (medium size hive) 3-10 spring. 30-60 fall. I did a oxalic acid vapor treatment and saw only 8 mites that fell from the weak hive over a 48 hour period. 30 fell from the strong one over a 48 hour period. Based on these results and the sugar roll it seems to me the bees handle mites pretty well.

    I'm not saying you should or should not treat, but those are a useful reference point for the numbers.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    303

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    You might think of collecting 100 or so of the walkers and send a sample to the bee lab. I think it is free and a good way to check.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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    73

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    Quote Originally Posted by rniles View Post
    You might think of collecting 100 or so of the walkers and send a sample to the bee lab. I think it is free and a good way to check.
    I did send off a sample to Beltsville on Saturday. I'll let everyone know the results as soon as I get them.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,320

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    >I did a sugar shake on 1/2 cup of bees about ten days ago when I first saw the problem. Only one mite came off.
    >I did a oxalic acid vapor treatment and saw only 8 mites that fell from the weak hive over a 48 hour period. 30 fell from the strong one over a 48 hour period. Based on these results and the sugar roll it seems to me the bees handle mites pretty well.

    Then you didn't have a Varroa issue.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    904

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    There's no brood, and the brood oval has been backfilled with pollen by bored, unemployed bees. The nest hasn't been functioning for a month or more.
    You likely had a virus spike that sterilized the queen.

    You don't have Varroa because there is no brood feeding the population. The hive is terminal unless you can restart brood production.

    Just saving the comb for next year, and shaking out the rest is the rational thing to do.

    You could pinch the existing queen, and start over with a proven layer, but your likely to throwing good money after bad at this juncture.

    The queen pictured may be the emergency queen raised after the original failed. She may just be getting adjusted, and you may raise some brood. Colonies in decline are difficult to reverse.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 08-06-2014 at 07:23 PM.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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    73

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    The results came back from the Beltsville Lab. I am really impressed at how quickly they turned it around. I only sent the samples on Saturday (8/2). The results:

    Diagnosis:
    VARROA MITE (Varroa destructor) THERE WAS APPROXIMATELY 0.8 MITES PRESENT PER 100 BEES.
    HONEY BEE TRACHEAL MITE AND NOSEMA DISEASE WERE NOT DETECTED.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Rochester Hills, Michigan
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    Quote Originally Posted by e-spice View Post
    The results came back from the Beltsville Lab. I am really impressed at how quickly they turned it around. I only sent the samples on Saturday (8/2). The results:

    Diagnosis:
    VARROA MITE (Varroa destructor) THERE WAS APPROXIMATELY 0.8 MITES PRESENT PER 100 BEES.
    HONEY BEE TRACHEAL MITE AND NOSEMA DISEASE WERE NOT DETECTED.
    Did you receive any information regarding what an acceptable level is for Varroa using the #mites/100 bees scale?
    Mike Franks
    Rochester Hills, MI

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,462

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    Quote Originally Posted by e-spice View Post
    The results came back from the Beltsville Lab.
    Where did you take the sample from?

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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    73

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Where did you take the sample from?
    The sample was exclusively from bees in the grass that couldn't fly. The instructions on the Beltsville lab site said to "Send at least 100 bees and if possible, select bees that are dying or that died recently."

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Larimer County, CO, USA
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Some bees crawling in grass in front of hive

    Mites usually don't like dead bees, so if you had a lot of dead bees in your sample it's inaccurate.

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